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Blog Posts by David Strain


    New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today III -“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”(Matt. 5:4)

    Two weeks ago we began to consider the second Beatitude, pronouncing blessing on those who mourn. We noted what this mourning isn’t: it isn’t joyless sorrow; it isn’t the sorrow of bereavement; and it isn’t superficial regret. But if we are to begin to live...

    New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today 2 -“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”(Matt. 5:4)  

    In this second beatitude the radically counter cultural ethic that governs life in Christ’s kingdom stands out in sharpest relief.  

    “Our civilization is devoted to fun. The ideal life, it seems, is one continual party. Drink hard, play hard...

    New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today 2 -“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”(Matt. 5:3)

    In Luke’s account of the Beatitudes Jesus is recorded as having said, “Blessed are the poor” (Luke 6:20). Matthew’s account (5:3) makes Jesus’ meaning clear. The poor in view are those whose poverty of spirit demonstrates their blessed status. The blessed are the...

    New Life in Christ: the Beatitudes for Today Part 1

    Today we begin a short series looking at the Beatitudes. In an age when there are a multitude of voices claiming our attention and offering us ‘wisdom’, we badly need clear direction in the way we should go. How shall we live in our world in a manner that is both pleasing to God and good...

    Dear Friends,

    “Salvation belongs to the LORD!” These are the climactic words of Jonah’s famous prayer from the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:9). Standing at the very heart of the book, they rise, like a mountain peak, above every other theme in the landscape of the story, driving home the big idea: God, the sovereign Lord, alone saves sinners! These words of a runaway prophet are...

    Dear Friends, 

    In Philippians 4:4 we read Paul’s famous exhortation, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” There are three things worth considering here. First notice that it is a command. Paul here commands joy. The word for joy, or one of its cognates, is used some sixteen times in the letter to the Philippians. It is a major emphasis of the apostle’s message...

    Some Advice on Evangelism (Part 2)

    This is part two of  the Pastor’s Perspective. Part one of “Some Advice on Evangelism” ran in the June 4 issue of The First Epistle.

    Don’t tell them everything at once. It takes a whole gospel to make a whole Christian, as the saying goes. But if you are sharing that gospel in the context of a relationship, you do...

    Some Advice on Evangelism

    This is part one of a two-part Pastor's Perspective. Look for part two in next week's First Epistle.

    All Christians ought to share the gospel with those around them, if for no other reason than that we are called to love our neighbors, and what kind of love is it that helps with lesser, temporal needs while assiduously ignoring the greatest...

    Dear Friends,

    As I’ve studied the epistle to the Philippians I was once again struck by the attitude of the apostle Paul when, in the wake of his incarceration, the churches found new boldness to preach the gospel. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry” he wrote, “but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here...

    This is part two of a two-part Pastor’s Perspective on how to benefit from preaching. Part one ran in the May 7 issue of The First Epistle.   2.   Commit! We live in a day of constant busyness and activity. The kids have sporting events and extracurricular activities that demand our time, often over weekends. Work requires us to be away sometimes. And on top of that...