Combating Discouragement in the New Year
by Brent Osterberg on January 1st, 2022
As we approach the end of another year, many of us look to January 1st like the refresh button on an app. When an app slows down or stops loading, we quickly attempt a refresh so that progress will continue. So it is with a new year. Goals and ambitions begin to decelerate or stop altogether toward the end of November, but there is the hope of January to start anew. With this refresh, however, can...  Read More
Before You Can Get Home
by Ben Forbes on December 2nd, 2021
Remember the days before GPS?  When you were lost you had to discover where you were on a paper map (gasp!) before you could get where you needed to be.  You had to define your lostness before you could get home.  This is Paul’s goal in the first three chapters of Romans.In Roman's 1:18-32, Paul’s topic is sin.  And while that may sound unpleasant, it’s actually the single most loving topic Paul c...  Read More
Sometimes Jesus' Love Throws Us for a Loop
by Brent Osterberg on November 23rd, 2021
I admire the simplicity of the familiar Sunday school song which declares, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” It expresses assurance of Christ’s love on the basis of Scripture’s authority, and this a reality that, in our post-Christian culture, needs to be constantly reaffirmed. But Scripture tells us more than the reality that Jesus loves us, it also tells us how Jesus love...  Read More
How Repentance Gets Hamstrung
by Brent Osterberg on September 7th, 2021
When we realize that we have sinned, our next move should be to make a beeline to the Lord in repentance.  But instead, we sometimes (often?) cut ourselves off from the source of help and relief we so desperately need in Christ.  Like Adam and Eve, we deal with our own sin in our own way.  It may not be hiding among the trees or sewing fig leaves together to make loin cloths, but it is just as tro...  Read More
Gentle Boldness
by Ben Forbes on August 24th, 2021
Sometimes God guides us with truths that seem like two sides of a coin, or maybe like guard rails on the right and left that keep us centered.  We’re called to be harmless as doves and wise as serpents (Matt. 10:16).  We’re told to answer a fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:5) and not to answer a fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:4).  A little reflection reveals how this works.  We must be...  Read More
What You Need to Know About Your Idol
by Brent Osterberg on July 6th, 2021
How are we to fight the desire to find satisfaction in something outside of God when the desire is so powerful that it seems insurmountable? Among many other things, we need to be able to tell ourselves the truth about what we are desiring in those moments. In his excellent book, Look and Live, Matt Papa makes a statement that captures this reality: “[God] knows that anything we love more than Him...  Read More
Words on a Gravestone
by Ben Forbes on June 22nd, 2021
Mark Bennett sent the following email to the other elders after his morning devotions a while back.  When it was still on my mind several days later I thought it was worth sharing with the body.  It’s a very short reflection on 2 Chronicles 21 reprinted with his permission:Words on a gravestone say much about the decedent.  II Chronicles 21 reports on King Jehoram’s reign in Judah.  He was one who...  Read More
Love is Love?
by Ben Forbes on June 15th, 2021
I’ve been seeing this phrase a lot lately  “Love is love” has been used for years to mean something like, “Romantic love between any two individuals is equally valid and beautiful.”  It’s been a popular slogan for some time, generally used to express support for those in homosexual or other non-traditional relationships.  When brilliant composer Lin-Manuel Miranda won a Tony Award for best origina...  Read More
The Normal Christian Experience
by Brent Osterberg on May 6th, 2021
What does normal life look like for the believer in Jesus Christ? Most certainly, it involves living in a new relationship to God. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, the believer is no longer God’s enemy, but God’s child. Understanding this is crucial, but this is not the only new relationship that salvation brings us. Dan Kirk, a fellow contributor to the CBCD, has often said that Jesus’...  Read More
Necessary...So That
by Ben Forbes on April 23rd, 2021
(1 Pet. 1:6).“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith…may result in praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”Sometimes I make knives.  My favorite part of the process is moving from sketchbook to steel, from designing to grinding.  At the end of this step the basic s...  Read More
Scripture Memory: Avoiding the Things that Trip us Up
by Brent Osterberg on March 22nd, 2021
For most of my life the practice of memorizing Scripture has been emphasized and encouraged. I grew up in the AWANA program as a child, I bought my first Fighter Verses pack when I was a freshman in college, and for the last seventeen years I have been serving in churches where Scripture memory is deemed an important habit for growth in Christ. With this ongoing influence prodding me to commit God...  Read More
How to Pray for Deliverance
by Brent Osterberg on March 18th, 2021
Evaluate your prayer life with me for a moment. I know that can be a painful task because many Christians are frustrated with their lack of devotion to God in prayer, but I think this will prove valuable. So, ask yourself what kind of prayers you pray the most. I know you don’t record every plea you utter to God, but you should be able to answer this question generally. I suspect that at the top o...  Read More
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