What I Like

Popular Posts of 2014

2014 has been a very interesting year for me, with plenty of ups and downs, but no matter what I've experienced, Jesus has been with me. Through difficulty and celebration, the Gospel has never changed, and I've tried to be faithful to writing about the Gospel on my website.

I hope that you were blessed by what I posted this year, and I wanted to give you a brief recap. Here are the 9 most popular posts that you read in 2014.

9. Building Trust In Your Marriage

I'm convinced that there are hundreds of thousands of Christian couples living in a relationship called marriage, but they don't actually live in a biblical marriage. The relationship has deteriorated far from God's design of what a healthy marriage should look like.

I created this trust questionnaire for you and your spouse to go through. It's a comprehensive 11-page, 22-question survey on the trust (or lack thereof) in your marriage, complete with follow-up and analysis to each of the questions.

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8. Darkness Is My Closest Friend

One of my biggest frustrations with western Christianity is our tendency to fake spiritual maturity. We use theological words and phrases that sound impressive – like kingdom, worship, and die to self – but they have little meaning in our daily lives.

Stop faking spiritual maturity! In the Bible, it's commonplace to find the author crying out in pain, questioning the goodness and presence of God, and wanting to throw the towel in. If your life is a mess, run to the body of Christ and admit that your life is a mess.

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7. Who Knows You?

If I were scroll through the contacts on my phone or search through my Facebook friends or look at the people I follow on Twitter, I could come up with a fairly long list of people I know. I could tell you where they lived, what they did for work, who they were married to, what their kids were doing, and even a few personal preferences or hobbies.

But here's the real question - how many people do I actually know, and how many people really know me? Here are 6 questions that get deeper than the terminally casual relationships we settle for all the time.

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6. Stuck In Relationships

Are you in a relationship that has lost its passion? I'm not just talking about marital romance. A parent and child who once adored each other can now live in hostile tension. Two siblings who loved each other growing up can now be separated by anger. Co-workers or neighbors who used to get along so easily can now find it hard to have an argument-free conversation.

This post provides 10 diagnostic signs of a relationship gone bad, followed by a 6-step biblical process for changing a relationship.

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5. Three Gospels For Anxiety

I have the tendency to get irritated, agitated, and anxious when things don’t work exactly according to my plan, and I know I’m not the only Christian that gets anxious.

In Matthew 6, Christ says, “Do not be anxious about your life” and provides us with 3 gospels to help us combat our daily anxiety.

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4. Sleepless Nights

Have you had any sleepless nights lately? Do you struggle to lay peacefully in bed because something, or someone, is consuming your thoughts?

I’m deeply persuaded that in the midst of trial, we often abandon our theology. We quit believing that the Bible has the answers for life and we try to take the reins. So here are four things you need to preach to yourself as you fall asleep.

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3. Bible Study Struggles

I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it publicly: I’m not always excited about reading and studying the Bible.

I go through periods of what I would call spiritual boredom, when the “old, old story” just isn’t very exciting to me. When I hit these periods, there are 3 things I require myself to remember:

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2. Read This On Christmas Morning

I don't know what your family traditions are, but I would hope that the reading of the Word of God is included on the agenda for Christmas Day. If it's not, make 2014 the year to start a new tradition!

The Scripture passage that you're about to read doesn't immediately come to mind as a Christmas passage, but it's one that should be included in every gathering.

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1. 23 Things That Love Is

Love. What is it? A quick Google search will produce several billion answers. Yet if you were to read through just a few of those websites, you would end up massively confused about this thing called love.

Here's a list of 23 things that love is. You have been welcomed into eternity by the God of Love, and he welcomes you - right here, right now - to love others in the same way. It’s an invitation unlike any other.

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Posted by Ben Fallon at Monday, December 29, 2014

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

It's an amazing story, one that becomes no less amazing with every retelling: the King of Kings and Lord of Lords leaves the splendor of glory to come to a shattered earth to suffer and die for self-oriented rebels.

The Messiah is not born in a palace, but in a stable. He lives his life as a pilgrim, denied a small luxury even animals enjoy - a home (see Matthew 8:20). He is despised and rejected, then subjected to a bloody and painful public crucifixion.

Christ does all this intentionally and willingly so that those rebels will be forgiven, so that those separated from God will have a home with him forever, and so that grace will be supplied to people in desperate need of it.

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

One of my favorite Christmas hymns captures the stunning contrast between Jesus' suffering and our resultant blessing. The hymn is Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne, written in 1864 by Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott.

Take a few minutes and let these words refocus your heart on the true meaning of Christmas:


Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.

When the heav'ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying "Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.


This Christmas season, remember that you have an eternal home, because in amazing grace Jesus was willing to leave him home and have no home.

Posted by Ben Fallon at Monday, December 8, 2014

A Commentary on Sin

Last week I shared an excerpt from Martin Luther on sin and repentance. Today I've compiled some more comments on sin, this time from 21 different theologians, authors, philosophers and politicians.

Some are contemporary; others are ancient. Some are from your culture; others are from the opposite side of the world. Some professed a Christian faith; others lived by a different religion. But each of these figures agree on one thing: there's something wrong with humanity.

The Bible teaches that sin is the problem, that each human being is born with a selfish heart. Sin causes us to desire ugly things, say hurtful things, and do wicked things. For the Christian, sin is a life-altering reality; even though we've been declared positionally righteous, we're still functionally infected.

Interact With The Comments

I would encourage you to interact with the comments below. Here are three actions you can take with each one:

  1. CONTEMPLATE your own heart. Ask yourself: where am I falling short of God's standard?
  2. CELEBRATE your growth in grace. Ask yourself: how have I grown in spiritual maturity?
  3. ANTICIPATE the return of Christ. Ask yourself: why will the new heavens and the new earth be better?

Underneath the first quote by Benjamin Franklin, I've included my own answers to get you on your way.

21 Comments

"Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but forbidden because it is hurtful."

- Benjamin Franklin, American inventor (1705-1790)

  1. Contemplate: Even after 40 years of teaching the Bible, I still say hurtful things to my wife, my children, and the people I work with. Lord, help me become a more loving and sensitive person!
  2. Celebrate: When I look back on my early days of ministry, I was so insensitive and harsh. By grace alone, I have grown to love people in the midst of their mess. Lord, help me to grow even more!
  3. Anticipate: When Jesus returns, every microbe of hurtful sin will be eradicated. I will never be hurt again, nor will I have the ability to hurt anyone else. Lord Jesus, come quickly!

"Marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness of sin."

- Laozi, Chinese philosopher (ca. 6th century BC)

"Why does no one confess his sins? Because he is yet in them. It is for a man who has awoke from sleep to tell his dreams."

- Seneca, Roman politician (4 BC – AD 65)

"Pleasure is the bait of sin."

- Plato, Greek philosopher (ca. 425 BC – 348 BC)

"A sin takes on new and real terror when there seems to be a chance that it is going to be found out."

- Mark Twain, American author (1835-1910)

"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it."

- Thomas Jefferson, American president (1743-1826)

"Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains."

- Thomas Fowell Buxton, English politician (1786-1845)

"To sin is a human business, to justify sins is a devilish business."

- Leo Tolstoy, Russian philosopher (1828-1910)

"If you have sinned, do not lie down without repentance; for the want of repentance after one has sinned makes the heart harder and harder."

- John Bunyan, English preacher (1628-1688)

"It is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses."

- Ignatius of Antioch, bishop of Antioch (ca. 1st century AD)

"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or the guilt of sin."

- C.S. Lewis, British author (1898-1963)

"In short, a man must be free from the sin he is, which makes him do the sin he does."

- George MacDonald, Scottish minister (1824-1905)

"The temptation of the age is to look good without being good."

- Brennan Manning, American priest (1934-2013)

"Repentance is but a denying of our will, and an opposition of our fantasies."

- Michel de Montaigne, French author (1533-1592)

"People don’t do what they believe in – they just do what’s most convenient and then they repent."

- Bob Dylan, American musician (1941-)

"All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation."

- W.H. Auden, English-American poet (1907-1973)

"Sin is never at a stay; if we do not retreat from it, we shall advance in it, and the farther we go, the more we have to come back."

- Isaac Barrow, English theologian (1630-1677)

"Out of timber so crooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can be built."

- Immanuel Kant, German philosopher (1724-1804)

"We are all too Christian to really enjoy sinning, and all too fond of sin to really enjoy Christianity."

- Peter Marshall, Scotitsh-American preacher (1902-1949)

"Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it."

- Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (1892-1971)

"Few love to hear the sins they love to act."

- William Shakespeare, English playwright (1564-1616)

Posted by Ben Fallon at Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Listening to Luther

Whenever I get up to speak, I feel as if there are 30 or 40 people standing behind me who have contributed to everything I'm about to say. Each of those people did one thing: they helped me to understand grace.

By the time I was midway through college, I would have characterized myself as a depressed legalist. I was trying please God and earn His favor on my own merit, and it was killing me.

That's when I got introduced to grace. Through the writing and teaching of historical and contemporary theologians, the Lord opened my eyes to grace. Ever since, my life and ministry has been a meditation of, a celebration of, an explanation of, and an application of God's liberating grace.

Martin Luther

One of the most influential theologians that shaped my understanding of grace was Martin Luther. Below is an excerpt from his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, followed by a poem I wrote in response to his exegesis.

NOTE: as of 1:00pm today, you could download the Kindle version of Luther's commentary for free on Amazon. I would strongly encourage you to do so.

"With Paul we absolutely deny the possibility of self merit. God never yet gave to any person grace and everlasting life as a reward for merit...

The true way of salvation is this. First, a person must realize that he is a sinner, the kind of sinner who is congenitally unable to do any good thing. "Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin." Those who seek to earn the grace of God by their own efforts are trying to please God with sins. They mock God, and provoke His anger. The first step on the way to salvation is to repent."


Listening to Luther

I want to believe
that there is another way.
I want to think
that I am the exception to the rule.
I grasp at the thought
that my righteousness is enough.
I hold to the hope
that my behavior satisfies you.
I want to think
that you judge me worthy.
It is my evaluation
that I am capable of your standard.
I want to hold onto my assessment
that I am not like others,
I can plainly see
that they offend your law.
I get the fact
that they fall short of your glory.
I know very well
that they can't stand before you.
But I still want to think
that I am not like them.
I want to hold your Word
and my righteousness at the same time.
I want to celebrate the Gospel
and my worthiness together.
But it is
a self-sufficient delusion.
It aggrandizes me and diminishes You.
It minimizes sin and devalues grace.
It asks the law to do
what only grace can accomplish.
It denies the daily evidence
of my sin.
It ignores the true condition
of my heart.
It turns away
from the sacrifice that you have made.
It omits the sovereign plan
of your grace.
It forgets the desperate condition
of my need.
And so I turn
to what I know is true.
I am nothing
without you.
I accept the invitation
of your grace.
I run to the sacrifice
of the Cross.
I cry for the help
of your Spirit.
I accept the diagnosis
of your Word.
I trust the faithfulness
of your love.
I seek the forgiveness
you alone can give.
And I reject
the righteousness that is my own.

Posted by Ben Fallon at Monday, July 7, 2014

Steve Sarkisian: A Marriage Redeemed

Yesterday, my good friend and ministry colleague Steve Sarkisian celebrated his 45th wedding anniversary with his beautiful wife Gail.

I think it's safe to say that without Steve, my ministry wouldn't be where it is today. But when I first met Steve, he was a different man. His marriage was a mess, and he would admit that he didn't love the Lord.

I counseled Steve for years, and by God's grace, he began to see himself with accuracy for the first time. Below is a video that my friends at Crossway filmed while promoting my book, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.

Thanks Steve - I love you and am thankful for all that you have done for me.


Posted by Ben Fallon at Monday, June 2, 2014

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