Refusing to be Encouraged

There are times when we refuse to be encouraged or comforted or complimented.

But there is a sense in which we want to retain personal responsibility. Sure, Christ is the one who strengthens me. He is the one in whom I can all things. But I am the one doing those things. I chose to undertake them and to put out the effort to do them well. Like... Continue Reading

5 Mistakes More Likely To Be Made By Small Churches Than Big Churches

Different sizes of churches serve different functions. And they face different challenges.

Fixing these errors may not bring numerical growth. There are plenty of healthy, missional, strategic small churches that have none of these issues, but still find that their greatest contribution to Christ and his church comes in a smaller package. Numerical growth is not the goal. Health is. Sometimes that health will produce numerical growth,... Continue Reading

God Still Uses Ordinary Means And Ordinary Men

Through the ordinary means of ordinary men, God used preachers.

Through the ordinary means of ordinary men, God used preachers. These preachers gave them a reason to live. They freed them up to live by giving them a kingdom bigger than their own. We shrink-wrap our world and vision to the size of our lives. God used the prophets to increase their kingdom view–from the... Continue Reading

The Revolution Demands Unconditional Surrender

The terms of moral surrender have been delivered to believers; they are absolute and unconditional.

How to deal with the losers? Here we meet the reality of liberal judgment in a day of liberal ascendancy. Tushnet argues that conservatives should now be met with a hard line and a demand for total surrender—no accommodation whatsoever. Don’t even try to be nice to moral enemies, Tushnet commands, since their arguments have... Continue Reading

Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable

Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.

On Palm Sunday, the guard had redirected a suicide bomber through the perimeter metal detector, where the terrorist detonated. Likely the first to die in the blast, Faheem saved the lives of dozens inside the church. “I’m not angry at the one who did this,” said his wife, children by her side. “I’m telling him,... Continue Reading

Millennials Want Jobs and Education, Not Marriage and Kids

A large majority of young Americans now believe more than half, 55%, believe marrying and having children is not very important.

A large majority of young Americans now believe education and economic accomplishments are extremely important parts of adulthood, and more than half — 55% — believe marrying and having children is not very important. That mentality differs from the values of 40 years ago. In 1975, 8 in 10 people were married by the time they turned 30. Now,... Continue Reading

5 Facts On How Americans View The Bible And Other Religious Texts

Five key facts about Americans and their holy texts

In 2014, about four-in-ten Christians (42%) said reading the Bible or other religious materials is an essential part of what being Christian means to them personally. An additional 37% say reading the Bible is important but not essential to being a Christian, and 21% say reading the Bible is not an important part of their Christian... Continue Reading

Glorious Traitors

We are born into the world “in Adam,” that is, as glorious traitors

“Total depravity does not mean that we are as bad as we can possibly be. After all, even Gentiles sometimes follow the dictates of their conscience (Rom. 2:14–16). Rather, it means that just as God’s image encompasses our whole self, the bondage of sin does as well.”   Secular humanism has no way of explaining... Continue Reading

Can We Overcome “Other Ministry Envy”?

No one church or ministry can single-handedly fulfill the Great Commission

“There are probably many things to say about this subject, but I have identified five reasons why I think this is such a struggle for Christians—and Christian leaders in particular. Additionally, I’d like to share several practices I believe the Lord has led me into to work against this tendency in my own heart, as... Continue Reading

Parents’ Mobile Use Harms Family Life, Say Secondary Pupils

An overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life

“Of pupils who had asked their parents to put down their phones, 46% said their parents took no notice while 44% felt upset and ignored. Despite this, only a minority of parents (10%) believed their mobile use was a concern for their children – although almost half (43%) felt they spent too much of their... Continue Reading

3 Things Chinese Pastors Can Learn from the Reformers

The Reformation is like a huge mine in which we can dig and from which we can learn

“In the past three to four years, more and more Chinese ministers have started practicing expository preaching week after week. The consequences have been remarkable and encouraging: congregations engage more with worship because they can anticipate the passage that will be preached the coming Sunday; people see the beauty of scripture and the gospel, which... Continue Reading

How to Fight for Faith in the Dark

Depression usually causes a person to feel only gloom and despair, no matter what they’re thinking

When all you feel is gloom, it becomes very hard to have hope, no matter what you read in Scripture. As someone who labored under a lot of depression and anxiety throughout my life, I know that it usually doesn’t help a depressed person to say, “Just believe God’s word more!”   I’ve often said... Continue Reading

Five Common but Unreasonable Requests Church Members Make of Pastors

Most pastors will encounter all five of these requests in the course of their ministries

“Accept a gift with unreasonable expectations. The most recent was the offer of a $10,000 gift if the church signed a document agreeing to keep fresh flowers on his grave in perpetuity. I assume he meant the request to be posthumous.”   “I need you to do a funeral for my cat.” Yes, that is... Continue Reading

Blasphemy Blocks Re-Election of Indonesia’s Only Christian Governor

But after losing Jakarta race, Ahok finds some favor in court

“Ahok is very positive. He says that everything is in God’s hands and that everything has a purpose,” said Lucille Talusan, CBN’s Indonesia correspondent. “Even if he is under trial for what is happening in his life, he believes that one day God is going to bring him back to his calling. The first thing... Continue Reading

We Need More ‘Parlour Preachers’

The 19th-century English pastor and author Charles Bridges writes in his book The Christian Ministry that we need more “parlour preaching”

“Some today have used the term Gospel Fluency to describe a similar work (see Jeff Vanderstelt’s Gospel Fluency). In short, ones who are fluent in the gospel have their mother tongue in the gospel. They see and hear the world through the gospel filter and demonstrate an ability to speak the gospel into the everyday... Continue Reading

TULIP and Reformed Theology: Irresistible Grace

God, and God alone, has the power to change the disposition of the soul and the human heart to bring us to faith.

If, indeed, we are dead in sins and trespasses, if, indeed, our wills are held captive by the lusts of our flesh and we need to be liberated from our flesh in order to be saved, then in the final analysis, salvation must be something that God does in us and for us, not something... Continue Reading

Why the Lord’s Prayer Is So Offensive

Anyone who thinks that isn’t offensive simply hasn’t been paying attention.

The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy, or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is deeply subversive, upsetting, and offensive—from the first phrase to the last.   Several months ago there was a kerfuffle over an advertisement in which the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by... Continue Reading

Questioning a Question: A False Dichotomy that Isn’t

Is there a false dichotomy between orthodoxy (right doctrine) and orthopraxis (right practice)?

First, there is and ought to be a priority of orthodoxy over orthopraxy for the simple reason that there can be no God-pleasing orthopraxy without orthodoxy. In the New Testament the indicative (what is – the facts) goes before the imperative (what should be – the commands). This is evident as well in the Old... Continue Reading

“The Bible Answer Man” Turns East: An Unlikely Conversion

Eastern Orthodoxy accepts tradition (though not the authority of the pope) as an equal source of revelation along with the Scriptures.

In an interview, Hank Hanegraaff has said “Nothing has changed in my faith.” But it appears that he will have to broaden his source of authority beyond the Scriptures as he answers the questions of his listeners. We hope he reconsiders his decision and realizes that he has chosen a path that has misled many.  ... Continue Reading

The Roller Coaster Effect of Ministry

The roller coaster effect is true in a heightened sense for those who are called to parachute plant or plant in an extremely spiritually difficult part of the world, but it is equally true for all ministers of the Gospel who are seeking to carry out a God-honoring ministry of the word.

One of the ways that we prepare ourselves is by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and not on our experiences. We have to guard our hearts from getting too excited about the highs and too discouraged by the lows. I have had some of the highest highs and lowest lows literally occur a day... Continue Reading

Whatever You Do, Do It to the Glory of God

If we think that the God of Scripture has no relation to plastic or political elections, we err and rob God of his glory.

The Bible is sufficient for the purpose God gave it. It is concerned with our redemption. But it is not only concerned with our redemption. It is also concerned with God’s glory and our faith and life. Paul also tells us that what is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). If we study the... Continue Reading

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers

Persevere in loving, praying, and trusting that God loves your children even more than you do.

Implement basic counseling principles into your parenting during these years. Ask lots of questions, but also study body language and mood (remember the raging hormones), and realize that sometimes simply your presence and listening ear are all that is required, while at other times you will find golden opportunities for conversation.   I have had... Continue Reading

Places Preach

Church architecture affects our view of the gospel.

We seem more concerned with the amenities of our buildings than the God we have gathered to worship. Instead of thinking about the message of our buildings we focus on HD jumbotrons, a bigger parking lot, an organic coffee shop.   Your church building preaches a gospel whether you know it or not. It portrays... Continue Reading

Asking, Seeking, Knocking

When you pray, be a suppliant, be a seeker, and be serious. True prayer demands all three.

Literally translated, it would read, “Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and it will be opened to you” (v. 7). All three verbs are present imperatives, and it is likely that they are much more than just a repetition of the... Continue Reading

Preachers: God Will Make the Dents

Don’t get discouraged preacher, study-pray-and preach…God will make the dents.

This is where Jonathan Edwards is very helpful. When talking about his goal or objective in preaching he says this: “The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered….Preaching,... Continue Reading

Cornelius Van Til Ruined America? A Response To Molly Worthen

Who knew theologian Cornelius Van Til is the reason for the demise of American society?

In her efforts to discredit conservative evangelicals, Worthen overreaches. Van Til is not the “forerunner of modern cultural relativism.” Van Til believed in God-defined objective reality, and held that everyone can see true things and come to right conclusions. It is only, however, when we presuppose that God is the foundation of truth that we... Continue Reading

Regularly Pray For Your Pastor

Do your pastor a true kindness today. Pray for your pastor.

In some ways, pastors are sustained by the prayers of their people. Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers of pastors. When it comes to why you should pray for your pastor, take the words of Charles Spurgeon to heart: “No man can do... Continue Reading

Update from Western Isles Presbytery on Iain D Campbell

The Western Isles Presbytery has completed an investigation into allegations about the conduct of the late Rev. Dr Iain D Campbell and issued a public statement.

The Presbytery has now sadly concluded that elements of Dr Campbell’s moral conduct were contrary to, and censurable by, the Word of God (Bible), and seriously inconsistent with that expected of a Christian minister….The Presbytery will continue to consider how to bring this sad episode to a conclusion and what we may learn from it.  ... Continue Reading

We Few, We Miserable Few

Claremont students’ missive misses the mark.

The manifest, written by “We, few of the Black students here at Pomona College and the Claremont Colleges,” was triggered by a statement on academic freedom by outgoing Pomona College President David Oxtoby.  Oxtoby’s statement in turn responded to a student blockade that tried to shut down a talk on policing I was supposed to... Continue Reading

The Crisis of Western Civ

The faith in the West collapsed from within. It’s amazing how slow people have been to rise to defend it.

This Western civ narrative came with certain values — about the importance of reasoned discourse, the importance of property rights, the need for a public square that was religiously informed but not theocratically dominated. It set a standard for what great statesmanship looked like. It gave diverse people a sense of shared mission and a... Continue Reading