Treasure in Earthen Vessels

A Christian is an earthen vessel whose weaknesses work to showcase the glory of the One who indwells him or her.

The question is not whether a believer will face difficulties and experience human weakness. The question is when. Will you trust that in those moments Christ is just as strong, just as glorious, just as much your Lord, life and Savior as He ever has been? Because He indwells every believer, and indwells you whose... Continue Reading

Heavenly Stepping-Stones

How do we prepare for the day of judgment as we worship on a Sunday morning?

Have you ever noticed in reading the Gospels that Jesus appeared to be most active on the Sabbath day? In addition to preaching, He performed numerous works of healing on this day. The list of Sabbath healings includes the man with the withered hand, the demon-possessed man in Capernaum, the woman bent double for eighteen... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why the Children’s Minister is the Staff Position in Greatest Demand

We saw this trend five years ago. It is now a reality

If churches desire to reach families, they must be prepared to reach children. If the Boomer generation acted like helicopters and hovered over their kids, the Millennial generation is acting like sidecars, and want to go wherever the motorcycle/child goes. You can’t reach a family with kids unless you are really prepared to reach the kids.... Continue Reading

The Slow Miracle of the Lord’s Day

Have patience in the work of Sabbath observance—in your own heart and in the response of the congregation.

This reorienting perspective becomes an antidote for spiritual thrill-seeking and an assurance that the tried and true ways are still the best. Instead of looking for spiritual highs, we can rest in the surety of God’s promises—even when we do not feel like it. In addition, we are also kept from over-intellectualizing worship as we... Continue Reading

Getting Small Churches on Mission (Part 1)

Small church pastors should view their congregations as an elite force.

But while there are many reasons to celebrate the things larger churches have already done (and continue to accomplish), sometimes we fail to overlook (at best) and neglect (at worst) the work that small churches can do and are doing. Small churches (250 or fewer members/attendees) make up the vast majority of evangelical churches in... Continue Reading

Four Reasons to Remember Your Creator in Youth

It’s not too late to remember Him, before these evil days come even nearer.

Why do far more of us become Christians in our youth than in our middle or old age? It’s because youthful years are sensitive years. Without giving up our belief in “Total Depravity” we can say that it’s “easier” to believe and repent when we are younger. It’s never easy, but it’s easier. And it’s... Continue Reading

Reflections on Hebrews and James: The New Testament teaches us how to read the Old

Hebrews and James are rich in instructions that open up the purpose and meaning of the Books of Moses.

What if the Epistle to the Hebrews were not in our Bibles? Hebrews makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the purpose and meaning of the Old Testament law. In Hebrews, we learn how the Aaronic priesthood and the tabernacle and sacrifices were all given to point the Jews (and everyone else) to Jesus... Continue Reading

Is Your Church Pro-Life?

The American church should stop treating the pro-life issue as primarily political and national and narrow. And we should start seeing it as primarily relational and local and broad.

Being broadly pro-life would extend our passion for people and justice far beyond the scope of the womb. It would mean showing love and value to every human life created in the image of God, refusing to be fundamentally divided from our neighbor by the increasing pressure of identity politics or national borders. It would... Continue Reading

Freely Forgiven, Freely Forgive

Since we've been freely forgiven by God, we should stand ready to freely forgive others

“We can see the evidences of our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins in our lives by seeing the fruit of forgiveness towards others. This is one of the proofs that the Spirit is working in us, because we know that on our own, we would never forgive others.”   In the adult Sunday... Continue Reading

Essential Tools For Preaching Christ (Part 2)

The Bible defines preaching in terms of what it is and what its goals are

“Most New Testament examples of preaching Christ are theological and devotional rather than exegetical and redemptive historical. This stands in partial contrast to predominating patterns in contemporary approaches to preaching.”   Sound exegesis is insufficient for sound preaching. This assertion might seem surprising in light of the popular resurgence of consecutive expository preaching. While we... Continue Reading

Did The Puritans Understand Suffering?

Some years ago a student came to ask me if the Puritans had a theology of suffering

“So the Puritans certainly suffered – physically, emotionally, politically. But did they have a theology of suffering? Well, few of them dwelt on their suffering in their writings so not really, no. Not explicitly so anyway. But implicitly even this silence indicated that yes, they did have a theology of suffering.”   Some years ago... Continue Reading

5 Things The Church Does That Enable Abuse

Christians can be kind, trusting, and gracious, and predators can see that as a weakness to be exploited

I’ve been thinking though about some of the things in our own church culture that, while well meaning, can enable abuse and create environments that are enticing to abusers and dangerous for abused. Put another way, how do we make our “hospitals” safer for everyone? I don’t have all the answers but I can think... Continue Reading

Threading The #MeToo Needle

Should the church get on board with the #MeToo movement?

“We need to make it easier for vulnerable people to report abuse. We need to make the process less biased towards the rich, the powerful and the established. But. We need to maintain a concern for evidence and due process. And in the church we need to believe in the possibility of repentance, change, growth... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know About Sex

Sex is powerfully pleasurable, but it cannot satisfy your heart

“It’s wonderful to celebrate the tasty pleasures of food, the stunning beauty of a fine piece of art, the sweet intimacy of sex, or the sound drama of a well-written piece of music. But as you’re celebrating pleasure, don’t forget to celebrate grace.”   1. Sex is God’s good creation. God in his great wisdom,... Continue Reading

Safe Hands?

It is the deepest longing of the human soul to know that our lives are in ‘safe hands’

“So as Jesus uttered those words, ‘Father, into your hands…’, he knew they were ‘safe hands’ – not because they had made his earthly life run smoothly; but because he knew it had run according to plan, even through the darkness and pain, and would culminate in the joy set before him in heaven.”  ... Continue Reading

The Selfish Reason To Stay At The Same Church For A Long Time

When a pastor remains at the same church for a long time, the church flourishes. So does the pastor.

A man who lives among the same people for decades will have an entire gallery of character sketches that have been drawn for the church and community to observe. While no pastor is perfect, all pastors are called to make visible spiritual progress. “Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see... Continue Reading

Looming Debate Over SSA

Conservatives should refrain from drawing the worst possible implications from what seems to be a thoughtful and responsible attempt to address this major cultural touchstone.

While avoiding hysterical division, we can at the same time note that a major question mark hangs over the normalization of SSA as a Christian category. It seems that there is a growing consensus in the PCA that we can and must distinguish between one’s sexual orientation and sinful desires.   These days, it seems... Continue Reading

Engaging With 1689 (2)

For the Reformed the OT covenants were more than witnesses to and revelations of the covenant of grace, they were administrations of the substance of the covenant.

For the PBs, the OT covenants are not the covenants of grace as much as they are witnesses to the covenant of grace. For the Reformed the OT covenants are earthly, historical, real, external, administrations of the one covenant of grace through types and shadows.   Last time I offered a rough taxonomy of contemporary Baptists in... Continue Reading

A Simple Treatment for Ministry Weariness

After we’ve spent ourselves for the Lord and for others, we find ourselves…well, spent.

The prophet Elijah labored under great duress. He declared to King Ahab that there would be three years of drought in ancient Israel; that’s not exactly a formula to win friends and influence people (1 Kings 17). Elijah lived as a wanted man; Ahab searched everywhere for him. The Lord spared his life in a cave... Continue Reading

Six Reasons Reformed Christians Should Embrace Six-Day Creation

By ‘6-day creation,’ I’m referring not just to one’s view of Genesis 1, but to an entire chronology of historical events.

One cannot extend history for billions of years without attaching new events to it. Those events have theological consequences. This is why Reformed thinkers like Geerhardus Vos, Louis Berkhof, and D. Martin Lloyd-Jones embraced 6-day creation. They understood it is the events included in 6-day creation that are essential for Christian theology.   This sponsored post... Continue Reading

Let’s Ban Porn

If you want better men by any standard, there is every reason to regard ubiquitous pornography as an obstacle.

We are supposed to be in the midst of a great sexual reassessment, a clearing-out of assumptions that serve misogyny and impose bad sex on semi-willing women. And such a reassessment will be incomplete if it never reconsiders our surrender to the idea that many teenagers, most young men especially, will get their sex education... Continue Reading

The New Copernicans: Millennials and the Survival of the Church

Seel’s insights are correct, but they do not make his solution correct; indeed, it is woefully wrong and insidiously dangerous.

Seel posits that Millennials (“the New Copernicans,” as he calls them) are not only the problem but also the solution. Copernicus (1473–1543) courageously stood alone against church authorities, maintaining that the sun, not the earth, was at the center of our universe. For Seel, Millennials are “Copernican” by standing tall and speaking truth to church... Continue Reading

David Platt Is Ready to Leave the IMB

After trying to both run a major missions agency and preach on Sundays, the local church won out.

“I have come to the realization that it is not viable long-term for me to lead as president of the IMB while serving as teaching pastor in a church,” said Platt, who brought his radical approach to faith to the IMB during a major budget crisis.   When David Platt became a teaching pastor at a DC-area megachurch... Continue Reading

Confessing Sin in the Midst of Suffering

After a few days of wrestling with very dark emotions, the Holy Spirit broke through and strongly convicted me of my sin of complaining.

Years ago, my pastor preached a sermon from Philippians on this subject, and it ministered great grace to me. I’ve never forgotten it.  God’s instructions to not complain are a GIFT OF GRACE from Him for us to endure in hard times.   I’ve been on a long, hard journey of suffering. Unlike previous trials which let... Continue Reading

3 Reasons a Humble Leader Is an Effective Leader

When it comes to leadership, here are three reasons a humble leader is a more effective leader.

Humility is a mark of the Christian faith. We belong to God because He humbled Himself for us, stepped into our world, and suffered a humiliating death for us. We become His when we humble ourselves as children and trust Him fully, knowing we cannot stand before Him in our goodness. We become more like... Continue Reading

The Lesson That Saved My Marriage

United to Christ, I can joyfully submit to this earthly union, trusting the same God who is shaping me to be more like his Son is at work in my husband too.

Complementarian churches regularly call men to step up, to initiate, to lead the way, to spiritually lead their wives and kids. They are to set the pace for the home as the family runs after Christ. This is a good and biblical challenge. The problem comes when we (wives) hear this teaching for our husbands and want from... Continue Reading

What Do You Do with Your Guilt?

The beautiful feeling of a clean slate is much more motivating to holiness than guilt is.

The cross of Christ has resources not just for forgiveness and the removal of guilt, but also the removal of sin’s power in our lives. We have the Holy Spirit! Remember our theology: justification never happens without sanctification coming along for the ride.   Lots of people have been raised on guilt like it was... Continue Reading

Giving/Tithing/Alms/Offerings (Murray)

I appreciate David Murray’s points on the Christian’s financial giving.

The biggest deterrent to giving is fear, the fear that if I give away too much, I won’t have enough for this or that.  When we give sacrificially, above and beyond what is comfortable and easy, we express our faith and trust in God to provide for us and our families.   As Christians, we... Continue Reading

The Corporate Application of Scripture

People need to be helped in seeing not only the individual but also the corporate application of Scripture.

Considering the church and not just my individual self as the temple of God (which many professing Christians do) emphasizes such things as the importance of being at worship, learning from others, serving together in the church, etc. Recognizing many of the epistles were written to congregations or to ministers serving them can help apply... Continue Reading

BreakPoint: Euthanasia and Its Victims

From “Right to Die” to “Duty to Die”

“To ensure the patient’s compliance, the doctor gave her coffee spiked with a sedative.” When that proved insufficient and the woman recoiled from the looming needle, he “asked family members to hold her down.” Finally, “After 15 minutes were spent by the doctor trying to find a vein, the lethal infusion flowed.”   Ideas have... Continue Reading