Coffee Break (September 7)

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The Task of Apologetics

This article from R.C. fanned that flame in belly! We often think apologetics is a tool to defend our faith to the “outsiders,” in order to win them over, but it is so much more than that. The task of apologetics is also to strengthen the church, to give believers confidence, hope, strength, and assurance of their faith! I am so very passionate about this topic. It is why I do what I do! “The second major aim of apologetics is to tear down the intellectual idols of our culture. Here, apologetics operates on the offensive, pointing out the inconsistencies and errors of other faiths and worldviews. The third, and what I believe is the most valuable, aim of apologetics is to encourage the saints, to shore up the church—just as the first concern that Moses had was to be able to demonstrate that God had called him to go to the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. Moses was an apologist to his own people.”

We’ve Got Gratitude All Wrong

In this article, How the Debtor’s Ethic Robs Gratitude of Joy, Matthew Gilbert with For The Church shares some deep insights into having a debtor’s ethic with regard to our salvation. “As a pastor in Mississippi, I’ve learned that gratitude is shown through reciprocation. If a neighbor leaves a bag of fresh tomatoes from his garden, it’s not enough to simply walk next door and thank him for his kind gift. Saying thank you is only half of the equation. Gratitude isn’t complete until the deed is reciprocated. So, if your neighbor drops off a bag of tomatoes, you’re not grateful until you’ve returned the favor.”

God Will Give You Understanding

In this video, Pastor John Piper explains the importance of applying our minds and working hard to  understand the Bible “You can’t read your Bible alone.

No, this isn’t a criticism of private devotional times. Rather, we are not able to read our Bibles without help from the very one we are trying to see and hear from in our Bible reading. God himself gives us understanding when we read our Bibles, and without his help, we can do nothing.

But when we say this, it must not be taken to mean that we open our Bibles, sit back, close our eyes, and wait for God talk to us. As with everything in the Christian life, we must ‘work hard’ at understanding the Bible, though it is ‘not [us], but the grace of God’ (1 Corinthians 15:10). It is precisely in the very natural, hard work of reading and laboring to understand meaning where God illumines our minds to understand with spiritual eyes — not merely natural understanding (1 Corinthians 2:14–15) — the word of God.”

New Series from Tim Challies

I’m excited about this! “Today I am beginning a new series of articles that will examine ‘The 10 Duties of Every Christian,’ but I begin it with some hesitation. I am aware of the ways duty can be misused and misapplied. I know this from reading the Bible, I know this from interacting with others, and I know this from my own life and experience. The danger in a list of 10 duties is that in the hands of sinful people it risks becoming little more than a trite checklist that fosters deception and insincerity. It can be used by hypocrites to further their self-deception and by deceivers to advance their deception of others.

I want to expose hypocrites, not foster them. I want to unmask deceivers, not cultivate them. And I want to expose and unmask any hypocrisy and deception that dwells within me. For this reason, I am going to proceed in a cautious, deliberate manner. While each of these 10 items will include biblical instruction and describe dutiful Christian living, they will also carefully distinguish between true obedience on the one hand and hypocrisy or deception on the other. In that way, this list of Christian duties will both teach and warn, it will both train and test. It is meant to be far more than a checklist of behaviors, but rather a series of touchstones, measures of the authenticity and quality of our faith. These are not 10 duties to hastily strike off a list but 10 duties to conscientiously perform in all of life.”

For the Car Ride

Women’s Hope Podcast Ep. 55: When Seeking Counsel Becomes Gossip “There’s wisdom and humility in seeking godly counsel from those who are wiser than us. But what is appropriate to share and what isn’t? When seeking counsel in confidence, when do we cross the line into gossip? And how do we counsel those who are just venting or ranting? Today’s episode answers questions we have all wrestled through in our relationships with others.” (30 minutes)

About the Author
Jessica Pickowicz

Jessica Pickowicz

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Jessica is the founder and lead writer of Beautiful Thing. She is wife to pastor/ church-planter Nate Pickowicz, and mama of two.