Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Just a quick note to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May this season be one of great blessing for you and your family as you reflect on the birth of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.

And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: 'Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, Unto you is born this day a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.' Luke 2:11

I'll be taking a break from blogging until early in the New Year so drop by again in January and I'll have some more interesting articles and blogs to share with you!



Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Weekly Wrap (16/12)

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Where's The Harm in Teaching Our Kids About Christmas? - Dale Stephenson, Pastor of Crossway provides a fantastic article on sharing the reason for the season with our children.

The Invincible, Irrefutable Joy - A wonderful piece on the joy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Should Churches Discourage Belief in Santa? - An interesting article on the jolly fat man and the church.

The God Who Cries When Children Die - Kurt Willems reflects on the recent school shooting tragedy in the USA.

Three Ways Christians Should Respond to the Horror of a Broken World - Ed Stetzer writes a timely piece on what a Christian response should be to tragedy.

Thought for the day...

"Most people want a genie, not a Lord; an errand boy, not a king; a God to challenge their enemies, not to challenge them."
— Rev. Kevin DeYoung

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Husbands, Lead Your Wives!

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Leading our wives is not something that necessarily always comes naturally to us as men. I mean, sure we can enjoy times with our wives, take them out to dinner, buy them nice presents, but lead them? Spiritually? What on earth am I meant to do there!?!

Well fear not men, it is not all that bad - there are simply, practical things that we can do to spiritually lead our wives well. This is a topic that I have been researching lately myself, and I thought that I would share some good websites that I have come across on my personal quest (they are not listed in any particular order).

I hope they are as helpful for you as they were for me!


Covenant KeepersHow does a husband lead his wife and family?

One Flesh Marriage - Men's Guide to Spiritually Lead Your Wife & Family

Love Your Wife - Husbands, Love Your Wife, Just as Christ Loved the Church

Family Life - Walking With God in Your Marriage


What about you? Have you got any advice in providing spiritual leadership for your wife and/or family?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Weekly Wrap (09/12)

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting
The Top Five Reasons Leaders Lose Their Nerve When Leading Change - Carey Nieuwhof provides some food for thought on this issue.

What To Do When Christianity Is Denigrated - David Roach asks: How should followers of Jesus react when our faith is denigrated?

Going to Hell With Ted Haggard - A great piece by Michael Cheshire which provides a fresh and much needed perspective on the saga.

What is Influence? - Charles Specht provides a comprehensive list of characteristics that a person of influence should display.

"This is Egypt": Christians and Muslims Side By Side - Kaley Payne from the Bible Society writes an interesting piece on Christians and Muslims uniting together to ensure freedom for all Egyptians.

Thought for the day...

“Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
— Guillaume Apollinaire

Monday, 3 December 2012

Weekly Wrap (02/12)

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Let's Get Better at Good News - Eternity Newspaper's John Sandeman interviews Dale Stephenson, pastor of Australia's biggest Baptist Church, Crossway.

Atheism, Evidence, and Pre-Commitments - Bill Muehlenberg provides a fantastic book review of the prominent atheist, Thomas Nagel's new book - Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is  Almost Certainly False.

Replacing Worry with the Right Focus - John MacArthur reminders us that God's Word is clear - we are not to be given over to anxiety.

On Christian Marriage, Submission and Abuse - Amelia Schwarze provides an interesting opinion piece on domestic violence and abuse within Christian marriage.

Chief of Sinners - A poem from John Piper reflecting on 1 Timothy 1:16 and Galatians 1:15.

Thought for the day...

“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”
— Leo Tolstoy

No Time to Pray

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Here is a great poem by Grace L. Naessens that I have been greatly challenged by since the first time I came across it a few years ago. It is a fantastic reminder of what the Bible teaches us about getting our priorities right and in particular, where our seeking or focus should begin (see Matthew 6:33).



The Difference (No Time to Pray)

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish, I didn't have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me and I grew heavier with each task;
Why doesn't God help me, I wondered; He answered, "You didn't ask."

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me - He said, "But you didn't seek."

I tried to come into God's presence; I used all my keys at the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up early this morning and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

- Grace L. Naessens

Monday, 26 November 2012

Weekly Wrap (25/11)

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Here is the second Alive in Christ Weekly Wrap. I hope you enjoy reading the articles and engaging with the content below!

Church of England & Women Bishops - Trevin Wax from the Gospel Coalition shares his thoughts on the recent decision by the Church of England to not ordain Women as Bishops.

The True Story of Thanksgiving - John Piper writes about how Christians should view Thanksgiving in light of the undervalued virtue known as "gratitude."

Selflessness Leads to Spiritual Maturity - Ed Stetzer provides some interesting research about service in the Church.

"We have lost the Gay Marriage Battle" - An interesting article from America discussing - you guessed it - the issue of the Church and Gay Marriage.

Does the Bible Separate Baptism and Salvation? - Josh Stahley from the Gospel Coalition explores what the Bible has to say about Baptism and Salvation.

Thought for the day...

“Prayers of gratitude remind us of just how much we receive at his hands.”
— Robert Harris

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Weekly Wrap (18/11)

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

One of my aims on Alive in Christ is to promote thought and discussion about relevant Christian theology, political issues and events that are currently occurring in society or in the broader church. One of the ways that I intend to do this is to provide a weekly link to interesting articles that I have come across from elsewhere in the blogosphere - after all, there is a plethora of good, thought provoking content out there that is well worth reading that I do not necessarily have time to write a response to on this blog. Note that not all the articles that I include in my Weekly Wraps necessarily reflect my personal opinions and beliefs - the articles offered here are intended to challenge and encourage you as you engage on a deeper level with the Christian faith.

I hope that you enjoy the first - of hopefully many - Alive in Christ Weekly Wraps. Enjoy!

A Possible Compromise on the Gay Marriage Controversy - This older article by Tony Campolo is an interesting take on the whole Gay Marriage issue and is well worth a read.

What makes Jesus Angry? - Yes, Jesus did get angry on a number of occasions. Yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). This article by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola unpacks the surprising things that made Jesus tick.

Loving the Loners - One Apartment at a Time - In order to love one's neighbours one must first know who they are. This is a great article highlighting the great opportunity we have to develop real and influential relationships with our neighbours.

Smilingly Leading You to Hell - Tim Challies takes a very frank look at the niceness of Joel Osteen. Seriously.

Monergism Free eBooks - Looking for some classic Christian literature? Best of all, the books are free...


Thought for the day...

“God wants us to make Jesus Christ the central figure in our church - not just say that we do, but actually do it.”
—  A.W. Tozer

Welcome to Alive in Christ

by Joel Hawting | @jhawting

Welcome to my blog Alive in Christ! I decided to
create this blog to provide a place where Christians can be encouraged, challenged and grown through engaging with and discussing the issues of the Christian faith in a safe and friendly environment. I plan to regularly update this site to include content such as scripture expositions, book reviews, thoughts from classic and modern Christian literature, weekly wraps of other people's interesting blog posts, as well as contributing articles of my own on theological and social issues.

So you might be wondering, why did I decide to call my blog Alive in Christ? Well, I personally love the book of Romans. I appreciate the clear writing style and the amazing way in which the writer presents the gospel message to his audience. In particular, I love the passage from Romans 6:1-14 which reads:

6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

This passage sums up what I am passionate about. I am passionate about seeing people become free to live the new life in Christ Jesus - a life that is not mastered by sin but a life that is free from the burden of the law and truly alive through the grace of Jesus Christ. I am passionate about seeing Christians reach out to God to take hold of the abundant life that He longs for them to experience with Him. I am passionate about seeing people truly "...dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). I am passionate about seeing all people develop relationship with Jesus Christ.

So it is fitting that this blog be entitled Alive in Christ. I pray that as you engage with and enjoy the content on this blog, that you would find yourself becoming more and more alive in Christ as you deepen your relationship with Him. Be sure to comment and share your thoughts on the various articles on this blog; by doing so you will not only be able to better articulate your own thoughts and opinions on various issues, but you will also contribute to the learning and faith development of others.


Joel Hawting