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

Valiant for Truth - Apologetic Report

Over the years I have watched a number of colleagues lose their pastorates for various reasons. This can be a very discouraging turn of events to say the least. What do you do when you’ve spent four years in college, three or four years in seminary, spent ten years in the pastorate and then...

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In team sports athletes who do not start the game and spend a lot of time on the bench have a phrase—they “ride the pine.” That is, they sit on the pine bench rather than play in the game.

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It is the inevitable question posed to any Ph.D. student of the Bible. In a world increasingly fixated on the practical and immediate, the notion of spending six grueling years learning dead languages and pouring over ancient documents makes little sense. What does such intense devotion to a world...

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Monday, 31 July 2017 20:20

A Pastor's Reflections: Starting

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In team sports if you have the skill and ability, you can be a starter on the team. From the very first tick of the clock the coach puts you in the game. There is a great degree of satisfaction in being a starter. This parallels the experience of a seminarian who, upon graduation, is a starter.

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The last question I ask myself when I’m evaluating a sermon, including my own, is, Did I apply the text? This is an important question, though perhaps it’s often debated because people disagree on what constitutes application.

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Westminster Seminary has helped me in my role as the Coordinator for Mission to the World in giving me a strong foundation by which I am able to think theologically about missions, the church, church planting, evangelism, discipleship, leadership and many other aspects related to my current role.

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The third question I ask when evaluating sermons (including my own) is whether I preached Christ organically from the biblical text. Many preachers regularly ask this question of themselves, but at the same time they’re not quite sure how to do this.

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When I evaluate a sermon or my own preaching the second key question I ask is whether I adequately explained the biblical text. This is a distinct issue from the first question, namely, Did I exegete the biblical text?

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There are a myriad of books on preaching on the market at present and each of them presents useful information, tips, and methods for preaching a good sermon.

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One of the more painful trials of life comes to a young married couple who discover they are infertile—for one reason or another, they cannot conceive children. In a culture where people assume the natural thing to do is find a mate, get married, have children, and live happily ever after,...

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As a pastor I have seen first-hand what pornography can do to a marriage relationship and the devastation it leaves in its wake. I normally made my pastoral visits to each household in the church and during the course of these visits I would ask people, “Are there any issues you want to...

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Among the many legitimate vocations that Christians can pursue, military service is certainly an acceptable choice. Serving in the military can be very beneficial. Many young people have testified to the fact that military service helped them grow up to be responsible adults.

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One of the most difficult and painful things to watch is when a covenant child commits apostasy and abandons the faith. It is a tragedy when a child who has been raised in the church, taught to love Christ, and then he or she walks away.

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The other day I was watching a show that, surprisingly, made reference to “Dutch Calvinism.” To say the least, I was shocked because ordinarily reference to Christianity is dominated by either a generic evangelicalism, which at times mirrors spiritual mysticism more than biblical...

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My parents always taught me to finish what I start, and this is general advice that I’ve always tried to follow. Sometimes, however, trying to follow this advice can be difficult when reading a bad book.

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I regularly get asked about recommended resources for sermon preparation. There is quite obviously an ocean of books out there, so I can’t possibly know which books are the absolute best.

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Monday, 08 May 2017 20:25

A Pastor's Reflections: Ask Why

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Over the last several years I have tried to ask more questions about my life. In particular, I am trying to ask the question, Why?, more frequently. There are so many things in life that we take for granted and do without question.

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What the well-equipped workshop is to the wood craftsman, the well-stocked theological library is to the minister. Having a good library is one of the most important resources you can have in your ministry.

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One of the regular complaints I hear from graduates is that they believe their seminary education did not adequately prepare them for the various counseling challenges they face in the pastorate.

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As I approached graduation from WSC, I told my wife that I was willing to consider almost any possible call, with one notable exception - church planting.

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When you study for the ministry you will take a number of preaching classes as a part of the Master of Divinity curriculum. One of the inevitabilities is that students end up reflecting the preaching style and conviction of their professor.

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Going in to ministry everyone knows there will be opposition. We know that there will be hostile atheists heaping scorn upon us. We know that there will be secularists who wonder why we are so intolerant. 

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I served on a presbytery credentials committee for nearly a decade. The credentials committee has the task of vetting candidates for the ministry. One of the regular questions that we asked prospective candidates was, “Is your wife in agreement with your desire to pursue the ministry?”

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Like most newly-minted seminary graduates looking for work, I am continually checking my e-mail, eagerly anticipating an update concerning my future employment. 

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It seems like far too many people treat relationships of all sorts as being disposable. As soon as they hit a rough patch of any sort they decide to pull up stakes, move on, and find a new relationship.

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