The Pastor’s PTSD: When You Cannot Bounce Back After The Conflict Is Over

PTSD is a helpful analogy to understand what pastors go through in hard times in their ministries.

One defining feature of PTSD is that the fear lingers long after the painful event has passed. And this has parallels for us and our families. After a conflict, we can ask ourselves, Why haven’t we snapped out of it yet? But why should we expect to get over it as soon as the conflict burns... Continue Reading

Social Justice Training Or Institutionalized Intolerance?

Critics say push for tolerance courses teaches university students that disagreement equals discrimination

The idea [of a mandated “social justice” training course] is not novel—a growing number of universities require social justice courses or training for all students. Administrators claim the training is needed to encourage a collegial and welcoming environment on campus. But critics argue that instead of encouraging inclusivity, liberal social justice rhetoric often encourages intolerance.... Continue Reading

Top 10 Things I Wish Worship Leaders Would Stop Saying

Some annoying phrases worship leaders should avoid or stop using.

God showed up. I think I know what is meant by this phrase. It can be a way of saying “we felt emotionally touched during the music time,” which can be an okay thing—it would be weird for Christians to never feel engaged emotionally in worshiping God—but it can also be a way of equating... Continue Reading

7 Simple but Effective Strategies to Get You Through a Bad Day

The worst time to make decisions is when you’re upset or feeling down. Your emotions will lead you to decide things you’ll regret.

Actions are one thing. Decisions are another. The worst time to make decisions is when you’re upset or feeling down. Your emotions will lead you to decide things you’ll regret. So just decide not to decide anything that day. Here’s the rule I’ve adopted in life in and leadership when I’m in bad space: Don’t make tomorrow’s... Continue Reading

I’m With the Atheists — And Against the Lord’s Prayer

My goal is to stop the blasphemous use of the Prayer our Lord gave his people to pray

So I hope the atheists win. We are allies in the effort to stop practices we, for different reasons, believe are wrong. Their goal is to suppress what they see as a violation of the establishment clause. My goal is to stop the blasphemous use of the Prayer our Lord gave us to pray.  ... Continue Reading

The Excommunicated Member Who Thanked Me

Six years ago, our elders put Jack under church discipline. Last week, he thanked me for it.

On a recent Sunday, I saw Jack again for the first time in years. He was back in town for a short visit, and he came to church with his family… Then, after the worship service, he purposefully sought me out and looked me directly in the eye. Thank you . . . for, well, for... Continue Reading

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers

False teachers are not just false in their teaching, but also in their living.

No matter how twisted the teaching, no matter how publicly shamed the church may feel over the exposé of an unethical leader, no matter how dark the days become, no matter how helpless we may feel in guarding gospel doctrine and preserving gospel-worthy lives, we have this great sustaining hope: Jesus knows how to rescue... Continue Reading

Always Go To The Funeral

I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.

“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent... Continue Reading

Don’t Waste Your Suffering #3

Let me outline some things that can function as idols and intensify our suffering

Our idols from the past and future in particular maim God, chopping off his powerful arms, tearing out his loving heart, silencing his tender words. But worse, in all, we stand at the foot of the cross and look the Father in the eye and say, “It wasn’t enough for you to crucify your Son,... Continue Reading

2 Problems with Social Action in Missions

Is the church’s true work—that which only the the church can do—being unintentionally neglected?

To put it in mathematical terms, there are two problems with today’s rush to embrace social reform missions.  The Social Gospel is a problem of subtraction:  it subtracts essential theology—sin and repentance—from the church’s message.  Social reform projects, on the other hand, threaten the church in a different way:  by addition.  When resource-consuming social projects... Continue Reading

The Problem with the Islamic View of Paul (Qureshi)

Many critics of the NT – including Muslim scholars – say that Paul was the founder of Christianity, that Paul was deceptive, that Paul hijacked the church

“The common Muslim view of Paul has significant problems even when considered from an Islamic perspective.  First, what happened to the disciples?  How were they so easily overcome by Paul that either they were convinced by his trickery and followed him, or their voices were completely drowned out and there is no record of their... Continue Reading

Am I a Controlling Person?

Considering the myth that perfect control can be achieved and can guarantee a safe and successful life.

The price of this attempt to control is an inability to show or share feelings, reluctance to trust anyone, loneliness, the stress of being perfect in everything, the fear of embarrassment, an over-sensitive conscience, a phobia about trying anything new, and an inability to relax and enjoy the moment. In pages 10-12 of Too Perfect,... Continue Reading

Aging With Grace

Do I want to buy into what the world says is of value or what God values?

Do I want to just age gracefully (aka looking younger than one’s stated age) or age with grace, taking joy in this time of life and not try to push back the clock, as if that were possible? Proverbs says Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to... Continue Reading

X- Rated Counterfeit Grace and Impact of Spectacularly Boring Monogamy

Once again, it is the vulnerable picking up the tab for those who think they can afford to make their own rules

I’m not sure what a happy mom is. Does it take multiple sex partners to be happy? Does it take drug addiction? No, these are enslavement. I am not always happy, but I have the eternal joy of being redeemed from my sin, no longer a slave, and living under the reign of true grace.... Continue Reading

The Eternal Subordination of the Son: The Need for Trinitarian Clarity (Part 2)

The ERAS/ESS position seems to demand that both Father and Son have different wills

A final crucial point of Trinitarian doctrine that tells against ESS positions is the traditional insistence that the divine persons act inseparably. The acts of God are not subcontracted out to the persons individually. Rather, all of God does all that God does, in an indivisible manner. The Father works through the Son in the... Continue Reading

Imago Dei—Male and Female

A review of A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World by Katelyn Beaty

In western culture the onset of the industrial revolution in the early 18th century radically changed the role of women. When paid work moved increasingly outside the family and into the factories and office buildings, women were left in the home to care for children and other family members, and when they did enter the... Continue Reading

The Blessing of Humility (Book Review)

A book on humility would make a fitting final work for a man who exemplified that virtue

Bridges insists “A life of humility is not an option for a believer to choose or reject. It is a command of God.” To teach the beauty and value of humility as well as to start on down the path toward humility he turns to the Beatitudes saying, “these expressions of Christian character are a description of... Continue Reading

Are We Living in the Last Days?

I can’t say yes or no. So I will say, “Yes, and I don’t know.”

“When I look at two titans of theology like Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards and I see them making predictions and voicing their expectations of the near return of Jesus and being wrong, that gives me pause.”   We have to be careful not to be guilty of what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for—what I call... Continue Reading

“God Made Me for China” — Eric Liddell Beyond Olympic Glory

Eric Liddell ran for God's glory, but he was made for China. He desperately wanted the nation he loved to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Americans of my generation remember Eric Liddell largely because of Chariots of Fire, the 1981 British film written by Colin Welland, produced by David Puttnam, and directed by Hugh Hudson.”   Olympic glory abounds in Rio as the 31st modern Olympiad is well underway. This time, the event is living up to its hype, especially... Continue Reading

The Trinity: Praying to the Father through the Son by the Spirit

We come to a heavenly Father through the eternal intercession and heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ, our sympathetic high priest

“In the Covenant of Redemption, the Son voluntarily agreed to become incarnate and undergo the miseries of this life and the excruciating death of the cross and the victorious resurrection from the grave for us.  And when he ascended, he entered into the loving heavenly Father’s presence with our (now glorified) human nature where he... Continue Reading

The Secret to Preparing for Suffering

“It feels like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Though suffering is a sure reality in this world, we need not anxiously fear it. Instead we must prepare for it by establishing and exhorting our faith now, through the living and abiding Word of God.”   “It feels like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I sat on the edge of our bed... Continue Reading

Three Presbyterian Denominations Continue To Grow

Three Presbyterian denominations – ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America – are growing in both the number of churches and members, while the Presbyterian Church (USA) continues to decline

PCA membership increased by 11,816 for a total of 370,332 members and Sunday school attendance was also increased to 97,719 up by 1,096 from 2014. Taylor called this “the first increased in SS in a number of years.”   Three Presbyterian denominations – ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and... Continue Reading

The Most Important Book I’ve Read This Year

Tthe most important book I've read so far has been written by a secular Jewish social psychologist named Jonathan Haidt

“Countless reviews have appeared online, most of them glowingly positive, so I don’t want to rehash any of that here. But because I think his book is so helpful, I do want to draw attention to the three main points Haidt makes about the way we make moral decisions, and the three controlling metaphors he... Continue Reading

Should Children Sit Through “Big Church”?

There is a sense of solemnity and awe which children should experience

“What would be the impact if, for twelve years, the children saw dad with his face in his hands praying during the prelude to worship? What would be the impact if they saw mom and dad beaming with joy in singing the praises of God? Just think of it.”   Robert from Columbia, South Carolina... Continue Reading

America’s Lost Girls?

Whereas lust might chiefly lure entertainment-absorbed lost boys, vanity and pride generally hovers at the core of self-absorbed lost girls.

Affirmation of self-worth for America’s young girls is now measured by how many strangers over the Internet compliment or “Like” their latest Instagram photo. Unconditional love isn’t even a concept. These girls are used to earning love, or warped approval rather. Earn it by proving your worth with straight-As in school. Prove your worth to... Continue Reading

Missions: Ecclesiology With a Passport

Today a growing percentage of new missionaries are being sent to focus on social relief, with the church and the gospel tacked on as something of theological addendum.

It’s a dicey line that Stott and Keller have drawn for the church to walk.  In essence, they are saying, “We’re going to keep the gospel the main thing and focus the church on social reform; in fact, in a sense, social action is the gospel too.”  In theory, it’s a noble blend of word... Continue Reading

Eternal Subordination of the Son and CBMW

The evidence shows that ESS/EFS/ERAS has been embraced and taught by many who represent CBMW from the beginning.

I can appreciate his desire to distance the work of CBMW from the ESS debate, however, CBMW has been part of the debate, promoting ESS and ESS proponents from the very beginning. Unless and until CBMW makes a statement rejecting ESS and those who hold to it, they will continue to be associated with ESS... Continue Reading

When Jesus Brings a Sword

Every Christian soon finds that the most divisive thing he can do is tell someone else about their sin and their need for a Savior

Christian, you cannot be surprised when you experience division. You don’t need to seek this division or long for it or glory in it, but you do need to expect it. Jesus and his gospel bring division between those who embrace him and those who reject him. As Matthew Henry said, “Christ came to give... Continue Reading

God Remembers You

We forget to remember. But God never does.

God never forgets to sympathize with and comfort those who are hurting. To name just a few, he remembers to provide for you, comfort you, convict you, strengthen you, lead you, provide you with joy, apply the grace of Christ, keep you from apostasy, use you for his kingdom purposes, refresh you with his presence,... Continue Reading

Praying in the Whirlwind

Calvin offers four rules for prayer–four rules for when we need the basics all over again.

It should be clear by now that the Institutes‘ four rules for prayer (reverence, a deep sense of need, humility, and trust) cohere: knowing God as he has revealed himself magnifies our helplessness; and the humility that results takes God at his Word that he will hear the prayers of his children. The crux, according... Continue Reading