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

CCEF - Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation - Apologetic Report
Monday, 15 January 2018 20:56

(Un)decorating the Christmas Tree

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How do you feel after the Christmas season has ended? Sad? Relieved? Wistful? Lonely? Frustrated? Bloated? Excited that there are only 347 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, and 2 seconds left until Christmas Day 2018 (according to xmasclock.com as of this writing)?

Until this year, my dominant experience...

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Monday, 08 January 2018 02:10

Eight Questions on Addictions for Pastors

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The word addiction is open to all kinds of theories, which is one reason some Christians try to avoid it. Slavery is more specific. But the word addiction is a useful point of contact that essentially says, “I like this, or at least I once liked it, but I certainly never planned to be owned...

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Monday, 18 December 2017 21:58

The Christmas Ladder

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I think about ladders during the Christmas season.

In the beginning, the Lord dwelled, in all his fullness and glory, in heaven. Yet he came to earth and began to fashion it into his dwelling. There was a ladder—a vertical bridge—between heaven and earth. The full project would take...

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017 09:07

“What about Angry Victims?”

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I wrote a series of meditations for men and women whose anger has hurt others—A Small Book about a Big Problem. This, certainly, includes us all. Yet there is a version of anger that these meditations only touch briefly and recently someone raised it with me.

What about angry victims?

My first...

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Wednesday, 06 December 2017 01:03

Anger Met with Tears

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My son-in-law was praying before dinner at our home. Meanwhile, my four-year-old twin grandsons continued their conversation. So it was appropriate for me to say something.

“Guys, when we pray it is time to listen, not talk.” I spoke in a normal, conversational tone.

Immediately, one of...

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Monday, 20 November 2017 02:21

Instilling Gratitude in Your Family

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With the approach of Thanksgiving, I am often struck with how people—young and old alike—lack an important attribute: gratitude. I’m not looking for a warm fuzzy thank you for a gift, but a deep rich appreciation for life and what we’ve been given. Why is this? What gets in...

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Monday, 20 November 2017 02:18

Eyes Wide Open

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In America we will celebrate Thanksgiving this week. It is a time to gather together with family and friends and celebrate with good food—we look forward to it. And yet the realities of living in a broken world don’t disappear because it is a holiday. As you prepare your heart and mind...

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Thursday, 05 October 2017 05:02

Is it okay to buy this book for someone else?

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The book is calledA Small Book about a Big Problem.¹ It’s fifty devotionals about anger. The question is whether or not it is impolite to give it as a gift.

To give this book to someone is akin to giving a breath mint to the person sitting next to you in church, which happens to me most...

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What do you think when someone you know is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder? Or has started to take a psychoactive medication? Do you say to yourself, “Finally, he is getting the help he really needs!” Or do you feel skeptical about either the diagnosis or the solution (or both),...

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Tuesday, 05 September 2017 00:21

Preaching Forgiveness

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[Jesus] told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations. (Luke 24:46-47)

No wonder pastors enjoy preaching. The way to God has been opened and it is through...

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Dear friend,

Sex is like fire. When it blazes in the fireplace, a good fire warms and brightens the room, enhancing joy and companionship. But when fires ignite in the wrong places, the house burns down. Is your sexuality igniting in the wrong places? Are you treating sexual sin casually? How do you...

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Dear friend,

What do you do when you are still struggling? What do you do when repeated failure, guilt, and shame weigh heavily on your conscience?

Let me begin with a story about a friend of mine. He had come to faith in Christ when he was in his late twenties. As they say, “He had history. He...

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Wednesday, 02 August 2017 02:35

Sexuality: God Creates; the World Corrupts

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How do you talk to your kids about sex and sexuality? It can be an uncomfortable subject.

Here is a phrase I often use when I teach young people about sex: God creates; the world corrupts. God creates food; the world corrupts the use of food. God creates relationships; the world corrupts and uses...

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017 04:47

Hurry Up and Rest

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I’ve always thought of Mark as the “hurry up” gospel, because everything seems to happen “immediately.” Perhaps that’s why Mark 6 caught my attention recently where Jesus invited the disciples to rest after they return from their missionary journey. Rest seems so...

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017 05:52

When Children Say “I’m Bored”

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We have a common crisis in our home; it is the calamity of boredom. Our children might even consider it a catastrophe. “I’m bored” is repeated so often it would not be an overstatement to say that these words echo continuously throughout our home especially during any break from...

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 03:51

Thoughts on Being a Pastor’s Wife

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Like everyone I have many identities – daughter, wife, mother, Nana (five grands and one on the way!), worker, and finally . . . pastor’s wife. And that puts me in a special club. A club of women who are trying to navigate the expectations of their particular church culture and do no...

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 03:30

Three Ideas for an Overburdened Ministry

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We can easily list dozens of ways to lighten the load of ministry. The hard part is acting on any one of them or acting on the one most suited to our situation. Here are three that shouldn’t add much work to your schedule.

1. Pour out your heart to the Lord and ask others for prayer and help

Thi...

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017 05:53

A Personal Experience of Shame… and Hope

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I felt shame last week.

The township sanitation worker slapped me with a written warning. It was bright orange and plastered on my garbage can for everyone to see. Apparently, he found unauthorized material in that garbage can—namely, errrr….. a bunch of concrete. I wish I could say...

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Dear friend,

How can I light a fire and get you engaged and active in wanting to grow when you don’t really seem that interested? You’re “eh,” “meh,” and “whatever.” What could shake you out of apathy and indifference? What could shake you out of...

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Dear friend,

We all love it when life leaps into forward gear and we make all kinds of progress. Problems just seem to fall away. Perhaps in your life you’ve had a season like that, a season when your life seemed to shine and flourish. Maybe it was when you first became a believer or during...

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Tuesday, 30 May 2017 03:21

13 Reasons Why…

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“Have we talked with our children this week about the delights of living morethan the disciplines of living? Have we inspired and guided them morethan we have corrected them?”– V. Gilbert Beers

Many of you are familiar with a Netflix series that is capturing the attention of middle...

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Monday, 22 May 2017 02:00

PTSD and Trauma

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Scripture speaks in depth to human suffering, but does its reach extend to trauma?

Trauma usually identifies an event that has brought death close. This is why it first entered into our consciousness through war. The shell shock of WWI and WWII has given way to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)...

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Monday, 15 May 2017 01:26

Just-around-the-corner spirituality

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Have you ever thought, “If only I didn’t have this pressing deadline, I could spend more time in prayer”? Or, “Once I recover from this illness, then I’ll be able to concentrate and study God’s Word”? Or, “If I could just line up a retreat day (or...

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Monday, 01 May 2017 05:04

God of the besieged

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about “helplessness.” Or, you might say I’ve been pondering the different ways in which we find ourselves “helpless” in this life. For example, I am acutely aware of my helplessness as I watch my son learn the subtleties of playing...

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