Guest Views

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 7/22/14 at 11:58 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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What Good Does Prayer Do?

Photo: Flickr/John Ragai - Creative Commons

By Joe McKeever

“And He was giving them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not faint” (Luke 18:1).

At all times we ought to pray.

She knew I was praying for a certain family member who seems forever in some kind of predicament. She asked, “Why do you pray? I don’t see it doing any good.”

When I caught my breath–I could not believe a Christian asking such a question–I said, “Ask me why I breathe air. It’s what I do to live.”

She did not let me off that easily. “Do you really think God is going to do what you ask? Is that why you pray?”

By now, I had settled down enough to try to verbalize a reasonable answer.

“That’s not up to me. How He chooses to answer my prayer is His business.” FULL POST

Posted 7/22/14 at 11:53 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Your Brain Is Plastic

Think sign
Photo: Flickr/H. Michael Karshis - Creative Commons

By David Murray

For those of us who are temperamentally and instinctively on the more melancholic side of things, there’s good news. You can change your brain to think more positively and feel more cheerfully.

Until the 1970’s, most scientists believed that our brain structure and emotional makeup was primarily genetic and more or less set in stone, especially after teenage years. More recent research has demonstrated that we can actually change our brain structures and connections, improving our overall mood in the process.

A pill or surgery?
So how do we change our brains? Is there a pill, an operation, or a one-off intervention? No, we retrain our brains by multiple little daily decisions. That’s good news – and bad news.

It’s good news because it means we don’t need to do anything dramatic, expensive, or invasive.

The bad news is that it involves effort – disciplined and determined effort to increase the number of positive experiences in our everyday lives. These multiple, little, daily positives not only give us a quick squirt of happy emotions and improved performance but, as they become a habit, they raise our baseline happiness. Scientists call this neuroplasticity – yes, your brain is plastic and that’s actually a good thing – to convey how adaptable, flexible, and elastic our brains are. FULL POST

Posted 7/21/14 at 11:49 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

When Friendship and Truth Clash

crawfish and corn
Photo: Laity Lodge Youth Camp - Creative Commons

By Joe McKeever

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6).

Around here in Southeast Louisiana you’ll see billboards that say “Friends don’t let friends eat imported crawfish.”

I know people in other parts of the country who would change that to say “Friends don’t let friends eat crawfish, period.”

A friend speaks up when his buddy is in trouble. A friend tells the truth even when doing so is uncomfortable for both parties. A friend rebukes his colleague if he’s doing something dangerous or self-destructive.

I want to be such a friend; I want to have such friends.

A few years back, while in Birmingham, I sought out a few friends whose opinions I treasure and handed them a brief manuscript I had labored over. FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 12:05 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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What do you Think About Linking Current Events to the End Times?

Photo: Flickr/Ben Sutherland - Creative Commons
Repent! Jesus is coming soon.

By Randy Alcorn

What do you think about linking current events to the end times? Is this a good thing for Christians to focus on?

I certainly believe in the return of Christ. But I do not put much faith in prophecy buffs, who have been getting it wrong for so many years. What international conflict in the past century, especially involving the Middle East, has not inspired books and sermons affirming “this is it”? (Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, JFK, and Henry Kissinger are just a few of the “Anti-Christs” who have come and gone.)

Eventually some of the prophecy “experts” will be right about some things. Will it be this time, and will recent events trigger the real end times? It’s possible, of course. But I’ve heard dozens of theories about “men who must be the Anti-Christ”, as well as countless “the sky is falling” and “this is the beginning of the tribulation for sure” predictions, during the forty years since I became a Christian as a teenager. You will pardon me if I don’t have much interest in the latest theories. FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 11:43 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

6 comments

Faith: The Beginning and the End of the Christian Faith

Photo: Flickr/Eric Fischer - Creative Commons
An address on Faith Street in San Francisco.

By Joe McKeever

“If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

For over 60 years I’ve been trying to live this Christian life. For over 50 years, I’ve been trying to proclaim it. And I think I’ve figured something out.

Drum roll please.

It’s all about faith.

From the first to the last and throughout everything in between, it all comes down to a strong belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and staying close to Him.

First–defining our terms.

“Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). What faith is not is what the little kid said, believing in things you know aren’t so. Faith is being assured that something is true based on evidence–even when you would like more evidence. Faith is taking a stand for something you are confident is true based on the things you know but about which you continue to have questions. FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 11:31 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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How Many Lives is our Privacy Worth?

Photo: Flickr/g4ll4is - Creative Commons

By David Murray

“How many lives is our privacy worth?”

“Not one!” most reply

“Why not?”

“Well some things, like freedom, are worth sacrificing life for; but not for just privacy.”

“So you have no problems with the amount of private information being vacuumed from our phones and computers?”

“Wait a minute. No, I hate that, and I wish it wasn’t necessary. But imagine if they stopped doing it and a terrorist bombed another building, plane, or sports event?”

“So you’re saying that you are willing to give up privacy rather than risk one life being killed in a bomb?”

“Yes, I suppose I am saying that.”

Just a candy bar?
It sounds like he’s just giving up a candy bar doesn’t it? I mean who’d sacrifice a life for a candy bar? Just give it up, man. Judging by stunning opinion polls, that seems to be the view of a majority of voters about the loss of their right to privacy. FULL POST

Posted 7/17/14 at 11:38 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

God Working in You, and You Working to Follow God

Photo: Gwydion M. Williams - Creative Commons
Caution: God at work

By Randy Alcorn

Scripture says of believers, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Pet. 1:3). So what do we need to live righteously that He has not given us in Christ? Nothing.

The source of strength we call upon is not merely our own, which is insufficient, but God’s, which is infinitely powerful. God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). You bring the weakness, He brings the power.

Does any of this imply that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to live the Christian life? Of course not. But notice the intertwining of effort in this partnership with God—“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:29). We must make every effort to be righteous, to obey Him, to avoid sinful thoughts and actions. Yet all the while we must do this appealing to His strength, not our own. FULL POST

Posted 7/17/14 at 10:45 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

15 comments

Living for God Without Reading Your Bible? Don't Even Try It!

Photo: Flickr/Jemimus - Creative Commons

By Joe McKeever

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3).

You cannot do this on your own.

Don’t try this by yourself.

The Christian life should come with a warning label.

“Try this without the Scriptures as your constant guide and you will fail.”

Many a well-intentioned child of God has gotten off on a detour in life by denying themselves the guidance of a daily time with an open Bible. Some have strayed into wickedness because they lost their spiritual compass. Millions have lapsed into a religion of feelings and opinions and hunches due to their ignorance of God’s Word.

–I met some women who told me they no longer worship with other Christians. One said, “God showed me that I am the church.” Because they did not know their Bible (or had rejected what they did know), they turned their backs on the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. FULL POST

Posted 7/16/14 at 2:22 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Could I End Up Selling Meth?

By Stephen Altrogge

Unlike most of my friends, I did not rabidly watch every episode of “Breaking Bad” as soon as it aired. Only recently have I started making my way through the series, and I’m currently about halfway through season two (if you want to know, Walt just got his good diagnosis). Now, let me just say up front that this post is neither an endorsement of or condemnation of the show. If you watch the show or abstain from watching, that’s between you and the Lord. There is certainly some objectionable content in the show, given the fact that most of the show centers around meth.

One of the things that makes the show so brilliant, is how perfectly it captures a man’s slow descent into absolute destruction. As the show progresses, Walter White makes a series of small choices which have exponential consequences. One lie leads to another, bigger lie. One act of intimidation leads to another, bigger act of intimidation. A small act of violence leads to a much bigger act of violence. Almost every show contains a perfect, poignant moment, in which Walt is perched on the edge of decision. He can choose good or he can choose evil, and as time goes on he increasingly chooses evil. FULL POST

Posted 7/16/14 at 10:55 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

1 comment

How to Get More From a Sermon

Photo: Flickr/Chris Miuccio - Creative Commons
Dave Crouse preaches at Christan Church of the Hills in Agoura Hills, CA

By Joe McKeever

“And there was a certain young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor, and was picked up dead” (Acts 20:9).

Principle number one: Stay awake.

Okay, that’s all I have to say about Eutychus. But we can use him as a poster child for people who get very little or nothing from a sermon, agreed?

If you live a long time and go to church regularly, you will hear thousands of sermons. It seems therefore that at least one message should be devoted to the subject of how to get the most out of them.

Let’s let this be the one. FULL POST

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