Every year we get to share incredible content, including videos, articles, and podcasts, from top-notch contributors who help you, our readers, think biblically about the most pressing issues of our day. It’s interesting to look over the subjects we’ve covered and evaluate the most popular items. We posted close to 400 articles alone this year, and of those, the following are the ones that most resonated with you. May these reminders encourage and strengthen you as you seek to live out the gospel in your everyday lives.
J.D. Thorne: As a parent, you are in a race against the culture to establish what is “normal” in the area of sexual behaviors and attitudes. The sexual revolution has lowered the age at which children are exposed to sexual activity. Young children are shown homosexual marriages through children’s television shows. Kindergarten classes celebrate reveal parties for transgendered 5-year-olds. Parents cannot afford to wait. If the culture establishes a secular sexual ethic early on, then a biblical sexual ethic will seem odd and out of place. However, the converse is also true. How can parents win this race?
Andrew T. Walker: Bravery is the willingness to do what’s right no matter what the circumstances, and it’s contagious. There are lots of examples of bravery or courage in our culture. Considering we just celebrated Veteran’s Day, the countless soldiers who serve Americans by their willingness to do whatever is necessary to protect our freedoms are a classic example of this valor. A story out of California shows another example of courage. It’s the type of courage or bravery that doesn’t just require sacrifice, but a willingness to stand against the crowd when the crowd has all the power and seems to be shouting the loudest.
Sam Allberry: In Romans 14:1 [Paul] instructs his readers not to pass judgment on “disputable matters.” On such issues Christians need to know their own mind and receive in fellowship those who differ. We might consider as examples of present day "disputable matters" issues like infant baptism, or our understanding of the end times. On such matters Christians are free to differ. But on matters of first importance we must remain in agreement if we are to be faithful to the gospel. There are five reasons why we must regard the issue of homosexuality as being of first importance.
Brad Hambrick: Just as we can have bad physical habits like biting our nails, picking our nose, or eating junk food late at night, we can also have bad mental habits. There are styles of thinking that are highly prone to cause and perpetuate depression-anxiety. The first step for someone to stop biting their nails is to realize they are doing it. Likewise, an important step in overcoming depression-anxiety is to recognize these patterns of thought as they are occurring. Below are ten styles of thinking that fuel the depressive-anxious experience. The goal in studying this is being able to realize when you’re actively engaging depression-anxiety.
Adam Groza and Ben Arbour: Typical Southern Baptists are barraged with the message that gender is a social construct, which means that gender is something subjective and not the result of nature, purpose, or design. They hear this message on television, in movies, in popular songs, in schools, and even in corporate training material. . . . Society is at a crossroads—either God institutes biological sex by which a person’s gender is established (male and female, see Gen. 5:2), or gender is a social construct and thus open to be revised, rejected, or assigned. What are the fatal flaws to the idea that gender is a social construct, or, more specifically, what's wrong with the way that transgenderism is promoted?
Brad Hambrick: The BBC recently posted a story about an innovative program in Zimbabwe that is proving remarkably effective at alleviating depression and reducing the suicide rate. Take moment, open a new tab, and read the story. No, really, read the story.
Andrew T. Walker: A picture showing a beautiful baby girl surrounded by over 1,100 IVF needles is making the rounds on the internet. . . . According to the description of the photo, "After trying to get pregnant for four long years via IVF, Patricia and Kimberly O'Neill, a couple from Arizona, finally welcomed a beautiful little girl, London, into the world via C-section on Aug. 3. To celebrate their beautiful baby girl and the long road they traveled to officially become parents, they hired photographer Samantha Packer of Packer Family Photography to capture their experience in an image — and it's no surprise it went completely viral when she shared it on Facebook."
Mary C. Wiley: About three years ago, we brought home two babies in a span of four months. I was serving as the interim children’s minister at my church at the time, and the question I had heard from parents repeatedly suddenly became a question I was asking myself: “How do I raise kids who love Jesus?” I’ll take a wild guess and bet that if you are a parent or someone who invests in children, you want to do this well, too. I don’t want to just take my kids to church and expect them to develop a solid theological framework from what a Sunday school teacher explains to them. I want our conversations and the way we parent to ooze the gospel.
Garrett Kell: In the summer of 1998, a friend and I spent an evening together. A few weeks later she told me she was pregnant, and it was mine. Neither of us expected it, and neither of us felt ready to raise a child together. We were not in love and thought it would be better to go our separate ways with a clean slate. So we chose to have an abortion. We gathered $400 from a friend and went to a clinic that prescribed us a pill. We drove to someone’s empty home, where we would spend the night. I got her a glass of water to take the pill. I held her hand while she cramped and cried. I was there as we ended the life of our unborn child.