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When You Just Can’t Pray
Posted by Clare
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I’ve had times when I’ve been so tired, angry or discouraged that I either couldn’t pray or it just felt hypocritical to do so.

Sometimes the source of my spiritual dryness is obvious to me. It’s either sin in my life that I self-righteously thought I have a right to commit because someone hurt me deeply. Other times I’ve been disappointed with God, and just didn’t see the point of asking him for anything, just then.

I can’t be the only one who holds back on spending time with God because “prayer just isn’t working for me.”

So, I thought it might be helpful to share how God enabled me and will enable you to move forward, even when we don’t feel like praying.

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Are Christians Supposed to be Communists?
Posted by Clare

Edited from a published article by David Bentley Hart

It was in 1983 that I heard the distinguished Greek Orthodox historian Aristeides Papadakis casually remark in a lecture at the University of Maryland that the earliest Christians were “communists.” In those days, the Cold War was still casting its great glacial shadow across the cultural landscape, and so enough of a murmur of consternation rippled through the room that Professor Papadakis — who always spoke with severe precision — felt obliged to explain that he meant this in the barest technical sense: New Testament Christians lived a common life and voluntarily enjoyed a community of possessions. The murmur subsided, but his comments triggered a lively debate and caused great discomfort.

Not that anyone should have been surprised. If the communism of the apostolic church is a secret, it is a startlingly open one. Vaguer terms like “communalist” or “communitarian” might make the facts sound more palatable but cannot change them. The New Testament’s Book of Acts tells us that in Jerusalem the first converts to the proclamation of the risen Christ affirmed their new faith by living in a single dwelling, selling their fixed holdings, redistributing their wealth “as each needed” and owning all possessions communally. This was, after all, a pattern Jesus himself had established: “Each of you who does not give up all he possesses is incapable of being my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

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What Does the Phrase “Word of God” Actually Mean?
Posted by Clare
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Evangelicals love the phrase “word of God” and when we use it, the most common meaning is the Bible. The Bible is the word of God. That’s true, but the real meaning is so much richer than a book.

Why is understanding this so important? Because many younger evangelicals are drifting away from the Old Testament as an authoritative voice in their life and are embracing Jesus teachings alone as their “word of God.” As spiritual mentors we’ll need to remind them that for roughly 3,500 years all scripture has been the word of God.

So, when Christians use that term, we mean;

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Would You Want Your Children to be as Spiritual as Your Friends?
Posted by Clare
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Decades ago, before Jesus upended my life with his love and called me to follow him, I lived pretty much like all our Christian friends. We all went to church, believed the same doctrines, sent our kids to Christian schools – we were Christians – cultural Christians.

But, when I pledged my highest allegiance to Jesus, the blinders came off. I immediately saw that my language, the jokes I told, how I talked about women, the gossip that I passed on so effortless – all that was sin and needed to stop. Here’s the verse that change my life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

If I was in fact a new creation then the “old” had to die and the “new” had to come. The actual “dying” and “coming” does come automatically. But the desire – wanting to die to sin did! The Holy Spirit created that desire in me for a new personal holiness.

As I began living that out, some of my Christian friends didn’t know what to do with me. I’d pray in my car before a golf game, “Holy Spirit, help me to get through this game without a single vulgar word, comment or joke.” And, to my shock, he did!

Some friends slowly drifted away. I don’t know if I was just obnoxious to them, or I thought I was better than them and they felt that. But one incident changed how I think about spiritual friendship.

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