What Opposition to Religious Freedom Really Means
RFRA does not grant anyone the right to “discriminate” or deny service to anyone else.
This is particularly problematic when widespread ignorance of religious motivation is joined with a zealotry that can only be called religious: for the stamping out of all dissent against the sexual revolution. The sexual revolutionaries are, by all accounts, winning the public debate in American life on matters of sexual freedom, right down to the... Continue Reading
Sunday’s Coming: The Resurrection and Believers
What implications does the resurrection have for the people of God?
We cannot separate the death and resurrection of Christ, friends. Both are necessary for our justification. Because just as His death was the payment for sin, so was His resurrection the certification and vindication of that payment. If Christ had truly made full payment for sin such that He could ransom His people—if He had... Continue Reading
Seven Essential Lessons from an Evangelical Scholar in the Secular Academy
A warning about the lure of the academy and the dangers of always trying to come up with something new
There is a perception out there that the academy is a community committed to neutrality, tolerance, and intellectual freedom. Professors are free to have whatever beliefs they find compelling and supported by the evidence. Right? While there are still faculty (and institutions) that share this approach, there are many who do not. And Oden discovered... Continue Reading
Helping Children Benefit from the Sermon
As a pastor I often get the question, “Do you have any advice for helping my kids to benefit from the sermon?”
This is a question that I really appreciate because it recognizes the importance of the preaching of the Word of God and our reception of it. It recognizes that even the children are to hear, and to best of their ability, understand what is being preached. What follows are some things that I have done... Continue Reading
On Muffin Tops, Billboards, and Beauty
What is our expectation for being loved and accepted as beautiful?
We don’t only want to be beautiful for a compliment or a cheap thrill. And we don’t just want to notice beauty from afar. Lewis acknowledges something we all ache for. We want to be known and accepted. And we want to participate in beauty. Beauty isn’t something that we horde, but something we share... Continue Reading
How To Wake Up
Matthew Henry gives eight reasons why we should wake up with prayer.
In the morning we are addressing ourselves to the work of the day, and therefore are concerned by prayer to seek unto God for His presence and blessing. “Pray for God’s presence and blessing…for our families…for wisdom to manage our callings…for opportunities to do good….for preservation from evil.” In a sermon on How to Begin... Continue Reading
How Do I Endure Through the Difficulties of Pastoral Ministry?
Never forget the debt to mercy we owe.
Dear brothers, if you find yourself discouraged, angry, wondering why some of your people do and say what they do and you can’t take it any more…do not forget the debt to mercy you owe. It is a debt greater than you and I could ever payback. It is a debt that should weigh heavier on... Continue Reading
From a Symbol of Fear to a Symbol of Faith
What was it about His death that transformed the cross from a symbol of horror into a symbol of hope?
If you want to know the true perspective on the seriousness of sin, however, look to the cross. Look at the extreme nature of the solution to this problem. If sin were “no big deal,” would God have sent His only begotten Son to die a shameful death on a cross to deal with it?... Continue Reading
Southern Baptists and the Sufficiency of Scripture
The books on heavenly tourism are not the only problem lining the shelves of Lifeway.
Lifeway promotes a host of books and studies that purport to help people hear the voice of God. Many of these books list Scripture as just one of many ways that God speaks to His people. Clearly there are Christians who do believe that God still gives direct revelation outside the mediation of his Word.... Continue Reading
17 Ways To Glorify God
Thomas Watson in his book, Body of Divinity, offers a commentary on "What is the Chief End of Man?"
Thomas Watson, in his book Body of Divinity, offers a commentary on this question and its answer. In doing so Watson offers 17 ways in which the Christian glorifies God. I will give the bullet-point list of ways that Watson lists along with one quote and one Scripture reference that he mentions in his larger... Continue Reading
Nine Traits of Church Bullies
Church bullies have always been around. But they seem to be doing their work more furiously today than in recent history.
Church bullies are common in many churches. They wreak havoc and create dissension. They typically must have an “enemy” in the church, because they aren’t happy unless they are fighting a battle. They tend to maneuver to get an official leadership position in the church, such as chairman of the elders or deacons or treasurer.... Continue Reading
Discrimination Against Gay People in Indiana?
Indiana's law does not legalize discrimination against anyone.
Critics allege that this law allows citizens to “discriminate” against gay people. The accusation is completely misinformed, and the media have played a big part in the dissemination of ignorance about what this law actually does and doesn’t do. I won’t rehash the law here, but I will direct you to Joe Carter’s helpful explainer... Continue Reading
Our confession of hope influences how we handle our everyday lives, love our families, and in turn influence all those around us.
While the compilation of these many acts of love certainly gives credibility to our position of influence, it’s our unseen confession of hope that helps us to persevere, pointing our children to the true fixer, Jesus Christ. Mothers know we need to rely on God’s strength. Our confession of hope is not in our own... Continue Reading
Commending Others as Christ Does
My church is full of "sister Phoebes," and I want to work on commending them more.
Sometimes, I have such high standards for my Christian sisters that I fail to recognize the daily steps of obedience these women are taking. I forget how far they have come in their Christian journey. My attitude needs to be more like Christ’s. He knows our imperfections and loves us in spite of them. He sees and commends the good deeds of... Continue Reading
What Dawkins, Hawking, and Harris Know About God
In Romans 1:18-32 God tells us what every atheist knows about God.
What hope! As we evangelize, we are not evangelizing blank slates. We are not starting with total ignorance. We are going to people who already know much about God. There are already mental sockets prepared for the truth of God’s Word to fit into and to explain. How would you like to peer into... Continue Reading
Three Crucial Truths to Keep Me From Going Crazy
Change is a good and God-glorifying thing.
Philippians 1:6 puts it this way: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” That is such sweet, sanity-giving news. God will do it. He will finish the good work he started in me, and he will... Continue Reading
Who The Unchurched Really Are
The most unchurched demographic is the working class, the lower income non-college-educated folks
“Certainly, we need to proclaim the Gospel to everyone, and I don’t want to downplay the importance of evangelizing millennials, urbanites, college students, and everyone else. But doesn’t the church need to give some attention to the main demographic where the unchurched are?” Most evangelism programs, church growth tactics, and other attempts to reach... Continue Reading
What Christianophobia Looks Like In America
New Study: Champions of religious freedom tell Christians, 'Keep your faith to yourselves'
“As this survey illustrates, animosity toward Christians involves racial, educational, and economic factors; the people most likely to hold negative views of conservative Christians also belong to demographic groups with high levels of social power. Rich, white, educated Americans are major influencers in media, academia, business, and government, and these are the people most likely... Continue Reading
We Cannot Love God If We Do Not Love His Word
If we want to do the will of the Father, we need to study the Word of the Father
“It is very sad to me that in today’s sophisticated Western culture, people are more familiar with the twelve signs of the Zodiac than with the twelve tribes of Israel or the twelve Apostles. Our world likes to see itself as sophisticated and technological, but it remains filled with superstition. Christians are not immune to... Continue Reading
NBCI’s 34,000 Black Churches Breaks Fellowship with Presbyterian Church (USA) Urges African American Protestant Denominations to Sever Ties
PCUSA's manipulation represents a universal sin against the entire church and its members
“The Presbyterian General Assembly, the top legislative body of the PSUSA, voted last June to revise the constitutional language defining marriage. This arbitrary change of Holy Scripture is a flagrantly pretentious and illegitimate maneuver by a body that has no authority whatsoever to alter holy text.” The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based... Continue Reading
Hymns We Should Sing More Often: Holy God, We Praise Your Name
"Holy God, We Praise Your Name" is based on the fourth century Latin hymn "Te Deum Laudamus"
“This is the first installment of an intermittent series I’ve called “Hymns We Should Sing More Often.” The aim is to remind us (or introduce for the first time) excellent hymns that are probably not included in most church’s musical canon.” A few people reading this post can remember World War II. The rest... Continue Reading
Jesus reminds us of the futility of our anxiety
“Look at how awesome our Lord is! Consider how amazingly gracious that He wants us to know He is in control, He loves us, He provides and protects us, and He commands us, “do not be anxious about your life.” If we are to be concerned or preoccupied about anything, it should be the things... Continue Reading
Millennials Are The ‘Don’t Judge Generation’ On Sexual Morality
Most young adults hold views on moral issues that are a long way from what major religions preach
“What we see running through the answers is that where principles of fairness come up, millennials want to see equal access to health services, abortion and contraception. They think people should have individual freedom to make decisions.” Most young adults of every religion, race and ethnicity support access to affordable contraception. And 56 percent... Continue Reading
Tattoos For The Soul
The tattoos that cover my chest and arms speak to the faith I hold dear
“To know God is to believe who he has revealed himself to be in Christ, to rest in his grace, and to obey him in faith. In all of this, we are dependent on the Holy Scripture, and are compelled to affirm and articulate the truths revealed therein. This is where confessions of faith play... Continue Reading
My 2 Cents: Feminism, Stereotypes, and Experiences
It's not experiences or stereotypes that should guide our decisions
When we move past experience and stereotypes to biblical truth, we find that there are some things that are absolutes on which we should not budge. And there are other things that are matters of discernment and liberty. We should be kind but firm on the one, and gracious and flexible on the other. Last... Continue Reading
5 Reasons Your Church Should Be Smaller
Here are five reasons your church might be better off focusing on faithfulness instead of success… even if it that means it will shrink.
When Jim Collins wrote his renowned leadership manual Good to Great, church leaders ate it up. His central thesis, “Good is the enemy of Great,” contends that leaders who become satisfied with a good organization will cease to press toward greatness. My thesis is a complete reversal of Collins’s. I say that Great is the enemy... Continue Reading
God The Savior Of All?
One of the biggest and most important questions we can ask is “Does God save everyone?”
If God saves such a great number of people, such a great diversity of people, with such a great salvation – from sin, guilt, death, and hell – but they must put their faith in Christ to experience this, that will get us out of bed in the morning, that will fuel evangelistic passion, and... Continue Reading
Ministers, not Masters
The truly loving shepherd of Christ’s sheep renounces all forms of despotism, domineering, and dictatorial power.
We who would claim to be ministers of the Gospel in the service of Christ’s flock need to be on guard against that domineering spirit in our own hearts. It is so easy for those who are naturally gifted as leaders to fall prey to this temptation. You give a prideful and insecure man a... Continue Reading
Children’s Ministry – A Litmus Test Of Biblical Faithfulness In The Church…
If you want to get an idea of how a church views Scripture, look at how they teach it to the little ones
Is your Children’s Ministry predominantly teaching the kids about Christian principles and values? What kind of lessons are being taught? Is it mostly about being more kind, honest or obedient? Do they teach the full counsel of God? Are they telling kids about who God is? Is Christ and His grace at the center of the teaching?... Continue Reading
Monday Morning Ministry Blues Should Fade Fast
This balance of work and prayer refreshes and refocuses us.
Monday has come again. I have worked hard last week, praying and preparing. I worked hard yesterday preaching God’s word. Now I wake up today and am reminded that it is God that gives the increase (1 Cor. 3.6-7). He DOES give the increase. He has grown his people and He will continue to grow... Continue Reading