The Touch

Some of the most stirring but also the most tragic images the Bible gives us are of great crowds surging toward Jesus so they could be healed. At a time when humanity had only the most basic knowledge of the human body and knew of only the most rudimentary medical treatments, there were always many who suffered constantly and grievously. Thus we can picture in our minds people covered in sores limping toward him, people who could not walk crawling …

In the Name of Jesus

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do,” promised Jesus. And ever since that day, his followers have prayed in his name. Parents teach their children, pastors teach their parishioners, evangelists teach their new converts to close their prayers with the familiar words, “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” But familiarity has its ways of breeding contempt, even in a task as sacred as prayer. And so it is wise for us, from time to time, to revisit …

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Simon, Would You Still Have Passed That Way?

Simon, would you still have passed that way? Would you still have passed that way if you had known how you would be mistreated? Would you still have ventured into the city if you had known that you would be forced to carry another man’s burden? Would you still have entered that gate and strolled down that street if you had known that the cross of another man would soon be upon your shoulders, that his blood would soon stain …

The Wonderful, Glorious Jesus

Some things are not only worth reading, but worth reading aloud. I stumbled upon just such a thing a short time ago and wanted to share it with you. This beautiful bit of writing comes from a Dr. William Plumer and what was apparently his inaugural address at Western Theological Seminary. Do yourself a favor and read it—out loud, of course. (Note: I took the liberty of editing it slightly to remove or replace some antiquated words and to just …

Isn’t This Just The Carpenter Guy?

Jesus began his public ministry away from his hometown of Nazareth, but it was not long before he returned and began to teach in the local synagogue. The people’s response might have been disheartening to someone just getting started in a new vocation. “Is not this the carpenter?” they asked (Luke 6:3). Jesus was now 30 years into his life and just setting out into a very public ministry, but his friends and neighbors knew him only as “the carpenter.” …

Advance! Advance in Favor

When I was in my early 20s, one of my friends had a sudden experience of spiritual growth and enthusiasm. Suddenly, he had a new fervor for the Lord and a fresh desire to serve him. He began using new words and imaginative phrases to describe his relationship with God and his longing to live for his glory. One of these was “audience of One.” “I don’t care what other people think of me,” he said. “I’m just going to …

Advance! Advance in Stature

How big is God? This is the kind of question most children ask at one time or another. They know that they are weak and that God is strong, they know that they are tiny and that the universe is immense, and so they naturally wonder, “Just how big is this God, anyway?” And in some way, their parents explain that God is spiritual, not physical, infinite, not limited, with no form and therefore no size. God is neither big …

Advance! Advance in Wisdom

Since 2004, Dove has been promoting their products with the Real Beauty campaign. Several years ago, they released a video titled “Real Beauty Sketches,” and it quickly went viral. In this video, they had a number of women describe themselves to a hidden forensic sketch artist. He listened to them and created a drawing based on their description of their physical characteristics. Then the subject left the room, and a second person entered who had met the woman only the …

Advance! One Key Pursuit for Young Christians

Imagine for a moment that you have been charged with coming up with a life plan for the most important person in all of human history. The Messiah, the Son of God, will soon come to earth and will remain here for just over 30 years. He will be fully man, so you will need to plan accordingly, giving him time to grow from infancy to maturity, ensuring he has times of devotion to refresh his soul and of sleep …

Who Is the Greatest?

It’s fun to laugh at the disciples sometimes, isn’t it? Read the gospels and you’ll find them providing us plenty of opportunity. Like in Mark 9 when they have arrived in Capernaum and have settled into a home for a meal and a rest. Jesus asks a simple question: “What were you discussing on the way?” They had obviously been in deep debate during that long walk and Jesus is interested to know what it was all about. But there …