The secret behind the Bible’s most highlighted verse

The current issue of The American Prospect features a short piece on ebooks and social reading. It mentions in passing that the Bible is the Kindle's most highlighted book and that the most highlighted verse of all is Philippians 4.6:Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.It's no scientific survey, admittedly, but it seems telling that the most underlined passage in the most underlined book … [Read more...]

Christ is both our goal and our way

Christ is everything to the believer. Our lives follow his.This short reflection from Augustine's City of God shows us that Christ is the goal of human life and the way we walk toward that goal. He's the point and the path. (I've paraphrased it here from Marcus Dods' translation.)Man is properly understood to be made in God’s image. This is the higher part of his nature that transcends the lowly animals and brings him nearer to the Supreme. But while the human mind is naturally capable o … [Read more...]

The reason we endure trials

The other day my son was going on about bricks. He had seen a documentary and was eager to report that firing bricks in a kiln made a stronger product than merely drying them in the sun.My mind jumped to a stretch I spent in Uganda. Megan and I saw giant stacks of bricks along the roadside most everywhere we drove. To make them locals molded sloppy wet clay and set the shapes out to dry. Next they arranged a large makeshift kiln from the dry bricks, crammed it with wood, and set the fuel on … [Read more...]

Dallas Willard, Jesus freak

When I heard that philosopher and author Dallas Willard had died, my mind jumped to Bishop Todd Hunter. I was with him a few weeks back and he mentioned then that Willard was seriously ill. After news of his passing, I asked Todd if he would share a reflection on the life and impact of his longtime friend and mentor.Dallas Willard was an old-school Jesus Freak. He had a world-class intellect and passionate curiosity about all things concerning God and his kingdom.Dallas did not … [Read more...]

Go ahead, try failure! The spiritual virtue of blowing it

The economist Thomas Hazlett once told a story about the father of his high-school girlfriend. "I must say," the man boasted, "that in my dating days, I never once asked a girl out who didn't say 'yes.'"Hazlett figured the brag was calculated to make him feel insecure. But it didn't really work. "Even as a callow youth," said Hazlett, "I knew the answer to his hollow boast: He simply hadn't asked out enough girls."Hazlett's observation about his girlfriend's dad jumps past economics and … [Read more...]

Heaven is more than an endpoint. It’s a possibility right now

There have been several very successful books on heaven in recent years, including Heaven is For Real, published at Thomas Nelson by my colleague Matt Baugher.The interest among readers is reasonable enough, considering that we're talking about our eternal destinies and all the hopes and fears that go along with them. Not a small topic.But let's expand the conversation. Heaven is more than an endpoint. When Christians pray the Lord's Prayer we ask that God's will would be done on earth … [Read more...]

Run your race with intensity

The apostle Paul compares our life in Christ to a footrace. Like any race this is one that only the diligent will win.Go back to your childhood story time. Though he had every advantage, Aesop's hare lost to the tortoise because he dawdled and frittered. We face the same temptations, but Paul exhorts us to run with intensity: Run like you want to win.Says the apostle, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?" This isn't to say that only one will … [Read more...]