Loss and Grief

Some days, I am in the valley of the shadow of death, and I forget to remember that God is with me. But he doesn’t forget.

Grief. Sometimes loss is just a bit overwhelming. Sometimes I wish I could just experience what they call the “ugly cry” but I don’t think I’m able to. Too unseemly. I have too much of my father in me I guess. But I still grieve. I am grieving for lost youth. I wasn’t ready for... Continue Reading

“Biblical Womanhood”: What Is a Woman?

We must stop teaching stereotypes as if they are based in scripture.

Jacob cooked stew. Jesus cooked fish. The male deacons—not the women’s ministry—served food to the Greek widows. Paul let himself be beat up in Philippi, and Jesus allowed himself to be stripped and spit on—great insults to manhood. Mary of Bethany sat in the traditional pose of a male seminary student as she studied Torah... Continue Reading

Cultivating Praise in Marriage

Prayer with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6) is the most powerful path to growth in valuing, enjoying, and encouraging your spouse.

As you grow in this, it will do more than strengthen your marriage. When we praise one another, we are, in a sense, practicing for glory. Paul writes, “you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor 1:14b). Praise and affirmation are surely... Continue Reading

Transgenderism and the Threat to Parental Rights

The appearance of transgenderism, or self-defined sexuality, on the cultural scene in the Western world adds a dramatic new dimension to the struggle between the family and the state for control of children.

This was recently underscored when an Ohio family lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter, who claims to be a transgender individual (i.e., really a boy) and wanted to begin sex transitioning, which her parents blocked. A description of sex transitioning, the current emphasis of legal efforts to require transitioning of children, and its threat to parental rights,... Continue Reading

Why You Need an Untouchable Day (or Two) Every Week

This is not just to maximize productivity but also to maximize relational, emotional, and mental health.

Now, your work or study circumstances may not allow you to schedule a full day or two a week. However, don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Everyone can schedule some untouchable time a day (see Kevin DeYoung’s What I learned on my Week-long Digital Fast for some ideas on how to start). If we’re honest,... Continue Reading

God Is Holding On to You

Even if we might try to break free of his grip and let go of him, he is holding on to us tightly and keeping us safe.

Our Father is perfectly wise and good and he knows how to uphold his children so that we persevere. That illness, that disappointment, that conflict, that setback, that failure—in God’s hands don’t we see these things bringing us to a new sense of our helplessness apart from the Lord, a new lease of life in... Continue Reading

The Persuasion of the Gospel

"God speaks to us not primarily to inform us, but to encounter us in judgment and grace"

And yet the Christian longs for relief, for a remedy, for rescue, for the comfort of the gospel. To effectively reach and help the hearer the preacher must teach not only truth but use godly persuasion to convince of that truth those weak in faith, those struggling with the guilt of sin, and those harboring doubts of... Continue Reading

The Internet Is Making Us Angry, Thoughtless, and Less Truthful

Shock and anger and snark get attention and Likes and shares, but not reasonableness and thoughtfulness.

In order to survive, websites need to constantly publish content that will provoke heavy emotion. Be controversial or outraged or hilarious or sexual. But whatever you do … don’t be boring. Truth isn’t as important as emotion. Reality isn’t as important as how many page views will be generated. Every part of what’s published, from... Continue Reading

3 Things to Know About Union with Christ

Through the Holy Spirit who gives us faith, we are united to Christ like branches to a vine.

Dead branches are now being grafted in to a new, living vine. Being united to the first Adam who fell, we were dead in trespasses and sin. But now, we have been granted new life because of the work of Jesus, who is called the second Adam (Rom. 5). Knowing the following three aspects of... Continue Reading

The Power of Sisterhood: Women Spurring Women to Do Hard and Good Things

I am convinced the best way women can serve one another—and even the entire world—is to meet together and to encourage one another to love and good works.

It has been women in my life who have shown me over and over and over what it looks like to love God and love my neighbor. As I have walked life with them, they have spurred me on to good works. Truly, I would not have pursued Christ without their godly influence.    Remember Donna? My workout... Continue Reading

Are You a Contender?

Like brave mothers who snatch their children from a cougar’s jaws, our fight to defend is compelled by love.

We fight, first, because we love the truth, and second, because we love people and want to save them from certain death. We fight to “save others by snatching them out of the fire” of God’s judgment against unbelief and apostasy. We defend the truth as an act of mercy toward “those who doubt” (Jude 22-23).  ... Continue Reading

A Better Country For Mom

One day mom won’t laugh with me here. But she won’t weep there, in that better country.

Canada is a better country than Ghana, but mom couldn’t imagine she would suffer so much in a better country. But there is a country better than Canada. There is a country better than every country in this world. There, mom won’t suffer anymore. I don’t want to think about mom not being here. But... Continue Reading

How to Understand the Jordan Peterson Phenomenon

Peterson has stolen the song about order and meaning we Christians use to sing so well. It’s time we steal it back.

So many evangelicals are fascinated and concerned about Peterson because he  exemplifies the kind of popular thought leader our movement has not produced since Schaeffer. Personality alone, though, cannot fully explain the popularity of Peterson. His appeal is due largely to his ability to deliver an inspiring, albeit pseudo-Christian, counter-cultural message for an anxious age.... Continue Reading

Keeping the Sabbath Saved My Marriage, My Ministry, and Probably My Life

I used to think resting from work was selfish, until I considered the example of Jesus.

I had been working tirelessly only to let one more person down. I could not go on like I had been. By the sovereign grace of God, I had been reading a book by pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson. Through reading the book, I discovered something I had completely ignored in 10 years of Bible... Continue Reading

Being Apologetic About Jordan Peterson

What in the world are we to do with the likes of Jordan Peterson?

For the uninitiated, Peterson is a Canadian secular depth psychologist who has been making waves over the last few months for his controversial yet articulate stands on social issues, witty advice, and ability to command any room into which he walks (David Robertson provides a good introduction). Peterson appeals mainly to the growing masses of disaffected young men who... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about Church Membership

What do you want from your local church?

So, why covenant membership? It isn’t because we want to be like some other church, or even because we want to be unlike someone else. It is because we want to be biblical. It is because this world wants to sell you a bill of goods and to shape you in its image.   Membership... Continue Reading

The Gods And Debaters Of “This Age” Die

What is the difference between Moses and Paul on the one hand and the Egyptians, the Greeks, and Hawking on the other?

Moses and Paul knew the difference between passing theories, which Hawking himself revised and that shall be revised again and the truth as it is in Christ. Moses and Paul engaged the theories and philosophers of their day. After all, they were aware of what had been theorized by the various philosophers and scientists of... Continue Reading

Sanctification Through Song

Singing God’s songs does real, noticeable good.

And, of course, the songs themselves — as I have sung them — have gotten into my bones, and they have generated a longing to return to them over and over again. I have not only been sanctified to sing, but sanctified through song. I still don’t sing well-  I won’t get tapped for choir... Continue Reading

A Functional Imperfect Perfectionism?

In this life we will be far from what we long to be and that which Christ will ultimately and instantaneously make us in glory

The idea that “men demand immediate, tangible results” is also observable in our day by a consideration of the many efforts to rid society of particular injustices. Where there are noble calls to end gun violence, abuse, political corruption, sexual deviancy, racial inequality, abortion, etc., men can unconsciously convince themselves that a complete purgation of... Continue Reading

Why You Need To Be in Church This Sunday

We’ve all but turned worship into the living room experience, complete with coffee, large television screens, couch-like seating, and a pastor who barely got out of his pajamas.

Our low view of the Sunday gathering as pastors has resulted in the church being an optional assembly. If people can get their church experience at home on the couch, there’s no reason for them to drive anywhere. When we strip worship of its weird beauty (the beauty of the Sacraments, preaching, liturgy, mystery), we’re... Continue Reading

Gentleness – All About Communication

In the New Testament, gentleness usually has to do with communication, both verbal and non-verbal.

Gentle people reach out to others in ways that make others want to reach out to them. Communication is easy, or at least looks easy, for the Christian who has disciplined himself to bear such fruit. Are you gentle? Ask yourself, “do others welcome me readily when I approach them?” And “do others easily come... Continue Reading

What is the Object of Our Zeal?

We may not be tempted to worship Baal this week, but where is "grace" used to excuse sin today?

Disparage and mock people who disagree with us because we are obviously “right?” Thus our “rightness” takes precedence over loving our neighbor? Not only is pride at stake but the fear of losing what makes us feel safe and perhaps our identity? Dull our consciences or compromise our ethics for the sake of a political... Continue Reading

Three Types of Evangelistic Contexts: Contact, Context, and Friendship

Few things are more enjoyable than being in partnership with the God of the universe.

Many say that contact evangelism and context evangelism is beyond their comfort zone. They prefer to keep their evangelism in the realm of talking with friends. But friendship evangelism also has its challenges. Often, the friendship has grown and developed, sometimes for years, and the topic of spiritual things has never percolated to the surface.... Continue Reading

White-Knuckling, Navel-Gazing, & Womanhood

The cultural baggage we bring to our understanding of biblical womanhood is an idol that is tremendously hard to kill. Especially when we’ve made that idol our identity.

Somehow, we’ve wrongfully made the home the most significant battle of biblical womanhood. We’ve taken a couple of passages in God’s word and turned them into the entirety of what it means to be a woman. We’ve taken our identities as females and caged them in Titus 2:3-5 and Proverbs 31. We’ve camped out in... Continue Reading

Braving Hard Passages: The Analogy of Scripture

Creativity is not always the best virtue to rely upon when it comes to interpreting a hard passage.

The point?  You must decide between Jesus and your money.  In other words, who or what is your God?  Rather than build your heaven on earth, Jesus is calling you to be generous and so store up treasure in heaven.  Or to put it another way, have a good eye rather than an evil one. ... Continue Reading

Saved by the Life of God’s Son (Romans 5:1-11)

The full present and future life of the believer can never be separated from the resurrection life of Christ.

It is not simply the resurrection as an event that is in view, however. Paul does not say, we shall be saved by his resurrection, but ‘by his life,’ and therefore it is the exalted life of the Redeemer that is intended. The resurrection is in the background as conditioning the exaltation life.   The... Continue Reading

When the Unbeliever Departs: The Aftermath

I had to fight the fear of losing my marriage with a greater fear of God.

I had to learn to fight the fear of losing my marriage with a greater fear of God. It might sound strange, to fight fear with fear, but the more I looked to God as my mighty Sovereign, the less I worried about future outcomes. To be sure, there were many days of shaky trust,... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about Theophanies

The word theophany is a combination of two Greek words, meaning God and appearance.

Theophanies are of different kinds. Examples include a thunderstorm, fire, a cloud, glory, a courtroom, a human figure, a warrior, and a chariot. Each of these highlight aspects of God’s character and his dealings with us. Each foreshadows the coming of Christ. Each kind is mysteriously related to the other kinds.   The word theophany... Continue Reading

Teaching the Trinity: TRIUNE

Summarizing the salient features of the Trinity using the acronym TRIUNE.

No subordination of rank, no multiplication of deities, no confusion of persons. God subsists as three equal persons, not three gods, not one god with three different faces, and not one supreme deity with an angelic deputy and an ethereal delegate. Every Christian should be Trinitarian, not Unitarian, nor Jesus-monistic, nor pneumo-manic.   If I... Continue Reading

Open Borders and the Bible

We need to be very careful how we quote Old Testament laws that were binding to Israel as a theocratic state.

We must be careful when we quote the Bible in support of open borders.  The Old Testament laws were written in the context of a theocracy.  You can’t pick and choose the laws from theocratic Israel and ignore the theocracy itself.  Open borders are indeed biblical in a theocratic nation.  If we lived in a... Continue Reading