The Counterintuitive Nature of Authority

The purpose in using authority is not to get . . . but to give and to serve, to build up, equip, and strengthen.

I want to say to anybody in any position of authority at church, the home, or the office: that’s your job. Be that rock, be that platform on which others stand. You use your top-down authority to get yourself in a bottom-up position. Authority is dangerous—more so than you think because it can kill. But,... Continue Reading

Why You’ll Never Be Free Until You Start Obeying God

Freedom is the ability to do what we ought to do—that’s real freedom.

It wasn’t just an exchange of slavery to a certain kind of enlightenment freedom. It was servitude to Pharaoh which was hardship and oppression in exchange for serving God—which is true freedom, true joy, true happiness in loving God, in knowing God, in delighting in God, and doing things God’s way instead of our way.... Continue Reading

Napalm Girl and God’s Saving Grace

In her memoir, Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace, Kim Phuc Phan Thi reveals that even amid the bombs and terror and pain she suffered, God remained steadfast.

From the moment of its publication in 1972, the “Napalm Girl” picture—originally titled “The Terror of War” — shocked the world. The iconic image captured all that is tragic, perverse, and horrifying in warfare, and its appearance in major newspapers fueled controversy about U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. So influential was this one picture,... Continue Reading

Christopher Yuan on Living Holy in the Midst of Temptations

This book works together with Jackie Hill Perry's Gay Girl, Good God to give a remarkable picture of the power of God’s redemptive grace, the clarity of His Word, and His calling to live in sexual purity.

Christopher Yuan is that rare individual who has personally grappled with these issues in the crucible of life. Instead of reinventing theology or engaging in creative interpretation, he lives consistently with biblical beliefs even when it’s personally difficult or unpopular. In that respect, he is God’s gift to us, and I for one am profoundly... Continue Reading

Confessing Christ, Good for the Soul

Church history is littered with examples of the importance of regular, public, and faithful confessions of faith.

Confessing the faith is necessary, not only at conversion, but in all of life, in words and deeds. Herman Bavinck’s The Sacrifice of Praise was written to encourage and challenge readers towards deeper reflection of the nature of their confession, to tether the reader to Scripture and to the rest of the church. It was written as... Continue Reading

The Preacher and Teacher: The First John

What immediately struck me about his book was the way in which he elucidates the major themes, theological and practical, of his own theological heroes.

John Calvin in particular took on a new freshness for me as I listened in to the impact the Reformer had on Dr. Ferguson. It seems strange to write about a writer who’s commentating on a writer, but the strangeness quickly evaporates once the reader engages Ferguson’s book. It’s a lens through which the weighty... Continue Reading

The Bad News about Christmas

God has to invade our world in the person of Jesus because there was simply no other way.

I want to encourage you today in a fresh way to accept the bad news of the Christmas story because, if you do, the good news becomes all the more comforting and glorious. The Christmas story tells you that you have been freed forever from denying or minimizing the danger that lives inside you because... Continue Reading

Jackie Hill Perry’s “Gay Girl, Good God” Is a Book You Shouldn’t Miss

Having struggled with same-sex attraction (SSA), Perry recounts her story with humility

I first heard Jackie Hill Perry at the Canvas Conference in Portland a few years ago, where we both spoke. Jackie writes like a word artist, which is exactly what she is. She does “spoken word,” as in the video [below], where every word counts. Her book is poetry of sorts, at times with a... Continue Reading

Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter on Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life

“…[We] came to think that a mini-treatise by Baxter that, at its heart, sought to serve the depressed would, if republished in a modern edition, be a valuable resource for pastoral care of depressed persons in today’s churches.”

Baxter helps us understand why counseling a depressed soul is important: “…the disease we call melancholy–depression–is opposed to the very sense of the gospel….under the influence of depression, all that Christ has accomplished, purchased, offered, and guaranteed appears to be of only dubious repute and, even where true, a cause more for sadness than for... Continue Reading

The Preacher and Teacher: The Man, Not Mechanics and Methods

One of the constant themes we discover in the pens and on the lips of faithful servants of our Lord Jesus throughout the ages is how their sense of utter inadequacy for their task drove them to dependence on the Lord.

By relying upon God’s “means of grace” God’s servant is changed—sanctified—purified of sin. From beginning to end we should be profoundly aware that the matter before us is not about pastoring and teaching per se, it’s about pastors and teachers. The man, not mechanics and methods, is the issue. The man called into service by... Continue Reading