RickThomas.net 
22Nov
How to engage friends, family, and turkeys during Thanksgiving NS

How to engage friends, family, and turkeys during Thanksgiving

Listen to Rick read this post: There are two kinds of people in the world: Christians and non-Christians. Within these two people groups are those you prefer to hang with and those you had rather not spend your time. Being a Christian does not automatically put you in the preferred people group or make you an acceptable friend. When it comes to picking your team of close friends it is possible for some family members, even if they profess Christ, not to be on your team. This can be a tolerable uncomfortableness for most of the year, but when the Read
21Nov
Letter to my students_ about your future NS

Letter to my students: about your future

Listen to Rick read this post: Dear Student, Thank you for your question about your future after you graduate. That day is almost here. You have worked hard and your growth throughout the process has been personally encouraging to me. It has been what we hoped it would be--transformational. I am also grateful for your desire to continue your relationship with our organization. That is kind of you. As for our needs? We have many. Mark Grant was our first graduate. He has taken on the dual roles of writing and counseling for us. He counsels most of our US Read
20Nov
Two Graphics_ The path to sin - The path to victory NS

Two Graphics: The path to sin – The path to victory

One of our readers created these two graphics as part of his reflections on how he is tempted to sin and the process of being restored to God. Please use these personally, as well as when you care for others. The path to sin I become enticed away from God by my own lust. My lust defines my happiness--what I treasure. My lust is not satisfied, nor will it ever be. I will always need more. I become discontent and it consumes my thoughts (mind). I begin to sin in my heart against God. "Crucify Him!" With a calloused heart, Read
19Nov
What is better to have, a Bible or a mentor? NS

What is better to have, a Bible or a mentor?

Listen to Rick read this post: You could say my question is a trick question, though it is not meant to be one. The question is meant to provoke you to think and discuss. The answer to the question is both. The Bible does not make a case for one being exclusively superior, in that the other one is not important. The Bible makes a case for both of them as having specific roles to play in a person’s sanctification. The Bible does not say the Bible alone is all you need to change. The Bible does not say Read
18Nov
Examining your worship structure with a Mind Map NS

Examining your worship structure with a Mind Map

Listen to Rick read this post: One common stumbling block in the sanctification of today’s Christian is a poor theology of suffering. Our independent, “can-do” attitude in America creates a self-sufficient context to life, leading many to seek God, “looking for pleasant results rather than deeper realities.” As a result, life disappointments can shake our faith. We hurt. We question why. We long for justice. We become angry. This response is natural. As image bearers of a righteous God, we are wired to see good triumph (Romans 1:18-19). However, there is another power at work. Internally, sin has corrupted Read
17Nov
The danger of the cross-centered life NS

The danger of the cross-centered life

Listen to Rick read this post: An over-focus on the cross, to the exclusion of the other aspects of the Gospel, can lead to an off-centered life. The cross of Christ is powerful, essential, climatic in a unique way, and no person can go to heaven without interacting with the purposes of the cross. The cross of Christ is a significant event in the Gospel narrative. Without the cross our sins would not be atoned and we would still be guilty, waiting on eternal judgment and banishment to hell. Needless to say, the cross is not expendable. Without it there Read
17Nov
God is an extravagant lover NS

Dios es un amante extravagante

Cuando la vida no va de la manera en que pienso debería, es muy fácil para mí para desinteresarme de la vida y ponerme en un estatus de auto conservación. En esos momentos debo darme cuenta de que aún cuando mi vida no está funcionando como yo esperaba, Dios todavía está interesado en involucrarme en lo que Él está haciendo en la vida de los otros. No debo concluir que mis sueños y esperanzas frustradas significan que Dios ya terminó con mi vida. La verdad es que Dios está escogiendo escribir una historia que es diferente a la que yo Read
16Nov
The danger of pragmatic parenting NS

The danger of pragmatic parenting

Listen to Rick read this post: Have you met the counting lady? Let's call her Melissa. Maybe you have seen her in Wal-Mart standing in the checkout line. Her 7-year old son--let's call him Johnny--was disobeying her and she was fearfully hoping he would stop his disruptive-ness. Her method for getting little Johnny to behave was to start counting. 1... 2... 3 ... This method is like a game of dare. Melissa begins a slow count toward some indeterminate number, with the hope her son will not only discern what she is doing, but choose to be respectful Read
15Nov
The danger of the principle-driven life NS

The danger of the principle-driven life

Listen to Rick read this post: One of the downsides of dividing the Bible into chapters and verses is that it can create a principle driven discipleship methodology. I do wonder at times what the writers of the New Testament would think about how we have separated Scriptures into what we call verses, while often times isolating them from the contexts in which they were written. Though it helps in research and for personal and corporate study, many of these isolated and independent verses have become principles to live by that are a slightly better version from what Read
14Nov
The danger of guilt and the need for a few good friends NS

The danger of guilt and the need for a few good friends

Listen to Rick read this post: Naomi has struggled for many years with guilt. Some of it is real and some of it is not. After twenty years of struggling, the true and false of her guilt is so convoluted it is even hard for her to sort it out. In one sense it does not matter who did what. She did some things, while other things were done to her. That was her past. Mercifully, Christ rescued her and made the long-awaited, soul-refreshing declaration: not guilty. Naomi was acquitted of her sins. That is the good news. She initially Read
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