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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
“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
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
What is the point of the rainbow? What does it symbolize?
Many Christians know from the church’s teaching on the flood of Noah’s day, that the rainbow originally was a sign of God’s promise not to destroy the world by water again. This understanding makes the modern co-opting of the rainbow symbol for gay pride seem so egregious.
He told me his name was Tokar. “Like the song,” he said.
“Yeah, you know—I’m a midnight Tokar.”
This was the first Steve Miller Band-quoting Muslim cab driver I’d ever had the privilege of sharing time with.
I was in a city up north for a pastors conference and was
A word to my pastor friends, who every week labor in preparing to teach the Bible in the weekend gathering while the dark cloud of the new cultural downgrade hangs over them:
Brothers, don’t go about your weekly sermon preparation and personal discipleship in sackcloth and ashes. Get into the vineyard of God’s Word, get some holy sweat
“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” — Hebrews 13:17
I wish that when I was a pastor I had spent more time with all the low-maintenance church folks.
The resurgence in commitment in many evangelical circles to expository preaching is a very encouraging sign as the contemporary church navigates so many shifting cultural trends with so many shifting stylistic trends of its own. As many younger churchmen have begun to look not at the latest preaching styles but at what evangelicalism’s elder
Every week one could write another post about another fallen pastor, because that appears to be the rate at which they fall. A great number of ministers without national or global platforms are counted in this number, but oddly enough, these falls only seem to hit “close to home” when it’s a guy with a big platform. It’s an
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” – Job 11:7
I’ll tell you why I hope Bigfoot exists — and why, in a way, I hope he is never discovered. Because it excites me to think that there are creatures out there God has made for his own enjoyment and to enhance the wonder of life
Don’t forget the ascension! It is an integral part of gospel doctrine. The reality of Christ’s ascension has many implications. Here are just five.
1. Jesus is really alive.
The reality of Christ’s ascension, inextricable from the resurrection event, tells us that he did not raise from the dead only later to die again like
Excited to announce today’s release of my new book, Unparalleled (Baker Books). I hope it will serve the Church well as we explore more of what it will take to share the gospel of Jesus with an increasingly pluralistic, irreligious, and spiritually hostile world.
Unparalleled is not your average apologetics work. Oh sure, it does contain the
And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong. — 2 Chronicles 26:15
The counter-intuitive truth is this: getting bigger does not mean getting less vulnerable. It very often means the opposite.
Not a single one of us wishes, really, for failure. Oh, sure, there are certainly some spiritual masochists out there,
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May the information here, bless you in your sanctification and bring glory to God and Him alone.