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.

Biblical Parenting is a Big Responsibility

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Helps to Biblical Parenting “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, But bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). How many times have we heard or read this verse? I know for myself, ever since I became a parent I have been snagged by this verse. I simply cannot read right through it. It is a command to me in this special state of parenthood, and my conscience is pricked as this addresses an area of personal responsibility. One of the more sobering truths that the Lord teaches us from His. . .
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Filed under Family, Parenting

In the World but Not Of the World — Living the Antithesis

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Man Walking — In the World but Not Of the World

How to Live in the World but Not of the World I always get a chuckle out of what the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians as he explained who we, as Christians, were to associate with. He tells them, “Look, if you were to avoid the unconverted God would have taken you out of the world, right?” (My paraphrase). And then there are all those familiar verses that come to mind about how we are in the world but not of the world and all that is in the world is the lust of the eye, the lust of. . .
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Filed under Culture, Relationships

Party On—Life in the Body of Christ

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Party On! Life in the Body of Christ

Community in the Body of Christ If you were like me growing up, you probably had your milk doctored up by your parents so that you would drink it without complaining. This additional doctoring included chocolate. If your parents were the particularly conscientious sort, it was the chocolate milk mix that added “loads of vitamins and minerals,” so that they wouldn’t feel so bad about loading your milk with sugar. Who would have thought that good nutrition could be so fun? Unfortunately for many, obesity and diabetes wasn’t as much fun. As a culture, we have a hard time thinking. . .
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Filed under Church, Community

Giving Good Gifts to the Ungrateful

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Man surprised by the good gifts in his box.

Giving Good Gifts Instead of Acceptable Gifts Most of the residents had been living on the street before they came to our program, drug addicts and drunkards who had made a mess of their lives. They were not a happy crowd, sometimes they were rather wily, some were probably dangerous, but I never really thought about it. They were men who needed the gospel, and I was zealous to teach them, to offer them an amazing gift. I had been working at the rehab for about five weeks when I decided to deal with a false doctrine that was rampant. . .
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Don’t Waste Your Inheritance

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Wasted inheritance (crumpled money)

We Have Received an Inheritance The Lord explains to us in the first chapter of Job that we have come into this world naked, and that we shall leave this world in the same condition. As much as this is true, it is not an empty world into which we have come! The Lord Himself has prepared an earthly place for us. Of course He is the creator, so all things we see come from His hand. But another thing we must recognize is that much of what we receive comes to us, molded and developed, passing through the hands. . .
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Filed under Character
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How to Pray Without Ceasing

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Man learning how to pray without ceasing

To Pray Without Ceasing Unifies the Christian Life Praying without ceasing is like an ocean where all our devotionals, Bible study and quiet times, like rivers, empty into its vastness and are lost by becoming part of the greater whole. The pursuit of holiness, knowing God and our utmost for His highest come to a consummation and remain a continuance as we commune with God morning and evening. Enoch walked with God. In doing so, he at once rejoiced in the Lord, always while also taking every thought captive, fighting the good fight, meditating day and night, and exercising himself. . .
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Filed under Faith, Sanctification
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Drop the Cheetos & Exercise Your Spiritual Gifts

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Drop the Cheetos & Exercise Your Spiritual Gifts

All Christians Have Spiritual Gifts In Romans 12, Paul mentions a series of spiritual gifts as part of his exhortations to the church in Rome. The gifts mentioned in this particular list are prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and mercy. If you move to 1 Corinthians 12, there is some overlap, but among the additional gifts mentioned are knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, discernment, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. If we are Christians, filled by the Holy Spirit, we will be gifted in some form or fashion along the lines mentioned in Scripture for service to the Church. None of. . .
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Filed under Character, Community
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The Heart is Deceitful, What’s the Cure?

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The Heart is Deceitful, What is the Cure?

The Heart is Deceitful, and So are Movies and Chocolates… Disney has been telling us something for years. From Mulan to Tarzan, Disney songs have called us to trust our hearts. Recently my Dove chocolate told me to trust my heart! Consequently, we are quite prone to trust our hearts, and our hearts are quite willing to deceive us. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) The heart is wily, always pretending to be good, yet desperately wicked. You thought your heart was good, but it fooled you. It also turns. . .
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How to Be Patient (a drama in five scenes)

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How to Be Patient

Scene 1: Be Patient Like You’re Dead Somewhere in the hills of southwest Virginia a man waits pensively, in one of the cavernous rooms within the underground headquarters of Highlands Ministries. Finally a door opens.. “Laurence?” “Yes?” “We need you to write another article. We need you to do it on how to be patient.” “What!” “You heard me; Patience. You’ve got 3 weeks.” “How am I supposed to do that?!” “This conversation is ended.” Every person that I know that could be considered completely patient has one thing in common — they are all dead. Not only are they. . .
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Man in the Mirror — Living Up to the Ideal

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Man in the Mirror — Living Up to the Ideal

I had an encounter recently with my chief nemesis. He is well known to me and some of you have had occasion to meet him. He is not my favorite guy but he is always challenging when he is not being morose or too cavalier. “So,” he says to me, “what is driving your life?” “What do you mean?” say I, for it is apparent that my adversary is armed with agenda. “You know my life quite well,” I continued. “You know how I live and what I do and what my vocation is.” As I said these words I. . .
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Are Socialism & Christianity Compatible?

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Are Socialism and Christianity Compatible?

Socialism in the Church In 1952, the author of Witness, Whittaker Chambers, took up his sling and sailed his rock at Communism, but he also struck “something else.” What did he hit? It was “the forces of that great socialist revolution, which, in the name of liberalism, spasmodically, incompletely, somewhat formlessly, but always in the same direction, has been inching its ice cap over the nation for two decades.” With so much of the visible church attached to national fortunes and foundations, it’s no wonder this glacier extends over the liberal and evangelical church. But how could they do it?. . .
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Filed under Economics, Government

Live Faithfully in a World of Temptation

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Living Faithfully in a World of Temptation

Temptation in the Garden of Eden It is interesting to note when looking at the account of Adam and Eve in the garden that, before the fall, they had only one temptation to deal with. ONE. Don’t eat the forbidden fruit. Now, we know that the fall had more to do with eating fruit. In fact, one could make the case that pretty much all of the ten commandments were violated either directly or indirectly in that one sin. Summed up, they didn’t care for the limitation placed on them by their Master, and made themselves slaves to another one.. . .
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Sola Scriptura or Solo Scriptura?

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Sola Scriptura or Solo Scriptura?

Historic Sola Scriptura I have too often heard the modern refrain, “No creed but Christ, no law but love.” This relatively simple platitude is viewed by many as a spiritually deep proclamation of their commitment to the historic and profound battle cry of the Reformation, Sola Scriptura. Adherents to this catchphrase are not just those who would align themselves with the emergent church movement or the contemporary charismatic crowd. Within the circles in which I run (the politically-conservative, family-friendly, and culturally-concerned crowd) a similar sentiment exists, and is growing. Like any movement, any revival, any reformation, there are those who. . .
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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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