9 Ways Suicide Affects Others
Memoir is, by nature, truth-telling. In his new moving memoir Even in Our Darkness, Jack Deer tells the truth about one of the most painful themes repeated throughout his life: suicide.
On January 21, 1961, Dad woke to an empty house, poured whiskey in his coffee, swallowed some barbiturates, and scribbled an angry note.
Sometime before noon, he walked over to the record player in front of the two windows in our living room. He put on Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date,” setting the turntable to repeat. Then he sat down on the red sofa with gold embroidery and picked up his childhood rifle. He shoved one .22-caliber shell into the chamber, pressed the muzzle between his eyes, and left a thirty-four-year-old widow with a tenth-grade education…
12 Ways Evangelism Is Changing
You’ve heard it said the twenty-first century is markedly different from the twentieth. It’s not only because we have terrorism scares, self-driving cars, and Facebook. Church attendance is decreasing, religious Nones are increasing, and the way people view and interact with truth has changed.
Yet many Christians and churches are evangelizing as if we are still living in the twentieth century—and failing to make the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable.
Although the essence of evangelism is the gospel—the message that Jesus Christ is Lord—the task of evangelism is our human effort of proclaiming this message. This task used to primarily mean quoting Scripture, or explaining the believability of the Christian faith through clever arguments.
10 Reasons Why People Reject the Gospel
If the gospel is the “good news about Jesus,” then why do so many people reject it? If Christians bear this “good news,” how can they better share it using methods that are effective in today’s post-Christian world?
Evangelism in a Skeptical World offers actionable advice for making the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable. It also explains why people often reject this news in the first place, equipping Christians to make it more enticing to non-Christians they know.
Here are at least ten reasons why people often reject the gospel, and what you can do about it.
1) The gospel doesn’t fit their plausibility structure
Plausibility structures “are accepted beliefs, convictions, and understandings that either green-light truth claims…
What Is Evangelism?
For example, is the stay-at-home mom who helps run the play group at her church doing evangelism if she incorporates Bible stories into the craft activities? Can a play group become an evangelistic play group?
Or does evangelism only occur in more “conventional” tactics: witnessing on the street, leading large crusades? Are those the only ways the gospel of Jesus Christ can be communicated, the only way people can evangelize?
In other words: What counts as evangelism? What is evangelism?
This word evangelism carries a lot of baggage, tradition, and emotion. Furthermore, most people have been poorly equipped with evangelism methods that are no…
The Truth About God’s Love
Telling the truth is the essence of memoir. Jack Deere tells the truth about his own life in order to share with us the truth about life in his new book Even in Our Darkness.
In it, he offers an unvarnished look at the Christian life—with all of its disappointments and disasters, addiction and sin—to tell us something essential about the greatest truth: God’s love.
Below are some vignettes of his life showcasing the truth about God’s love, beginning with his early understanding of God’s posture toward humanity and ending with the ultimate truth about this love.
Jack’s dad was the first person to tell him about God, which left a lasting impression:
Dad told me we were born with immortal souls. After we died,…
SIL International and Zondervan Academic Working Together to Aid Global Bible Translation Efforts
Zondervan Academic providing dozens of academic resources, including online courses, to support efficient and accurate Bible translation work around the world.
Grand Rapids, Mich., March 8, 2018 — Zondervan Academic is pleased to announce their support of SIL International®, a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide. Zondervan Academic is providing to SIL some of the world’s top biblical resources to support efficient and accurate Bible translation work around the world.
SIL has developed Translator’s Workplace, a product built on the Logos Bible Software platform, so that those in a Bible translation role who are part of a private, managed group can access resources to aid their translation efforts. Translator’s Workplace acts like a library with unlimited loaning and loan periods. Zondervan Academic, which already distributes many of its titles digitally through Logos, has granted permission to Logos…
The Truth About Shame and Grace
Memoir is truth-telling. About one’s own life, yes, but also life. As Elie Wiesel said, “with memoir you must be honest, you must be truthful.”
In Even in Our Darkness, Jack Deere has written a moving memoir that tells the truth. Through his unvarnished story of the Christian life, Jack guides readers in overcoming life’s disappointments and learning to hear God speak in unimaginable ways.
One pathway Jack offers guidance is through the shoals of shame, and the importance of grace in finding victory. Through unvarnished honesty, he explores how each of us have a role to play in other’s experience of both shame and grace.
In one childhood anecdote, Jack recalls cussing out his mother. The next day, his dad told him to go to the dreaded “Back Bedroom” for…
The Truth About Suffering
“I will say, with memoir,” Elie Wiesel is quoted as saying, “you must be honest, you must be truthful.”
Jack Deere tells the truth in his new book Even in Our Darkness. Not merely about his own life, but about life.
Deere’s story is one of beauty in a broken life brimming with the kind of authenticity and realism, failure and fortitude, darkness and light we need to help us and others make sense of life in all of its trueness.
Under Deere’s guidance, truth—his truth, life’s truth—is “profoundly unmasked, unsettling, and unforgettable.” Beginning with the truth about suffering.
There were three insights I gleaned from his raw, harrowing account of life.
Suffering is Mysterious
Deere’s opening paragraph illustrates the truth of suffering’s mystery with painful precision:
On the morning of…
What Can Churches Do to Help with Mental Health Conditions?
ADHD and autism, depression and anxiety, mood disorders and other common mental health conditions are all part of people’s lives this side of the fall.
Yet the very place that should offer healing and hope is often the least equipped to help. Further, it is the place least likely to be actively attended by people suffering with such conditions.
That place is the church.
Stephen Grcevich explains this in his new book, Mental Health and the Church:
The families I meet through my work as a child and adolescent psychiatrist are far less likely than other families in our community to be actively involved in a local church. This reality is a tragic departure from Jesus’ plan for his church. (16)
Thankfully, he wrote…
How Much Exegetical Material Should You Share in Your Sermon?
But how much of that “science” and exegetical material should you share in your sermon in order to preach God’s Word effectively?
In other words: how much of the “then” should you share to help them get the “now” meaning and see the connection?
In their second edition of Preaching God’s Word, Terry G. Carter, J. Scott Duvall, J. Daniel Hays offer this insight:
If your audience does not make the connection between the exegetical meaning in the text and the applicational meaning you are proclaiming to them, your message loses its tie to biblical authority.
How to Make the Benefits of Family Life Accessible to LGBT People
“In the day-to-day details of navigating Christian obedience with a gay orientation,” observes Nate Collins in his new book All But Invisible, “we do not have turn-by-turn directions to tell us where to go, but only landmarks that confirm we’re on the right track” (83). [See more of Nate Collins’ traditional view on sex and marriage at the start of this post.]
One of those landmarks Collins would like to recapture is the notion of vocation to guide discussions about what it means to be gay and Christian. Collins explains, “when the Bible refers to a particular behavior or pattern of living as a ‘gift,’ it is highlighting the calling or vocation that the gift represents to those who have it” (85)—including marital status. As with all gifts,…
Biblical Counseling vs. Christian Counseling: What’s the Difference?
This post is adapted from Heath Lambert’s Theology of Biblical Counseling online course.
There are some Christians who disagree that the Bible should be used to help us solve our counseling-related problems.
Christians who rely—to one degree or another—on the counseling insights of secular people have been called integrationists, Christian counselors, and Christian psychologists—among other things.
I want to show how the decision to be a Christian counselor is a theological decision. In order to do that, I will describe areas where biblical counselors agree with our brothers and sisters in Christian counseling, as well as some areas where we disagree.
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