Speaking The Truth In Love: Five Deceptive Myths
We cannot truly love without speaking truth truthfully; and we can’t speak truth truthfully without loving intentionally and thoughtfully.
Obviously truth spoken in love is to be done thoughtfully, timely and with words carefully chosen, while creating an environment of love for effective communication. If a doctor knows you have a terminal condition and loves you he will not be silent. He will thoughtfully tell you the truth. Likely he will take you aside... Continue Reading
Thoughts on Note-Taking During Sermons
Hearing a sermon is not like hearing a lecture. It is your meeting with the living Christ.
Ditching the note-taking preaching ethos both elevates sermons and properly diminishes them. It treats a sermon as proclamation aided by the Spirit, which gives the sermon a supernatural weight. On the other hand, by treating all words in a sermon as expendable to memory, it puts the preacher’s words in the right place compared to... Continue Reading
The Bithynian Option
Peter's letter to the Bithynians and the history of the Christian church in that particular region suggest several principles and insights for how to engage a fluid and foreign culture as resident outsiders
Ambassadors as a rule do not join municipal steering committees. They are not citizens. Neither do they move into caves and preach prophetic denunciations from a safe distance. They live in the culture as representatives of a foreign power. That is the essence and substance of the Bithynian Option. It understands the Christian mission as... Continue Reading
I Hate the Fall
The only thing that comforts me in the midst of this dark and fallen world is the fact that God hates sin and evil even more than I
Dear friend, we all should hate sin and evil. We should hate the Fall. But even as we hate it, we have hope. God has answered the problem of evil by crushing his own Son. And one day, the Son will return to restore this world and make all things new. On that day, the... Continue Reading
Parachutes, Survivors, and a Challenge
In order to deal with the discomfort, sometimes the existence of abuse is doubted, and as a result, the existence of its survivors is doubted too.
If this is not “your” issue, I respect that. Then please don’t make pronouncements about what is or is not domestic violence out of ignorance. This is a life and death matter, and you don’t know who is listening and taking your words to heart. Do the research and weigh the evidence. Your attitude and... Continue Reading
Ministering to Pedophiles
Addressing the pedophile’s deception and showing what true repentance and ministry to them should look like
A pedophile who refuses to do these things is not repentant and should be put out of the church immediately. The pastor must also make it clear that any ministry the pedophile receives shall not come at the expense of his victims. Just as salvation comes first to the Jew, then to the gentile (Romans... Continue Reading
When the Devil Points a Gun at You
As the gunman shouted to the Christians to make themselves known! What would you do?
These are important moments. People rarely focus on their death. And though the temptation is often to fear, fear that the next person I talk to could hate Christianity, we cannot stay silent. We must keep pressing and shining the light of the Gospel on this lost world. God is in the business of bringing... Continue Reading
Caught in the Spotlight: Christian Leaders Who Mishandle Sexual Abuse Disclosures
Instead of focusing time and energy in doing the right thing when a spotlight is turned on, many leaders will focus time and energy trying to get them turned off, or at the very least pointed elsewhere
Victims are marginalized when leaders demand that they not share their stories in the manner in which they have decided, publicly or privately. This tactic is deceptively clever because it attempts to paint a bold survivor as an insensitive perpetrator in a disgusting attempt to shame the survivor into turning off the spotlight and putting... Continue Reading
Don’t Try to Impress God
One of the easiest traps into which believers fall is the trap of trying to impress God.
Another way we try to impress God is through busyness. I am more and more convinced that there are lots of people out there, even in the church (and maybe especially in the church!) who think that they will either get into heaven by busyness, or will get a substantially greater reward of another kind... Continue Reading
The Fourth Person of the Trinity?
“Don’t try to stand in the place of God and do what only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can do in someone’s life.”
While we want to be faithful as pastors and spiritually fruitful congregants to help those entrusted to our care–as well as members of the same body, we must ever guard against allowing ourselves to slide into a role that God hasn’t given to us–a role that only He possesses. When I was an intern... Continue Reading