Disclaimer: These are articles or blog post that I have found interesting over the past few weeks. This does not mean that I agree with each and every point.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
These words are the John 3:16 of American cultural Christianity. Watch how often they show up on the Bible verse plaques sold in Bible Belt mall kiosks or posted on Facebook walls, even on tattoos. Whether as home decor or on social media posts, I see this passage claimed fervently by people I know haven’t been in a church service since the first Bush Administration. Naturally, this love for this verse has often led to more theologically-oriented Christians lamenting the out-of-context use of Jeremiah 29:11. So much so that a young Christian asked me recently, “Does Jeremiah 29:11 apply to me, or not?”
In college, three good friends of mine were Indian nationals. They lived together––a Hindu, a Sikh, and a Muslim. I would visit their home and we would eat together, often bringing up spiritual topics. One day, I asked them what they thought about Jesus’ words in John 14:6:
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Their reaction was incredulous disbelief that Jesus would say this. As a young Christian, I wasn’t aware of the traditional existence of these three religious beliefs in India, including the Islamic idea of Jesus as a mere prophet. I confess that I found myself at a loss, unsure of how to answer their objections. Instead of an open Bible and a patient spirit, I said no more of the gospel, afraid that my apparent lack of understanding would somehow defame Christ. They had questions. I gave them silence.
I am increasingly convinced that the “me-centeredness” that is so prevalent in our church culture is in large part due to a deficient understanding of the church, its nature and essence.
Ginger Plowman – Family Life
I can relate to the frustrations of parenting little ones all day. Been there, done that! I also know how easy it is for mom to lose her cool. I was really struggling one day in particular when my children were younger. Feeling guilty for the harsh words and not-so-sweet tone of voice I had used all day, I decided to write down some guidelines that would enable me to keep myself in check.