Highlands Fellows Writing Articles

Blog posts by pastors from around the country. They write about how to understand God’s word and apply it in your home, church, and community. They write about living a simple, separate and deliberate life. They encourage you to live faithfully by taking captive all your thoughts and actions to Christ and His word.

Idolatry — Making Good Things, Ultimate Things

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Idolatry — Making Good Things, Ultimate Things

Stories of Idolatry When my children, Bethany and Noah, were younger, I’d climb in bed with them and begin story time. It was rarely a Bible story or traditional bedtime story, but something we’d make up on the spot. I always involved them in the creation process. When the character came to a fork in the road, I’d ask my son which way he should go. Or when a mysterious email arrived in the story, I’d ask my daughter to imagine what the email said and tell us. After she was done, the story would continue to its happy ending.. . .
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Sacrificial Living — A Sad Story

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Sacraficial Living — A Sad Story

Have I told you this story before? It is a sad story so if you are not in the mood then perhaps you might want to read this later. I truly do not want to spoil your day. Are you still here? Well then, here is my sad tale. Every so often I travel somewhere to do something, usually to speak to others about living like a Christian. This is a subject, by the way, that I am quite good at. There are times when my wife, Angela, accompanies me. We both like to travel and everyone who knows her. . .
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What Do We Do in Times of Judgment?

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What Do We Do in Times of Judgment?

When Judgment Comes There are few times in my relatively short memory where Christians in the west are in a more introspective time than now. We are in a time of true judgment, despite what Joel Osteen might say on the Larry King Show; our numbers seem to be dwindling; our various economies are in a shambles; our president, along with his administration, is either numb or hostile to most of what we hold dear; and the prevailing sentiment of our culture is that a moderately faithful Christian is a nut. Worse, they believe that a radically faithful Christian is. . .
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Hide the Kids, the Pastor is Here — Family Hypocrisy

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Hypocrisy in the Family If you are reading this article, there is a very good possibility you have a family. And, there is a very good possibility you go to a church. Both of these institutions, the family and the church, are listed in the title. Given that, I want to ask you to honestly consider a couple of questions. Why do you take your family to church? What is your motivation? Is there something that you desire to see the church do for your family, specifically your children? And, if so, how do you expect that to happen? As. . .
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How to Turn Your Heart Toward Your Children

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New Covenant Promise The fourth chapter of Malachi is a chapter of special promise in a prophetic book that usually only gets referenced during budget time or in the midst of capital stewardship campaigns (using chapter 2 as its text). Chapter 4 primarily sets the stage for the coming of John the Baptist as the herald for the coming of King Jesus. However, it also holds a special promise for families in the new covenant. Malachi promises that: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the. . .
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Teaching Your Children About Total Depravity

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Teaching Your Children About Total Depravity

Dinner Table Doctrine I recently taught my children the meaning of total depravity. We started with the first word: total. Sitting around the dinner table I explained the biblical truth that there is nothing good in us. Not even a speck. Until God gives us a new heart, our hearts (and toes, and elbows, and eyelashes, etc) are completely bad. There is no innocence, no righteousness, nothing within us as fallen creatures that is pleasing to God. I think that they got it. And I really mean that, about their understanding what Daddy was teaching, but I also know that. . .
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You Can Live Set Apart & as Salt and Light

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Living Set Apart as Salt and Light

Tension in the Christian Life The people of God are known in this day as the church. The church is understood properly by several analogies or descriptions in Scripture — the body of Christ, the ekklesia, the elect of God, the chosen lady, the bride of Christ, and so on. All of these have commonality while describing different facets of our relationship to God as His people, and our relationships with each other. How to Be “Set Apart” One interesting way of describing this relationship is the commonwealth of God. This is a covenantal term, describing a bonding together for. . .
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The Lord’s Supper — Feast for Sinners

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The Lord's Supper — Feast for Sinners

Sundays are for Sinners I love Sundays. My children love Sundays. In fact, they love them so much I’m sure they learned the days of the week so they could know when the next Sunday was coming. “What day is it daddy,” they’d ask. “What day comes next.” Then they would keep asking until they knew just how many days there were until Sunday. I might be stretching it a bit, but they may have learned to count for the same reason. Each week our anticipation rises as we make ready our home for the covenant families who will share. . .
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Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

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Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Rightly Dividing or Wrongly Fighting? Some things are worth arguing about. You should fight for the truth. You should defend the faith. In a world gone mad, where lies, heresies, and worldliness surround us on every side, you do not have to look far to find a foe. So much is wrong with the church and the world, the feisty warrior has much to keep him busy. Some people, however, just like to argue, and they will argue about nothing and everything. They criticize people for what they say and for what they do not say. They pick specks out. . .
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I Did Not Come to Bring Peace but a Sword

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I did not come to bring peace but a sword.—Jesus

Jesus Talked About Family Conflict We are a people at war. This war is not always fought out in the marketplace, in the broader culture, or in the church. It is often fought in the confines of the family. Jesus, in one of the most uncomfortable of all His uncomfortable sayings, tells the disciples this in Matthew 10:34-39: Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her. . .
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If Your Theology Doesn’t Transform Your Living You’re Doing it Wrong

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If Your Theology Doesn't Transform Your Living You're Doing it Wrong

We are Forgetful of God’s Word There is a subtlety regarding our interaction with the Scriptures that causes our lives as Christians to be less than they could and ought to be. The apostle James spells this out in no uncertain terms by stating; “Looking at the Scriptures and going your way” is never going to do to and for us what, “looking at the Scriptures as you go” will do. (Read that last sentence again, slower, it’ll make sense.) The difference here is focus. And the focus initiates a transformation. The man who glances at the Word and goes. . .
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Fighting Worldliness as a Family

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Fighting Worldliness as a Family

Worldliness in Christian Children Generally speaking, we parents desire the best for our children and would protect them from what harms them or that which is contrary to what we believe to be right and good. So what is going on in the American Evangelical church where — if statistics tell us the truth — so many of our children abandon the faith? According to reports, between 70-90% of Christian students abandon the faith after their second year of college. What these reports often don’t address is why this is occurring. Many Christian families begin training their children in the. . .
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Parenting with Perseverence

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Parenting & Sanctification We have just begun preaching from the book of James. In preparing a sermon for the last part of chapter one, verse twenty-five jumped out at me: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” In particular, I was impacted by the clause, “and continues in it.” While the applications of this verse are manifold with regard to our sanctification, I was struck by its application to us as parents.. . .
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Relativism — America’s Idol

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Relativism in Narnia In C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, an ape named Shift tried to convince the free animals of Narnia to embrace Calormene culture and serve their king, the Tisroc. Pretending to be Aslan’s prophet, the Ape told the animals that Aslan had sold them into the service of the Tisroc in order to bring all the “benefits” of Calormene culture to the backward land of Narnia. “Please,” said the Lamb, “I can’t understand. What have we to do with the Calormenes? We belong to Aslan. They belong to Tash. They say Tash has four arms and the head. . .
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Weapons of Spiritual Warfare

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Weapons of Spiritual Warfare

Words of Spiritual Warfare The first question in the Bible came from the devil. Within that question, everything that God had said about mankind and the world was put into doubt. Here was a new voice speaking backwards regarding all that had been thus far spoken forth. And this was the cause of man’s fall. Thorns and thistles burst forth, but also all of the myriad levels of death: leanness of soul, frenetic activity, discontent, bitterness, arrogance, and so on. Adam and Eve enjoyed innocence, intimacy, perpetual youth, fulfillment, and fellowship with God to name a few. They were given. . .
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How Not to Gossip

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How Not to Gossip

Gossip Starts Here It all started with a comment from a friend: “The pastor seems a bit too friendly with Miss Rogers, doesn’t he? Did you see the way he looks at her?” “Not exactly,” I responded. “Well, it does not look healthy to me,” he said. We parted ways, and I began to watch. I did not see much, but the pastor was smiling a lot while they talked. Maybe there was something to this. This is where my evil began. “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue” (Proverbs 17:4). I. . .
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The Kingdom of God & Brownies

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The Kingdom of God & Brownies

Kingdom of God Takes Hold It all starts with worship — potent worship. Like a kung-fu ballet or fudge brownies with just enough brownie mix to hold all those pecans together. Let’s face it, if you don’t have something that is worthy of passion then you ain’t got much at all. But once it takes hold, you see life radically differently. There is eternity in every moment. Those words spoken, that opportunity that presents itself, that child, that job, that illness; they all become what they were not before, because you were not who you were before. The world has. . .
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How to Repent

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How to Repent: A Story Guide

A Story Guide for How to Repent When R.C. asked me to write on this topic, I wasn’t sure whether or not to be pleased. You see, when I am given an assignment, I immediately try and evaluate whether I know very much about the topic. I guess I should be pleased. I am quite experienced on the topic of repentance, having had to do a lot of it in my life. However, doing a lot of it and enjoying it are two very different things hence my corresponding displeasure. I only see one semi-honorable way out. Take the “third. . .
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Contentment in All Circumstances

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Contentment in All Circumstances

Learning Contentment Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 Paul’s Example of Contentment It is commonly understood and agreed upon that the main theme of Paul’s letter to the saints in Phillippi is that of joy in the Christian life.. . .
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Join the Great Cloud of Witnesses & Run

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Great Cloud of Witnesses “Timothy, a deacon of Mauritania, and Maura his wife, had not been united together by the bands of wedlock above three weeks, when they were separated from each other by the persecution. Timothy, being apprehended, as a Christian, was carried before Arrianus, the governor of Thebais, who, knowing that he had the keeping of the Holy Scriptures, commanded him to deliver them up to be burnt…[which he refused to do]. The governor being much incensed at this reply, ordered his eyes to be put out, with red-hot irons, saying, ‘The books shall at least be useless. . .
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