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

Four Categories to “Act the Miracle”

Identity is at the core of many issues, not the least of which is same-sex attraction.

God is better than you can imagine. At heart of all sin is unbelief. In fact, sin began when Adam and Eve chose not to believe what God said about himself. The identity we assign to God will define our own. “If He is the Creator, then we are created. If He is Master, then... Continue Reading

Appreciating the Apostles’ Creed

We come to appreciate the Apostles’ Creed as a syllabus to the Christian faith that is to be taught, a faith founded on Christ.

Then we hear several things that enhance our understanding and appreciation for the Apostles’ Creed. We are brought to note its form and flow, and are struck by the disproportionate treatment of God the Son. The Father is mentioned first but it is the Son who is central. The Spirit is recognized but tersely. Then... Continue Reading

Christian: Are You Imbibing Our Culture’s View of Love?

You can justify anything in culture today by saying that’s loving or they love each other.

Jesus says something: “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.” He says, “Even as I abide in the Father’s love because I have kept his commandments.” In this culture, we don’t have a category for that. In other words, we need a radical reorientation of what love is. We need to look at the Bible... Continue Reading

Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness

In her new book, Contentment: Seeing God's Goodness, Megan Hill reminds us that complaining or being discontent can often be a sinful response to our circumstances.

Whether or not we’re aware, we spend a lot of time complaining. Isn’t it just part of being human? After all, we live in a fallen world, and life can be difficult. Our bodies get sick and hurt. Our relationships suffer. Work is hard. But is that all there is to it?   Do you... Continue Reading

Are Love and Authority Mutually Exclusive?

In the Bible, love and authority actually work together. They’re not necessarily at odds with one another.

In creation and redemption, there’s got to be a right way to do it, a right way to exercise authority. Right authority authors—gives life, gives growth like the mother mothering, the coach coaching, or the piano teacher teaching. Good authority authors; it gives life.   Can Love Make Commands? When I was in high school in... Continue Reading