Enter to Win Logos 5 and Pastoral-Leadership Resources!

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Pastoral leaders need encouragement and revitalization. That’s why we’ve put together a giveaway full of resources for just that. Refuel for church leadership with six Vyrso books to inspire the preacher and leader within, three one-year subscriptions focused on leadership and preaching, a one-year subscription to Bible Study Magazine, and a new Logos 5 Starter base package for theological and scriptural support.

Two one-year magazine subscriptions—a $44.94 value!

Bible Study Magazine brings you enriching insights and sound advice from respected Bible teachers, professors, historians, and archaeologists. Read stories from pastors and scholars who have been shaped by Scripture in both practical and radical ways. This magazine is published by Logos Bible Software bimonthly and delivered right to your mailbox.

Leadership Journal talks about current events and relevant issues as they intersect real ministry situations. Christianity Today publishes this journal to help church leaders stay ahead of the curve. This subscription will be delivered to you monthly, as well as give you access to exclusive content online.

Two one-year online subscriptions—a $199.90 value!

PreachingToday.com offers an online subscription to uniquely inspirational illustrations and articles for strengthening your sermons. This resource—with hundreds of sermons and sermon-series ideas—is brought to you by Christianity Today.

BuildingChurchLeaders.com is another entity of Christianity Today, geared toward equipping you to empower more leaders within your church. Get downloadable training tools, expert advice on handling church conflict and emergencies, and many other resources to support your church leaders in any season of life.

Six Vyrso books—a $51.94 value!

Read the most leadership-savvy books Vyrso has to offer. We’re including John C. Maxwell’s Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know, Larry Osborne’s Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page, and Dave Kraft’s Leaders Who Last.

Then get inspired for Sunday morning with Vyrso titles on preaching: Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert’s Preach: Theology Meets Practice, Alistair Begg’s Preaching for God’s Glory, and Drew Dyck’s Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying.

Logos 5 Starter—a $294.95 value!

Logos 5 Starter will save you hours of researching and referencing. Search your new library (including more than 200 resources) for a topic or passage and find exactly what you’re looking for in seconds. This base package also boasts a powerful tool called Bible Facts: search for a person, place, thing, or event to pull up every time that specific thing is referred to in your library—even indirectly or as a pronoun!

That’s almost $600.00 in prizes—and a lot of resources for one giveaway—enter for your chance to win the whole lot!

Entry closes July 31. We’ll select and notify the winner August 1. If you win and you already own Logos 5 Starter and/or any of the above-mentioned books, you’ll receive Logos.com credit in place of the prizes. The winner will need to fill out a W-9 in order to claim their prize. By entering the giveaway, you’re opting in to receive emails from Logos and promotional partners.

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Stop Chasing the Wind and Start Chasing Your Wife

7 ways to be her hero

After leading countless men’s retreats and conferences, and serving as the teaching pastor at Saddleback Church for 15 years, author Doug Fields discovered something pervasive in Christian culture: the way men talk and the issues they discuss are not properly represented or addressed in Christian relationship books. That’s why he wrote his latest book, 7 Ways to Be Her Hero: The One She’s Been Looking For, which is specifically designed for men and written how men talk.

In 7 Ways to Be Her Hero, Fields outlines a simple plan that includes seven perfectly doable actions that will transform your marriage. According to Rick Warren, “This book should storm into your living room, demand an audience, and become every husband’s best friend!” Get 7 Ways to Be Her Hero for just $9.99 on Vyrso!

Special sneak peek

7 Ways to Be Her Hero packs a powerful punch. Here’s an excerpt:

Here’s the sad truth: when our dreams fizzle, we simply learn to settle for lesser dreams. In fact, many of us settle for the crap that culture has sold to us about what men are supposed to be like: we are supposed to chase things, and we took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

For men it turns out that the object of the chase is not the important thing. In fact, it is secondary. We can chase prestigious careers, piles of money, positions with esteem, accolades from corporate headquarters, power to control others, women to conquer . . . whatever. It is the act of chasing that is important. But every man who has ever done the chase thing knows that even if we catch whatever it is we are chasing, the chase is never over. There is always something else to chase!

It appears that a man’s drive for the chase goes back thousands of years. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes was written by one of the most successful and prosperous men to ever live, the wisest of them all, King Solomon. Solomon appeared to have it all. In his forty-year reign over Israel, he spearheaded massive building projects, including the first temple in Jerusalem. He collected thousands of horses and chariots. He amassed great wealth and treasure. He was very much into the ladies, having seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.

Solomon was a master of the chase. Yet, reflecting upon all he had accomplished, he wrote: “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind” (Eccl. 2:11 NLT).

Sadly, we have bought into the cultural construct of manhood. We are addicted to the chase. We are busy, and our busyness validates our sense of importance. Yet we, like Solomon before us, are chasing the wind. We are too busy to notice that the chase is killing our souls, wounding our wives, and destroying our marriages. Whenever I speak to women’s groups, I hear them loud and clear that our chase is not their chase:

• “I’d rather have him make less money and be around more.”

• “He’s so engaged with work that he’s not engaged at home.”

• “I used to think he did this for the family, but in the end, it’s more about his ego.”

Guys, you are driven to provide for the needs of your family. This is the grain-of-truth, the God-given wiring, and the sacred cog of the chase. But many of us have managed to bury the truth under layers of self-interest and self-fulfillment until the truth has been lost. The point of the chase has become the chase itself. I am not suggesting you shouldn’t work hard, but I am suggesting that if you are defining your value by the chase—by your ambition, your work, and your achievement—then you are simply chasing after the wind, and ultimately, it is meaningless . . . When we are addicted to the chase, we leave nothing to our wives but possessions and regrets. I will say it one more time, hoping that dawn will break over those with marble heads: your wife doesn’t want the presents your credit card buys or the status your busyness conveys. She wants a vital and intimate relationship with you, and this requires your presence in her life. It requires you to make a proactive choice to invest your time and energy in your (one) life together.

And here is a bit of biblical truth to drive the nail home: there is only one thing on this earth the Bible talks about being one with. It’s not your job, your kids, your ministry, your hobbies, your golf game, or your fantasy football team(s). It is your wife. And if you are chasing anything else at the expense of oneness with your wife, you are chasing the wind.

A hero is not created when a man chases the wind. A hero is created when a man recognizes he has been chasing the wrong things and realizes that his wife should be the object of his chase.

* * *

Discover the seven simple steps to establishing a happier, healthier marriage: get Doug Fields’ new book, 7 Ways to Be Her Hero: The One She’s Been Waiting For, for just $9.99 on Vyrso!

 

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Enter to Win over $1,500 in Prizes—a Worship Leader’s Dream

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Calling all worship leaders! This is the giveaway you won’t want to miss. Proclaim—an innovative church-presentation software created by Logos Bible Software—is holding a giveaway every month this summer. This month, we’ve loaded a bag with prizes worth more than $1,500.00 from Proclaim, MultiTracks, and The Worship Initiative. One lucky winner will receive all of these amazing worship resources:

One year of Proclaim and Pro Media (up to a $525.00 value)
- 10 MultiTracks (a $390.00 value)
Logos 5 Starter (a $294.95 value)
- A special package from The Worship Initiative (a $240.00 value), including:

  • Lifetime Worship Initiative council membership
  • Three-month memberships for four people to the Worship Initiative
  • Limited-edition physical album collection (10 volumes)
  • Digital copies of volumes 1–10
  • “We are WI” T-shirt
  • Exclusive invitation to annual gathering
  • Exclusive invitation to the WI family reunion

But what kind of giveaway would this be if there wasn’t an encore? We’re also giving away Louie Giglio and Matt Redman’s Vyrso book, Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe. This book combines Giglio’s pastoral vision, Redman’s worship-driven heart, and the undeniable scientific facts of the universe, creating a thought-provoking book about the mysteries of God’s creation. Indescribable will awaken your mind and spirit with a passion for worshipping Jesus Christ and actively pursuing the God of all creation.

Enter now—this giveaway ends June 30!

We’ll select and notify a winner July 1. If you win and already own Logos 5, you’ll receive Logos.com credit in place of the base package. The winner will need to fill out a W-9 in order to claim their prize. By entering the giveaway, you’re opting in to receive emails from Proclaim, Logos, and summer-giveaway partners.

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Authority, Discipline, and the Modern Parent: What Went Wrong (and How to Fix It)

Shepherding a Child's Heart

Today’s interview is with Tedd Tripp, senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and author of the incredibly popular book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Tripp draws on more than 30 years’ experience as a pastor, counselor, and school administrator to offer unique and practical ways to instruct your child’s heart. According to John MacArthur, “Tedd Tripp offers solid, trustworthy, biblical help for parents. If you are looking for the right perspective and practical help, you won’t find a more excellent guide.” Get Shepherding a Child’s Heart for just $3.74 on Vyrso!

1. You’ve said, “Our culture has lost its way with respect to parenting. We are a rudderless ship without a compass.” Why do you feel this way?

We lack both a sense of direction and the capacity to direct ourselves. Parents are confused and often tentative in parenting. I spoke with a young mother recently who had no ready-to-hand answer to her three-year-old’s question, “Mommy, you don’t obey me; why should I obey you?” Many young people dislike authority, so we have no ability to winsomely teach our children to live joyfully under authority. If one sees authority as negative, not the blessing God’s Word shows it to be, there is little wonder that parents are not teaching their children the blessings of Ephesians 6:1–3.

2. What are the biggest differences between how children were raised 50 years ago and how they’re raised now? Are these changes hurting or helping children?

Our culture has lost any sense of hierarchy. We see authority as derived either from consent or from overwhelming force. Therefore, we can only respond with rebellion or with servility. We have lost the concept of equals willingly placing themselves under the authority structures that God has built into his world. Children raised in such a milieu see themselves as peers of the adults in their world. The incarnation of Christ and his perfect submission to the Father is an example to the submission of an equal to the authority of another for the purpose of a greater good. This idea is lost in contemporary culture—hence we do not see submission as dignified and noble; we see it as servile and foolish.

3. How can parents be both firm authoritarians and loving supporters to their children?

We must make a winsome and attractive presentation of the necessity of obedience. “Honey, there is a God in heaven who is good. In love and kindness he has put you in a family. He has given you parents who have wisdom, maturity, and life experience and who love you very much. We insist on your obedience because we know that is what is good for you. God promises if you obey and honor mom and dad it will go well with you and you will enjoy long life (Ephesians 6:1–3). We want those blessings for you. We love you and want to encourage you that you can trust God to work through your mom and dad to bring good things into your life.” Notice that obeying is not about the parent desiring control, but is about God who is good and who is full of love and kindness. I am not God; I am only God’s ambassador to my children.

4. What’s the number-one issue parents face in raising healthy, Christian children in the modern world, and how can they overcome this?

Video technology, gaming, smartphones, computer access across a variety of platforms, and the incredible amount of screen time children have are all huge challenges to raising children with wisdom and a biblical perspective. One might say that the technology is neutral, and even that can be debated at least in terms of healthy development of children both physically and cognitively, but the content conveyed is not neutral. It provides a narrative that works against everything a Christian parent wants to instill in their children. You overcome this problem by limiting access and the amount of time children spend with technology.

5. How does unbiblical parenting affect the church?

Most parents focus on getting the children to jump through behavioral hoops. The concern is far too much on control and not enough on nurture—helping my children understand their hearts and how behavior that has strayed from God’s ways reflects a heart that has strayed. When behavior is the goal, then methods to produce right behavior become the methods of choice. The problem is that it’s hard to get from controlling behavior to shepherding the heart. If my focus is the heart and attitudes of heart, then the gospel and the transformation that the gospel produces becomes the heart of my parenting. Unbiblical preoccupation with behavior leads to hypocrisy and moving kids away from their need of grace.

6. Many children end up leaving the church once they hit their early twenties—what can parents do to prevent this from happening?

I truly believe this exodus reflects the poor ways we have handled the narrative that is provided to our children by all the competing voices that influence our children. How much time is spent on providing Christians a viable alternative narrative to the one offered by culture? What structures do we provide that demonstrate to our children the Christian faith? How many families are having family worship or talking daily to their children about the wonder of who God is? How many parents are living in true integrity before their children, dealing honestly with their own sins and failures, and showing their children a life of daily repentance and faith? Children are idealistic and looking for authenticity; sadly they are not finding it at home.

7. You’ve received some backlash for your views on spanking and discipline—how do you respond to your critics?

I understand some of the reasons why people react against spanking. Many Christians were abused as children by parents who struck them excessively or in anger, and they promised themselves they would never do that. I want to stand in solidarity with those parents. I also know that the idea of spanking children is not popular in our culture. The culture makes no distinction between an angry parent who hits their children in frustration and a parent who is making timely and appropriate use of physical discipline out of a conscientious belief that this is right and something God’s Word calls them to do. I also think parents must make a clear distinction between correction and discipline. There are many things children do that require correction, but do not require discipline. For example, if my three-year-old bowls over his 18-month-old sister and takes her toy, that is not a situation for discipline; it calls for correction. My three-year-old is not being defiant—he is being impulsive. I corrective impulsivity; I don’t discipline it. If he responds to this intervention, then there is no need for discipline.

I would have never spanked my children if I had not seen physical discipline as something I was called to by the Word of God. I have three adult children and nine grandchildren with whom I enjoy very close relationships. I have seen nothing but good fruit in my family from obedience to God on this issue. People often ask, what about the studies that say children who are spanked turn out to be insecure and often abusive adults? My answer is I do not know of any study that studies what I advocate, which is very controlled and timely use of discipline. Studies of people whose parents spanked them in anger or excessively do not examine what I advocate, but rather what I speak against.

8. One of the biggest issues young people face is low self-esteem. What can parents be doing better to raise confident kids?

What children need isn’t high self-esteem, but accurate self-image. They need to understand that each of us possess strengths and weaknesses, abilities and disabilities. That is how God has made us. Our self-image does not come from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to, but from understanding that God loves me and I am complete in Christ. I have all the abilities and strengths he gave me to be equipped for everything he called me to do. My self-image cannot come from comparing myself with others. I am who I am. God made me like this, and God doesn’t make inferior people.

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Discover how you can be a better parent today: get Tedd Tripp’s bestselling Shepherding a Child’s Heart for just $3.74. Then get the accompanying parent handbook and leader’s guide for $3.74 each.

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Why You Shouldn’t Fall in Love

Dating Like Airplanes

Today’s guest post is by Caleb Breakey, former journalist and author of Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church. Breakey’s latest book, Dating like Airplanes: Why Just Fall in Love When You Can Fly?, offers a biblical roadmap for Christians dating in the modern world, and poses the question: why just fall in love when you can fly? Perfect for pastors, counselors, and anyone in the dating world, get Dating like Airplanes for just $7.79!

 

1. For many, dating is considered a lifestyle. How can we redefine dating so that it reflects biblical principles without being legalistic? 

We get back to the why.

Why does God give us relationship guidelines? To be cruel? Or to protect us and bless us? Then we stop making “Christian dating” about what not to do and start making it about what we do.

We sit in circles and discuss the kind of Jesus love that gets to know the other in a way that’s so far beyond physical attraction (Proverbs 19:2). The kind that goes above and beyond in showing honor (Romans 12:10). The kind that radiates patience, kindness, and truthfulness to the other, always doing what lifts up (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). The kind that clothes itself in humility and makes itself a servant to helping the other progress in character (1 Peter 5:5).

The kind that builds respect by treating the other as though he or she were a brother or sister—and the very temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). The kind that speaks to the other with integrity and dignity (Titus 2:7–8) and refuses to lust with its eyes (Matthew 5:27–30). The kind that does everything it possibly can to keep the other sexually pure and emotionally whole, even if it means seeking help outside of the relationship (1 Corinthians 6:18; Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 27:12). The kind that cries out for God to search itself for mixed motives and manipulative ways (Psalm 139:23–24). The kind that always plans ahead, knowing that it wants to do what’s right but far too easily chooses what’s wrong instead (Matthew 26:41).

Above all, the kind that ignites a beautiful romance by helping the other seek God first in everything (Proverbs 16:3; Matthew 6:33). The kind that sets its mind to helping the other lay up treasures in heaven, live by every word of God, and exude intimacy with Jesus (Matthew 6:19; Matthew 4:4). The kind that challenges the other to dive deeper into the abundance of Christ, gaze at his beauty, dwell on his loving-kindness, and praise him for all that he’s done (Psalm 27:4; Isaiah 63:7).

2. Do you believe there’s one special person out there for everyone? Why?

The world sells us the whimsical idea that if you just keep searching, eventually you will find your soul mate—the one person in all of creation who will fill your heart with joy, dry your every tear, and hang on your every word.

This is a lie.

Great relationships don’t happen when you find your “soul mate.” They happen when you find someone who shares your desire to fly, who wants to point to Jesus in all things, who chooses to give what’s needed most over what’s wanted now.

And this is great news.

If it were true that there were only one perfect person for you, it would be easy to question whether or not you found the right person when things got rough. In fact, you might even use this logic to justify ending a relationship and moving on to the next person you think is “the one.” This is how many people date today, always looking for the one, always hitting a snag in the relationship, and always moving on to the next person.

If you subscribe to the idea of the one, let it go. Instead focus on being the one. Focus on flying in love.

3. Many people enter into relationships believing they can change their partner—particularly if their partner isn’t a Christian, but they want them to be. What advice do you have for those people?

Going into a relationship looking to change someone is to set yourself up for extreme difficulty and pain. Relationships are not the best place for evangelism, nor are marriages the best place for trying to reform someone’s character or heart.

The entire purpose of a relationship is to discover whether or not you and your other are fit to marry. But God doesn’t want us marrying unless it’s to someone who shines with the light of Jesus (2 Corinthians 6:14). Reason tells us, then, that if someone doesn’t know Jesus, the relationship shouldn’t ever begin.

I know that isn’t easy to hear.

Perhaps you recently became a Christian but your other is not. Perhaps you’re dating a nonbeliever in hopes of introducing him or her to Jesus. And all you want is for another Christian to listen to you instead of telling you to break up.

This is a tough one, friend.

Dating someone who doesn’t know and love God is asking for a tremendous amount of heartache. If not now, then when you’re married. And if not in your early marriage, then when you have children.

So if your other doesn’t know Jesus, the very best thing you can do is break it off, surround yourself with brothers and sisters who will love you through your grief and mourning, and cling to Christ.

4. What inspired you to write Dating like Airplanes?

My wife and I traveled an unconventional road to romance. We met at ages 11 and 14—you might say that’s when we first “fell in love”—liked each other more and more as the years passed, and finally got to the point where we idolized each other. So her father separated us for two and half years—no communication allowed.

This led both of us into intense heartache and eventually extreme heart change, from each other to Jesus. And after 30 months of not knowing what it all meant for our relationship—or lack of one—her father said I could start seeing his daughter, and it was like nothing had changed between us.

At ages 19 and 17, we started dating and tried to honor God throughout our relationship. But most of the time we didn’t know how and suffered for it. That’s why writing Dating like Airplanes was so important to me. I wanted to explore how to follow Jesus in the real but raw aspect of dating so that others could do their relationship in a more Jesus-powered, beautiful way.

5. What’s the difference between flying and falling in love?

When I think of falling, I think of being out of control. There is no way to slow down. No way to navigate. Just free falling to the inevitable crash. This isn’t exactly the best image when it comes to you and the person you’re giving your heart to.

That’s when I asked, “What if you could fly instead of fall? What would that look like in a dating relationship?” The answer is that it would be steady. Controlled. Much easier to navigate and glide to wherever you want to go.

So I went to Scripture to see if flying were possible.

And it is.

I define flying as giving the other person what’s needed most instead of taking what you want now. This selfless act mirrors Jesus and is the purest expression of love you could ever embrace. The wellspring from which marriage-ready relationships flow. It’s the basis of Dating like Airplanes.

But back to the question—the difference between falling and flying is this: Falling in love breaks bones. Flying in love protects them and pursues the beautiful way of Jesus in your relationship.

6. Your book aims to ascend “to the kind of romance you so desire but doubt is possible”—what do you mean by this?

Deep down everyone wants a beautiful romance. Everyone wants a prince or princess who loves them, wants them, is committed to them, and never turns toward another person. Someone who is pure, loving, forgiving, thoughtful, humble, others oriented, and a servant.

Most people believe this is a fairytale. But that’s only partly true.

There are no perfect people out there. But there are people who believe God’s Word contains the secret to a beautiful romance, seek it passionately, and find it. In Dating like Airplanes, I try to help people get past fairytale thinking and start pursuing the beautiful way of Jesus in how they do relationships.

7. What role does the church play in someone’s dating relationship? 

When entering a relationship, you can have all sorts of resolutions and willpower. But the fact is, no one can stay strong forever. We all break. And when we do, everything falls apart . . . and trying to tie it back together is a long, tedious process.

Having the support of another in your relationship is huge. This person can be there to talk with you through your feelings and your struggles and also push you to stick to your convictions. This is where the church can play a vital role in the dating relationship.

Opening your relationship to several people who love you allows you to be bolstered with prayer, encouragement, and support. The older I get, the more I experience the amazing power of Christian community and prayer. We may never understand how it all works, but God has clearly shown us in Scripture that these aspects play a beautiful role in his economy.

Find people to pray for you and your relationship, keep you accountable to God’s standard, and be specific in your requests for help.

8. How can we equip millennials for healthy dating habits?

Talk with them about the why. Talk with them about the amazing power of reflecting Jesus—reflecting the ultimate love one person can give another—in their relationships. Discuss what they can do to set themselves up for a beautiful relationship, not just thump them with rule after rule of what not to do.

* * *

There’s never been a more important time to reevaluate how we view dating and relationships. Get a biblical perspective, with powerful and relatable advice: download Dating like Airplanes: Why Just Fall in Love When You Can Fly? for just $7.79 on Vyrso!

 

 

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Finding Peace of Mind in the Psalms

Seeking God in the Psalms

For over 30 years, Boyd Bailey, founder of Wisdom Hunters, has passionately pursued truth and wisdom through his fulltime career in ministry, executive coaching, and mentoring.

Bailey begins each day by spending time in the Word and writing down his reflections and questions. In 2004, he began emailing these brief reflections to a small group of fellow “wisdom hunters,” and they became so popular that he decided to compile them into a devotional. He now has 11 devotionals, which cover topics like marriage, fatherhood, money management, the Psalms, and more, and reach over 100,000 people across 86 countries.

For a limited time, you can get all of his Wisdom Hunters devotionals for just 99 cents each! Or buy them all for just $10.89.

Peace of mind

Each of these devotionals are written in real time, and they take you through Bailey’s thought process immediately after reading Scripture. Here’s an excerpt from Seeking God in the Psalms that addresses finding peace of mind:

Once you apply the peace of Christ, you have peace of mind. Peace of mind gives you a platform for living purposively. Because you live purposively and peacefully you garner influence with others. People are attracted to the peaceful. They want to learn how to find and apply peace to their life circumstances. Your friends or family may not acknowledge it, but your peace is proof of God’s existence. Peace is a powerful apologetic for the Almighty. Only Christ can explain your calm during a crisis. Because you lean on Him, others want to lean on you. You are a lean-to for your Lord. So use prayerfully this platform of peace for ministry. People will line up for peace of mind.

Lastly, use your peace of mind as a gauge for God’s will. If you have peace, proceed. But if you lack peace, heed. God’s peace is a green light to go forward. The absence of His peace is a red light to refrain. Therefore be sensitive to the Spirit’s peaceful prodding to go or stay. Either way, you are OK as long as the Lord’s peace is preeminent. Peace gives you a state of mind that thinks clearly and wisely. Peace positions you for right thinking. Do not impulsively barrel ahead without peace of mind. Emotions can play tricks on our trust and good sense.

Therefore, check your feelings with faith. Slow down and make sure you have a peace about moving forward. Stand up to the pressure of people. They do not have to live with your decision; you do. Peace is God’s protection from unwise choices. His peace is a prescription for success. So slow down and pray. Pray for the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace reveals His will. Peace of mind does not fear, but hopes in Him.

99-cent books!

Choose from 11 Wisdom Hunters devotionals for just 99 cents each:

Buy them all for $10.89. But hurry—this sale ends July 16!

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Street-Level Faith: The Story of Paul David Tripp

PDT

Paul David Tripp is a pastor, an author, and an international conference speaker, yet he still finds time to run his own ministry. As president of Paul Tripp Ministries, he strives to connect Jesus Christ’s transforming power to everyday life. Tripp’s unique vision has led him to write 14 books on raw Christian living—and eight of these can be found on Vyrso. Tripp’s preaching and teaching is inspired by a passion to help people connect the gospel to every aspect of their life—a necessary feat in our broken world.

Faithful relevance

Bible Study Magazine recently sat down with Tripp to hear about his experience in preaching and teaching Christianity on the “street level.” Check out this excerpt from the cover story:

“Tripp can relate to those who struggle to see how faith plays out in real life. ‘Growing up, I didn’t understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. I learned that Christ died for my past sins and I am forgiven because of His death. I learned that Christians can look forward to eternity because of Christ’s sacrifice.’ But he didn’t learn how faith in Christ was for the here and now—what it means in terms of family, parenting, relationships, the workplace, finances, and sexuality. ‘I heard about God’s plan of mercy and forgiveness, yet I lived in a culture that offered laws, rules, criticism and condemnation instead. There was disharmony between the message and the realities of everyday life.’

‘For a long time, I studied the word of God to understand its content—the theological information it contained. That’s a very important step in the process, but I stopped before I ever asked how it spoke to the particular issues of life in a broken world.

He sees the Bible differently these days. ‘The Bible is a grand redemptive story, but it may be better to say it’s a theologically annotated story. To some degree, every passage tells something about God, about me, about life in the fallen world, about the disaster of sin and the operation of God’s grace—every passage tells me something about every dimension of my life.’”

Read more!

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine before July 31 to get the Paul David Tripp issue and continue reading. And explore more of Tripp’s powerful books on pastoral ministry, marriage, and more: check out all of his titles on Vyrso today.

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Why Are We So Quick to Leave the Church?

The Unfinished Church

Today’s guest post is by Rob Bentz, the pastor of small groups at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs and a featured blogger for SmallGroupMinistry.com. His first book, The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress tackles the harmful attitude that’s becoming a cultural norm—the one that says: “I love Jesus, but hate the church.” Drawing on his experience as a pastor, Bentz helps those disenchanted with the church to rediscover its importance for the Christian life by examining the biblical, theological, and historical reasons why Christ’s followers should embrace gospel-centered community—even when it’s hard. Pre-order this honest look at the church for just $7.79!

I like to eat at Chili’s. I like to shop at Eddie Bauer. I like to sit down for coffee and conversation with friends at the locally owned coffee shop. And I typically enjoy my experience at all three of these favorite locations.

But occasionally, something can get a bit sideways. Sometimes the food is served cold, or they don’t have my size, or every seat in the establishment is full. Yet, I return again and again, offering a measure of grace to the places and people I value.

I suspect you have a few favorite places, too—places where you enjoy the products, the familiar faces, and the atmosphere so much that you’re willing to overlook a few mishaps.

Yet one environment that rarely receives this sort of social grace is the very place where it ought to be on display the most: the church.

Recently, a woman told me that she decided to leave her church community because of one difficult and awkward interaction. One! One rough conversation. One less-than-pleasant experience. That’s all it took to for her to say goodbye. The church that she called home for years is now just some place that she used to go.

She’s not alone. Many people leave their church community for seemingly insignificant or overblown issues. The question we must ask is why? Why is the first choice to pull up roots and move on? Why is the knee-jerk reaction to leave? This isn’t how we respond to our favorite coffee shop. We don’t get our feelings bruised, puff up our chest, and boldly decide never to return.

Perhaps walking away from our community of faith is easy because we see so clearly the faults of our faith family. Perhaps it’s just too difficult for sinners to look past the sins of others to get a true glimpse of how God sees them.

It seems as though we easily forget that we’re all broken people. We forget that we’re all striving to live out our faith in Christ in honest, real, tangible ways the best way we know how. We forget that God is at work in each of our lives, redeeming us from the ways we’ve been beaten up by the sins of others and by our own sinful choices and struggles.

Without a clear and accurate picture of Jesus’ sacrificial payment on behalf of his people, you and I won’t see each other accurately. We will see the sin that’s stained us. We will feel the rough edges. When we dismiss other members of God’s church so quickly, we’re ultimately dismissing God and his sanctifying work in the life others.

To be a part of God’s church requires more relational grace than is easily given. It challenges us to see one another as God sees us—redeemed men and women who are part of a community that God is redeeming called his church. This is something to fight for, wrestle with, and champion—not something to simply turn and leave behind.

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Learn more about why the church is an integral piece in the Christian life and how the modern church can embrace gospel-centered community: pre-order The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress today for just $7.79!

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Get 11 Wisdom Hunters Devotionals for $0.99 Each!

Wisdom Hunters Sale

Through July 16, get 11 Wisdom Hunters titles for 99 cents each—or buy them all for just $10.89! Wisdom Hunters’ ministry, based in Atlanta, was created to encourage Christians to apply God’s unchanging truth in a changing world. Whether you’re a mom, a small group leader, or someone wanting to get more joy out of your job, Wisdom Hunters’ founder Boyd Bailey has created a devotional designed to help you make a habit of spending daily time in the Word and applying Scripture’s truth in your life.

Reaching more than 80 countries across the globe, Wisdom Hunters has a devotional for everyone. Here are a few 99-cent books to choose from:

Seeking Daily the Heart of God

Go deeper into God’s Word every day. This book offers three-minute devotions for every day of the year, and it challenges you to know God better and fill your life with his wisdom. Begin each day with a clear and applicable Scripture reading and lesson, and discover how seeking God’s heart every day will enrich your life and empower your spiritual walk.

Wisdom for Marriage

Get scriptural wisdom and practical tips for a better marriage today. These 30 devotional readings are designed to move you from settling for a mediocre love to an unselfish love that flows from the love of the Lord. This easily digestible, yet impactful book covers envy, pride, hope, prayer, and much more as it dissects the most beloved Bible verses on love and marriage and applies them to your life.

Infusion

Get the spiritual truth and encouragement you need to infuse the Word into your life and extract sin. This 90-day devotional offers a fresh look at Scripture, and it’s specially designed to encourage you to spend regular time with God. This process of regular spiritual infusion gives you the emotional and mental stamina to “walk wisely” within a world of hurt. Each day’s entry includes Scripture paired with a devotional reading and a concise spiritual lesson.

Wisdom for Work

God created you to find pride in your work. In fact, a job well done invites the commendation of Christ, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” By serving as a strong steward of your gifts and skills, you bring honor to Christ. This devotional will help you focus on Christ and his character as you face both work-related struggles and successes.

Wisdom for Fathers

Do you ever feel inadequate or overwhelmed as a father? You’re not alone. But the struggles you face as a father offer the perfect opportunity to approach your heavenly father for wisdom, guidance, and encouragement. Discover how to practice godly principles in your everyday life, so you can be the husband, leader, and father God designed you to be.

More 99-cent books:

Get them all for just $10.89!

Hurry—this deal won’t last long! Get all of these devotionals for 99 cents each before July 16.

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Dads: the 2 Most Important Things You Need to Model

The Shepherd Leader at Home

Today’s guest post is by Timothy Witmer, author of The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family. Dr. Witmer is also professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and he has been the senior pastor at Crossroads Community Church since 1986. In today’s post, Dr. Witmer takes us through the two most important things dads need to model:

1. Put the Lord first

On Father’s Day, I’ll be in the same place doing the same thing that I’ve done for the past 35 years. No, not in my church preaching a Father’s Day sermon. Actually, despite the fact that I’ve been in ministry for 35 years, I’ve never preached on Father’s Day. But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I remember many services in the brightly painted, white, clapboard chapel nestled on a mountainside overlooking Pine Creek, one of the most beautiful valleys you could ever imagine. The sound of the church bell rings across the valley, signaling the beginning of the service. The opening hymn is “Faith of Our Fathers,” sung to the accompaniment of a foot-pumped organ that sounds more like an accordion. To my right, I can hear the clear tenor voice of my dad. Soon we will hear a simple, clear, heart-stirring challenge from the lay pastor about the need to take our biblical responsibilities of fatherhood seriously.

As I’ve sat in that pew over the years, my heart has overflowed with gratitude to God for what I learned about fatherhood from my dad. The very fact that we were there reminded me of the importance of keeping my priorities in order. It was 10 a.m. on Sunday morning and we were on vacation. It was my parents’ only Sunday away, but we were in church. It was never debated or in doubt. We were going to worship the Lord. Dad was the hardest-working man I’ve ever known, but church attendance was never compromised all year long. The Lord was a priority.

2. Make time for family

We were also there because my dad saw the importance of making time for family. Our annual trip to the mountains became an anchor in our lives. It was a time of fun and outdoor activities fueled by lots of fattening food. But most importantly, there was extended time together in which long conversations and laughter echoed from the back porch across that same valley. Relationships were deepened and mutual respect grew.

I suppose the bottom line is that my dad modeled these priorities. He was a good example to his four sons. The priorities of faith and family cannot be taught by mere talk, but must be modeled. What makes us think that our children will take seriously things that we don’t? Dad didn’t talk a lot, but his actions clearly communicated the importance of faith and family. Words from the last stanza of “Faith of Our Fathers” are appropriate here:

And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Be the father God designed you to be

I must admit that, as I’ve sat in that pew over the years, I’ve often been convicted of my shortcomings—either by the pastor’s message or by my own reflections that flood into my mind. But I’m also reminded of the forgiving grace of my heavenly Father and the persistent presence of his spirit to help me to become the dad and husband that I ought to be.

So that’s where I’ll be, again, this Father’s Day. My dad’s been with the Lord for some years now. I know I’ll have difficulty singing “Faith of Our Fathers” as the tears well up in my eyes. My efforts to keep the tears from spilling down my cheeks are futile. My wife is ready with an understanding look and a tissue or two. She is ready because she knows what this means to me. She knows what I’m thinking. But she also knows that my tears are not tears of sadness, but tears of gratitude to God. Now there are the voices of my children and grandchildren around me, hopefully learning the same lessons that I learned for so many years from my dad in that brightly painted, white, clapboard chapel on the mountainside.

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Learn more about the importance of fatherhood and how to be a strong leader at home. In The Shepherd Leader at Home, Dr. Witmer offers a biblical framework for knowing, leading, protecting, and providing for your family. Get this highly respected and well-loved resource: download The Shepherd Leader at Home today!

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