‘Til the Love Runs Out
The cross tells us that Christ's love will never run out.
He is the fountain of all love. And as I was sitting there praying, participating in this holy sacrament with his covenant body of believers, I was reminded that his love isn’t something that I merely consume. It overflows. I have his love running out of me. I come to the table tired, restless, and... Continue Reading
Is Having Children Too Expensive? (Wrong Question!)
The rising generation of young people in the U.S. is increasingly questioning or distorting the value and purpose of child-bearing and child-rearing.
For Christians in particular, no matter what the dollar numbers of the day, the choice to have children is one driven by something deeper, wider, and higher than ourselves. Financial wisdom and frugality are important, but God didn’t tell Hannah, Manoah, or Mary to plug their ears, shut up their hearts, and budget their way... Continue Reading
The “Grotesque Anomaly” of the Un-Churched Christian
Nowhere in Scripture is believer in Christ all by his or her lonesome (or even a family), disconnected from a local body of believers, is considered to be the norm, or even that such a thing is acceptable
Now just because something is an anomaly (or even a “grotesque” one, to use Stott’s words), does not mean that it is not all-too-common. In fact, the passage cited above clearly tells us that neglecting to meet together is (unfortunately) “the habit of some”(v.25). In our day it actually seems to be the habit of many. To... Continue Reading
Reflections upon the doctrine of Providence and temporary insomnia.
I reminded myself of those wonderful words of the third chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, “God ordains whatsoever comes to pass . . .” I reminded myself that, yes, I was a creature with freedom of the will (see WCF 9 in case you think I just lost my theological marbles), but at... Continue Reading
What Can YOU Do for Persecuted Iraqis?
We cannot force our government to save the Christians and other religious minorities of Iraq from ISIS, but we can do what we can do: pray, be a voice, and urge our government not to look the other way.
We have increasingly short attention spans these days, and the media has an even shorter one! It is a struggle to keep the attention of the world even on horrific situations like the genocide of religious minorities in Iraq. And most of the world does not know what to make of a global Caliphate (if... Continue Reading
The Lord’s Supper: Wine or Welch’s?
Does it really matter whether we use juice or wine for the sacrament?
In the end, I believe it is permissible to use grape juice instead of wine for the Lord’s Supper, but I do not believe it is best. Wine, as the gift of God and sign of his blessing, was used during the Passover and in the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and following that pattern... Continue Reading
A Follow Up to: Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed
A response to some of the most frequent questions and concerns
As Christians, our mission is to love God and love each other. This is the greatest commandment. The purpose of all of our activities whether it be dating, courtship, arranged marriage or washing the dishes should be to love God. Binding each other with man-made rules is not love. Taking advantage of each other is... Continue Reading
For the Girls Who Are Waiting
Bless the waiting. Bless the not yet. Bless you, sweet girls.
Despite what movies and magazines will tell you, the point of life is not to be paired up with another person. I don’t know what God has planned for you or your relationships. But, I can tell you, as a girl who wasn’t kissed until her second year of college, that you aren’t weird or... Continue Reading
Attention Pro-Lifers: Be Careful Where You Send Your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donation
If you give to the ALS Association your money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted fetal cells.
So who can you give your Ice Bucket Challenge money to? I know of one charity that is not focused on funding the research, but on making the lives of those with ALS better through technology and on raising awareness for the disease. Team Gleason, founded by former NFL player and ALS patient, Steve Gleason ... Continue Reading
Nancy Writebol, SIM Missionary Stricken With Ebola Virus, Discharged From Hospital on Tuesday
Nancy and husband, David, resting at undisclosed location
“Nancy and David are taking a long, well-deserved break of peace and quiet to reflect on all that has transpired over the past four to five weeks, all that God has done, and seeking how God will lead them in future paths of service,” said Bruce Johnson, president, SIM USA. “The courageous, humble, faith-filled spirit of... Continue Reading
Former Mars Hill Church Pastors Bring Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll
Twenty-one former Mars Hill Church pastors bought charges late last week against lead pastor Mark Driscoll
My impression is that these matters have been raised repeatedly and are a part of the concerns which animated Acts 29 Network to take action. Clearly, Rev. Driscoll and Mars Hill leadership are under fire and I will post any response to my request for their side of things if they reply. On the heels... Continue Reading
What Are Gospel Issues?
Today it is very common to hear that such-and-such a topic is “a gospel issue; what does this really mean?
In sum, to affirm something is or is not a gospel issue is not a transparent expression. It is likely to be clearest among those who share a common confession as to what the gospel is. It is useful only when it means something more stringent than that X can be tied in some way... Continue Reading
Accepting “No” as God’s Will
We must accept the fact that God sometimes says no. Sometimes He calls us to suffer and die even if we want to claim the contrary.
This “nevertheless” was the supreme prayer of faith. The prayer of faith is not a demand that we place on God. It is not a presumption of a granted request. The authentic prayer of faith is one that models Jesus’ prayer. It is always uttered in a spirit of subordination. In all our prayers, we... Continue Reading
6 Church Killers That (Unfortunately) Have Stood the Test of Time
Satan was neutralizing local churches 300 years ago in the same way he is today
It’s easy to set up outward, measurable standards of appearance and performance. We like to do this because it validates us, makes us feel successful as Christians and leaders. Yet the outward conformity COULD be merely a cover for the absence of inward dependence. Healthy churches emphasize the gradual, growing work of God’s Spirit within... Continue Reading
The Coming Collapse of “Marriage Equality”
One day the notion of same-sex marriage will be in the rearview mirror along with Prohibition and New Coke, with people saying, “What were we thinking?”
The Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship ever built, helmed by the most experienced captain of the North Atlantic, and considered unsinkable because of its reinforced hull and water-tight compartments. Not unlike the Titanic, the gay rights movement is a huge force riding the wave of tolerance and equality. But the movement is... Continue Reading
Mutual Stroking and the Minister
There is one great temptation for all in the ministry: “Mutual Stroking”
Come into the sacred ministry with eyes wide open. There will be days of sweetness. There will be seasons which are sour. Do not enter the battle thinking it to be a vacation. You might be really happy; you might be really popular; and you might become very rich. And as you serve the Lord, you might also... Continue Reading
Neither Traditional Nor Contemporary
Presenting a third way that shares some of the concerns of both the advocates of “contemporary” and “traditional” worship
The practice of the first 600 years of the church and for the 200 years of Reformation is more ancient than the 18th and 19th-century revisions that his approach seeks to preserve. To the “contemporary worship” folk I say: Perhaps historic worship would interest you more if you saw how truly radical it is? ... Continue Reading
Where’s the Justice at Justice?
It’s hard to fathom how the president who started with the press fluffing his pillows has ended up trying to suffocate the press with those pillows
“It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” Washington — Jim Risen is... Continue Reading
Who Will Get to Decide Definition of Marriage?
In a new and different twist, one judge thought the issue was for the legislature and voters to decide, not the courts.
Of all the appeals courts to hear this issue, the 6th Circuit seems more likely to uphold traditional marriage in a 2 to 1 decision. The 10th and 4th circuits have already found traditional marriage rules unconstitutional. And last week, Utah filed a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court to look at a... Continue Reading
Let the Banner Fly! Protecting the Free Speech Rights of Churches
The city’s banner regulations violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment
The City Banner Regulations allow certain groups to display banners containing any viewpoint those groups wish to communicate, except for commercial, political, or religious “advertisements.” Here, [the church] would like to do precisely what other local groups have done (like the Rotary Club and Jaycees), i.e., advertise for a local, community event that is open... Continue Reading
To Those Of You Who Don’t Like To Sing On Sunday
When we don’t feel like singing, the problem isn’t a singing problem, but a seeing problem.
If we could see God as he truly is, we would be utterly undone. We would be singing for joy, kneeling in adoration, and weeping in gratitude. If we saw Jesus in his resurrected, ascended glory, there would be no talk of, “Well, I’m more of the quiet type.” So what should we do when... Continue Reading
Dethroning Celebrity Pastors
How do we protect ourselves from the danger of celebrityism—on whatever level we might experience it?
Pastors who are not held accountable by the church are unprotected from themselves and the temptations of the devil. They are untethered in the storm of ministry and will not just drift with the wind, but will fly away on their own until they crash. Accountability isn’t possible if the pastor is the pope of... Continue Reading
The Gospel According to Cats and Dogs
Don’t trade the bad news of finicky love for the false gospel of unconditional affirmation.
The gospel according to cats offers no grace. The gospels according to dogs expects no obedience. Take your pick: a Christianity without mercy or a Christianity without repentance. Neither are truly Christian. Some people have a gospel according cats. And others have a gospel according to dogs. The gospel according to cats has God saying,... Continue Reading
Genocide in Iraq
What we are now seeing in 2014 is an attempted genocide carried out by the group calling itself Islamic State, or ISIS
Up till now, many in the West have been silent in the face of this evil. The Western media has been silent, not wanting to seem intolerant towards Islamic groups. They have not come to terms with the ideology of radical Islamic thought. Our government has done little until yesterday. Many Western Christians have been... Continue Reading
You Don’t Think Learning the Biblical Languages is Worth It? Think Again
Some students decide (very early on) that the biblical languages are just something to be endured. They are like a hazing ritual at a college fraternity.
Behind this “take your medicine” approach to the biblical languages are a couple of assumptions that need to be challenged. First, the characterization of pastoral ministry as somehow incompatible with the languages (due to busyness, or other causes), is an unfortunate misunderstanding of what a pastorate is all about. No doubt, pastors should be busy... Continue Reading
A Prayer for When We are Weak
Jesus was made weak so that I could be made strong.
When God looks at me, he doesn’t see my sin, he sees Christ. When I face weakness of any kind, Jesus is with me, through the power of the Spirit. He is strengthening and enabling me to go through trials so that I might grow in holiness. He is using my very own weaknesses to show... Continue Reading
The Sin in Our Cynicism
Cynicism is the prevailing posture of a post-Christian world, and sadly, it’s a posture in which many Christians too often find themselves.
Cynicism is that sneering bitterness toward all things true and deep. It’s the subtle contempt trying to contaminate the cheeriest of moments — that slow, thick smoke of pessimism toxifying the oxygen in the lungs of our hope, suffocating any glad-hearted embrace that God did something meaningful in our lives and strangling our childlike faith... Continue Reading
How Will Gay Marriage Impact Your Marriage?
The redefinition of marriage will bring with it a redefinition of marital norms
Gay marriage proponents frequently argue that gay marriage should be treated as equal with traditional marriage. Proponents put forth examples of gay couples and their domestic life together to illustrate the point that gay marriage is not different than any other kind of marriage. Rosin argues, however, that such examples are not the norm. She... Continue Reading
What Does Social Justice Look Like in an Abortion Culture?
Christians must ensure that the shuttering of abortion clinics is met with corresponding support mechanisms from churches and community groups to make abortion alternatives readily available.
Part of the role of government is to provide for the common defense – a protection of the population from those who would seek to do harm. With this understanding, I propose that protection of the unborn should be a priority of a just government. But what of social justice for the unborn? Earlier this August... Continue Reading
On Suicide, Gratitude And Compassion
The past few weeks have brought headlines that ask us to grapple with our deepest hurts and fears
“Christians can be clumsy when it comes to deciphering mental health issues. A thousand voices rushed to weigh in on the selfishness of suicide. Some mused on how a death like Williams’ illustrated the emptiness of life apart from a relationship with God. Those who expressed sorrow over his death were scolded for their blind... Continue Reading