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The Battle of Worldviews

January 16, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This weekend is significant for the cultural, political, and moral battles in America. January 19 is the National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, corresponding to the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Ronald Reagan initiated this annual tradition in 1984 stating that in Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court “struck down our laws protecting the lives of unborn children.” Monday, January 20, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday commemorating the life and contributions of the great civil rights leader. Incidentally, Reagan signed this national holiday into law in 1983. Both of these observed days deal with the sanctity of human life. One of the unborn; the other of all ethnicities. Both issues, however, tend to be highly volatile and contentious in the cultural and political scenes. How should Christians navigate these debates? ... Keep Reading

The Unending Riches of Scripture

January 9, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

One of the things I love about Scripture is that it never grows old. You can read through the Bible again and again and still be astonished by new insights. These new insights come in two ways. First, there are new insights by way of new application of old truth. The Good News of Jesus never changes. The unity of Scripture never changes. Our lives change. Our circumstances and experiences change. So, we can come to old, familiar, well-loved passages and still receive “new insight.” These truths impact us afresh because of the current situation we may be enduring. Second, there are new insights by way of greater clarity or understanding of truth. While the Gospel is simple, it is complex in its tying together all the wonders and goodness of our infinite God. We will never plumb the depths of truth in this lifetime, nor in eternity (cf. Eph. 2:7). It is that good. ... Keep Reading

Theological Resources for Children

January 2, 2020 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

Theological Resources for Children (and parents too!) We live in a day and age in which there are countless resources for nurturing the faith of our children. One of my passions has been in keeping up (as best I can!) with what is available and sorting through the good and the bad to find the best items out there. One of the things I love about Children’s books is their ability to help simplify and explain some of the more convoluted areas of truth in scripture and to that end I’ve found that several of these books have been just as beneficial for my own faith as it has been for the faith of my children. In this Touchpoint I’d like to recommend a sampling of some of my favorite books that we’ve picked up over the last few years with one or two sentences to summarize the books. I’ve included links to each book as well. I’d encourage you to check them out and if you have any you’d like to share with me ... Keep Reading

Let the Author Lead

December 26, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Occasionally, while reading our Bibles, we come across the author’s purpose statement, why he wrote what he wrote. Luke opens his gospel with one (1:4); the writer of Hebrews makes his explicit in the middle (8:1); and Paul often makes known why he wrote the letters he did (i.e. Rom. 15:24). One of the best known purpose statements comes at the end of John’s gospel: “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). When reading such a deep and involved book like the Bible, these purpose statements are highly useful. They are like directional signs on the highway of Bible reading. Let highlight three things to direct our attention to. ... Keep Reading

Getting to Know Handel's Messiah

December 19, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Every Advent, I make it a point to listen to the entirety of Handel’s Messiah at least two or three times. I was a student at Moody Bible Institute the first time I sat through the performance of this oratorio. I was astounded by it then and my appreciation has only grown since. Consider some facts which surround the composition of Messiah. George Frederick Handel was extremely impoverished and nearly bankrupt when he wrote the score in 1741. The German born composer (1685) can to London when he was 27 (1712) and initially grew in fame and wealth writing Italian operas. These fell out of style by the late 1730s and Handel struggled. Charles Jennens was a good friend of Handel’s and a benefactor for his music. Jennens was born into a wealthy, land-owning family. It is Jennens who arranged the libretto for the Messiah (the text, using primarily Scripture). He passed this along to Handel, requesting the musical score.... Keep Reading

Praying at All Times

December 12, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part eleven. There are six pieces of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. We have unpacked the significance of each piece, while seeking to understand how we can be “battle ready” for the spiritual warfare we face. As a reminder, “The choice is not whether you will be a Christian soldier or a Christian civilian but whether you will be a prepared Christian soldier or an unprepared one” (Iain Duguid, The Whole Armor of God, page 12). There is one last item to which we need to give attention if we are truly to be battle ready. Paul concludes his section on the whole armor of God by stating in verse 18, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Let’s unpack this verse grammatically and theologically. ... Keep Reading

The Sword of the Spirit

December 5, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part ten. The helmet of salvation is the last piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6. The pieces of armor are primarily defensive in nature, protecting one’s soul and mind and heart from the threats of the devil. In a nutshell, God’s powerful, redemptive work through Jesus Christ envelopes us to protect against Satan’s lies, temptations, and attacks. Paul is not done, though. He also calls the church of Christ to take up an offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit. Christians are not merely caught in a defensive posture, but we are empowered to fight back against “the spiritual forces of evil.” Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:19 that we would know the “immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” Power for what? Power to be strengthened through his Spirit in our inner being (Eph. 3:16). Power “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Power to put off the old self and put on the new self (Eph. 4:22-24). Power to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1).... Keep Reading

The Helmet of Salvation

November 28, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part nine. The fifth piece of the whole armor of God is “the helmet of salvation.” This is the other piece of armor the Divine Warrior in Isaiah 59 wears as he fights for the redemption of his people. Verse 17 says, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head.” Righteousness and salvation go hand-in-hand throughout Scripture. God’s righteous requirement of the law is satisfied by the complete righteousness of Christ so that salvation can freely be given to the unrighteous. How does salvation protect us as a helmet in the battle against spiritual forces of evil? Iain Duguid proposes that the fuller description of this helmet given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 helps us answer this question. There Paul writes, “Let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” It is not merely “salvation” that serves as a helmet but also the by-product of salvation: hope. ... Keep Reading

The Shield of Faith

November 21, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part eight. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul writes about the fourth piece of the Armor of God. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” This is the only piece of armor for which Paul gives an explicit use. The shield of faith is used to “extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Let’s seek to understand what this “shield of faith” is and how it helps in our battle against Satan. Once again, we can look to the Old Testament for the background behind Paul’s use of “shield” as a piece of the armor. In Psalm 91:1-4, the psalmist celebrates the protection of God. He writes, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler… under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” The Psalm continues with further explanations and metaphors of God’s gracious protection of his people. We highlight, though, the specific mention of “shield.” God’s faithfulness to his people is a “shield.” ... Keep Reading

Gospel Shoes

November 14, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part seven. The third piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6 is shoes. Perhaps we do not naturally think of the importance of shoes when doing battle. Just imagine, though, having to march and defensively maneuver with bare feet. We would never get far in the battle. The same is true for our spiritual battle with Satan. Paul looks again to the Old Testament for this piece of armor. In Isaiah 52:7 we read, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” This herald with beautiful feet gives us the backdrop to Paul’s instruction: “And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). ... Keep Reading

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