Tag: growth

ABCs of Faith: Growing Faith

ABCs of Faith: Growing Faith

Encouragment
We know the basics of about growing, it’s all around us. A seed planted germinates, sprouts, grows deep and pushes up. One sign of life is growth. We see it all around us, even in ourselves. Sure, most of us have stopped physically growing. But we all continue to grow in other ways or something is wrong. When considering growing faith the question isn’t whether it grows or not, but how can we encourage along? Paul wrote, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NASB) Faith grows in community and family, but only if it is put to use. Just getting together and sharing a moment doesn’t exercise faith. If it did, then we w
Remember Losing Your First Tooth?

Remember Losing Your First Tooth?

Encouragment
Do you remember the drama of losing your first tooth?  Something that was a part of you became wiggly. Its looseness made it hard to eat some things.  Especially if it happened when the sweet corn was ready and mom made corn-on-the-cob. Parents and grandparents made a big deal about the loose tooth. They even offered big money if you would pull it out or let them do it. Fear and uncertainty was also there. After all, we’ve never had a piece of ourselves just want to fall off, at least nothing that we remember. That loose tooth said a lot; it was the first concrete inkling that life is full of changes. And so we put up with it wiggling around in our mouth, after all we’ve never lost a tooth before. This may be a pun too far, but Paul suggests that there are also some other things in
Who Is Holding Your Chisel?

Who Is Holding Your Chisel?

Encouragment
Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  Michelangelo’s best-known sculpture is the 14ft youthful David carved from marble. The interesting thing is that one sculptor started the project, made a little progress, but stopped for unknown reasons. Ten years later another sculptor was commissioned to complete the work but stopped soon after he started. The block of marble that held David lay exposed to the weather for another 25 years before a 26-year-old Michelangelo convinced the officials in charge to give him the commission. The completed statue was unveiled two years later. Michelangelo also observed, “The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows.” As the sculptor chisels away at
The Overlooked Sermon

The Overlooked Sermon

Encouragment
There is a sermon in the Gospel’s that is often overlooked because it’s not red letter. The sermon begins.  “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”” (Luke 3:7–9, NASB95)  Now the last time I checked the manual on excellent speech making insulting your audience right out the gate is a no-no. Calling someone a brood of vipers and minimizing their specialness is certainly no way to win friends and influence people. But y
An Alaskan Surprise

An Alaskan Surprise

Encouragment, Purpose
There are many things that come to mind when someone mentions Alaska.  Among them are snow, mountains, cold weather, dark nights, endless days, northern lights, moose, klondike gold rush, and sled dogs.  Perhaps other things like glaciers, whales, bald eagles, and salmon come to mind.  There were two things that I was not anticipating finding in Alaska, things that I associate with warmer climates. One was the rain forests that are found in southeast Alaska along the inside passage. Somehow I associate rain forests with South America and the vast areas surrounding the Amazon river.  But there in the cooler climates of Alaska is a large area of intense rainfall and tall trees.  Here’s the amazing thing, those tall trees have super shallow roots.  The soil above the bedrock only being a f
Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son

Encouragment, Purpose
Following Jesus is a lot like this picture. I usually use stock photos for Lambchow, which I purchase through a service.  However, the photo attached to this article was snapped by my daughter Rebekah.  My son in law Joel is mowing the yard. Behind him is Asher mimicking his dad with a toy mower.  In the background is Eli, Asher’s brother, trying to figure out what he's supposed to do with his toy mower.  Something to notice about the picture, Asher is perfectly in step with his dad.   Here's why following Jesus is a lot like the picture of Joel and his sons mowing the yard.  Some strive to imitate Christ, to follow Him stride for stride. Sure, right now Asher’s mower is a toy. But he is still doing all he can to be like his dad. Eventually, given a few more years of growth and prac
Our Part: Love

Our Part: Love

Our Part, Series
Nope, I didn’t skip one.  If you haven’t been following along we’ve been looking at Peter’s progression in his 2nd letter. “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5–8, NASB95)  The last article looked at godliness, this one focuses on love, the last two entries in Peter’s progression are brotherly love and agape love. The word translated by the N
Our Part: Knowledge

Our Part: Knowledge

Our Part, Series
My grandkids have a very common toy.  It is a set of cubes that are hollow and have an open side with each cube being a bit smaller than the previous.  The effect is that they can fit inside of one another or be reversed and stacked on one another.  Peter has given us a similar kind of progression although I think he had something else in mind.  Think back to the gospels for a moment and a particular fig tree that did not bear fruit, Matthew 21:18-22. I wonder if Peter had that fig tree in mind as he wrote: “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kind