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December 01, 2014


by Barbara Duguid

Should our sin surprise us? In counseling earnest college students who love the Lord, I have seen many Christians who agonize over their daily struggle with very ordinary sins. Jane knows the gospel well, attends church faithfully, and reads her Bible every day, yet feels hatred toward her roommate. She idolizes her professors and strives to impress them by academic overachievement. Yet what really bothers Jane is her struggle with masturbation and pornography, which cast her into a spiral of depression and anxiety every time she gives in. Jane despairs because she can’t “surrender all” to Jesus. Should Jane be shocked by her sinful battles?

Human Shields

How did Jane get to college without understanding the depths of her depravity? As it turns out, Jane’s lovingly anxious parents didn’t let her sin very much. When Jane was a toddler, they followed her everywhere and distracted her from the toddler-sized sins she was prone to commit. As a little girl, Jane struggled with hatred toward her brother. Yet when he messed with her stuff and Jane struck back at him, Mom told her to say sorry, even when she wasn’t sorry at all. She was forced to participate in this charade, sealing the deal with a Judas kiss on her brother’s cheek, while she inwardly simmered with feelings she could not understand. She learned that sin is not an option in this family.

When Jane was in middle and high school, her schedule was so packed with frenetic activity she didn’t have time to sin much. With study, music, sports, youth group, and mission trips, she couldn’t play with temptation or experience quiet moments when thoughts could drift to dark places. Her parents triumphantly erected a barrier between her and her sinful heart and thought they were protecting her from youthful folly. But now Jane is in college, her parents can only hover from a distance, and she is shocked and undone by the riot of sinful desire in her heart.

The “Of Courseness” of Jane’s Sin

Sin should never shock us. We live in a fallen world full of temptation that beckons with alluring whispers and siren shouts. We have depraved, twisted natures, prone to wander away from God all the time. We have a clever enemy who has been tempting souls for millennia. Jane’s young body is full of sex hormones. Shaping influences led her to discover the pleasures of sexual gratification way too early, and she lives in a world where porn is easy to get. Masturbation helps her to forget her bad feelings for a minute before plunging her into shame and despair. Of course she struggles with these sins! Sin is easy.

God calls us to obedience, but does not immediately remove our sinful natures at the time of salvation. Although he plants his unstoppable Spirit within us to begin the work of new creation, he tells us that we have this treasure in jars of clay. In other words, he calls us to try hard to obey him but tells us that we will be very weak and fail a lot. Why would our loving heavenly Father leave us weak and sinful? He desires to humble us and to show that the surpassing greatness belongs to Christ and not to us! The sovereign God is thus not surprised by our sin; he planned it this way. Though our sin grieves him, it does not anger or shock him. Instead, he uses the sin that he hates to point us to our great Savior, who took all his anger for our sin. Our Father has loving purposes for letting us wander into the far country many times each day, and he always welcomes us back with great rejoicing. In this way, he shows us the depravity of our hearts, so that we will cherish our Savior more and grow to live in humble dependence on him.

Letting people sin?

How can you help your kids, your spouse, your friends, and yourself become more comfortable with this God-ordained sin struggle in a holy way? Sin is always bad, but how can you help others to be less undone by the ordinary sin that daily besets us all? Perhaps you can ask God to help you stop your frenetic attempts to keep people from sinning. He can help you to trust the Holy Spirit with your growth and that of those you love. Ask him to open your eyes to how he uses sin for his own glory and your good. Let little sinners sin in age-appropriate ways, so that you can show them how normal their sin is, how wonderful their Savior is, and how to run quickly to hide in the love of Jesus. He has paid for all our sin, past, present, and future, and now his shining, captivating obedience covers us when we sin. There is no end to the depths of human depravity—and there is no end to the love of God for us in Christ! It goes on and on and rises high above the mountains of our pathetic sins. If Jane had been taught that earlier in life, she might be able now to wrestle with sin freely and honestly, without the cycles of shame, despair, and anxiety which characterize her. It will be my great privilege to help Jane to fight that good fight with greater confidence and hope in the extravagant grace of God.

Prone to WanderBarbara Duguid is a counselor and ministry assistant at Christ Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Grove City, Pennsylvania, where she crafts the weekly liturgy. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of six children, and she holds an advanced certificate in biblical counseling from the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Glenside, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness and coauthor of Prone to Wander: Prayers of Confession and Celebration

Prone to Wander and Extravagant Grace are available at Amazon and Westminster Books.

November 24, 2014

In the world of Bible translations there are two primary models or theories for bringing the ancient text into contemporary language. One is usually referred to as formal equivalence (or “literal” or “essentially literal”). The other is referred to as “dynamic” or functional equivalence

Formal equivalence involves trying to make a translation that changes as little as possible from the original, or source, text. Word order changes are only made when necessary to make sense in the translated, or target, text. That includes keeping the order of clauses the same if possible. Grammatical structures are also kept the same if possible. For example, an effort is made to translate a noun with a noun, a verb with a verb, and a prepositional phrase with a prepositional phrase. Effort is also made to translate a word or phrase the same every time it occurs. 

Translating idioms is a challenge for any translator. Formal equivalence prefers to keep the idiom the same if it “makes sense” in the target language, but this is a debatable issue. Versions that favor formal equivalence sometimes retain a idiom that some readers think does not really make sense or worse, miscommunicates. Such is the case with “stand in the way of sinners” in Psalm 1:1 and “cleanness of teeth” in Amos 4:6

That brings us to dynamic or functional equivalence, sometimes referred to as “idiomatic translation” because it strives to translate a source text into the “idiom” or natural expression of the target language. All so-called idiomatic translations include some passages translated “literally,” when such a translation sounded natural in the target language. But in cases where a change would result in a more natural expression in the target language, a functional equivalence translation does not hesitate to make that change. The original “form” of the text is considered to be separate from and expendable to the substance or meaning of the text. Where formal equivalence translations have a high tolerance for expressions that do not sound natural in the target language—and so require more processing effort on the part of the reader—functional equivalence translations have a very low tolerance for such expressions.

Is there a third way? Perhaps. Optimal equivalence, the translation approach of the HCSB, shares some features with both formal and functional equivalence. Like formal equivalence, it does not downplay the importance of the form of the source text. The sentences “It was Eddie who scored the touchdown” and “Eddie scored the touchdown” may be semantically equivalent, but they are not interchangeable. Each is appropriate in different contexts. Form matters. 

Among the many issues of “form” that matter in translation is gender. Functional equivalence translations tend to avoid “he,” “him,” “his,” “man,” and “father” where possible, replacing them with such words as “you,” “they,” and “parent.” Optimal equivalence is not driven toward such changes, and the HCSB is committed to gender accuracy. 

On the other hand, optimal equivalence is not so committed to retaining the form that it is willing to produce translations that are hard to understand; it does not settle for a translation that merely “makes sense.” It shares functional equivalence’s commitment to naturalness of expression. This often requires a footnote giving the literal rendering of a word or phrase that has had to be translated idiomatically. 

For example, in order to produce an accurate translation of the phrase “stand in the way of sinners” in Psalm 1:1—that is, a translation that does not mislead the reader—the HCSB translates it as “take the path of sinners.” But attached to the word “take” is a footnote giving the literal meaning, “stand in.” The same is true of the expression “cleanness of teeth” in Amos 4:6, which is rendered “absolutely nothing to eat” with a note giving the literal phrase. There are over 3,000 such notes in the HCSB text. 

With its dual commitment to the importance of form in the source text and to naturalness of expression in the target language, optimal equivalence is best able to produce a translation that is both faithful and clear, such as the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Dr. Ray Clendenen serves as Senior Editor of Bible and Reference Publishing at B&H Publishing Group in Nashville, Tennessee.

November 17, 2014

King James Study BibleIn a time when most people were ignorant of the Bible, William Tyndale resolved that if God would spare his life, even the boy plowing the fields would know the Scriptures better than the typical priest of his day. He also fervently promoted the teachings of the Reformation such as justification by faith in Christ alone. In 1536, the authorities condemned Tyndale as a heretic, strangled him, and burned his body, but not before he had launched the first English translation of the Bible from its original languages.

Seventy-five years later, a team of forty-seven highly trained biblical scholars released a careful revision of the English Bible, using eighty percent or more of Tyndale’s translation. The Holy Bible published in 1611 came to be known as the Authorized Version or King James Version (KJV). It became a powerful vehicle to spread the doctrines of the Reformation.

Today The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible carries on Tyndale’s vision to spread the knowledge of the Scripture to all people. It combines the text of the KJV with thousands of concise notes, introductions to every book of the Bible, fifty articles on major teachings of the Christian faith, and an overview of church history by Sinclair Ferguson.

Why publish a Study Bible on the KJV? Millions of English-speakers read the KJV with profit and delight. A recent survey indicated that of the Americans who regularly read their Bible, over half read the KJV. The Authorized Version continues to be treasured by many in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking nations around the world as well. In an age of dumbing-down, this version of that Bible that profoundly shaped our language and literature continues to lift up the minds of those who read it.

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible is also a valuable resource for people who regularly read another translation. It offers practical help with personal and family worship. Many people have experienced the frustration of reading a chapter in the Scripture and having no idea how to apply it to their lives. With every chapter in this Study Bible come brief devotional thoughts to shape your mind and direct your life. Thirty-six articles in the appendices address questions of Christian living, ranging from how to kill our pride to finding contentment. Pastor and theologian Mark Jones said, “The KJV is not my primary Bible. But my family and I will be keeping this new KJV Study Bible close by…. A Study Bible for the heart and mind.”

This Study Bible also offers Reformation insights into biblical doctrine. The concise study notes reflect a deep commitment to the biblical truth taught by the Reformers and Puritans. Many of the doctrinal articles scattered throughout the Bible were adapted from the writings of people like John Calvin, William Perkins, William Ames, John Owen, and Jonathan Edwards. The appendices include nine creeds, confessions, and catechisms affirmed by the ancient and Reformation churches. Douglas Kelly, professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, says, “I commend wholeheartedly The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible…. Indeed, I am so convinced of its usefulness that I intend to get copies for my five adult children!”

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible combines the classic English Bible text with solid doctrine and warm, experiential application. Whether you read the KJV every day, grew up with it but now read another translation, or never really looked at it before, consider this new Study Bible from Reformation Heritage Books as a helpful resource for your spiritual life. (For a free sample, please go here.)

Joel R. Beeke, General Editor

Consider watching this short introduction to the new King James Study Bible:

November 10, 2014


Keeping up with your Bible study, let alone keeping it rich and exciting, is a daily struggle for many people.

Whether you’re a pastor tired from late-night sermon prep, a seminary student buried under tedious tasks, an academic lacking the resources to make new discoveries, or a layperson wanting to be more confident in your biblical knowledge, there will almost always be roadblocks in your Bible study.

Fortunately, these are the exact roadblocks Logos 6 was designed to alleviate. The new Bible study software from Faithlife comes with brand-new tools, smart resources, one-of-a-kind Interactive Media, and beautiful Media Collections—all created to help you gain fresh insights and share your findings in engaging ways.

Simply put, Logos is the best Bible study software ever, and it keeps getting better. With Logos 6, you can save time, be confident in your findings, and get excited to share incredible insights with your community.


Explore the Biblical World

Understanding cultural concepts from biblical times is integral to understanding the Word—you can’t truly wrap your mind around the imagery and practices referenced in Scripture without understanding what they meant to the author. That’s why Logos 6 comes packed with new tools and resources to help you study Scripture in context.

The new Cultural Concepts tool identifies over 1,000 cultural concepts throughout the Bible, like religious activities, food, music, birth and death practices, marriage rituals, and economic structures, so you can derive greater meaning from biblical events and imagery. In seconds, explore all the cultural concepts expressed in a passage, then connect those concepts to ancient texts.

With the Ancient Literature tool, you can get a clear view of the Bible’s background by exploring ancient texts side by side with Scripture. This tool links Scripture to ancient texts based on shared themes, references, allusions, and more.

With Atlas and the interactive Biblical Event Navigator, you can connect Bible narratives to their geographical context with professional maps and 3-D tours.

Logos 6 takes you deep into the biblical world so you can better understand the cultural perspective from which Scripture was written.

God Is Love

Craft Better Sermons—Faster

No more late Saturday nights frantically preparing for Sunday morning—Logos 6’s new tools equip you to build beautiful presentations while you study. With the Visual Copy tool, you can transform text selections and images into perfectly formatted slides in seconds. Just right click your selection, choose from premade templates and beautiful art, and send your slide straight to your presentation.

Logos 6 also comes with massive collections of stunning artwork. Just enter a query into the new Media Search and get every relevant map, family tree, 3-D infographic, and photo, in your library and online.

Engage your audience and save yourself the stress of last-minute presentations: Logos 6 streamlines your workflow and equips you to be a better preacher and teacher.


Engage the Word with Interactive Media

Logos 6 unveils the next generation of Bible study innovation: Interactive Media. Interactive Media are new resources that help you explore both the biblical world and the Bible’s original languages, as well as perform complex tasks in seconds. Get into the Word with new calculators and text converters, virtual tours, interactive infographics, and helpful tutors. Use this media to engage your students or congregation, or for your personal study.

In seconds, convert Greek and Hebrew into a variety of transliteration schemes with Text Converter, find every time a specific lemma formation is used throughout the Greek New Testament with Morphology Charts, learn to read and write Greek and Hebrew with interactive tutors, explore the Psalms with a colorful browser that lets you filter the Psalms by order, genre, book, author, and theme, and better understand biblical measurements by instantly converting them into modern examples.

Interactive Media equip you for deeper, more engaging study. (And, let’s be honest … they’re pretty fun, too.)

Get Logos 6 Today!

For a limited time, get 15% off Logos 6. Plus, depending on how much you spend, you may qualify for free gifts! The more you spend, the more gifts you get.

So, what are you waiting for? Start gaining incredible insights: get Logos 6 today.

November 03, 2014

Hard to Use
Do you often feel confused or stupid (“Apparently I don’t know how to use the Internet!”) when trying to buy something online or trying to do research on a Web site? You’re not alone, and it might not be your fault. Most sites are unnecessarily difficult to use, and there is one core reason for this.

Consider this illustration:

A Story About A New Library

Across the street from my office, the Ames Public Library just finished a massive renovation. Lasting almost two years, costing around $20 million dollars, the project more than doubled the space inside the building, seeking to “create a comfortable, flexible, and efficient space for Ames to learn, imagine, gather, and share in the 21st Century.”

Now imagine that when the renovation was complete, the library staff brought the books back in boxes and stacked them haphazardly on tables. Perhaps they would separate the tables by some quickly conceived set of categories: kids, adults, scientists, periodicals, videos, audiobooks…

A state-of-the-art bank of new computers would sit in an artfully decorated nook, a cafe would serve refreshments, and new releases would be carefully arranged near the front entrance. Fancy new scanners would make it effortless to check a book out.

But trying to find an older book you are looking for amongst the boxes piled on the tables (the most common thing done in a library)? Impossible. What would the renovation actually have accomplished? A step backwards in the usability of the library.

This illustrates the problem with almost every Web redesign I’ve seen.

The architects, general contractors, landscapers, interior decorators, and IT teams would all have done a masterful job, but the most important component would be missing.

Library Science

All libraries have rows upon rows of bookshelves, carefully arranged according a precise code: the Dewey Decimal Classification System, or the Library of Congress Classification System. These make it effortless to locate a single volume inside a sea of books.

These systems are vital to all libraries. And thankfully the Ames Public Library followed them.

The Problem: Bad Architecture

Information architecture is a design discipline closely related to library science. It involves the structure and hierarchies of the contents of a Web site and the labels and taxonomies (categories, tags, etc.) chosen for navigation and archiving.

Information architecture is to Web sites what the Dewey Decimal System is to libraries. It is also a much neglected aspect of the Web design profession, because these things (deceptively) feel intuitive to many people.

Why It Matters

For the average user of the Internet, poor architecture means wasted minutes adding up to wasted hours of frustration, trying and failing to find what you are looking for on a Web site.

For business owners, poor architecture means lost revenues when users are unable to find what they are looking for on your site.  (Note: users care about what they are trying to find and not what you want to show them.)

For churches and ministries, poor architecture means lost opportunities to spread your message as people are unable to learn about your ministry or find the resources you have that will address their questions.

The Solution

The next time you find yourself frustrated with the site you are on, remember that it probably isn’t you. Take a minute and gently let the site owner know that their site is hard to use.

If you are ever given charge of a Web site project, make sure you hire an expert Information Architect as part of the team. More importantly, make sure that as a project leader you value and understand the basics of it yourself.

Information architecture is our core speciality at Mere Agency. We are a full service Web design and development agency but we understand that IA is the foundation of an effective and usable Web design. We’d love to help with your project.

Matt Heerema is owner and Web Strategist at Mere Agency and a Pastor at Stonebrook Church where he focuses on music ministries and theological training. Follow Mere on Twitter @mereagency, and visit mereagency.com for more information.

October 27, 2014

By Micah Carter

When it comes to the translation of God’s Word, we live in an unprecedented time in human history. In the last 40 years, English-speaking Bible readers have benefitted from both the continuance of translations in the KJV tradition (like the ESV) and new, original translations for contemporary readers (like the NIV).

The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is part of this incredible history of Bible translation in the English language. Released in 2004, the aim of this new translation was simple: to blend an accurate, trustworthy translation of the original languages with the way we speak in contemporary English. More than 100 scholars from 17 denominations came together for this project and produced a Bible translation that could be trusted by scholars and pastors, and enjoyably read by everyday people.

The HCSB employs a translation philosophy known as “optimal equivalence,” which seeks to achieve an optimal balance of linguistic precision with contemporary clarity. In the majority of places throughout Scripture where a word-for-word rendering is clearly understandable, a “formal” translation is used. In places where a word-for-word rendering might obscure the meaning for a modern audience, a more “dynamic” translation is applied.

With these commitments in view, the HCSB seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • To equip serious Bible students with an accurate, trustworthy translation for study, devotion, and memorization
  • To inspire English-speaking people across the world with a clear, faithful, and easily comprehensible translation
  • To affirm Scripture as the inerrant Word of God and to champion its authority over cultural influences that may compromise its truth

Most translations have scholars and pastors who function in some way as an “oversight committee” that helps identify future opportunities to make the translation stronger and clearer, as language changes occur and biblical scholarship advances. The HCSB has its own translation oversight committee as well, including the following distinguished members:

  • Dr. David Allen, co-chair
  • Dr. Dorian Coover-Cox
  • Dr. Andrew Das
  • Dr. Iain Duguid
  • Dr. Darian Lockett
  • Dr. Brian Rosner
  • Dr. Tom Schreiner, co-chair
  • Dr. Andrew Steinmann

Over the next several weeks, we at B&H Publishing Group have the privilege to be here at challies.com to provide a deeper engagement with the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It’s our joy to commend it to you and to see God’s Word transform lives around the world.

Dr. Micah Carter is the HCSB Translation Spokesperson for B&H Publishing Group in Nashville, TN. Follow us on Twitter @HCSB and visit www.hcsb.org for more information.

October 20, 2014

By Thom S. Rainer

I have a great love for local congregations. To be sure, I’ve never been in a perfect church. They just don’t exist.

But I still love local churches.

One of my greatest joys in the past several years has been to see and work with churches that have experienced significant turnaround. While that turnaround is typically evident in attendance numbers, it is much more than that. 

I recently categorized those reasons some churches experience revitalization. I then compared them to churches that have not been revitalized. I found seven differences between the two sets of churches. These are the seven traits unique to the revitalized churches:

  1. The leaders and members faced reality. One of the reasons most churches don’t experience revitalization is their unwillingness to “look in the mirror.” Denial leads to decline which leads to death.
  2. Many in the church began explicitly praying for God to revitalize the church. I know of a leadership group in one church that prayed every week for over two years. The church is now in true revitalization.
  3. The churches had an explicit and clear focus on the gospel. Preaching became clearly gospel-centered. Ministries became gospel-centered. And many members began intentionally sharing the gospel, which brings me to the next reason.
  4. Members did not just talk evangelism; they did evangelism. I did not see a specific approach or methodology to share the gospel in these congregations. It was clear, however, that there was a more focused intentionality on sharing Christ than in many previous years.
  5. Many members in these churches began focusing on serving Christ through the church rather than seeking their own preferences. Another way of stating it is that these members became other-focused rather than self-focused. This attitude seemed to be directly connected to their prayers for revitalization.
  6. These churches raised the bar of expectations. Thus membership in these congregations became meaningful. Members moved from spectators to participants.
  7. The churches developed a clear process of discipleship. The members became more immersed in the Word. There was a clear and cogent plan to help members grow in their walk with Christ.

Do not count me among those who have their heads in the sand about the state of congregations in North America. As many as 100,000 churches are very sick or dying. Many more also need revitalization.

I hope you can join me for a video consultation on church revitalization at RevitalizedChurches.com. It will almost be like I’m at your church offering you guidance and hope toward the future. You can click here to sign up for the four-part overview of the series at no cost.

Yes, I remain an obnoxious optimist about local churches. I am seeing too many indicators of His work to believe otherwise. Let me hear from you. And I hope to see you in the video consultation on church revitalization.

What are your perspectives on the need for church revitalization? What do you think might be missing in many churches?

October 13, 2014

Truth Remains is a church history ministry endeavoring to remind believers of the great sacrifices that faithful men and women made in previous generations so that we could have access to the Word of God.

The halls of church history are covered in the blood of countless martyrs who gave their lives to defend, proclaim, and preserve the very same Bible that we hold in our hands today. Truth Remains teaches that history through educational media and interactive events featuring a rare collection of first edition 16th – 17th century Bibles.

Truth Remains

Why Study Church History?

Robert Shindler, a close associate of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, noted, “It is all too plainly apparent men are willing to forego the old for the sake of the new. But commonly it is found in theology that that which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true.”

In the minds of many, church history is a dry subject to be tolerated if necessary. This attitude comes from the belief that the past is irrelevant and only what is happening now is worthy of consideration. But Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, 

“That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages which were before us.”

Several times in Scripture we are told to learn from the things done in the past (1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4) and this is especially true regarding church history. In a day when much of the contemporary church is enamored with new innovations and discoveries, even when it comes to theology, a study of the past brings valuable perspective to the present. There is much to be gleaned from a history full of battles for the truth.

Truth Remains

English Bible Translation

One of the most thrilling stories in church history is that of the English Bible. The men who gave their lives to translate the Bible into English are not household names but the bloody price they paid fueled the Reformation and shaped the modern world, enabling countless Christians to enjoy the privilege of owning and studying God’s Word in English. 

Out of Darkness; The Story of the English Bible is a four-part mini documentary, produced by Truth Remains, that tells the story of God’s careful preservation of Scripture through the centuries. You can watch part two on the 1560 Geneva Bible below, or you can take a few minutes to watch all four parts here.

In just a few weeks, the Truth Remains rare Bible display will be hosted by Southern Seminary for The Expositor’s Summit. If you are planning to attend, be sure to stop by and touch the very pages William Tyndale and John Rogers died for.

For more information about Truth Remains, visit our website or contact us here.

TR Logo

October 06, 2014

Books at a Glance

Our staff of highly-qualified pastors, professors, and theologians reads and summarizes 1 – 2 books every week and will give you the 7-10 page book summaries so that you can learn the main points, arguments, and lessons from each book in the time it takes you to read a 7 – 10 page article! If you’ve ever wished that you had more time to read, then this is a perfect fit for you! Click Here to Get Access to These Book Summaries: www.BooksAtaGlance.com

We All Know that You Should Read More Christian Books…If Only You Had the Time, Right?

You’re busy…we’re all busy! But you also feel this constant pressure or guilt that you really should be devoting more time to learning, studying, and reading more quality, Christian books that will help you grow in knowledge and in your walk with the Lord. Now, with our book summaries, you will learn from these quality Christian books…without making your already busy schedule busier at all! With our mobile-friendly website, you’ll easily be able to read these summaries from your smart phone or iPad while you’re on the train, at the coffee shop, on your lunch break, or while waiting to get your oil changed! Click HERE to learn more, in less time!

With Books At a Glance, You’ll Stay Up to Date with New Books!

Keeping up with all the new books that come out is a daunting task, for sure! And for those of us who are always eager to keep current with the newest and best of Christian literature, it can often feel like you’re fighting a losing battle…but no longer! Because Books At a Glance stays on top of this for you, we are your one-stop-shop for all things “Christian Books.” You can now easily keep current and not miss out on any of the new, good Christian books out there. Go to www.BooksAtaGlance.com right now to start getting these notifications of new books and our book summaries!

 Go to www.BooksAtaGlance.com Now to Save Time and Learn More!

September 29, 2014

Michael HortonMichael Horton is the author of over thirty books and this excerpt which comes from his new book, Ordinary, releases October 7. You can now follow Michael on Twitter. 

Download a free study guide at ordinarybook.com.

Think of the things that matter most to you. How do you measure your relationships? How do you “measure” your marriage, for example? When my wife and I talk about our relationship, we often have different takes on how things are going. Looking back over the course of our married years, we have seen many ways in which the Lord has bonded us together since our first year together. We can see steady growth and identify ways in which we’ve deepened in our relationship.

But when we shift our focus to the short-term, the week-to-week, it becomes harder for us to get an accurate gauge on how we are doing.

And it’s those ordinary moments filled with seemingly insignificant decisions, conversations, and touches that matter most. This is where most of life is lived. The richest things in life are made up of more than Kodak moments.

Is it any different when you are raising children? The mantra among many parents today, especially dads, is “Quality Time.” But is that true? Think about all that happens in those mundane moments that are unplanned, unprogrammed, unscheduled, and unplugged. Nearly everything! Nicknames are invented, identities and relationships are formed. On the drive home from church, your child asks a question about the sermon that puts one more piece of the puzzle into place for an enduring faith. Everyone in the car benefits from the exchange.

The problem is, when people enter adulthood, they soon discover that a memorable experience will not compensate for a shallow understanding of what they believe and why they believe it—over years of everyday exposure to and participation in the communion of Christ with his people. Nevertheless, it’s precisely the ordinary ministry, week-in and week-out, that provides sustained growth and encourages the roots to grow deep.

In many ways, it’s more fun to be part of movements than churches. We can express our own individuality, pick our favorite leaders, and be swept off our feet at conferences. We can be anonymous. Yet this movement mentality keeps us restless and makes ordinary life in and submission to an actual church seem intolerably confining.

OrdinaryAnd terribly ordinary.

We need to recover not only sound doctrine, but sounder practices that serve to deepen us—and succeeding generations—in the new creation that God has called into being. We need to question not only false teaching, but false values, expectations, and habits that we have absorbed, taken for granted, and even adopted with a veneer of piety.

And who knows? Maybe if we discover the opportunities of the ordinary, a fondness for the familiar, and marvel again at the mundane, we will be radical after all.

Learn more about Ordinary or download a free study guide at ordinarybook.com.