Links & Quotes

God made you uniquely YOU on purpose. So you can ask Him to show you why He put you together as He did—with all of the gifts that make you YOU. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

In my Halley’s Study Bible, I read this commentary on Matthew 24-25—

“It is best not to be too dogmatic about the events surrounding [Christ’s] second coming. But if language is a vehicle of thought at all, it certainly takes a good deal of explaining and interpreting to make anything else out of Jesus’ words than that He Himself looked forward to His coming again as a definite historical event in which He will personally and literally appear to gather to Himself and to eternal glory those who have been redeemed by His blood.

“And it is best not to cloud the hope of His coming with too detailed a theory as to what is going to happen when He comes. Some people may be disappointed if Jesus does not follow the schedule they have mapped out for Him.”

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.” —Ronald Reagan

“We are not called to punish the people for whom Jesus was already punished.” —Kevin Berry

Daniel B. Wallace, a New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote, “If you could stack up all handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament—Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic, all languages—how tall would the stack be? … I have said in many lectures that it would be the equivalent of c. 4 & 1/2 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. How did I come up with that number?” Check out his post to read how he calculated this astounding number. This is just another link in the chain of evidence for the historicity of the Bible.

I shared this commentary on YouVersion this week: We are made in God’s likeness. Ever since sin entered the world, man’s sinful nature is to flip this around—to make God in our likeness. Literally to say, “This is what I want God to be. I want Him to approve what I want.”

“Pure humor is the most difficult of all of comedy. Late night humor is funny because it is mean. It is relatively easy to be crude, cynical, and sarcastic. It comes naturally to our fallen natures to criticize, tease, mock, and scoff. It’s much harder to make people laugh by lifting others up.” —Dick Brogden, in his book Proverbs: Amplified and Applied, commenting on Proverbs 1:22

Links & Quotes

Every Monday I share a 1-minute thought to get your week started. It’s my weekly Monday Motivation series of videos. Check out this week’s video that I posted the day after Christmas, and please subscribe on YouTube.

T.M. Moore wrote one of the endorsements for my book Shepherd Leadership. In an interview I then did on his Fellowship of Ailbe podcast, I shared my dismay over unbiblical ideas and practices that have crept into the church. Both T.M. and I share a passion to see our church leadership return to our secure biblical foundation. 

In a recent blog post, T.M wrote, “From the days of the apostles onward, a tendency has existed among church leaders to drift from the plain teaching of the Word of God into forms of Christian life and ministry that derive from sources other than Scripture. Or that stretch the meaning of Scripture to fit the shape of certain cultural forms.” Please check out T.M.’s post “Do not go beyond.”

In a fascinating post from Rabbi Benjamin Blech, I read these thoughts about the power of a name: “The Hebrew word for soul is neshamah. Central to that word, the middle two letters, shin and mem, make the word shem, Hebrew for ‘name.’ Your name is the key to your soul. … When the Torah says, ‘God created,’ it doesn’t suggest that He worked with what He fashioned by labor, but merely that He spoke—and the very words describing the object came into being. God said, ‘Let there be light and there was light.’ The Almighty merely gave it a name, and the very letters defined its atomic structure.” Check out the full post here.

And once again archeologists discover evidence that corroborates the biblical accounts. In this case, more evidence is found from King Hezekiah. As I have said numerous times, the historicity of the Bible is amply verified.

“Success” doesn’t always mean bigger numbers. King David got into trouble with God when he wanted to measure his success by how many fighting men he had under his command. Consistently throughout the Bible God’s measure of success is our trust in Him. This thought was a key part of the sub-title of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter.

Cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace tackles an important topic: Does objective truth exist, and how can it be defined? This is a quite lengthy post but it is well worth your time.

“Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” —Mary Tyler Moore

Verifiable Facts About The Birth Of Jesus

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Links & Quotes

“But friendship is precious; not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life.” —Thomas Jefferson

“People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue.” —Augustine

When you praise God, despite your surroundings, you magnify Him. And when you magnify God, you invite others to magnify Him with you!

“Manhood first and then gentleness.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have blogged quite a bit about the historicity of the Bible. The Bible Archeology Report has a very informative post of the top 10 historical references to Jesus outside the Bible. These sources are from the first or second century AD, and specifically mention Jesus of Nazareth, not just Christians.

Dan Reiland wrote, “Church leadership always carries with it seasons of success and setbacks, momentum and grind, joy and discouragement. Yet, we all do better through those seasons when we have learned the rhythms of resilience—the lifelines we need.” Check out the 6 sustaining lifelines for leaders that he shared.

The Institute for Creation Research reported, “Two separate studies claim massive tsunamis and earthquakes from an asteroid impact profoundly affected the rock record. … [Yet] these global phenomena are better explained by the global Flood described in Genesis.”

“Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.” —Francis Bacon

Links & Quotes

This is the most-viewed reel I have ever shared on Instagram! The Bible isn’t a bunch of “once upon time” stories but they are actual events at actual moments in history. Check out how Jesus verifies the historicity of the Bible.

“All obedient believers are near akin to Jesus Christ. They wear His name, bear His image, have His nature, are of His family. He loves them, converses freely with them as His relations. He bids them welcome to His table, takes care of them, provides for them, sees that they want nothing that is fit for them: when He died He left them rich legacies, now He is in heaven He keeps up a correspondence with them, and will have them all with Him at last, and will in nothing fail to ‘do the kinsman’s part’ (Ruth 3:13), nor will ever be ashamed of His poor relations, but will confess them before men, before the angels, and before His Father.” —Matthew Henry

Once again science—in this case, archeology and paleomagnetism—verify the historicity of the biblical accounts. Check out how paleomagnetism can sift through layers to determine when battles took place. It is quite fascinating!

As regular readers know, I have a great admiration for the poetry of George Herbert. This article by Dr. Betsy Howard explores how Herbert’s poetry helped shape reformational doctrinal beliefs. You may also want to check out poems and biographical information about Herbert here.

I have a familial connection to Pentecostal pioneer Stanley Frodsham. This article explores Frodsham’s role in the earliest doctrinal statement of the Assemblies of God.

Even skeptics of the claims of the Bible cannot help including biblical themes in their books, movies, plays, and TV shows. I discussed that in this apologetic video— 

Some interesting and fun facts about the Bible from the folks at OverviewBible.

Links & Quotes

Don’t rush through your Bible reading time. Slow down to savor the good stuff. And if there’s something you don’t understand, ask the “Chef”—the Holy Spirit loves to make God’s Word clear to you.

On a recent Breakpoint broadcast, John Stonestreet reported, “Even while many nations pump the brakes on radical transgender ideology and healthcare practices, Americans at both the state and federal level continue to push culture-wide affirmation, social transition of minors, hormone therapies, and harmful surgeries. Advocates frequently claim that so-called and misnamed ‘gender-affirming’ treatments—including surgery—‘save lives,’ that gender dysphoria is a permanent condition even among minors, and that regret by those who undergo such treatments are minimal or non-existent. Increasingly, research suggests otherwise.”

“Hazael’s historicity has never truly been in doubt; there are far too many inscriptions from the ancient world testifying to his existence.” Check out this archeological biography of King Hazael who appears several times in the Bible.

Dan Reiland notes, “Leaders navigate within the realm of pressure; it’s part of the landscape. It’s how we handle the pressure that makes all the difference.” Dan shares four ways the pressure of leadership is needed and helpful.

Be careful with non-biblical rules! I went much deeper with this idea in an exclusive video for my Patreon sponsors. If you want to get access to these exclusive lessons, it’s just $5/month. Check out my Patreon page to subscribe → https://www.patreon.com/craigtowens.

John Piper explains that there are three levels of how to live with material things. He then dives deeper into what the purpose of prosperity really is.

T.M. Moore has a stern word for pastors: “If we are faithful in telling the whole truth of the Gospel, not everyone will be thrilled with our preaching. We need to make sure Jesus is. When it comes to sin, let’s not mince words, and let’s not act like it’s not the big deal it is. No progress in faith can be made where sin is not consistently and thoroughly confessed, repented of, and forsaken.”

Links & Quotes

“Don’t quit until every base is uphill. I played just a little too long.” —Babe Ruth’s advice to Hank Greenberg, when Hank was considering retirement

As a part of my ongoing Monday Motivation series, I shared a thought of how we can see more miracles—

The Assemblies of God have always been a missions-centric fellowship. Check out this mini-biography of Alice Luce as a prime example.

The Bible isn’t a “once upon a time” collection of stories, but the accounts contained in Scripture are historically verifiable. I love this archaeological biography of Israel’s King Pekah. And be sure to check out my side-by-side chart of the kings and prophets of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

There is a psychological term called “projection” where we see in others what is really in ourselves. This is something Christians MUST guard against doing. Instead of going to the other person first, let’s go to our knees in prayer first. This is a short clip from a full-length teaching video I provided exclusively for my Patreon supporters.

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and can take without forgetting.” —Elizabeth Bibesco

Links & Quotes

“This is one of the rewards of reading the Old Testament regularly. You keep on discovering more and more what a tissue of quotations from it the New Testament is; how constantly Our Lord repeated, reinforced, continued, refined, and sublimated the Judaic ethics, how very seldom He introduced a novelty.” —C.S. Lewis, Reflections On The Psalms 

I have shared quite often about the historicity of the Bible. Here is some additional evidence for that: Top 10 discoveries related to the Book of Daniel.

The folks at Fight The New Drug provide excellent research on the dangers of pornography as well as many helpful resources for folks to break free from a porn addiction. Pornography often attracts people when they are emotionally drained, but viewing porn actually increases feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If we ever start to think the Church is one or two ministers and a whole bunch of parishioners, it really won’t be a Church. According to Ephesians 4, all Christians should be ministers. 

You can check out the full message that this clip is from by clicking here.

Here is a word of encouragement for anyone in a time of spiritual warfare—

Check out my regular Monday Motivation series.

Wow, this post from T.M. Moore on how we respond to God’s “call” is a much-needed reminder. In the post, he wrote,

“Probably most Christians treat the calling of God as a kind of punctuated equilibrium. He breaks into their lives to ‘call’ them to some activity or task, but only from time to time, and only for that activity or task. He ‘calls’ us to believe the Gospel, and we do. He ‘calls’ us to this or that church, and we go. He ‘calls’ us to some ministry or other Christian activity, and so we participate. He ‘calls’ us to make a special gift, go on a mission trip, send a note of encouragement to a friend, and so forth. Our lives run on their own schedules, so whenever God ‘calls’ us to do something, we’ll try to get it done.

“But most of the time, other things have prior claims on our lives. We have jobs, families, friends, responsibilities, things we like to do or must do. We can’t respond to every calling from God because, well, there just isn’t enough time. We say, when friends press us to consider this or that Christian opportunity, ‘If God calls me to it, I will.’ But aren’t we just using the language of piety to relieve the discomfort of pressure to do something we’d rather not do?

“We are called of God. Of this there is no doubt. But for most Christians, the way they understand God’s calling is not the same as the way God issues it. And they have not yet learned to value His calling as He intends, as the defining and guiding value of our lives.”

Links & Quotes

John Stonestreet wrote, “The moment Roe v. Wade was overturned last month, desperate activists began to dust off the oldest and oddest arguments for abortion. These “gotcha” scenarios are supposed to prove that pro-lifers don’t really value human life or consider preborn babies from the earliest stages of development to be human. Instead, these pretend scenarios demonstrate that pro-lifers are simply hypocrites.” Check out the rest of his post 

“When the facts are not clear [in a relationship issue] it is better to consider someone innocent until proven guilty. That is the law of mercy, which we all want applied to us as well.” —Dr. John Townsend, Who’s Pushing Your Buttons

Pornography is contributing to the over-sexualization of young people, which is reaping some painful consequences…

I love when archeology confirms yet another facet of the historicity of the Bible! Check out this archeological biography of King Menahem.

Just a reminder that YOU were made on purpose …

A good friend of mine, Pastor Kristi Rhodes, is in a battle with cancer and I’m fighting alongside her! If you want to join Team Kristi, join the team by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

C.S. Lewis identifies one of the harmful effects of pornography. “For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.” —C.S. Lewis

“Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship; it is a consequence.” —Eugene Peterson

Dan Reiland has an excellent post for leaders entitled 4 Layers To Gaining Wisdom.

In my personal devotional time, I came across a sobering idea in the book of Amos about God’s love. I am reading through the Bible in Halley’s Study Bible, where I also read this: “The basket of ripe fruit [Amos 8] is another symbol that the sinful kingdom was ripe for ruin. And Amos reiterates the causes: greed, dishonesty, and merciless brutality toward the poor. Over and over, through many images, the Bible makes it plain that there is no possible way to escape the consequences of persistent sin.” —Dr. Henry Halley

The Institute for Creation Research has a powerful post explaining how seafloor spreading matches Creation predictions.

J. Warner Wallace wrote, “The historic development of language and communication prepared the way for the birth of Jesus. God orchestrated this timing, along with the development of roads, postal services and a 200-year period peace within the Roman Empire (known as the Pax Romana) to prepare the world for the arrival of Jesus.”

Our church is taking time on Fridays to fast and pray. Here is a reminder of the expected results that I shared with our church family—

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