Should Churches have a Vision?
Or, more specifically, should they have vision statements?
You need some sense of where you’re going long term—that could be supporting missionaries, it could be sending people to pastor elsewhere, it could be planting churches or sites, it could be growing until you’re of a size to do a particular thing (though I’m wary of this last one, because growth soon becomes its own goal;... Continue Reading
Joining the Battle of the Ages Through Prayer
J.O. Fraser has inspired many Christians to take up the ministry of intercession, especially for missionaries.
“We are, as it were, God’s agents—used by Him to do His work, not ours. We do our part, and then can only look to Him, with others, for His blessing. If this is so, then Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field. I believe it... Continue Reading
Can I Lose My Salvation? (The Doctrine of Perseverance)
Perseverance has more to do with God’s work than with our own.
It’s Christ’s Word that warns, guides, teaches, and encourages us as we persevere in faith. We may think of Peter, who, after having fallen away for a time, was restored to Christ on the strength of His truth spoken to him (John 21:15–17). If we wish to endure, it’s imperative we become children of the... Continue Reading
Leaders Are to Be Holy, Righteous, and Good
How the 5th Commandment Reminds Us of a Basic Political Truth
Whether you are a Superior by choice (Father/Mother/Politician) or by call (Minister/Elder/Deacon) there is a seriousness to the responsibility you take on by answering the bell. There are no accidents in God’s kingdom. Acting as one in charge means you are in charge. As Hebrews 13:17 reminds us our King of Kings will hold us to... Continue Reading
6 Things You Need to Know about Unanswered Prayer
We are to be thankful to God that he always hears his children’s prayers, even when he doesn’t answer in the way or timing we would like.
Sometimes God’s children pray for things that would not be good for them or are against God’s will (Matt. 6:10; John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15). In his love, God keeps us from dire consequences by not granting those petitions. We see a clear example of this in Jonah’s prayer that God take his life because... Continue Reading
The What, When, and Why of Exhorting One Another
We are to mimic those traits of the Holy Spirit and be a help and an encouragement.
There is no statute of limitations on being an encouragement. Each day think of someone who might need a supportive word—perhaps a note, a visit, a phone call. Don’t wait then. Do it. Satan never stops his attempts to discourage the people of God; therefore, we should never stop in our work of comforting and... Continue Reading
Spiritually Hungry? The Church Service Is Your Main Meal
As his gathered people delight in his gospel of grace together, our souls are nourished for the week ahead.
The next time you feel discouraged and guilty about not having your personal “quiet time,” do this instead: remember the previous Sunday at church, and then breathe a sigh of relief and praise. You have consumed God’s Word. More than that, you have feasted on its abundance. Through singing it, praying it, reading it, and hearing it... Continue Reading
Of Moths & Multiplication
Without the Yucca moth, the Joshua tree would have no method for pollination.
Evangelism and disicpleship share an obligate symbiotic relationship, which, when empowered by the work of the Spirit, leads to the growth of the church. They are not enemies. They were never intended to be separated. And, like the Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert, the church, a Great Commission ecosystem, is planted in desolate places... Continue Reading
We Are Not Home Yet
We are merely sojourners passing through this world on our way to glory.
The eternally glorious Son of God was treated as a stranger among His own people (John 1:10–11). But He came to make us heirs of the world to come. He came to fulfill the hope of Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. He entered that state of sojourning to secure redemption for His people. He identifies with the... Continue Reading
Infants Are Easily Discontented
God gives us a contentment that is beyond this world, beyond our very selves—a contentment that causes our hearts to soar far above our circumstances and to remain at peace.
As we press on in the Christian life, as we advance from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity, we find joyfulness increasing even when our comforts are decreasing. We find ourselves cheerful in trials, content in persecution, submissive even when we meet with sore disappointment. Things that may have seriously disturbed us in former days are powerless... Continue Reading
Teach Your Children Well
Home is where the cradle of belief begins.
According to Barna’s research, those who believe the following are very likely to live a faithful, Christian life: God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, just, merciful, reliable creator who is also our companion and unerring guide for life. All human beings are sinful by nature; every choice we make has moral contours and consequences. Jesus Christ... Continue Reading
Reining in the Presumptuous Parachurch
Two specific examples of where the presumptuous parachurch should be reined in.
I don’t think the ideal or realistic scenario is for all Christian ministry to take place within local churches or be formally managed by denominational oversight. But this does not mean that parachurches are free to ignore to the special importance of local churches in God’s kingdom. If we proactively work together, we can hope... Continue Reading
Come to Our Help!
The Lord often conforms His people to His image through crises for His sake, and His sovereign purposes will prevail without ultimately crushing us.
Perhaps today you are experiencing a difficult season and you feel like the Lord is asleep instead of coming to your aid. Let Psalm 44 encourage you. Look with eyes of faith to the Lord and affirm, “You are my King, O God” (v. 4). Take comfort in the truth that He ordains your suffering... Continue Reading
What to Do When the Lord Seems Absent
Our Focus Should Remain on the Lord
In order to wait on the Lord, we must not be afraid of anyone or anything else apart from the Lord. We must focus on the promise held out to those who make Him their fear, “He shall be for a sanctuary unto them.” Waiting then involves our hearts fixing on God, and none else. “My... Continue Reading
William Carey—A Plodder, Pioneer, and Proclaimer Who Kept the Grand End in View
Carey’s virtue as a pioneer allowed him to see God’s faithfulness sustain him when he was doing things no one had done before.
By keeping the grand end in view, William Carey changed the evangelical world and launched the modern missions movement. At his death, as an indication of his sole focus, he requested only a line for his tombstone from one of his favorite hymns by Isaac Watts, “A wretched, poor, and helpless worm, on thy kind... Continue Reading
A Wise and Purposeful Walk
May we all, as Paul says, make the "best use of the time" by walking wisely in the world as lights in the midst of darkness.
Moses challenged us to live with purpose in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” When your life is over, what you present to God will be determined by how you chose to walk in wisdom before a dying and needy world. One would... Continue Reading
The Battle for the Body
The centrality of embodiment to what it means to be human is something that all Christians need to be taught.
This war against the body lies at the heart of so much of our modern politics. It connects to the sexual politics that deny that human genitals are to be used in some ways and not in others. It connects to gender politics that see the significance traditionally ascribed to sexed bodies as an oppressive... Continue Reading
Shannon Harris Kissed Truth Goodbye
Important takeaways from this book: To be absolutely clear, Shannon was most certainly a victim of spiritual abuse. It is a compelling and painful read.
Shannon seemed to be an eager and vivacious woman trying her best to live up to manmade commands without experiencing a life built on Biblical Truth. As with so many young men and women who have shared this experience, Shannon has chosen to identify as a victim seeking truth and wisdom from within herself. She... Continue Reading
No Cure for Old Age
Elderly Christians often see a woeful wilderness behind them and a promised land of blessing ahead.
There are, then, several benefits of meditating on death as we age. It brings composure to the mind. It keeps us in reverence of the Lord throughout the day. It helps maintain a clear conscience in our relationship with God and others. It fosters a sense of detachment from worldly pursuits. Although it’s possible... Continue Reading
A Morality As Old As Christianity
Progressives balk at ancient Christian ethics as though they’re new.
Here is the same message The Nation seems to have just discovered on one of their sociological safaris to the American Heartland. Christians think sex belongs in marriage and that all life, even unborn life, should be protected and celebrated. News at eleven. For students of history, this is as surprising as it is new. Regarding... Continue Reading
Spurgeon, Snake Bites, and Sanctification
Spurgeon was saved through the irresistible call of God’s Word to look to the only Savior. But what does “look to Christ” mean?
When we look to Christ, we’re doing the same thing that the snake-bitten Israelites did in the desert. Stung by serpents, with venom coursing through their veins, they were doomed. The problem was within them—death was certain. Can you see the amazing simplicity of their salvation? As Spurgeon said, “look and live!” What must we do... Continue Reading
3 Life Implications if Christians are to “Run the Race to Win the Prize”
Christian life is also a journey. And though that journey will be filled with ups and downs, joys and pains, it is a journey with purpose and meaning.
In a world that is fixated on achievement and personal validation, the Christian doesn’t seek after a temporary acknowledgment of their greatness, but instead has the goal of a crown that will last forever. What we are after in this disciplined journey of life is to life faithfully to Jesus, doing what He has called... Continue Reading
Humanity Isn’t a Problem to Solve: Technology Needs a Telos
The upside-down worldview of tech design.
Because we are designed, we must be guided by values and not merely algorithms. It is good that we take time to learn, to appreciate beauty, to feel wonder, and to have burning questions about what is behind all that we see. God made us this way, so that, eventually, our seeking would lead back to Him. Though He intends to redeem... Continue Reading
And God Said, and It Was So
Finding Joy in Creaturely Limitation
We, therefore, are the ones who must be changed in order to suit the world, not the other way around. Thankfully, this is the very thing God has promised to do in the new birth. Through the giving of His Son and the pouring out of His Spirit, God has begun a new creation in the... Continue Reading
Applying the Law of Moses to the Christian Life
We must recognize that there are elements of continuity and discontinuity between the law of Moses and the Christian life.
The biblical authors view the law as a unified whole, that the Sinai legislation is inextricably bound up with the Sinai covenant, and that it comes to the Christian therefore not directly but mediated through the accomplished work of Christ. The Need for Proper Balance Discerning how to apply the law of Moses to... Continue Reading
The Sons of God and the Daughters of Man, Part 2
The four interpretations…are attempts to read a notoriously difficult passage. You might wonder which views have been popular historically and which ancient and modern theologians have held such interpretations. Let’s talk about that next. How should we understand the “sons of God,” the “daughters of man,” and the Nephilim in Genesis 6:1–4? In the previous... Continue Reading
When Do the Last Days Really Begin? Part 1
The old covenant has been closed already and the new and final covenant era is fully here.
The last days began in the first century and ended with the end of Jerusalem and her temple. That isn’t to claim that the Bible contains nothing in our future; it does. But when we consider this text and the ones that have come before, we can conclusively conclude that these events have already happened.... Continue Reading
The Problem with So-Called “Antiracism”
When racial justice is everything, we’ve misunderstood God’s sovereignty over the human condition.
Those who are in Christ, no matter which tongue or tribe or nation or language they represent, are reconciled to their Creator and thus, to each other. Only Christianity can anchor this beautiful vision of the human condition on solid ground, and it has incredible implications for individuals and nations, for people and for social... Continue Reading
“How Long, O Lord?”
We must bring the questions of judgment, justice, and mercy to the foot of the cross.
Habakkuk’s questions about God’s presence in the face of evil are answered not ultimately within his writing or his time but beyond it. If we wish to get the solutions for the fundamental issues raised in the book—the questions of God’s dealing with injustice, His providing necessary judgment while remaining true to His character, His... Continue Reading
Psalm 2—The Messiah’s Speech
Kiss the Son, heed Messiah’s wisdom.
You are living in a world in which the Anointed Son of God is the Shepherd of the nations. That is the reality, it cannot be reversed by UN decrees, or even by your own sinful failures. Christ who won You, shall bring you at last to glory. He who He justified, He will also... Continue Reading