Search

But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine. Therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and will declare it to you. - John 16:13-15 MEV. As Christian leaders and counselors from a range of backgrounds ministered to us, the variety of what they taught us thoroughly blessed us. I believe this has ignited a new understanding on how to best help people, gleaning from all that the Holy Spirit says in the Bible without being limited to one tradition and its emphasis on one paradigm for helping people. We came to appreciate each approach and grieve the pride and cynicism that often divides these biblical insights into warring camps. To be truly helpful we need to be deeply Spirit-led. The Holy Spirit knows exactly how someone is suffering and what the solution is. Every honest pastor and Christian leader reaches a point where they realize the same truths taught in the same way bring the same incomplete results. Who in your immediate world would bring a new biblical perspective to your struggles as a follower of Jesus? There’s a good chance you stand on one side of various theological, methodological, and relational divides, and the help you need is right on the other side. Ask people who aren’t in your tribe for practical wisdom drawn from real ministry. Invite them to tell you their case histories of real change. Let them enthusiastically draw out their biblical emphasis and challenge yours. Why? Because every problem you face isn’t a nail, and every solution doesn’t require a hammer. When you suffer, it is essential to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you why you are suffering and how you can be growing. Your suffering is so expensive that you should not waste it on sin, folly, or rebellion. Instead, you would be better served to invest it by reflecting on Jesus’ suffering for you so that you can become more like Him. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine. Therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and will declare it to you. - John 16:13-15 MEV. As Christian leaders and counselors from a range of backgrounds ministered to us, the variety of what they taught us thoroughly blessed us. I believe this has ignited a new understanding on how to best help people, gleaning from all that the Holy Spirit says in the Bible without being limited to one tradition and its emphasis on one paradigm for helping people. We came to appreciate each approach and grieve the pride and cynicism that often divides these biblical insights into warring camps. To be truly helpful we need to be deeply Spirit-led. The Holy Spirit knows exactly how someone is suffering and what the solution is. Every honest pastor and Christian leader reaches a point where they realize the same truths taught in the same way bring the same incomplete results. Who in your immediate world would bring a new biblical perspective to your struggles as a follower of Jesus? There’s a good chance you stand on one side of various theological, methodological, and relational divides, and the help you need is right on the other side. Ask people who aren’t in your tribe for practical wisdom drawn from real ministry. Invite them to tell you their case histories of real change. Let them enthusiastically draw out their biblical emphasis and challenge yours. Why? Because every problem you face isn’t a nail, and every solution doesn’t require a hammer. When you suffer, it is essential to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you why you are suffering and how you can be growing. Your suffering is so expensive that you should not waste it on sin, folly, or rebellion. Instead, you would be better served to invest it by reflecting on Jesus’ suffering for you so that you can become more like Him. I admit that at times I have wished there were another way. I wish we could go online and shop for character, punch in our credit card information, and have it delivered to our house along with the rest of our Amazon order. But that is not how the Christian life works. When Jesus says to pick up our cross and follow Him, He is inviting us to suffer with our Savior so that we can become like our Savior. Often our healing from suffering begins by forgiving those who hurt us.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:25-28 MEV. I remember a stormy season of life when I realized I’m guilty of one of Western culture’s most unhelpful habits: celebrating victories publicly and mourning defeats privately. This results in very few of us knowing how to lament. We isolate ourselves when we hurt the most, whereas Bible guys, including fierce warriors like David, knew how to lament like men. Here are some benefits of God-centered, tear-soaked, Spirit-filled, Bible-based, gut-level lamenting. When you lament, you allow yourself to feel.Numbing yourself to the hurt means you stop feeling everything else in life. Lamenting helps you feel life’s full range of normal emotions. When you lament, you process pain.Lamenting helps you work through your heartaches. You have to feel so you can heal. When you lament, you grieve your involvement and shed your victim mind-set. Lamenting allows you to evaluate what you have done, where you must change, and how you can act differently in the future. When you lament, you don’t lash out in vengeance at others. Lamenting helps you work out with God the energy and frustration that naturally comes from pain. When you lament, you empathize with others who are hurting. After you have lamented your pain with the Lord and experienced healing in your soul, you can invite people who have experienced similar pains to share those with you. When you lament, you feel hope for the future. Failing to lament leaves you forever circling the drain of the past, never escaping the toxicity that surrounds. Lamenting allows you to look up from your tears to see what God might have on the horizon. When you lament, you escape anger and depression. Some people stuck in a spiral of grief are prone to depression. Lamenting allows you to avoid depression—as well as depression masked by anger. How did Jesus deal with His suffering? By Spirit-led lamenting. Isaiah 53:3 calls Him our “suffering servant” (NASB) a “man of sorrows,” and “acquainted with grief.” Emotional and tear-filled New Testament scenes let us see the Lord Jesus weep over Jerusalem, mourn the death of His dear friend Lazarus, and agonize on the cross. Jesus worked through His suffering by lamenting, and He helps us do the same.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also boast in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces patience, patience produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. - Romans 5:1-5 MEV. If you have ever flown on an airplane, you have likely heard the safety speech given at the beginning of the flight. The crew always tells you that in case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop. The attendant tells you to put your own mask on first before you assist anyone else. Life is like a flight. Jesus is our captain. Our relationship with Him is our proverbial oxygen mask. On Jesus Airlines, when the storms hit and lightning strikes, there will be times of turbulence until we land in His kingdom. When these times occur, we need to get our proverbial oxygen mask on first. We need to live in the healthy, life-giving power of God’s love before we can be helpful to those around us. Jesus talks about this in Mark 12:28–31, saying that we need to love God first and love our neighbor second. Christianity is about many things, but one of the most important things is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Paul says that the greatest thing in all the world is love.Love is sometimes what you feel, sometimes what you say, but always what you do. Ultimately love shows forth in action. True love unselfishly acts in the best interest of the beloved. This results in acts of service and sacrifice, much like Jesus Christ who served by sacrificing His own life as the greatest act of love the world will ever know. How do we access the love of God? We obtain the love of God by the Spirit of God. The Bible teaches this in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” When God the Holy Spirit rains His love down on you, it cools down and refreshes, washes away filth, and brings beautiful life. You need God’s love because without it, you wither and die in a desert. Furthermore, the people in your family and life need God’s love to flow through you to them. When you are filled with the Spirit, God’s love begins to transform you into a loving person. In this way, God’s love flows down on you, wells up in you, and then flows through you to others.

John 15:1-5 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” In vine tending there are only two kinds of branches. Those that bear fruit are tended to and cared for. Those that do not bear fruit are simply thrown into a fire and burned since the wood is too soft to be used for anything profitable (Ezekiel 15:1-5). Building off of this understanding, Jesus teaches that unbelievers who are not connected to Him are incapable of bearing supernatural spiritual fruit and are therefore cut off and tossed into the fire (John 15:6). But, believers who abide in Jesus are privileged to pray to the Father who will answer prayers requesting fruitful living, providing the intention of their fruitfulness is not their own glory but the Father’s (John 15:8). Jesus reveals that the key to such fruitfulness is the love He shares with the Father and lavishes upon His people, and it is this love that causes us to gladly obey His commands which subsequently causes us to bear fruit (John 15:9-10). As God answers our prayers, lavishes love upon us, and enables us to bear fruit in our lives, Jesus teaches that we become continually more joyful (John 15:11). This joy then spills out of us as sacrificial love for others, particularly the friends He has given us (John 15:12-13). In this fruitful life of prayer, joy, and love we are friends of Jesus who are showing forth His abiding in us, and our abiding in Him (John 15:14-15). But how have we come to this place of such kindness and opportunity? In one of the strongest statements regarding election in all of Scripture, Jesus says that we did not choose Him, but rather He has chosen us and sent us into this world to pray for the grace to bear much fruit that will endure as we live in love with Him and one another (John 15:16-17). This fruit of prayer in the form of obedience, love, joy and friendship with God is nothing more than the inevitable harvest of fruitful living that results from abiding in Jesus as He abides in us. What practical things help you to abide in relationship with Jesus so that the life of the Spirit can flow from Jesus to you like a vine and branch (e.g. prayer, worship, Bible reading, etc.)?

All wrongdoing is sin…1 John 5:17 Sin is so nefarious, complex, and far-reaching that it is difficult to succinctly define. Cornelius Plantinga says: The Bible presents sin by way of major concepts, principally lawlessness and faithlessness, expressed in an array of images:...

As the man Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity has lovingly and humbly identified with the frailty of our humanity by enduring temptation, distress, weakness, pain, and sorrow. He did so by coming as our priest. In the...

Jesus alone has lived the perfectly holy life and imaged God perfectly. Many New Testament Scriptures, and even Jesus himself, declare this: Christ, who is the image of God.1 He is the image of the invisible God.2 He is the...

I [Jesus] came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:17 Because sin is a humanity-wide problem, answers for the definition, source, and cause of sin are postulated from seemingly every conceivable ideology. By examining some sinful views of sin,...

…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.– Hebrews 9:22 One scholar says that blood is mentioned some 362 times in the Old Testament and some ninety-two times in the New Testament and even more often than...

“… as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” – Acts 8:12 Among the scandals of the cross is the fact that Christians have called it their gospel,...