The Missing Strand

Trying to understand grief ~hole or whole?

We need each other. We are stronger together. We survive better together. Even if friendship or companionship is reduced to having only one other person, two are stronger than one. God, the great weaver of the world, puts individuals together in their mothers’ wombs, puts them into families, into marriages, into friendships. Even in the... Continue Reading

Why Church?

Why do I go to church? Here are fourteen reasons.

Still, a whole lot of my personal friends have abandoned the faith over the years and I’ve watched hundreds leave the church and several even go from “Bible geek” to “raging atheist”.  A while ago, I ran across an article that talked about the importance of Christians being part of a church and it brought... Continue Reading

The Grover Dill and Scut Farkus of Patriarchy

As has been observed many times, the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him.

The Bayly Boys, Tim and David, are pastors and patriarchs who blog at the BaylyBlog. They are great believers in and practitioners of patriarchy which they define as “father rule” and its corollary fertility. Both were at one time involved with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Tim as the Executive Director and David as... Continue Reading

Is It Possible for Christians to Idolize the Bible?

As important and challenging as the question is, it’s rooted in an inaccurate understanding of Scripture.

Simply put, the Bible is the voice of God.  The Father breathes out the Word.  The Son is the Word incarnate.  The Holy Spirit carried along the biblical authors so that they would speak “from God”.  The Bible is the voice of God – not just the red letters – the whole Bible. As such, the... Continue Reading

Downton Abbey — What Are Americans Really Watching?

They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world

There are countless lessons for American Christians to observe as we watch Downton Abbey. But we ought not to miss the larger story of which tales like Downton are only a part. The world that was passing away was not only a world of footmen, but also of faith. Britain would never be the same again, and that... Continue Reading

Preaching: More Than Teaching

The hard part is preaching it in such a way that God’s people see how his Word is applicable to and practical in all areas of faith and life.

“If the goal [of preaching] is solid biblical teaching, then a sermon full of the truth always comes up trumps.  But if the goal of expository preaching is that God’s Word changes lives – converting sinners and sanctifying saints – then, all of the sudden, the stakes are much higher….  If the point of preaching... Continue Reading

Ask Celebrity Pastor: How Do I Energize My Dead Worship Service?

A parody

Tyler Hawk is the Lead Visionary Imagineer at Saddlevation Summit Church. He is the best selling author ofThe 42 Indispensable, Undeniable, 360 Degree, Risky Laws Of Leadership and Crazy Wild: Doing Ministry On The Bleeding Edge. He has 4.5 million followers on Twitter and regularly speaks at conferences such as Catalyst, fUEl, and ReLiveinate. Tyler has... Continue Reading

The Measure You Use

Ask yourself: How do I want people to measure me?

This is not social commentary. This is not political prescription. There is time for both of these things, but this post is about something else. It’s about taking Matthew 7:2 as a starting point (not the end, but the beginning) for living out and living into the picture of racial harmony we will rightfully hear... Continue Reading

I’ve Sinned. Now What?

Eleven Reminders for Dealing with Sin

We aren’t free to willfully sin so that we get God’s forgiveness. We’re not free to shrug at sin as if it isn’t any big deal. Nor are we to happily embrace our failure and nonchalantly admit that we deserve hell. Scripture repeatedly encourages us to take drastic measure. Run from the sin. Plan to... Continue Reading

Francis Makemie and Freedom of Speech

The first American Presbyterian pastor helped entrench the right to free expression and free worship by appealing to the principles of the Glorious Revolution.

This developing American Calvinism, far from the modern caricature as a narrow or severe sect, was a boost to personal freedom and civil discourse in its heyday. The first American Presbyterian pastor helped entrench the right to free expression and free worship by appealing to the principles of the Glorious Revolution. A tidal wave of... Continue Reading

Buyer Beware: The Value of Near-Death Accounts

Religious hucksterism is not a new phenomenon. From Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry to televangelist Jim Bakker to some proponents of the Prosperity Gospel, fictional and real life examples abound.

The colossal sales of books about near-death experiences attest that many people desire to go to heaven and are curious about what the afterlife will entail. Despite the revelation that Malarkey invented his son’s story, millions will undoubtedly continue to find near-death accounts to be captivating, inspiring, and reassuring. Nevertheless, for Christians, the teachings of... Continue Reading

Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart

Countless people in our churches today are genuinely saved, but they just can’t seem to gain any assurance about their salvation.

Does this mean that backsliding Christians are not saved? No, believers can still backslide. Technically, any time you sin you are backsliding. As a believer, you will struggle with indwelling sin for the rest of your life. You will fall often, and sometimes you will fall hard. But each time you fall, you get up again,... Continue Reading

Churches In Niger And Other Former French Colonies Torched Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Cartoon depictions of Muhammad are proving costly for Christians in majority-Muslim countries in Africa.

Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, coordinator of the Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa, said he strongly condemned the attacks on churches in Niger, but cartoons of such a revered figure were an act of provocation that could not be justified by freedom of expression. “Muslim demonstrations to express their anger are legitimate,” said Mbacke, a Muslim leader... Continue Reading

Atlanta Is Burning: A New And Ominous Threat To Religious Liberty

A new illiberal spirit threatens our most basic liberties, reducing the First Amendment’s protection of free religious exercise to the confines of our homes and our churches, or our minds.

The First Amendment does protect religious beliefs — especially when one is at work or in the public square. The question is: Will we as a nation yield to this new and ominous attack on religious liberty, or will we mean what we say when we affirm the First Amendment? This question reaches far beyond... Continue Reading

How To Dump Your Wife and Keep Your “Ministry”

Emergent leader Tony Jones had a problem. He had a girlfriend…but he also had a wife. What is a holy man to do with such a conundrum?

Tony Jones divorced his wife in 2009. His wife discovered the affair in 2008. He claimed to be “spiritually” married to the new woman. Problem solved! He even wrote a short book on the subject cloaking his theory as a way for churches to deal with same sex marriage. “There Are Two Marriages: A Manifesto On... Continue Reading

Reports of the Collapse Have Perhaps Been Exaggerated — But Only Temporarily

Will evangelicalism hold firm on the gay marriage question?

All of this has to be disheartening to people in the pews who every day face work environments made increasingly hostile by this issue. They need clear, coherent, and truly compassionate leadership.   If the Top Men will only speak out on the most egregious examples which take place safely outside of their camp and... Continue Reading

Nine Observations About Announcements in Worship Services

To have or not to have announcements in the worship services?

Pastors also receive pressure from different groups and individuals to make certain their announcements are made. Most every church member has his or her own idea about priorities in the church. One pastor recently told me that a church member got mad at him because he did not announce that the member’s daughter was named salutatorian of... Continue Reading

Article on the Exodus Population Numbers

Exegesis of the numbers of the Exodus without exaggerating the numbers

It is hoped that this paper will stimulate further analysis of various numerical information contained in Scripture to help clarify any seeming paradoxes centered around such numbers. The results of such analyses likely may well have sermon applications beyond the details of the specific passages in question.   I think this issue has serious ramifications... Continue Reading

Lecrae Confesses Abortion, Invites Others Into The Light

Such deep guilt can only be relieved by the open confession of sin, a story Lecrae Moore lived out firsthand, and a message he’s now willing to share

“Lecrae sensed abortion was the wrong decision, but he also saw abortion as an easy escape from the responsibilities of fatherhood. “Had it not been for the conviction of the Spirit, who I was suppressing with drugs and alcohol, I don’t know if I would have felt anything. But I was so callous and so... Continue Reading

9 Things You Should Know About Boko Haram

The group is comprised of radical Islamists who oppose both Westerners and “apostate” Muslims

“In 2009 the group launched military operation to create an Islamic state in Africa. The group carried out a number of attacks on police stations and other government buildings in Maiduguri. Nigeria’s security forces were able to capture the group’s leader, Muhammad Yusuf, the group’s headquarters, and many of its fighters. The Nigerian government thought... Continue Reading

The Last Act Is Bloody. Always Bloody.

The denial of death, or at least of the necessary horror at death, has come to infect our world.

“I have remarked in the past that too often Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the grave without really acknowledging why he was in the grave in the first place.  We jump from Good Friday to Easter Sunday without lingering outside the tomb.  That explains not simply the Malarkey incident but also much of... Continue Reading

Modern Bible Is Too Dull, Says Philip Pullman

“Speaking of the demise of the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, the author said: ‘I do regret that children don’t have this experience of language which is grand and stately, and above their heads if you like. Because it gave me an immense amount of pleasure to hear the cadences and... Continue Reading

Pregnant California Mom Delays Chemo So Child Can Live

Doctors say cancer has spread through Ashley Bridges' body

“I’m angry,” Bridges said, tears welling in her eyes, “but there’s really nothing we can do about it now. The doctor that I went to repeatedly and repeatedly telling him something wasn’t right probably cost me my life. This is a very aggressive cancer. I could have had more time.” Bridges underwent surgery to replace... Continue Reading

How Southern Baptists Became Pro-Life

Current SBC President Ronnie Floyd said that Southern Baptists must build on victories of the past and rearticulate their commitment to defend unborn life

“Baptists and Roman Catholics had long agreed that life begins at conception, but Baptist scholars, unlike their Catholic counterparts, generally did not develop biblical and theological arguments regarding unborn children. By the mid-20th century, abortion rarely came up among Southern Baptists, and average church members had only “a general feeling that abortion was wrong.”  ... Continue Reading

Outrage Over Joe Rightmyer; And The Ultimate ‘So What?’

Many drew parallels to Machen’s defrocking and explusion from the United Presbyterian Church

“With Rightmyer the PCUSA has defrocked a pastor who actually believes, upholds and advocates the historically recognizable Christian faith and Reformed theology. This is the same denomination that has repeatedly failed to meaningfully censure pastors who openly defied the mutually agreed upon constitutional standards by which they agreed to be governed. Those pastors clearly broke... Continue Reading

A Caution For Believers In 2015

Nobody — even the most righteous person today — is immune from sin tomorrow

“I have seen seemingly single acts of sin lead to ungodly anger, bitterness, and retaliation from others. Sometimes, the single act includes another person, who then also falls into the enemy’s trap. Too many of us can tell stories of those whose single acts of sin have left ongoing scars in others – and the... Continue Reading

Family Worship Suggestions

The obligation of Christian parents to pass on the truth of God’s word is clear in God’s word

“You may choose to read one chapter per day from the Bible with our children. Read a chapter a day until you finish a book and then start another one. Make sure you choose both New Testament and Old Testament books. If you do this daily, you will have 365 chances each year to teach... Continue Reading

Husbands, Pray with Your Wives

Here are the miraculous things accomplished in this small and easy act.

True spiritual intimacy in marriage is only accomplished through the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can break down the barriers she has to you and you have to her. Only the Spirit can truly minister to the deep places in her heart. You can’t be her god, and when you bring her with you to... Continue Reading

Your Average Life Now

Responding to Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now

What happened to contentment (Heb. 13:5)? What’s so bad about an average, middle-of-the-road kind of life if it’s the life God wants us to live? There are lots of average Christians earning average salaries with average families. They are not to be despised, but encouraged, prayed for, and even admired as they serve God faithfully in... Continue Reading

When Is It My Circus?

How to know when and how to address heterodox teachings

But a more effective approach is to deal directly with those in your church who are affected by the teaching. Find out why they are attracted to the teaching. Is there perhaps some shortcoming in your own ministry that is causing these folks to look elsewhere? But don’t go into attack mode. Gently lead them... Continue Reading