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Revisiting Beyond Conversion 1

posted Jun 4, 2018, 7:18 AM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Jun 4, 2018, 8:08 AM ]

I posted Beyond Conversion 1 last September. Since then I've used it in a few conversations and, as seems common in my experience, those discussions sent me back to revise the post. In particular, I completely rewrote the first paragraph, the one that summarizes initial conversion. I thought it was "perfect" before; now it is "more perfect" by a considerable margin. I put as much extra work into upgrading the five stages of the redemptive loop. And I simplified the rest of the post to keep it focused on the family metaphor by relegating the other related material to the footnotes. It's enough of an upgrade that I decided to repost it to my subscribers at Beyond Conversion 1. Hope you find it helpful.


Political Dealing - The Crisis of Evangelicalism

posted May 6, 2018, 6:03 PM by Tim Isbell

I've long wanted to address the topic of authentic Christian life as its currently expressed in America's political and economic reality. But it seemed "above my pay grade." Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago Dr. Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Seminary (where I attended), articulated it wonderfully in a talk at Wheaton College. Please take 10 minutes to read it: 
Political Dealing: The Crisis of Evangelicalism.

Revisiting C.S. Lewis' "The Weight of Glory"

posted Apr 2, 2018, 8:44 AM by Tim Isbell

After reading C.S. Lewis' “The Weight of Glory” essay several times, I decided to make my underlinings and annotations more accessible on a webpage. Midway through the writing process, I found myself scheduled for a challenging legal deposition in San Francisco where an attorney would spend an entire day cross-examining me. By the day before the deposition, my anxiety had reached its limit. So I decided to avoid the next morning's commute and drive to the city that night, check into a hotel, and hope for a good night's rest. Once there I needed something to settle my nerves, so I read through my draft, reflected on it for a few minutes, and then headed to bed. Surprisingly, I slept pretty well. The next morning, I repeated the process before walking across the street to the deposition. While driving back home that evening, I realized that at critical times throughout the day excepts from the draft came to mind. That experience, along with the prayers of my friend George and those of my wife Robin, resulted in a calmer me than I'd experienced for several days! Since then I've polished up this webpage in hopes my readers will find it helpful. To read it, just click on Weight of Glory - revisited.

Blessings, Tim

What about those who've never heard?

posted Mar 6, 2018, 7:44 PM by Tim Isbell

People ask, "What about those who've never heard of Jesus? It doesn't seem fair that God would send them to hell!" It's a good question that keeps many people from seriously considering Christian faith. A few weeks ago a church invited me to preach. The pastor there is a lectionary preacher and my Sunday fell on the first Sunday of Lent which includes the Noah story. Preachers take the Noah story in many directions and I organized my sermon around four questions. The third was, "Suppose you get to heaven. What are the chances you'll meet any of Noah's neighbors?" For more, check out Those Who Never Heard.

Tax tips for students (and ex students with loans)

posted Feb 15, 2018, 4:31 AM by Tim Isbell

I coach a few students and young adults in career planning, college decisions, and the financial dimensions that come along with their season of life. 
There are two federal tax breaks that help students with educational expenses. Neither of these breaks requires you to itemize deductions, so you can still file the short form. And they both survived the recent rewrite of the tax code, meaning they apply for the 2017 tax year and will also apply in 2018 and beyond. For more, check out Student Financing and Taxes.

God's characteristics - the short list

posted Feb 10, 2018, 5:05 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Feb 10, 2018, 5:07 PM ]

The Bible helps us understand God, and how to relate to him. But it’s a monumental task to distill the Bible’s 66 chapters into a concise list of God’s characteristics.

Fortunately, “systematic theologians” do the distilling for us. My go-to source for a list of God’s characteristics is Millard Erikson’s Christian Theology, which describes God’s characteristics in chapters 12 and 13 (37 pages). That’s still too complex for a quick reference, so I reduced Erickson’s two chapters to this single web page, which I use whenever I need to remember who God is.

Blessings, Tim

My 3 favorite Martin Luther King quotes

posted Jan 13, 2018, 9:01 AM by Tim Isbell

In honor of Martin Luther King Day (January 15), here are my three favorite MLK quotes. 1) "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." 2) "A genuine leader does not reflect consensus, he molds consensus." 3) "Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right?" I've been curating a broad list of my favorite quotes for many years. To have a look just click on Quotes File.

How much time does it take a preacher to prepare?

posted Jan 3, 2018, 5:55 PM by Tim Isbell

I haven't posted any new resources in the Preaching section of my site in quite a while. Then, a few weeks ago a young intern/pastor asked me this question. After responding to her, I decided to turn it into a post. So, this post is for young preachers, and experienced preachers, and any parishioners curious about how much time goes into an original 30-minute sermon. It's a quick read. To read it, click on Preaching Prep Time.


Gender Theology post available

posted Dec 27, 2017, 8:45 AM by Tim Isbell

The #MeToo movement got me thinking about gender theology and triggered me to develop this webpage. Writing it increased my understanding of the current culture in light of Christian faith, and now helps me better engage with the women and men in my life. It addresses gender theology from three biblical viewpoints: the Genesis story, Jesus in the gospels, and the early church as described in the Acts and epistles. Perhaps it will help you, too. You can find it at Gender Theology

- Blessings, Tim

What life looks like beyond Christian conversion

posted Nov 27, 2017, 6:43 PM by Tim Isbell

After conversion to Christian faith, nobody follows Jesus perfectly. In this life, the best we can expect is for our heart to beat increasingly like Jesus' heart: with a deep love for God and others. In the process, God marks us with many of Jesus’ characteristics. Beyond Conversion Marks offers my description of the marks. Please take a look. Blessings, Tim.

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