Christian Teachings

posted by Tim Isbell

This section of the website holds several resources designed to help people grow as Christians. The ones listed below are in the order they were posted. For an alphabetical listing see the Table of Contents box to the right:

Holy Anger on the Streets

The protests on American streets encourages me more than anything I’ve seen in my 73 years. The achievement of a favorable future for our nation and the world remains beyond human ability, but it is not beyond God's.

Where Nazarenes Fit

I'm an ordained Nazarene minister so I often get the question, "Where does your church among all the other Christian traditions?" This post explains how I've answered this question over the years, and now provides me a convenient link to give to anyone who asks.

Climate Change - Apocalyptic?

This article is a summary of one Christian’s view on climate change, starting with four givens:

  • The creation belongs to God, who gave us the assignment to steward (manage) the earth and its creatures.
  • God’s ways are different from our ways. God calls us to set aside our ways, follow his ways, and trust him with the outcome.
  • God commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This includes lifting the poor and extending hospitality to refugees and immigrants.
  • God's command for us: Do not fear.

Paschal Mystery article

The Paschal Mystery occurs when 1) something dies and 2) later receives a new life that 3) is finally followed by the gift of a new spirit to go with that new life.

Living Through Snares

In this article, "snares" refer to the challenges of navigating the evil parts of life. For example, how do we deal with unbalanced wealth, where lies pass for alternative facts, where racism is rising, where dysfunctional and corrupt politics prevail, and where we’ve degraded “our common home” to the precipice. Fortunately, God provided an epiphany, a strategy for our times. 

The Romance

It took me 50 years to write this article. It is my best attempt to describe the romance God wants to have with every human and provides a roadmap on how to experience this life of intimacy with our Creator. 

The Unstoppable Church

This web page includes Timothy Keller's descriptive lists of the essential characteristics of individuals and their churches. It also includes a video link to his 9/6/2018 talk in Mountain View, CA.  

The Weight of Glory revisited

After reading C.S. Lewis' “The Weight of Glory” essay several times, I decided to make my underlinings and annotations more accessible in this webpage.

What about those who never heard about Jesus? (3/2018)

This post considers this question by looking at the Noah story and asking, "But what about Noah's neighbors!?"

Characteristics of God (2/2018)

Ever want a concise summary of God's characteristics? Here is my summary of Millard Erickson's unpacking of God's greatness and goodness in Christian Theology.

Gender Theology (12/2017)

This teaching describes my understanding of the theology of men and women. It unpacks the Genesis 1-3 story, then analyzes Jesus actions and teaching in the gospels, and finishes up by looking at gender in the early church (by browsing through Acts and looking deeper at the teachings of Saints Peter and Paul.

Prayer Tips for All (10/2017)

Parishioners welcome new resources that help them move beyond sending lists of needs to GodPastors continually look for fresh material for that teachable moment just before the weekly worship prayer time.  So whether you are a parishioner or a pastor, here are some fresh resources on prayer:

Beyond Conversion - 1 (9/22/2017)

This post, subtitled "The Personal Journey Toward Christlikeness" is the first of a series of web pages I intend to write about the process God uses to grow us up in Christian faith. Next, I intend to post on the "Marks of Christlikeness." Then I'll post Beyond Conversion - 2 on this life lived in a Christian community. And finally, I expect to post Beyond Conversion - 3 to deal with living this life in the broader world, or as Pope Francis calls it, Our Common Home." 

Altogether, these Beyond Conversion posts express my understanding of Nazarene Article of Faith X, historically labeled Entire Sanctification.

Joy in Heaven

This illustration of joy in heaven is part of my good friend George Larsen’s blog post on October 29, 2015. The post helps us understand joy, and offers insights into the joy in heaven.

Freedom in Christ

God uses rules to lead us and protect us as we move into a deep personal relationship with Jesus that frees us from slavery to those very rules. 

Praising God list

This is my list of fascinations with God, and some advice on how God can use it to help people grow in holiness.

Blessing Others

Would you like to bless someone? Here are the five ingredients in a blessing. They come from The Blessing, a great book by Smalley and Trent.

The Invitation

This is a simple invitation to follow Jesus. It's useful for Christians who are looking for a fresh way to articulate the Good News to someone in their network. And it's useful for people who are considering Christian faith. 

Pondering Prayer

I wrote this post to help readers apply Martin Luther's teaching on pondering (or meditative) prayer. It's found in Timothy Keller's book: Prayer - Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.1 

The web page begins with a personal story and then provides the framework for you to try.

Pray Your Commute (10/2015)

One of the more delightful things that God taught me in the middle of my industrial career was to pray for my coworkers and our projects. A key element of this was a list of scriptures that framed the 25-minute morning commute.

Resolving an Offense (8/2015)

In this post, I describe a 3-step framework for resolving conflict "like an adult." It is based on Matthew 18 and fits modern churches quite well. With only minor modification, it also serves secular settings, even including the modern workplace.

Quote File (1/2015)

Here's the link to my personal quotation file. It's not full of things I've written or said; it's full of quotes I've gathered from my reading over many years. The file is over 60 pages long.

When I need a shot of encouragement or clarity, reading a few entries gets me ready for another “run around the track.” I hope you will give this a try.

Identity in Christ (1/2015)

Disappointments, insecurities, and shame stifle our joy and fruitfulness. Such feelings can stem from many things. Regardless of the origin, we desire freedom to lead a joyful, productive life. If you identify with this need, please check out this link.

Worship/Holiness before Service (3/2014)

This short writing uses material by A.W. Tozer to encourage proper priorities in the Christian life.

Faith is a Gift (11/2013)

This teaching explains that Faith is not something we get through willpower, it's a gift that God gives us as we (even) tentatively put a little trust in him.

Forgiveness & Beyond (11/2013)

This one unpacks a progression from Forgiveness, through Reconciliation, and to full Restoration. God expects his people to forgive because he has for.


This is a section that has several sub-pages covering the range of Bible reading strategies, Lectionary basics, and a great teaching tool to unpack the whole landscape of the biblical story. 

Science and Religion  (4/2013)

This section will eventually present material from various contemporary authors who write about the intersection of science and religion. The first entry is now posted on the page and it is "Can Religion be Based on Evidence," by Dr. Aron Wall.

Ordinary Practice Evangelism (5/2011)

Previously this was labeled "Evangelism for the Rest of Us."  This teaching is my approach to personal evangelism.  I began developing these concepts while I was working in industry, and they became my mainstream way of interacting with unchurched people. 

Tithes and Offerings (3/2011)

This resource overviews the concepts of giving a tithe, general offerings, and designated (special or restricted) offerings.  It provides advice to those who are delinquent on their debts, and those who are in a marriage where one partner does not want to donate.  It provides perspective on dealing with issues such as tithing on Social Security payments and withdrawal of funds from retirement accounts.  It also offers some advice on dealing with teenagers regarding financial stewardship.  

Premarriage Sexuality  (1/2011)

Sometimes sexually active couples would ask me to officiate at their wedding, or want an active role in ministry within the church, or want help with their romantic relationship.  After two early experiences forced me to think through premarriage sexuality I wrote this resource.  Over the years I gave it to every premarriage couple I counseled, whether I thought they were sexually active or not.  And I talked to them about it.  I never looked forward to this conversation, but I was always glad God gave me the courage to have it.  As time went on I discovered a few situations to use this material outside premarriage counseling.  So, I offer it to you.
One last thing: yes, I know that at least some couples followed this advice.

Transforming Partnerships  (11/2010)

Transforming Partnerships is a resource for men of all ages who want to grow strong in Christian faith.  While I don't have any first-hand experience of it with women, I'm sure it is also a good fit for many Christian women.  The concept is for two people to form a Transforming Partnership, or three to form a Transforming Triad, or four to form a Transforming Quad.  While it includes an element of accountability, the real transforming agent is God's grace. 

The Alternate Life  (8/2011)

This resource flows from my understanding of how authentic Christians live at postal addresses in the secular cultures of today's world, but we live as citizens of a different world order.   The key to this life is living ordinary, but living them differently, and living them in a Fellowship of Believers at the heart of a local church.

One Way to Lead a Simple Bible Study

If you sense God may be inviting you to lead a Bible study or teach a Sunday School class, this resources is a must read.  Even if you are an experienced teacher, you will find help here.  If you are a Christian leader invested in recruiting and training Bible study or Sunday School class leaders, this is a resource you'll want to pass along to them.

Some people learn by reading, so here is a list of books I've found helpful along the journey. 

Becoming an Authentic Christian

This is written for people who are inquiring about the Christian faith: what it is and how to connect with it. Also, it's a good refresher, especially for a Christian who wants to share the Christian faith with a friend, relative, associate or neighbor (a FRAN).

Learning to Pray

This is a primer on prayer that uses the acronym ACTSS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication, and Submission).

Believer Baptism

This short teaching got a lot of use at New Life.  I used it to prepare believers for baptism.  It also helps sort out the issues of infant baptism (vs. dedication) and other differences in baptism across Christian traditions. 


Sooner or later every church visitor will show up in a communion service.  While these are very meaningful to the mature Christian, they are a bit strange to the person just coming in from a life in the kingdoms of this world.  So I wrote this short teaching to help the newcomers understand what Communion is about, and as a refresher for the rest of us.

Overcoming Temptation

Whenever a person first becomes a Christian I have learned to expect that they will be bombarded with temptations.  Satan just doesn't want to let go of one of his people.  So early in the discipleship process, it seems important to do a little teaching on overcoming temptation.  And it never does the rest of us any harm, either.


Protestants tend to have a rather skewed understanding of confession.  But confession is as Christian as salvation or baptism or communion.  We will have a need for confession throughout our lives, so we do well when we learn how to practice it.

Freedom from Guilt, Shame, and Bad Habits

Many people are addicted to destructive and sinful habits.  Some of these are embarrassing, and other bad habits get rewarded in the kingdoms of this world.  Part of the human problem is recognizing and admitting that we are addicted to something, and another part is getting free. 

There are plenty of "enlightened" people who think they can live the Christian life in isolation from a local church.  They believe they can love Christ without loving his church.  This is a strange position to take, to love someone but have an aversion to something that person loves.  Scripture is clear, Christ loved the church so much that he died for her.  So it is quite understandable to discover that God expects all Christ's followers to have a love-affair with the local church.

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