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One way God uses your spouse to change you

God desires His children to become like Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. God is so committed to sanctifying and making all of us who believe in Christ holy, He will use each and every circumstance for it.
  • Jesus said 'Judge not...' So why are we so judgmental?

    I don't want to be a Mrs Mangel Christian. If that doesn't make any sense to you, then you probably didn't grow up in the UK or Australia in the 80s and 90s, and I should probably explain. Nell Mangel was the semi-villainous old busybody in long-running Aussie soap opera Neighbours, back when the show had an inexplicably enormous following. She was, at least according to her own recurring phrase, 'a good Christian woman', and it was apparently her faith which drove her interfering, occasionally malevolent actions. She didn't like the young people enjoying themselves too much; she tutted and told tales as the older characters became romantically involved. Essentially, she saw every individual as a person to be judged against her own high moral code, and every situation as an opportunity to be judgmental – where possible even dishing out a sentence too. This, for her, was the bedrock of the Christian life.
  • 'Reaching the unreached' – and other phrases guaranteed to alienate your community

    A newly-refurbished church near where I live has just had new signage done, in an effort to engage and draw in passers-by. They've got so much about it right: the colours aren't too garish, the type is clear; they've even managed to avoid the use of Comic Sans. The only real problem is the wording of the sign itself, which loudly proclaims the church's apparent mission statement. The slightly archaic church name is followed by six excruciatingly out-of-touch words which are presumably designed to entice and enthral, but actually do anything but: 'reaching the unreached of our community'.
  • Building on solid ground: 9 Bible verses about construction – and faith

    After the deadly destruction of the hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the reconstruction begins. Natural disasters are not new – they appear in the Bible, with Luke referring to Jesus' parable about the man who built his house on solid ground, on 'rock' so that the floods could not tear it down – an allusion to faith. What else does the Bible say about rebuilding, or specifically building?
  • Why the Church needs to reclaim Halloween

    My husband Mark and I are expecting our first child this autumn. While we are unbelievably excited and thankful for this little gift of new life, there's one thing (giving birth aside) that I'm a little bit nervous about: Baby McDonald is due to make an appearance on 31 October. Yes, our little boy's due date is Halloween.
  • Why every church should build a kids' holiday club into its mission plan

    I'm sitting in the middle of the stage at the front of my church, while nearly 200 children point at me and howl with laughter. I'm wearing a spectacularly unflattering orange t-shirt, not that you can see much of it, since gloopy blue gunge is currently running down my face and all over my clothes. There's mess everywhere; I and the rest of the team behind this debacle are in a constant state of near-chaos, and yet everyone in that packed room is having a profound – and perhaps even spiritual – experience.
  • What does the Bible say about being a mom and going to work?

    The pastor of a multi-site church in Texas recently responded to a question on whether the Bible says it's OK for moms to work. While it's not forbidden, Todd Wagner questioned the motive behind a mother choosing to work over being at home with her children.
  • 3 conversations Christians can no longer ignore

    I have been studying the Acts of the Apostles recently, and have been fascinated by the drama, the passion and the total resolve of the early Church. The 44th book in the Bible arguably documents one of the greatest revolutions of all time. It has caused me to reflect on the position of the Church in present-day settings.
  • Lean in to your shadow side: ten new Christian phrases you need to know

    Every subculture has its own special vocabulary. Whether you're a sci-fi geek or a football fan, a sailor or a social justice campaigner, your specific area of interest will have its own lexicon of words which don't make much sense to the uninitiated. No-one however, quite does this to the degree of awesomeness demonstrated by the evangelical wing of the Christian church, which not only has its own set of extraordinary jargon, but regularly adds to it.
  • Revelation 17: The prostitute on the scarlet beast

    Let's do some basic preacher training. Christians have a beautiful message, full of love, compassion and gentleness. Those who pass on the gospel message are to be subtle, nuanced, connected and certainly not give any offence. Agreed? But there is something missing from that. It appears that John (or, as we believe, the Holy Spirit speaking to and through him) did not get the right memo.