an outlet of encouragement, explanation, and exhortation

Author: Joe Ginder (Page 1 of 21)

Needing Christ

One thing I knew by this time: I needed Christ and not merely His religion… The Bible says that God does not wait for me to merit His love but heaps it upon me without my deserving it. It says also that there is neither male nor female in Christ… How good, how indescribably good! What good news for me a woman, a woman born in India among Brahmans who hold out no hope for me and the like of me! The Bible declares that Christ did not reserve this great salvation for a particular caste or sex.

Pandita Ramabai, An Honourable Heritage: The Pandita Ramabai Story in her Own Words (eBook: Community Christian Ministries, 2019), pp. 27, 28, 30-31.

Notes on Free Speech, Civil Disobedience, and Following Jesus

This post is written in support of the Long Beach Friends Church message of May 5, 2024 to provide links to associated material for further study. Listen to that message here.

David French wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that clarifies many of the concepts and legal issues related to free speech and civil disobedience.

This is the commitment card for the Birmingham Campaign that Martin Luther King, Jr. let. There is a brief comment on the commitment card here.

The Bible Project podcast on the Sermon on the Mount, episode 15, explaining “Turn the Other Cheek” discusses Martin Luther King’s approach to civil disobedience. Below is Martin Luther King Jr. as quoted in this podcast episode:

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It’s a sword that heals. The ultimate weakness of violent retaliation is that it’s a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar but you cannot murder the LIE nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate so it goes returning evil for evil ,multiplies evil, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. I love that darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon “When Peace Becomes Obnoxious.”

Fulfilling, or “Filling Full” the Law and the Prophets

I thought this highlight from this week’s Bible Project playlist on the Sermon on the Mount was really helpful and captured an important concept – so helpful and important that I wanted to remember it and pass it on. So, here it is.

When read on its own, apart from the whole biblical story, biblical law often is misinterpreted, leading to religious-looking behaviors that allow ongoing contempt and hatred in our hearts. But Jesus and the apostles say that these commandments, taken together with the rest of the Hebrew Bible, are instructions that restore human beings’ love for one another. In this way, love _fills full_ the Law and the Prophets.

Bible Project

Five Reliable Online and Electronic Resources for Jesus Followers (2024)

Many Christians are making use of online resources to stay informed and grow their faith. There are many excellent resources online. I will offer five that I find I use the most often, aside from simple Bible software that I use to access Bible text and reference resources. (If you are curious, I use Logos and Bible Gateway – mostly I use Logos but Bible Gateway starts up faster for quick reference. Both of these have apps in addition to websites.) So, here are my five resources.

Bible Project – Everything they do is of the best quality, and free! Bible Project issues a weekly 20-30 minute playlist on a particular topic. In 2024, it is the Sermon on the Mount. It is available by email subscription or in their app. The app offers access to all of their material. Bible Project has a podcast with weekly episodes and many YouTube videos. If you know me you know that I recommend Bible Project highly – no reservations. I have listened to their podcast since its beginnings, and it is one of my most valued resources. Their videos are very useful in classes and even in Sunday messages.

Holy Post and Holy Post Plus – Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, and Skye Jethani began Holy Post in 2012. It is in a sort of talk-show format to discuss current topics and conduct interesting interviews. The weekly show regularly includes Kaitlyn Schiess. Phil has moments of profundity in the midst of his general playfulness and humor. Skye is generally serious and has long experience as a Christian leader from which to comment. Kaitlyn is a good-spirited, quick, a serious scholar, and a well-informed commenter. And soon Esau McCauley will be part of the mix – one of my favorite Christian writers. The Holy Post has various videos, podcasts and educational material, some of it free and some available only to supporters.

Regent College Audio – There are several educational institutions with “Regent” in their name. I am recommending audio and other educational material from the one in Vancouver, B.C. This material is generally quite scholarly – not lightweight. The classroom audio they offer is top-notch. Some of it is free, particularly their chapel talks, which are more like short sermons by educators. They offer a podcast which is generally interviews of professors speaking on the topic of classes they are teaching.

Biologos – For the science-oriented Christian. Francis Collins founded Biologos and sets the tone for their material

Lectio 365 – This app offers a brief scripture-focused daily devotional, one in the morning to start the day and one for the evening. Many people have found this a great help in their devotional life. I use it most days.

There’s this Thing about the Kingdom of Heaven

The kingdom of heaven does not and cannot come by being imposed upon others by human government. It cannot be legislated. The kingdom of heaven arises and grows when hearts and minds and spirits of humans are changed as they choose to trust and follow Jesus. The role of Jesus people is to follow Jesus so others see how good that is. Salt of the land. Light of the world. A city on a hill.

A Prayer for Meeting God, by Rich Villodas

On Monday, Rich Villodas posted a prayer he wrote on Twitter/X. I found it encouraging and helpful. This is the text of the prayer:

Lord, I’m here. I’ve come to meet with you.
I’d rather be somewhere else. I’d rather be doing something different.
But here I am.
Only you can awaken my heart to desire you. I can’t make it happen. But you can.
So here I am.
I sit here with a divided mind. But I long for singularity of heart.
So here I am.

–Rich Villodas, February 12, 2024

I hope you find it as helpful as I did. So I’m passing it on.

About that “rapture” stuff… It’s not in the Bible.

Skye Jethani gives a very quick and fairly thorough debunking of a contemporary, mostly American misunderstanding of end times. What so many American Christians believe about a “rapture” isn’t in the Bible and wasn’t taught by Christians before recent times in North America. Of course, he takes much flak for his video in which he gives accurate Christian teaching on this topic, even though he is simply explaining what Christian scholars have long known to be the meaning of the various passages in scripture which some believe support the idea of the rapture. Check it out here.

Skye Jethani got so many comments (many apparently from people who didn’t actually watch the video!) that he did a follow-up podcast with a couple of Christian teachers, Mike Bird and Mike Erre in which they give even more background and demonstrate how a rapture is inconsistent with scripture.

If that’s not enough for you, here’s a brief article by New Testament scholar N.T. Wright called Farewell to the Rapture.

He has spoken to us by his son…

Recently, the Lectio 365 app included a paraphrase of Hebrews 1.1-3 in one of the daily morning devotions. For some reason, it struck me quite differently when personalized as they gave it. I thought I would share it and remember it. Below is the Lectio 365 personalized version of Hebrews 1.1-3 adapted from the New Living Translation.

Long ago I spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, I have spoken to you through my Son. I promised everything to the Son as an inheritance… The Son radiates my own glory and expresses my very character, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.

Hebrews 1.1-3 [NLT], adapted and personalized by Lectio 365
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