Spring Storms: Are You Ready?

Emergency preparedness experts ready us physically, but is your soul ready for them too? T

Notice the echoes of Psalm 29 at Pentecost. The mighty rushing wind and the fire that fell from heaven did not bring terror, but they led to boldness that only comes through the Holy Spirit. Thunderstorms in creation terrify the natural man, but for the Christian, every clap of thunder heard overhead ought to make... Continue Reading

Comfort Without the Clichés

Eight ways to help hurting friends

You cannot fix it. Loving the hurting opens us up to the temptation to see ourselves as the sufferer’s personal savior. But they do not need you—they need Christ. Comfort is about redirecting someone to seek what they need in Christ first and not in you. Comfort is not about always being there for someone;... Continue Reading

What Does Semper Reformanda Mean?

The part of religion that always needs reforming is the human heart.

The phrase ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda (the church reformed, always reforming) has been used so often as to make it a motto or slogan. People have used it to support a surprising array of theological and ecclesiastical programs and purposes. Scholars have traced its origins to a devotional book written by Jodocus van Lodenstein in... Continue Reading

Prayer Changes Things: Right? Or Does It?

My good God rules, controls, and ordains all things for my good and his glory. God invites me to pray to him and promises to respond to my prayers.

Our prayers don’t alter God’s sovereign plan. It’s not like we pray and God says, “Woah, hey now! Didn’t expect that one. Okay, gotta change things quickly. Time to shift things around. Let’s see, I’ll put this here and this here and…” God isn’t the ultimate project manager, trying to juggle the lives of 7... Continue Reading

Long-suffering Love

When I find it hard to love with long-suffering, I must remember Christ and his long-suffering love toward me.

This nuance or deeper meaning to “Love is patient” makes me look at the love I have for others in a new way. It’s easy to love those who treat me well, but those who don’t? That’s hard. It’s hard to love those who let me down time and time again. Those who disappoint me... Continue Reading

Why I Love the Psalms

Throughout history, the book of Psalms has been treasured by many Christians in many places.

In the ancient and medieval periods, the Psalms were studied and sung very frequently, especially by monastics. The great Athanasius (296–373) said, “I believe that a man can find nothing more glorious than these Psalms; for they embrace the whole life of man, the affections of his mind, and the motions of his soul. To... Continue Reading

9 Ways the New Covenant is better than the Old

It is easy for believers to lose sight of how privileged we are to participate in the New Covenant.

In the New Covenant we have confidence to draw near to Christ in service of his people. In the Old Covenant, the qualifications for ministry in the temple were largely external, and consisted of various washings and sacrifices—shadows, really. In the New Covenant, the qualifications for spiritual service are raised. While you would think this... Continue Reading

Living Under Authority

It’s all too easy for us to get caught up in an attitude that will bring us into open defiance of the authority of God.

The world has gone crazy in lawlessness, but we’re to be different. Wherever we find ourselves under authority—and we all find ourselves submitting to various authorities—we’re to submit to that authority. Nobody in this world is autonomous. Every one of us has not just one boss, but several bosses. Everyone I know, including me, is... Continue Reading

Hierarchy and Subordination vs. Headship and Household Mission

Headship existed before the fall because Adam and Eve were in a household, the garden-temple-household of Eden.

Eph. 5 teaches proper headship of the husband, which is far different than ruling over a wife and demanding submission from her. Christ as the head of God’s household, the church, did what man never could, and now man is restored to lay down his own life in service to his wife and family. Interestingly... Continue Reading

Who Are “the Least of These”?

“The least of these” refers to other believers in need—specifically, itinerant Christian teachers dependent on other Christians for hospitality and support.

Matthew 25 is about social justice in the sense that it is about caring for the needy. But the needy in view are fellow Christians, especially those who depend on our hospitality and generosity for their ministry. “The least of these” is not a blanket statement about the church’s responsibility to meet the needs of... Continue Reading