Dear Church, We all know that over the past three weeks, the constant news about our global pandemic has given way to relentless dialogue about race. These impassioned conversations are happening almost exclusively in online spaces due to our homebound lives and our collective dependence on the endless town hall meeting we call social media. … More Part 2—Dear Church: Can We Talk about Race?
What is a reckoning? A reckoning is “a settling of accounts.” But sometimes, a reckoning is far more—the sudden and brutal arrival of consequences long coming. What we’ve been watching the past two weeks is a reckoning. In recent days, America has caught on fire. The agonizing eight-minute suffocation of George Floyd under the knee … More Part 1—The Reckoning: America, Race, and the Church
Today is Good Friday, the darkest day of Holy Week, a day Christians around the world remember the death of Jesus Christ. In the Christian calendar, the temporary thrill of Palm Sunday has passed and the crescendo of Easter is still to come. Today, only death and darkness. The Christian faith is clear about why … More Good Friday, the Virus, and the Curse
It’s now been several weeks since most churches have gathered in person. The last Sunday our church met was March 8, almost a full month ago. Like many states and cities around the country, our local “Stay Home” regulations distinguish between “essential” and “non-essential” services. In many places now, you can buy groceries and take … More Is the Church an “Essential Service”?
Our Father in heaven, We come to you this morning weighed down. Our hearts are so heavy and so full. We can’t begin to carry all that you’ve laid upon us. We have too much to be grateful for. We are too rich, too loved, too protected. You are too good, too kind, too near. … More A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Our Father in heaven, We do not come to you lightly today. Our world is on its knees before you. You are holy, and the nations are like a drop in a bucket. We recognize anew the frailty of our bodies, our lungs, our governments, our economies. We confess that we need you. Father, we … More Lord, Have Mercy: A Prayer for Our Time
We’re all trying to make timely decisions and communicate clearly during the COVID-19 disruption. Here’s what our church is doing. … More Our Church's Coronavirus Decision
Yesterday our church’s worship service was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions. We’ve also cancelled all activities this week except our in-home small groups. We want to honor our leading authorities and join our society in minimizing health risks for the most vulnerable among us. If you know our church’s history, you know this isn’t our … More Christian Reflections on the COVID-19 Crisis
Sometimes a gift grows on you. Several years ago, after I completed a dissertation on the Psalms, a friend gave me a small hardback copy of the Psalter. It wasn’t fancy or expensive. But over the years, it’s become one of the best gifts I’ve ever received—a book for prayer more than reading—because now, more than … More 5 Reasons Pastors Need the Psalms
I offered this prayer on Sunday during our church’s annual Missions Week. Our Father in heaven, We come to you this morning in the name of Jesus. Our hearts are bowed because you are Lord. You rose from the dead, and even now, you reign over your church. So, we’re coming to ask you to … More A Prayer for the Nations
The church of Jesus Christ hosts the only repository of pure truth that exists in our world. God’s Word is ours, the Spirit of Christ resides in us, and the knowledge of God illumines our hearts and minds. We know the truth, and the truth has set us free. Why then is the church the … More Open Church
Today John Piper turns 74 years old. Four years ago, when I realized he was about to turn 70, I reflected on his influence in my life and shared 70 reasons I thank God for him. • • • • • Today—January 11, 2016—John Piper turns 70. I ‘met’ John Piper in 2000 when I … More Thank You, John Piper: 70 Reasons
Jesus warns Christians about sinfully judging each other (Matthew 7:1–5). But what happens when a spirit of judgment—whether silent or explicit—overtakes us? Here are twenty-two marks of a judgmental church. A judgmental church will be infected with pride. A judgmental church will be marred with conflict. A judgmental church will be controlled by fear. A … More 22 Marks of a Judgmental Church
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
Our morning services have been canceled due to a power outage. There are lots of weather-related outages across the city, and our provider is prioritizing emergency situations first. We hope to have power by the afternoon so we can hold an evening service, but we’ll see. This incident is just the latest in a long … More The Vision and the Battle
Some people love change. Others hate it. For most of us, though, change is both a challenge and an adventure. There are many different kinds of change, of course. Some changes come in the natural progression of life, like moving from one grade to the next. Other changes come from leaders whose decisions impact our … More The Heart of Change: Four Emotions We Experience in Transition, and How We Can Respond