But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Jared C. Wilson - Apologetic Report

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I am pleased to share with you a new initiative at Liberty Baptist Church in the Northland Kansas City (MO) that we hope will contribute to the next generation of solid, gospel-centered, mission-minded local church pastors. As our church has continued to grow, we’ve realized that our current...

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017 06:57

5 Pastoral Proverbs That Stuck

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imageA word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. — Proverbs 25:11

I took my first vocational ministry position the summer I graduated high school (1994), becoming the youth minister for Zion Chinese Baptist Church. (You read that right.) In the twenty-three since, I’ve...

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Monday, 06 February 2017 03:28

What to Include in Your Church’s Book Stall

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imageEvery Monday I have a new post published at For The Church. In today’s piece I’m recommending “10 Books for Your Church’s Book Table”. Why?

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association recently revealed the top 100 selling Christian books in 2016. When this list...

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Tuesday, 31 January 2017 00:55

Already, Not Yet, Right Now

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imageThe oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his...

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Monday, 23 January 2017 23:30

The Quiet Messages of “Silence”

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I recently read Shusaku Endo’s great 1966 novel Silence, about the 17th-century persecution of Jesuit missionaries in Japan. I thought it was great. If you’re a regular reader here, you noticed I made it my top book for 2016. Here’s what I wrote then:

Silence is a brief but...

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Thursday, 19 January 2017 23:30

A Literary Journey into God’s Love

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imageI am devoting most of my non-fiction reading in 2017 to the subject of God’s love and its implications. It is something my heart has been hungry for lately, at least more consciously so. We’re all in desperate need of experiencing the love of God every millisecond of our lives, of...

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017 23:30

The Normal Pastor Conference, August 7-8

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Ever feel like the average pastors’ conference wasn’t quite for you? Wish the average pastors’ conference spoke to the pastors who were a little more . . . well, average? We’re introducing The Normal Pastor Conference for any church leader who may feel a little discouraged...

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Friday, 29 July 2016 02:19

Faith and Hope and Love Endure Forever

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So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:13

Faith, hope, and love are said to abide (or, per the NIV, to “remain”) because they sustain the Christian through all manner of sorrows and suffering, through the temptations of success and the torments of despair. Faith,

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” — Ecclesiastes 7:10a

From my vantage point in the evangelical landscape, I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the church. I know we’ve got lots of cause for concern about “the culture,” and I know the church tasked with proclaiming the kingdom in it

Thursday, 21 July 2016 02:10

Let Us Repent of Our Nonchalance

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work out your own salvation with fear and trembling — from Philippians 2:12

Fear and trembling. Paul uses this phrase a couple of other times (2 Corinthians 7:15 and Ephesians 6:5), apparently with the connotation of submissive humility and receptive meekness. It is an affections-full being put into one’s place, I think. A disposition

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 00:00

“Gospel Wakefulness” Turns 5

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Last weekend I had the privilege of meeting a young man who told me he was converted during a men’s conference I preached a couple of years ago. As encouraging as that was to hear, the news was made sweeter when he told me the very first Christian book he read was Gospel Wakefulness. Two years later, he is growing by leaps and bounds in the

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 01:00

The Gospel of the Kingdom Is Like an Old Hymn

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The gospel is an old hymn. The gospel is sheet music printed in antiquarian typeface on a yellowed page in a dusty book. It’s the “old, old story” and the “old rugged cross.” It is four verses—and please don’t skip the third verse to expedite the invitation! The gospel is an invitation to a bygone time

Recently, the subject of church discipline has hit the radar in many circles due to some high-profile controversies and scandals. The way some churches appear to poorly exercise church discipline is as distressing as the way many Christians reacted to the concept. There has been a collective incredulity about church discipline as

Tuesday, 05 July 2016 01:00

21 Thoughts on Preaching

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In no particular order, here are some reflections, musings, and bits of advice on the noble task of preaching the word of God.

1. I’ve heard it attributed to Tim Keller that you have to preach at least 200 sermons to get good. (Or something like that.) I think this is generally true. For those gifted to preach, it does take a long time to hit

Thursday, 30 June 2016 03:06

Where I’ll Be, 2016

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For those who care about such things, I thought I’d share some of my upcoming speaking dates for the rest of the year. If you’re in any of these areas and able to attend, would be great to meet you.

August 25-27, 2016 – ERLC National Conference. Nashville, Tennessee. Looking forward to joining a panel on cultural engagement with

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 01:00

The False Heaven of a Successful Ministry Featured

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“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly”- 1 Peter 5:2

Pastoral ministry is not the most lucrative of occupations, except when it is. On average, pastors are not paid enough. But very few of us have any grounds for

Thursday, 23 June 2016 01:00

Is Your Worship Service Upside Down? Featured

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Our church worship gatherings ought to be welcoming and comprehensible to unbelievers who are present, but many churches actually structure the entire worship service around them. There is no real biblical precedent for this, and furthermore, it's not the most effective way for your church to reach lost people, anyway. If your church orients its

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 01:00

3 Ways the Gospel Might Divide a Church Featured

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“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” – Matthew 10:34-36

A curious

I discovered last week by clicking on Marvin Olasky’s Twitter link to the 2016 Books of the Year Award announcements from World Magazine that one of my own titles had made their grade. Thanks very much to the team at World for selecting my book The Prodigal Church as their Book of the Year in the category of “Accessible

You can find a loving conception of monotheism in both Judaism and Islam, but only in Christianity does this love manifest itself in a one-way work of salvation of sinners apart from religious effort. For this reason, C.S. Lewis has famously said of Christian faith, “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God

The preacher paced the stage, staring earnestly out into the congregation. It was time for his weekly invitation. He asked for respondents to raise their hands. Not a single hand was raised. But he had no way of knowing this because he was on a video screen.

I found myself at the nearest campus of this multisite church on assignment from the pastor

Thursday, 09 June 2016 01:00

Pastoral Ministry Is About Souls, Not Stats

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Paul says of the Corinthians, “you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us” (2 Cor. 3:3). Therein lies the difference between disciple-producing and decision-producing.

The way we are typically programmed to measure the success of our ministries sets us up for hollow victory and desperate failure. But this is not to say

Tuesday, 07 June 2016 01:00

Holy vs. Holier Than Thou

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How do we become holy without becoming 'holier than thou'?

By actually becoming actually holy.

Holiness and holier-than-thou-ness aren't parallel phenomena. They run on different tracks. If someone is growing in arrogance, pride, and self-righteousness, by definition they are not growing in holiness.

The problem arises in equating holiness with

Friday, 03 June 2016 00:00

Politics Ought #NeverTrump Principle Featured

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“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”Joshua

I do my darndest not to post on political stuff. I don’t even like engaging in a lot of “cultural commentary,” as I am not fond of letting the headlines drive my writing. I was adamantly opposed to this when I was responsible for a church pulpit each

Thursday, 02 June 2016 01:00

Play Hard

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We are not meant to be “perpetually solemn,” according to C.S. Lewis. “We must play.”

This is something children understand instinctively. They don’t even have to be reminded to play. They just do. Part of growing up is realizing that there are times you shouldn’t be playing, of course, but part of growing up