A Word to Famous Pastors
The church is both blessed and cursed by its well-known pastors.
You have been given a public platform. You occupy the stage of various conferences. You help lead national and perhaps international ministries. People listen to you when you speak and write. Those men who pastor 100 souls will be responsible for much. Some of you serve churches of multiplied thousands. You will give an account... Continue Reading
The Sin We Don’t Speak Of
Everyone's is different, but the effects on us are the same. And when it rears its ugly head we are undone.
In God’s eyes, sin is sin. No amount of human ordering changes that for him. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). This sin is the great equalizer before him. There are no sins that are beyond his reach for cleansing and there are no sins that make... Continue Reading
Divine Mathematics of Salvation
Jesus plus anything else that you seek to add to His saving work will end in eternal loss.
Paul ties the everything together at the end of this letter when he explained that the Judaizers were seeking to avoid persecution for the cross of Christ, and were wanting to boast in the flesh (i.e. in human accomplishments). Put basically, it appears that the great error of the Judaizers was not merely seeking to add circumcision... Continue Reading
If the Lord Marks Iniquity, Who Should Stand?
If God requires perfect righteousness and perfect holiness to survive His perfect judgment, then we are left with a serious problem.
In our day we have witnessed the eclipse of the gospel. That dark shadow that obscures the light of the gospel is not limited to Rome or liberal Protestantism; it looms heavily within the Evangelical community. The very phrase “preaching the gospel” has come to describe every form of preaching but the preaching of the... Continue Reading
Why the Prosperity Gospel Is the Worst Pyramid Scheme Ever
The truly good news is this: Jesus’s dreams for us are weightier than the pursuit of health, wealth, and personal success.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe wholeheartedly God wants to bless me. I believe God favors me. I believe he wants me to have the best possible life. But I also believe the good news of Jesus is far better than the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel climbs over people; Jesus descends to pick us up. The... Continue Reading
A “Repentant” Lance Armstrong “Would do it again!”
To top it off, he thinks he still deserves the seven Tour de France titles he was stripped of.
Yet, that’s what an allegedly “repentant” Lance Armstrong wants us to do. He deceived millions of people, told innumerable lies, stole titles from other cyclists, and made megabucks from books about his “miracle” come-back. But he now thinks he should be forgiven, and gives three reasons in this interview with the BBC: Imagine someone deceived... Continue Reading
Missed Motherhood: A Casualty of the Sexual Revolution
Susan Shapiro’s article at The New York Times is as sad as anything I’ve read in a long time.
After entering her forties in a more secure situation, she decided to try and get pregnant only to find that she couldn’t. She had always said that she didn’t want the life of her mother, who begin having children at a very young age and who defied feminist expectation by becoming a stay-at-home mom. Shapiro... Continue Reading
God’s Grace in the Obstacles We Face
Because of our wayward hearts, God often places obstacles in our path.
When God places obstacles in our path, it is for our discipline and for our good. It is an act of love toward us as his children. Just as we withhold things from our own children that we know are bad for them, God does the same for us. But unlike us, God’s ways are... Continue Reading
Generalists Do Talk to Strangers
Based on my experience, here are some general hints that will help in meeting new people.
Generalists know a little about a lot. And, generalists, even if they are introverts, can talk to strangers for a few minutes. So, these people can be an asset in welcoming a wide variety of church visitors. Put some generalists to work as greeters. I am a generalist, and I enjoy reaching out to church visitors. What are the strengths of a... Continue Reading
Cross Fit Godliness
Genuine godliness comes by spiritual exercise
“With CrossFit-like enthusiasm, in 1 Timothy 4:7–8, Paul calls his son in the faith and other readers to the gym, and distinguishes useless workouts from useful ones. “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way,... Continue Reading
Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans were uneasy about the morality of black slavery in the decades that preceded the Civil War
“Some conservative white evangelicals believed that the Bible endorsed some systems of slavery but not that found in America. Most, however, felt that any sort of vigorous opposition to slavery struck at the biblical bedrock of their faith. And therefore they could not embrace true antislavery positions.” Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans... Continue Reading
Nakedness Equals Shame
The very first psychological self-awareness of guilt and shame was an awareness of nudity
“The motif of clothing and nakedness is at the heart of our understanding of redemption. Our own righteousness, we are told, is like rotten, filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). The only way any of us can stand in God’s presence is to be stripped of those rags and then clothed afresh in the garments of Christ’s... Continue Reading
“Top Down” or “Grassroots” Ministry?
Two basic ways in which leadership in a church can encourage healthy "every member" and "grassroots" ministry are the establishment of committees and small groups
“Broader churches often tend to focus on “every member ministry”–while minimizing the need for robust pastoral ministry–while more stringently Reformed churches tend to focus on the primacy of pastoral ministry–to the minimizing of vibrant congregational life and ministry. Both approaches often appear to be overreactions to perceived deficiencies or abuses in the outworking of the... Continue Reading
Christian Lawyers And Doctors Need Not Apply
It has become a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada
“This direct attack on Christian lawyers is meant to create a chilling effect in the legal profession. Lawyers who work for law firms seeking to do business with these corporations will hesitate, and perhaps even be barred from voicing their religious and moral beliefs, or for acting for religious clients in human rights cases dealing... Continue Reading
We Confess A Holy Catholic Church
Reformed churches confess that God has always had a people, a Christ-confessing covenant community
“According to Ignatius, the defining characteristic of catholicity, i.e., of truly universal Christianity is the presence of Christ. There’s little evidence that he conceived the office of overseer (επισκοπος) in monarchical or hierarchical terms. There’s no evidence of the supremacy of the pastor of the Roman congregation.” In Heidelberg Catechism 54 we say: 54.... Continue Reading
Shrinking Job Descriptions in the Church
The modern-day church has been guilty of shrinking the job description of our pastors and elders
“We have been focused on golden-tongued speakers, impressive and comfortable buildings, and membership growth, and have forsaken the personal touch. We are better known as preachers and speakers, and lesser known as shepherds and pastors. And our elders are viewed more as members of boards of directors and not as brothers who shepherd.” Preaching is one of the roles of the... Continue Reading
The Audacity Of Jeb Bush: A Governor Goes All In On The Terri Schiavo Case
Bush used his administration to battle in court after court, in Congress, and in the White House
“Time has moved on, but the Schiavo ordeal is a stark reminder of how conservative the governor was and how he could dig in when he felt he was right, as was almost always the case. The most wrenching and human crisis Bush endured in his two terms provides a window into a leader who... Continue Reading
Divided By Reason (Book Review)
Worthen narrates a gripping tale, cohering a clunky, disparate constellation of religious groups
“Worthen finds this intellectual project of postwar evangelicalism largely to be a failure, and she explains why. It produced pseudo-intellectuals like Lindsay and Schaeffer. It fashioned a theological scheme of inerrancy that seemed primarily intended to police ecclesiastical boundaries. And, in the end, the movement’s constituents did not agree on much.” In 1994, historian... Continue Reading
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 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?
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