Beware These Seven Gospel-Distortions

A dear friend of mine worked in a bank overseas for about a year, handling large amounts of money. During training, she had to study various bills and learn their details, so she could easily discern counterfeits if they came along.

She studied the real thing so she could identify distortions.

The same goes for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As leaders in the church, we want to be women equipping women to know the gospel so we can identify false “gospels” and grasp how the truth applies to our lives.

But where do we start?

Build the Foundation

We begin with the gospel to build a firm foundation for all our events, gatherings, Bible studies, and small groups:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:1-2, 8-9)

Three questions are answered in this passage that we can use as a framework to help our women build a firm gospel-foundation:

Saved from what? The wrath of God. There is no gospel apart from the wrath of God and his righteous judgment against sinners (v. 9). This is an uncomfortable reality, but one we must teach our women because ignoring or belittling sin does not mean sin goes away. God is the standard—and we have sinned against him.

Saved by whom? Jesus Christ. Christians are saved from the wrath of God by the righteous blood of Jesus, the spotless sacrificial Lamb who absorbed the wrath on our behalf (v. 8). Only Jesus has the power to save desperate, dead sinners from God’s wrath by giving them eternal life in his Name, accomplishing what we never could.

Saved how? By grace through faith. True faith says, “I bring nothing to the table. I come empty-handed, but Christ gladly gives himself to me.” We teach our women that faith is trusting Jesus to rescue us from sin because we know we can’t rescue ourselves. And faith is trusting Jesus to do this apart from anything we have done.

Beware the Distortions

When the women in our churches forget the gospel, they’re more likely to be carried along and tossed about by the world’s ever-changing ideas. So, just as it’s important for us as leaders to build a firm foundation for the flock under our care, we must also beware the distortions at work in our world and churches.

Here are seven we should be aware of as we seek to lead women well:

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When a Christian Leader Fails You

Leaders in the church aren’t exempt from sin. No one is. We don’t expect perfect people to lead our congregations, create our resources, and speak into our culture. But we do expect them to uphold the Bible’s authority. We do want them to remain faithful to Christ.

So what are we to do when a respected Christian leader fails the church, in any context? How are we to respond?

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10 Prayers to Pray This President’s Day

It’s President’s Day. Workers rest from their labors and schools temporarily close. This is a day of honor, a national holiday to remember the forty-five men who’ve served our country in the prestigious role of President of the United States.

Regardless of what the title POTUS evokes for you, President’s Day is a unique opportunity to reflect on history-past and anticipate our country’s future. But we don’t do this through worrying and fretting, nor do we become puffed up by national pride or confidence in man—

We do this through prayer. We do this on our knees.

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#AnyGivenSunday: A Video Encouragement for the Election Season

I love serving at Unlocking the Bible. This video is just one of the many reasons why. It’s a compilation of 50 sermon clips from 50 pastors in all 50 states, from one particular day: Sunday, September 18, 2016.

If you’re discouraged heading into this historical election week, watch the five-minute film and praise God for the Word-filled work he’s doing around our country.

Then, if you feel so inclined, share it with others using the hashtag #AnyGivenSunday!

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting on Social Media

I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Love, because it keeps me connected with friends and family, and is a useful tool for communicating information, events, and resources. Hate, because I see the controversy it spikes and the pride it stokes. I love to hate social media; most weeks I threaten to rid of it altogether. And I hate to love social media because of how it fuels the selfish ambition and vanity within my heart.

But everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving—unless, of course, it is inherently evil (1 Tim. 4:4-5). So, if God has given humans the vision to create a tool like social media, God’s Word says that it is good and is not to be rejected—if we can thank God for it.

We can only thank God for what is good, helpful, and honoring to him and others. So, our overarching question is, Can I thank God for social media by embracing it as a good, helpful, and honoring tool?

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Why We Love Sports (and What This Says about God and Us)

Chicagoland has gone wild over the recent success of the Cubs, as have other cities around the nation who support their beloved sports teams. The energy in the baseball stands is palpable these days, fans packing the stadiums to support the players that represent both their city and their pride. Strangers instantly become friends as hugs are exchanged upon runs, and family and friends gather, putting aside other plans, to hope for a victory.

We love sports. And there’s a reason for this that runs far deeper than the momentary happiness we feel when our team of choice wins. Our love for the game of baseball, and for sports in general, reflects spiritual realities about the God who created us, who he created us to be, and what he intends us to pursue and enjoy.

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