The Prayer of Jabez, revisited

PrayerOfJabezWhen a theme is trendy, I tend to avoid it. For good or ill, my gut reaction is if everybody’s doing it, to back off. Shucks, I probably wouldn’t have even followed Jesus when He was on earth, because of all those crowds.

That’s why it took me about eight years to read The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson. When it first came out and was all the buzz, I scorned it and turned up my nose. Then, in 2009, when I saw it on the rack at a dollar store, I shrugged and picked it up. It wasn’t trendy any more, and besides, it was my price. Continue reading

What is repentance, really?

Jesus cried out, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

A couple of years ago I posted on Facebook a question about the Greek word translated “repentance.” (It’s metanoia and its variants.) Yes, I admit, it took me a long time to get back to all the links and ideas people sent me, but here I am again, studying repentance.

It’s because three things happened at about the same time. First, I was praying for pastors and other Christian leaders (the ones who have treated and counseled sexual abuse victims as if they were pariahs) to repent about their wrongdoing. Second, I’ve been praying for revival for a long time, and in the context of that, having a discussion with a Christian leader about whether or not repentance is necessary for salvation. Third, I’ve been studying II Corinthians, where Paul talks about repentance in chapter 7.

I always used to hear repentance being taught as a change of mind. That very sterile, academic definition vaguely dissatisfied me. It seemed to accompany the academic, intellectual acceptance of Christ embodied in the “sinner’s prayer.” Continue reading

Chief of hypocrites

I surely can’t be the only one who skips over some Scriptures a hundred times, a thousand times, maybe, and then suddenly one day, as I’m asking the Lord to open the Scriptures to me, He opens some obscure little phrase in a way I never expected.

(That’s what makes reading the Bible exciting.) Continue reading