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
Tuesday, 19 April 2016 01:00

Listen to the Little Guy Too

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“Americans must count religion in order to see or show its value . . . To them big churches are successful churches . . . To win the greatest number of converts with the least expense is their constant endeavour . . . Numbers, numbers, oh, how they value numbers! . . . Mankind goes down to America to learn how to live the earthly life; but
Thursday, 14 April 2016 02:00

Three Things Pastors Can’t Do Too Much

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I’m not a big fan of overdoing it. Not a huge proponent of overcooking your sermons, overproducing your worship service. But there are a few things I think pastors probably could do more of than they already do, no matter how much they already do. I think pastors ought to:

1. Over-read I’m not sure I’ve met a pastor who reads too

I’ll be speaking at the TGCLA ministry equip event this coming Tuesday, April 19. Details:

8:30am – 12:30pm Location: 1530 E. Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, CA 91104

This event is free for TGCLA members, and $15 at the door for non-members. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Click here to register.

Schedule:

8:30-9:00am: Arrival, breakfast

Wednesday, 06 April 2016 08:32

God Broke Antinomianism For Love

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It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. — Romans 3:26

I think I understand what Steven Furtick is trying to say in this now-infamous clip from a recent sermon, but it is so problematic on so many different levels, it is difficult to know where to start

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 02:00

How to Uncheapen Grace in Your Church

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“I resolved to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified” – 1 Corinthians 2:2

When we take up our ministry crosses and die to our visionary selves and follow Christ’s way of “doing church,” we show how costly grace really is. We show how powerful it really is.

Ironically, however, the way to show

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 03:36

The Australia Diary

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Becky and I recently had the great privilege of traveling to the land down under for about 12 days of ministry and fellowship. While we’re still a little bit tired from the return trip jetlag and still processing all we met and all we saw, I thought it might be interesting to some to jot down some notes from our time there.

The trip was

Thursday, 24 March 2016 02:00

John Updike’s Seven Stanzas at Easter

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Make no mistake: if he rose at all It was as His body; If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit, The amino acids rekindle, The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers, Each soft spring recurrent; It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the Eleven apostles; It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged

Thursday, 03 March 2016 01:00

5 Distinguishing Marks of a Fruitful Church

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I follow the ongoing pastoral and missiological discussions about “faithfulness vs. fruitfulness” from a bemused distance. I do believe that a church’s faithfulness to the mission of God is itself success, regardless of the “results.” And I also believe that a faithful church will be a fruitful church. But when some

Tuesday, 01 March 2016 01:00

10 Reasons Easter Giveaways Are Unwise

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We are nearing the day many Christians look forward to all year. Yes, there’s the somber reflection and penitence of the Passion week, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus to celebrate on Easter Sunday, but there’s also some fabulous cash and prizes. Every year some churches seek to outdo themselves — and their local

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 01:00

10 Common Ways Churches Get Off Mission

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The Lord has called his people to be on gospel mission for the sake of his glory. Most churchfolk will readily acknowledge this, and yet many churches have drifted away — often subtly — from thinking of themselves as missionaries in their respective communities and beyond. Here are some common ways churches engage in “mission

Friday, 19 February 2016 02:08

But Do You Adore Jesus?

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We are typically very quick to note when someone is not showing love for their neighbor. But what about love for Jesus? Should it settle implicitly? Is love for Christ something that is sufficient when latent?

What I notice a lot every day in the Christian spheres of social media is just how incredibly adept we evangelicals are at doctrinal

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 06:32

Jesus is For Losers

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One year ago yesterday I preached my final sermon at Middletown Church before moving on to assume my current role at Midwestern Seminary. I wrote a reflection on all the pain and glory entailed in working through this transition a few months later – The Gospel for Ministry Quitters. Perhaps you will find it a blessing. A snippet:

He is

People mean well; they really do. As with all advice, your friends and family and countless blog post authors whose helpful little lists proliferate on Facebook, etc. are sincerely wanting to improve your relationships. But all too often their good advice proves unhelpful in the end. Why? Usually for one or more of these 3 reasons:

A Lot of

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 01:00

Football to the Glory of God?

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Rest, play, and fun are are gifts from God meant to help us celebrate being made in God’s image as Creator and project in some way the creative story he is telling with the universe.

But this can be difficult to do in the kinds of play that look like battle. It is difficult to do in the kinds of play that involve competition at any level. But

Thursday, 04 February 2016 01:00

The Revenant of God’s Sovereignty

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[This article contains spoilers for the movie The Revenant.]

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” — Romans 12:19

I had the great pleasure of getting to see Alejandro Iñárritu’s film The Revenant recently with two

Two caveats, then the list you clicked through for:

Caveat #1. By attractional, I do not mean big or “contemporary.” This is something I go to great lengths to discuss in The Prodigal Church — “attractional” is not code for megachurch or contemporary church. There are healthy big churches and unhealthy small ones,

So this is the story of how J.I. Packer made me cry. Sort of. It starts like this:

I had the great privilege of contributing to Crossway’s Knowing the Bible study series by writing the entry for Paul’s letter to the Romans. I was intimidated by the prospect from the very beginning, but editor Dane Ortlund assured me I was not contacted

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 01:00

Pastor, Mind Your RBM or Risk Burnout

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Most faithful ministry leaders I know are tired. Many are the good kind of tired — they work hard, stay diligent and productive, and love their churches and ministries well. But many are the bad kind of tired — they overwork, they over-commit, they’re one or two more ministry crises or conflicts away from falling apart. So how

Monday, 18 January 2016 02:08

Gentleness is Not Optional

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“[G]entleness is essential to Christian living. It is not an add-on. It is . . . one of the few indisputable evidences of the Holy Spirit alive and well within someone. Gentleness is not just for some Christians, those wired in a certain way. It cannot merely be an inherent character trait, a result of personality or genetic predisposition,

Thursday, 14 January 2016 05:58

100 Books That Have Shaped Me

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You like book lists, I just know it. I took a few days to put together a list of the 100 specific books that have most shaped, entertained, impressed, or otherwise influenced me over the last 4 decades. (I did cheat a bit in listing certain series and collections as one entry.) This one’s for you bibliophiles, in alphabetical order by author.

 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016 06:42

Basking in the Radiance of His Glory

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“He is the radiance of the glory of God . . .” — Hebrews 1:3a

All that God is — the measureless sum of his eternal and eternally rich attributes — shines forth in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. Jesus is supremely radiant.

What does this mean? It means that this Bright Morning Star (Rev. 22:16) will be the

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 05:40

The Gospel Stirs Stuff Up and Sorts Stuff Out

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When a church is faithful to preach the gospel and demonstrate the gospel’s implications, it will usually find that it attracts and is attracted to the kind of people Jesus attracted and was attracted to. People who are, shall we say, rough around the edges.

The gospel well preached and applied will make ministry messy. Things will change. I

Wednesday, 23 December 2015 07:27

Why I’m Loving Midwestern Seminary

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A little over a year ago, I resigned my pastorate in Vermont and announced my transition to the communications staff of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. I had begun doing some part-time work for the seminary remotely in the fall of 2014 but began serving full-time on-site in March of this year. Since then,

Thursday, 17 December 2015 03:11

An Attempt at a Gospel-Centered Canon

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It’s been almost 10 years since Collin Hansen’s “Young, Restless, Reformed” article hit the pages of Christianity Today, almost 8 years since the publication of his book about same. I remember when I first saw that article in my friends copy of CT lying on his coffee table. I was at his house leading a young adult Bible

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 03:21

The Everythingness of the Grace of Jesus

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Come on, Eileen Oh I swear In this moment, you mean everything.– Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Okay, so it’s not a Bible verse, but it kinda sums up the momentary religion of the flesh, doesn’t it? At any given moment, we are singing subconscious praises to whatever we are desiring — “In this moment, you mean everything