The witch’s knife plunged deep into the lion’s heart, and the majestic creature quivered and died. For a few seconds, complete silence descended on the movie theater. A slight sniffling beside me broke the stillness, and that’s when I heard my 9-year-old daughter whisper a rather profound word of wisdom to her friend—wisdom that reminds us of an important truth about the New Testament Gospels.Continue reading.
In late March, 1807, the British slave trade came to an end. One of the key figures in the battle against the British slave trade was an evangelical Christian named William Wilberforce.
Wilberforce was short—about five feet, three inches in stature—and suffered from poor health, but he was eloquent and witty. He became a member of Parliament at the age of twenty-one. Then, in the mid-1780s, he committed his life to Jesus Christ. Deeply convicted by his own patterns of arrogance and self-centeredness, he began to consider leaving his position in Parliament.Continue reading.
This week, in the year AD 461, Patrick of Ireland passed away. Ever since the early seventeenth century, churches have designated March 17 as St. Patrick’s Day. Prohibitions on feasting during the season of Lent were traditionally lifted on this day, and green had been associated with Ireland at least as early as the seventeenth century. The result has been a tradition of kisses and pinches, partying and wearing emerald hues on March 17.
But Patrick wasn’t actually Irish, and no pinches or parties or shades of green played any significant role in his story, as far as anyone knows. His story does, however, have much to do with forgiveness, faithfulness, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the words of Michael A.G. Haykin, this man’s
incredible understanding of the Great Commission and his passion for mission and evangelism [were] in western Christianity in the fifth century almost completely unique.
So who was Patrick? How and why should we celebrate his life? Or should we? Take a look at this two-minute video to find out!
Not a Saint, Not Irish, But a Faithful Proclaimer of God’s Good News
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Christianity, consider this book and video series. To learn more about Patrick in particular, I recommend this book by Michael A.G. Haykin.
Discuss in the Comments:
What did you learn about the history of Christianity that you may not have known before? How should Patrick’s choice to return to his captors with the gospel shape your life? Think about ways that your church or community group might celebrate this day in a way that focuses on Patrick’s gospel passion.
The Magnificent Moravian Failures Who Weren’t Failures at All
In the ninth century A.D.—four hundred years or so after the fall of the Western Empire—a prince in the land of Moravia asked the emperor of the Eastern Empire to send missionaries to his people. The prince’s motives were primarily political. He needed the support of the Eastern Roman Empire, so he asked the Eastern emperor for missionaries. Yet God worked through two Eastern missionaries named Cyril and Methodius to prepare people’s hearts and to preserve God’s Word in ways that produced fruit far beyond the borders of Moravia.
Cyril of Moravia died on February 14, 869, an utter failure as far as anyone at the time could see. Today, the mission of Cyril and his brother Methodius is still celebrated on February 14—though most people are, unfortunately, focused on a more obscure (and mostly legendary) saint by the name of “Valentine.”
Perhaps cards and candies given to your spouse to celebrate “Saints Cyril and Methodius Day” don’t have quite the same ring as the ones with red frilly hearts, but Cyril and Methodius have far stronger historical foundations to support their significance than Valentine has ever had. So, go ahead, be unique, celebrate missions, and make a St. Cyril’s card to give your sweetheart today.
Watch this video to learn more about Cyril and Methodius. Reflect on a few failures from your own life. Are there places where it seems like your best efforts were wasted? Looking back on these failures, has God perhaps redeemed some of them in such a way that you now see your efforts weren’t wasted at all? How might God in the future use other apparent “wasted efforts” in ways that you can’t quite see right now?
Around twenty-seven thousand people racked up nearly one hundred thousand views of this blog in 2016. If you were one of them, thank you! Since there are no advertisements on my site, I don’t profit from any of the content. And so, if you’ve profited from what I’ve written, please consider purchasing a book (or two or three!) that I’ve written.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what happened on my blog this year:Continue reading.