Prayer Changes Things: Right? Or Does It?

My good God rules, controls, and ordains all things for my good and his glory. God invites me to pray to him and promises to respond to my prayers.

Our prayers don’t alter God’s sovereign plan. It’s not like we pray and God says, “Woah, hey now! Didn’t expect that one. Okay, gotta change things quickly. Time to shift things around. Let’s see, I’ll put this here and this here and…” God isn’t the ultimate project manager, trying to juggle the lives of 7... Continue Reading

Long-suffering Love

When I find it hard to love with long-suffering, I must remember Christ and his long-suffering love toward me.

This nuance or deeper meaning to “Love is patient” makes me look at the love I have for others in a new way. It’s easy to love those who treat me well, but those who don’t? That’s hard. It’s hard to love those who let me down time and time again. Those who disappoint me... Continue Reading

Why I Love the Psalms

Throughout history, the book of Psalms has been treasured by many Christians in many places.

In the ancient and medieval periods, the Psalms were studied and sung very frequently, especially by monastics. The great Athanasius (296–373) said, “I believe that a man can find nothing more glorious than these Psalms; for they embrace the whole life of man, the affections of his mind, and the motions of his soul. To... Continue Reading

9 Ways the New Covenant is better than the Old

It is easy for believers to lose sight of how privileged we are to participate in the New Covenant.

In the New Covenant we have confidence to draw near to Christ in service of his people. In the Old Covenant, the qualifications for ministry in the temple were largely external, and consisted of various washings and sacrifices—shadows, really. In the New Covenant, the qualifications for spiritual service are raised. While you would think this... Continue Reading

Living Under Authority

It’s all too easy for us to get caught up in an attitude that will bring us into open defiance of the authority of God.

The world has gone crazy in lawlessness, but we’re to be different. Wherever we find ourselves under authority—and we all find ourselves submitting to various authorities—we’re to submit to that authority. Nobody in this world is autonomous. Every one of us has not just one boss, but several bosses. Everyone I know, including me, is... Continue Reading

Hierarchy and Subordination vs. Headship and Household Mission

Headship existed before the fall because Adam and Eve were in a household, the garden-temple-household of Eden.

Eph. 5 teaches proper headship of the husband, which is far different than ruling over a wife and demanding submission from her. Christ as the head of God’s household, the church, did what man never could, and now man is restored to lay down his own life in service to his wife and family. Interestingly... Continue Reading

Who Are “the Least of These”?

“The least of these” refers to other believers in need—specifically, itinerant Christian teachers dependent on other Christians for hospitality and support.

Matthew 25 is about social justice in the sense that it is about caring for the needy. But the needy in view are fellow Christians, especially those who depend on our hospitality and generosity for their ministry. “The least of these” is not a blanket statement about the church’s responsibility to meet the needs of... Continue Reading

8 Prayers You Should Regularly Pray For Your Pastor

Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers of pastors.

Pastors can be tempted to modify or even abandon biblical doctrines for a variety of reasons. Cultural pressures, vocal church members, even legal actions can press hard upon pastors, making them feel that the only way out is to give up the clear teaching of Scripture. They need God’s grace to stay faithful to the... Continue Reading

Christ, the Church, and Marriage

God gave us marriage so that when he speaks to us of love, tenderness, intimacy and union, we would know something of what he is talking about.

The common interpretation of Ephesians 5:22ff is this: Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Since Christ will never abandon his church, divorce is forbidden under all circumstances. Hogwash. This is the same as saying that since Christ will never abandon his church, we also must never prune our vines. It’s silly on... Continue Reading

Minimalism Is Not the Gospel

I was a minimalist for less than a week. But I loved every clean, simple, sleek minute of it.

First-world citizens often do accumulate possessions to excess. We idolize our belongings and base our sense of self-worth on the newly acquired contents of our Macy’s shopping bag. We compare our stuff with others’ stuff in an endless cycle of covetousness. We’re also heedless of the consequences of our consumerism. In our pursuit of stuff, we become thoughtless stewards of creation and poor neighbors to those who produce goods in unsafe conditions for unfair wages. But minimalism is not the gospel.