Posts with the category “christian-living”

Where Thieves Break In and Steal
by Patrick Swayne on July 13th, 2024
I've known for a long time that Jesus warned about the earth being a place of thieves, but it didn't hit home until a thief came to my home and broke into my car in my driveway.   Read More
How Can a God Who Doesn't Change Answer Prayers?
by Patrick Swayne on July 5th, 2024
God said, "I do not change" (Malachi 3:6). Does that mean that our prayers don't really matter? Let's consider our unchanging God and the various aspects of His will at work when we pray.   Read More
Where Is the Altar for a Living Sacrifice?
by Patrick Swayne on May 24th, 2024
As Joshua 22 reveals, the altar used in making sacrifices to God was so important to the faithful that they were willing to go to war over it. Does God have an altar for Christians and their living sacrifices today?   Read More
Celibacy and Scripture
by Patrick Swayne on May 4th, 2024
A decline in marriage rates globally has seen an upswing in the popularity of religious celibacy. It's nothing new; some religions have been forbidding marriage for some or all of their adherents for years. What does the Bible say about celibacy?   Read More
A Little Leaven
by Patrick Swayne on April 14th, 2024
Leaven: it illustrates both the influential power of the kingdom of Jesus and the powerful influence of those working against that kingdom. What does "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" mean for Christians today?  Read More
Why the Little "c" Matters
by Patrick Swayne on April 6th, 2024
It's not uncommon to hear someone who was raised in a Christian home publicly denounce his/her faith, having bought into the philosophy of deconstructionism. Like Peter though, these individuals' speech betrays something about them: they speak of the "Church of Christ," when so many Christians would rather talk about the "church of Christ." What's the difference - why does that little "c" matter?   Read More
Don't Just Do Something - Sit There
by Patrick Swayne on March 28th, 2024
We live in a world that praises people of action. Sometimes though, God calls us to inaction so that we can be deliberate in our action.  Read More
Christians and Credit
by Patrick Swayne on March 16th, 2024
Recent statistics state that the average American holds roughly $104,215 in debt. Where there is debt, there must have been credit. What does the Bible say about buying using credit and holding debt?  Read More
Worshipping God in Truth
by Patrick Swayne on March 1st, 2024
Those who worship God "must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). What role does truth play in our worship? How can we worship in truth today?  Read More
Our Mission Begins in the Mirror: Soul-Winning in 2 Peter 3
by Patrick Swayne on January 20th, 2024
Evangelism is the responsibility and privilege of every Christian. Though this is true, evangelism will fail if souls won fall away from the faith... including ours. As outward trials and inward troubles fell upon the church, what final charges did Peter give them, and what can we learn?   Read More
Praying with a Broader Perspective
by Patrick Swayne on January 6th, 2024
Paul said, "None of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself" (Romans 14:7). Sometimes we pray like we do though. How could our prayer life be improved by thinking of a bigger picture than the one right in front of us?   Read More
Daring to Be Different During the Holidays
by Patrick Swayne on December 23rd, 2023
Jesus calls his followers to be as different to those in the world as light is to darkness or as salt is to a palate. Congregationally, how can we be different during holiday seasons in a way that makes a difference?  Read More
Are You Trying to Put God in a Box?
by Patrick Swayne on December 16th, 2023
When the Israelites took the ark of the covenant with them into a battle against the Philistines, they demonstrated that they thought God dwelled in a box. Are we guilty of trying to put God in boxes today?   Read More
Learning Gratitude on the Ice
by Patrick Swayne on December 8th, 2023
A great ice fishing trip wasn't so great for my 8-year-old son, who had to watch on while everyone caught something but him. Teaching him to be happy for others meant reminding both him and myself of the One who watches over all fishing trips, including one on the sea of Galilee almost 2000 years ago.   Read More
Transforming Our View of Trying Times
by Patrick Swayne on December 2nd, 2023
Job somehow knew that he would come through the fires that tested him "as gold" (Job 23:10). As great as Job was, he knew less about God and His eternal plan than even a babe in Christ knows. Does what you know change what you see when you are tested?   Read More
How To Give Thanks in Everything
by Patrick Swayne on November 25th, 2023
While we may find that time grants us perspective regarding certain challenges, there are certain things in life for which we may never be grateful. God’s will is not for us to give thanks for everything that happens, but to maintain a grateful disposition in and sometimes in spite of what happens. How can we?  Read More
Not Surviving but Thriving as Christians
by Patrick Swayne on November 17th, 2023
1 Peter can at first appear to be a handbook for survival in the face of trials. Closer examination though reveals frequent allusions to the church being not just an institution of transformed people but an institution that exists to transform people.  Read More
Jesus and Grief - What Can the Man of Sorrows Teach Us About Helping the Sorrowful?
by Patrick Swayne on November 4th, 2023
"Man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3): I agree with Isaac Watts who added, "what a name / for the Son of God, who came." But it wasn't just a name; Jesus became a Man of Sorrows by being "acquainted with grief." What can we learn from the One who came not merely to grieve alongside of but to relieve and save the brokenhearted?   Read More
Finding Common Ground and Moving to Higher Ground
by Patrick Swayne on October 7th, 2023
We are to be in the world but not of the world, right? Well, how can we not be "of the world" and still reach those who are? Let's consider the aim of finding common ground while pursuing higher ground.   Read More
Does God Directly Communicate with People Today?
by Patrick Swayne on August 12th, 2023
Some claim that God directly communicates today apart from the Bible through feelings, circumstances, or perhaps even through dreams or an audible voice. What does the Bible teach on this subject?   Read More
Submission Is a Two-Way Street
by Patrick Swayne on August 4th, 2023
Ephesians 5:21 calls Christians to submit "to one another," and then, starting in v. 22, calls wives to submit to their husbands. But if a wife is "one" who submits, who is "another" who does so? Let's dig deep deeper into this text and see the Lord's will for our marriages.   Read More
Why Should I Contend for the Faith?
by Patrick Swayne on July 14th, 2023
"Contend for the faith" is a command... except it isn't in the text of Jude 3. Instead, it's an infinitive, a verb form that describes an activity that Jude wrote to encourage. His brief epistle not only reveals how to contend for the faith but why one not only should but must do so.   Read More
The Good Old Days...?
by Patrick Swayne on July 7th, 2023
Nostalgia is an incredibly powerful human emotion. At its best, it tethers a current generation to a past time so that the good of the past isn't rejected. At its worst though, it creates an unhealthy preoccupation with a time that's gone. Let's reflect on what the Bible says about seeing the past as "the good old days."   Read More
Does the Bible Prescribe Alcohol for Mental Health? (An Examination of Proverbs 31:6)
by Patrick Swayne on June 22nd, 2023
Proverbs 31:6 is frequently used as a proof text for those trying to demonstrate a positive view of alcohol from Scripture. is that really how God intended for it to be used? Let's put the verse back in its context and reflect upon its meaning.   Read More
Men (Not) at Work: Protecting Our Sons from a Dangerous Trend
by Patrick Swayne on June 9th, 2023
Edwin Louis Cole rightly said, “Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice.” Sadly, many men today simply aren't making that choice by neglecting the God given role of work in their lives. How can we help our sons choose to be men one day?   Read More
What Calvin Taught Me About Kindness
by Patrick Swayne on May 12th, 2023
Having a vehicle breakdown in the middle of nowhere can be a truly stressful situation. On one occasion, I found myself in that situation, and I was taught a lesson - not in patience as I expected but in kindness.   Read More
Church Membership - Why Does Local Membership Matter? (Part 2)
by Patrick Swayne on March 24th, 2023
Even before 2020's global pandemic created habits that saw Christians worshipping on a couch in front of a screen instead of on a pew in front of pulpit, the concept of church membership was under attack. Why is it important to identify, work, and worship with a local church?   Read More
Church Membership - What Exactly Is Church? (Part 1)
by Patrick Swayne on March 19th, 2023
It's pretty common to hear Christians today claiming that they are members of the church at _____________ location. Does this understanding of the term "church" arise from the Bible?   Read More
Quit Playing the Blame Game in Evangelism
by Patrick Swayne on March 11th, 2023
It's fairly common to encounter Christians who bear guilt because of good faith efforts in evangelism that have failed. Here are some things to remember when reflecting on your less than perfect efforts to win souls for Jesus.   Read More
Giving Yourself into Poverty (and Riches)
by Patrick Swayne on November 29th, 2021
Can Christians give themselves into poverty? Or, is giving actually an avenue God uses to protect us against poverty? Let's consider the amazing story of how God provided for the church in Jerusalem.  Read More