Bethel Reveals What You Need to Know to Connect with God

There has always been only one way.

There has always been only one way to God—even in the Old Testament. But how? That way is by grace through faith in the object of God’s choosing. Bethel gives us a peek at that way.

Modern Beitin, ancient Bethel

(Photo: Modern Beitin, ancient Bethel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In his flight from his murderous brother Esau, Jacob spent the night at Bethel, where years earlier his grandfather Abraham had heard God promise that he would receive all the land as far as he could see. There, Jacob dreamed of a stairway to heaven, and the Lord repeated to him the promises Abraham received.

Shaken, Jacob awoke and said:

How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. —Gen. 28:17

Jacob named the site Bethel—“house of God.” The dream gave more than a vision of God’s house.

It offered a foreshadowing of how to get there.

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Living Life in the Balance with God

The Promised Land was a good land for a reason.

To hear Moses describe the Promised Land, it sounded as if it offered vast natural resources—a land where food was plentiful and lacked for nothing (Deut. 8:9). Well, true and not true.

Living Life in the Balance with God

(Photo: Grapes left on vine after harvest in Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The land had streams, pools, springs, wheat, barley, grapevines, figs, pomegranates, olives, and honey. Sounds pretty nice. Sign me up.

But this good land existed in a delicate balance of nature—and God tipped the scales. The Hebrews would learn that God alone made the good land “good” in direct proportion to the gratitude, praise, and obedience of His people.

The same is true of our lives.

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I’m excited to speak at True Life Church in Whitefish, Montana on the topic of: “Is Jesus Really the Only Way?”

Date: September 24, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Event: True Life Church Worship Service
Venue: True Life Church
406-862-4482
Location: 600 7th St West
Whitefish, MT 59937
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

I’m excited to teach a new course on “Blogging for Ministry” this winter at Dallas Theological Seminary.

This course will introduce the nuts and bolts of blogging as an effective ministry tool. The students will learn to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog, choose a niche audience, maintain a blogging schedule, apply creativity to repurposing content, write for search engine optimization (SEO), set up and grow an email list, learn tips and tools to maximize productivity, utilize Google Analytics, and implement an effective social media strategy. The course will also discuss the balance of promotion, monetization, and motives in the context of a blogging ministry.

Date: January 8, 2018—January 12, 2018
Time: 08:00 a.m.-05:00 p.m.
Event: Blogging for Ministry Course
Venue: Dallas Theological Seminary
800-387-9673
Location: 3909 Swiss Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

You will need to be a student at Dallas Theological Seminary to register for this class.

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre Shows Our Need for a Savior

How the site demonstrates the need for the place it hallows.

One of the biggest surprises to Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem occurs when they step inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection falls short of the expectations of many Christians accustomed to Western worship.

Gold drips from icons. Chanting fills the spaces. Incense rises between cold stone walls. Six sects of Christendom betray jealous rivalries over the goings-on within. Territorial fistfights even occur on occasion.

The Holy Sepulchre's dome covers Christ's tomb

(Photo: The Holy Sepulchre’s dome covers Christ’s tomb. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Without proper mental preparation, a Christian pilgrim may see only the distracting depravity of religion that has affixed itself to this site like barnacles on sunken treasure.

But if we look past today’s traditionalism to history’s tradition, we find an unbroken connection to the central event of all time—the redemption of the universe.

For in this place, Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again.

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You Have a Spiritual Freedom You May Not Realize

Juneteenth offers an essential reminder to our spiritual lives

Freedom from anything begins by knowing you are free. Juneteenth is short for June 19th—a state holiday in Texas. It commemorates the day in 1865 that good news arrived.

You Have a Spiritual Freedom You May Not Realize

(Photo by Photodune)

Juneteenth teaches us something important about freedom: it’s useless unless you know it’s true and you live like it.

As a Christian, you have a spiritual freedom you may not even realize.

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I’m excited to teach at Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish, Montana on the topic: “Lasting Lessons from the Land of the Bible.” I will center my teaching around key sites in the Holy Land; the amazing events that occurred at each site, and application for life today.

Date: September 23, 2017
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Event: Lasting Lessons from the Land of the Bible
Topic: "Lasting Lessons from the Land of the Bible"
Sponsor: Christ Lutheran Church
406-862-2615
Venue: Christ Lutheran Church Whitefish
406-862-2615
Location: 5150 River Lakes Parkway
Whitefish, MT 59937
United States
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

The geography of the Ark of the Covenant mirrors Jesus' Ascension—and ours.

Do you know what one, primary, personal hope drove Jesus’ life? What He looked forward to the most? It’s important we do know, because the same hope should drive our lives.

How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

As I have read the gospels, one reality has jumped out at me stronger than ever. Jesus’ goal was not merely the cross. Even as great as the resurrection was, Jesus still had another hope beyond that.

It’s good news you can apply by the end of this blog post—and then for the rest of your life.

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Why Your Spiritual Consistency is Worth the Cost

The benefits far outweigh what you pay each day to walk faithfully.

Mondays are not the best days for car trouble. One morning I hopped in my car and inserted the key in the ignition. When I cranked it—I kid you not—the car made the sound: “Ugh.”

So I pulled out the jumper cables. But two days later, the car sang the second verse of the same song: “Ugghhh.”

Why Your Spiritual Consistency is Worth the Cost

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Later that day, my auto mechanic gave a simple diagnosis: I needed a new battery.

Now, I could have said: “Hey, you know, a car starting every other day isn’t so bad. It sure beats walking. I guess I don’t need a battery.” Guess again. I bought a battery—a big one. If my vehicle runs inconsistently, it’s of little value to me. At the same time, keeping the car running reliably comes down to one thing. 

It costs me.

The same is true of our spiritual lives.

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