Reformed Piety and Practice
History tells us that there is a monk within each of us, continually looking for new ways to corrupt Christian piety, seeking to draw our eyes away from Christ, His grace, and His piety.
By the late seventeenth century, however, there were those who were discontented with Reformation piety. They worried about nominalism in state churches and longed for an immediate experience of the risen Christ. Led by the Lutheran Philip Jacob Spener (1635–1705) and others, the Pietists favored small-group prayer meetings (conventicles) over Word and sacrament ministry. They... Continue Reading
Identity, Affinity and Christ
So many of the controversies surrounding the church at present center on concepts related to identity and affinity
A tangible loss of real spiritual joy will always accompany our misplaced quests for identity and affinity. There is a deep-seated joy that flows from realizing the newness of life that we have in Christ in the Gospel. So much of what we read or hear online today lacks this sense of Gospel joy. When... Continue Reading
Always Ask What They Mean by “God”
It is my experience that many people don’t believe in God because they have the wrong conception of God.
Once we begin to grasp the nature of God, we are ready to investigate whether or not that God exists. My concern is that many skip the investigation because of a misconception about God they started with. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you shouldn’t be surprised when you don’t find it.... Continue Reading
Four Tools to Help You Understand the Hard Sayings of the Bible
Drawing upon the Reformers’ insights, here are four handy hermeneutical tools to help you “rightly divide” the hard sayings of the Bible
One of the reasons why we sweat over getting the hard sayings of the Bible right is because we believe, like Peter, that they hold the words of eternal life. In many ways, wrestling with these hard sayings is a quintessentially evangelical occupation. Since we believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, we... Continue Reading
Why We Can Trust God’s Promises
If he has said it, he will do it. If he has spoken it, he will fulfill it. He’s not messing around with your life.
I want to know all God’s promised. I want to know what I can pray for. What I can count on. What to hang my hope on when everything around looks bleak. If we drift from reading God’s word, our faith will wane, our prayer life will wane, our joy will wane and our hope... Continue Reading
Scripture: God-breathed and God-breathing
In our Reformed zeal to safeguard the church from the excesses of Charismatic and Pentecostal views of revelation and inspiration we may well have robbed ourselves of an appreciation of its livingness
The Bible is not the living word merely because it is the ‘sword of the Spirit [who is the Lord and giver of life]’ (Eph 6.17), but in its very essence is animated by the breath of God that is inexhaustible. We may be able to breath out continuously for so long, but eventually must... Continue Reading
A Minister of Mercy
Oh that they might see a true reflection of the steadfast covenant kindness of God whose Name is Pity
“Pray for mercy in your head, mercy in your heart, mercy as a parent, mercy with your spouse, mercy in your session, mercy in the flock, mercy in your outreach, mercy in your speech, mercy in your giving, mercy with the poor, mercy with the sinner – let your life be a sponge soaked in... Continue Reading
Worship and Service of Creation
Why is nature so beautiful, so powerful? Why do we respond to it as we do?
“According to Scripture, what people are perceiving at a deep level, as they derive reassurance from Nature, is the stunningly reassuring work of a personal Creator. Without engaging in any conscious thought, human beings sense that they live in a beautiful, intelligent and moral universe.” It is easy to read what Paul says in... Continue Reading
An Inexhaustible Fountain of Goodness
Our generous God uses everything, even the hard things, to remake his people in His image
“From the abundance of his generosity, God grows mushrooms to feed squirrels and saplings to feed deer. He provides earthworms for robins and mice for foxes. The greens I grow in my garden come from his goodness, too.” The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.... Continue Reading
Trusting God Enough to Lament
God wants us to cry out first and foremost to him. He wants us to complain to him. He wants us to lament to him.
In this way, the Psalms show us a powerful reversal of the way we typically think about lament. We often assume that lament implies doubt. But in truth, lament is actually an act of faith. The person to whom you complain is the person you trust. Sometimes we complain to people because we know they’ll... Continue Reading