You know the moral of the story. Everyone knows the moral of the story. But do you know the story behind the moral? Every story teaches powerful lessons, whether explicitly or implicitly. We pick up on these lessons, by ethical osmosis, even if we don’t get them quite right or we wonder what exactly the … More The Moral of the Story and the Story of the Moral
The prophet doesn’t have much if he doesn’t have his conscience. The Christian church in the United States, like the church in every other time and place, is called to announce to the principalities and powers that Christ is risen. We are called to summon the nations, including our nation, to faith and repentance, holding … More The Prophet’s Conscience
Does God ever call us to die? I don’t mean the daily cross-bearing that Christ demands of every Christian. I mean: Does God ever call us to serve in a particular ministry or setting or location that seems to promise our death? A ministry or responsibility or stewardship we know will burden, overwhelm, and press … More When God Calls You to Die
The majesty and mystery of writing are matched only by the misery of the writer’s roadblocks. I’m consistently energized by the magic of writing, but constantly humbled by the inexpressible difficulty of the craft. I recently gathered with a small group of young professors with the goal of pushing each other forward in the writing process. … More Three Clarifying Questions for the Roadblocked Writer
Analogies can be so convenient. They’re so flexible, fillable, moldable. Especially in this particular election season. There’s a cluster of interesting comparisons flying around Christian discussions about the upcoming election. Each time Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proves afresh that his public moral train wreck of the past three decades is still a glowing heap … More Donald Trump as King David?
When an idol begins dissolving in your hands, do you clench tighter, or do you let go, look up, and grasp something truly stable? American Christians are facing a watershed moment. Any presidential clout we hoped to regain in this election is slowly proving to be a mirage. Elect Hillary Clinton, and we sanction a … More The Nation and the Kingdom: Re-enchanting the Political Mind
Good morning, Christian. Today, you and I and all who are united with Christ rise from sleep to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, son of Mary and son of God. As we rise from sleep, we are reminded of two other risings — one past, and one future. We rise this morning and gather with … More O Church, Arise
What will it take to convince “evangelical” promoters, defenders, and supporters of Donald Trump that their ongoing support for a wicked, perverse, arrogant, scandalized, Christ-professing man is systematically dismantling their current integrity and their future witness? I almost never blog or tweet about politics or political candidates. But with the candidacy of Donald Trump, far more … More What Will It Take? Donald Trump and His “Evangelical” Supporters
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has hit the news over the past 24 hours after TIME Magazine published a response to the organization’s recent decision to clarify its theological standards on sexuality and request that disagreeing staff come forward for removal. This is a significant move by a significant ministry. With British roots dating to 1877 and American roots dating to 1941, … More InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Standing for Holy Love
“Should my personality influence my ministry?” A female student recently asked this question in a discussion about counseling, but it applies to any responsibility a person might hold. Whether leading, managing, preaching, organizing, parenting, or discipling, we often wonder how our personalities should affect our Christian responsibilities. The longer we live, the more we see that … More ASKED: Should my personality influence my ministry?
The following is the manuscript of a sermon I preached at Fellowship Church in Louisville, Kentucky (audio here). Psalm 78:1-8 (ESV) 1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of … More Lesson and Legacy: Tell the Coming Generation (Sermon from Psalm 78:1-8)
They just keep coming. Now it’s rabbi-counselor Shmuley Boteach and actress-model Pamela Anderson joining the growing outcry against pornography. Their joint Wall Street Journal article, “Take the Pledge: No More Indulging Porn”, arrives like an amateur medic rushing into a graveyard to inform the deceased that death is dangerous for us. The article is generally laudable. The timing … More Trailing the Prophets: Pornography’s New Firefighters and the Church’s Prophetic Witness
As a college freshman, Scott Burns was my Resident Director. Scott was a 6’5″ man’s man who knew everything about hunting, fishing, poisonous insects, and indigenous bushes. When he walked the halls, guys flocked to him. But above all these things, “Burns” was known for one particular quality. I later heard that he had committed to pray consistently … More What Every Young Man Needs
For a kaleidoscope of reasons, we often assume that lament implies doubt. We assume that crying out to God in our pain is somehow an inherent indictment against his character and our faith. We’re fearful or ashamed of expressing our frustrations, our complaints, and our sorrows to him — for a tapestry of reasons that … More Trusting God Enough to Lament
Each week, it seems, I experience a class session that seems magical — filled with intellectual tension, unbridled curiosity, stimulating questions, rich spontaneity, and seemingly life-shaping learning. I inevitably walk away with my mind racing over fresh terrain and new ideas, rejoicing in my God-given role as lead learner. Of course, growth is mainly measurable over time, … More The Magical and the Mundane
The satirical Babylon Bee could and does write handfuls of articles about worship leaders. Apparently there’s a lot of material to work with. They’re mocked for their skinny jeans, their black-frame glasses, their chronological snobbery, their hipster tendencies. Or they’re knocked for their old-guard mentality, their antiquated ways, their refusal to get with the times whether … More The Sacred Teaching Task of the Christian Worship Leader