Sometimes Success Isn't

Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen… 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen… the king made made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone (1 Kings 10:26–27). You’d think the narrator is describing a successful king. But he’s not. He’s describing a failure. How do we know? God’s earlier law: The king must not acquire many horses for … More Sometimes Success Isn't

Six Reasons to Listen to Sermons That Aren't About You

How do you listen to a sermon that’s not about you? How can I benefit from a talk on anxiety if I’m not worried, marriage if I’m not married, or depression if I’m not down? I’m currently preaching through 1 Peter, and coming across some passages with specific target audiences—like Christian wives, many with non-Christian … More Six Reasons to Listen to Sermons That Aren't About You

Look to the East: 10 Christian Responses to Opposition

Outrage. Fear. Confusion. Anger. Nostalgia. Withdrawal. Many of the ways we Christians respond to opposition are far from ideal. Peter knew what it was like to face opposition, to lash out in anger or draw back in fear, to be restored in love, and then to step out boldly with gospel courage. It took him years to learn, … More Look to the East: 10 Christian Responses to Opposition

Shelter from the Strife

In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men;  you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. — Psalm 31:20 Ministry, sadly, can be filled with strife. The thorns of criticism and slander and disunity seem to mark the path of servant leadership. Painful disagreements, thoughtless comments, and … More Shelter from the Strife

Crawling to Sunday

Every day, we’re crawling toward Sunday. Because every Sunday, the Christian church the world over gathers to celebrate the life, death, resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Scripture and prayer, songs and sermons, confession and supplication, joy and lament, we haul our broken bodies and our heavy souls back to the place … More Crawling to Sunday

Carry Us to Sabbath

Carry us, O sabbath Lord, when sabbath days are awful few. O help us rest, and rest assured, in sabbath’s story, long and true. That seventh day, from heaven’s throne, you looked upon a world made. Your restful satisfaction shone o’er heav’n and earth, in joy surveyed. From Sinai’s thundering mount you gave a law … More Carry Us to Sabbath

The Resurrection and the Life: Lazarus, Harvey, and the Love of Jesus

I am the resurrection and the life. —Jesus of Nazareth From all appearances, Jesus arrived too late. Far too late. And not fashionably, stylishly late, but wrongfully, neglectfully late. His friend Lazarus had been sick—critical condition—and Jesus waited. He didn’t rush to Bethany, like a real friend would’ve done. He didn’t come right away, like … More The Resurrection and the Life: Lazarus, Harvey, and the Love of Jesus

Let Words Be Few

The words we threw around today, the curses and the blessings both, Were not a verbal game to play— a trifled breath, an empty oath. Instead, life’s current carries now the poisons we released so free; The fire careless words allow, consuming us from sea to sea. We know not how the cost will rise, … More Let Words Be Few

ASKED: How should I decide what to memorize?

If you want to begin memorizing Scripture, how should you decide where to start? A student asked this question yesterday in Spiritual Life Dynamics. After some class discussion, here were my three basic recommendations. 1. Scripture you love. Hunger is the best spice. If you want to start memorizing, it may be wise to start … More ASKED: How should I decide what to memorize?

A Prayer for Patience

Holy Father, When I ponder the world, the church, and especially my own life, I am astonished at your patience. Your long-suffering is beyond comprehension. We, your church, stand in loving amazement at your united patience as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Loving Father, you patiently chose us, patiently made us, patiently redeemed us, and … More A Prayer for Patience

Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah Revisited (4)

Here’s the fourth installment of my ongoing series of quotes from Dr. John Hannah of Dallas Seminary. The context of each quote is in bold, and it’s helpful to keep in mind that each statement was made in a specific educational context with its free-flowing atmosphere. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that Dr. … More Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah Revisited (4)