Joy

“What are the joy-stealers? Why do so many of us struggle with joy?” I often ask my students this question when we open the book of Philippians. “Time pressures.” “Financial pressures.” “Unfulfilled expectations.” “Hurts from the past.” These are common responses from my students. But Paul would point us toward two other foundational reasons for … Continue reading Joy

“Based”

Last semester a young college friend challenged me (dared me?) to try to use the contemporary slang word “based” during one of my college class lectures. Honestly, it was a bit tricky, since I first had to figure out what my twenty-something-year-old students meant when they used this word. But once I got a basic … Continue reading “Based”

Does an Elder Have to be “Able to Teach?” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Yes. An elder has to be “able to teach.” It is one of the qualifications for becoming an elder. However, “able to teach” in 1 Timothy 3:2 may not mean what you think it means. My guess is that when most people see the words “able to teach” as a qualification for an overseer (or … Continue reading Does an Elder Have to be “Able to Teach?” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2022

I read a lot of helpful Christian books this past year, but here are my seven favorites. Surprisingly, I read the first five before the end of January! Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, by Mark Vroegop. The author first teaches how to lament, and then moves on to explain what we … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2022

Should You Pray to the Holy Spirit?

The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries … Continue reading Should You Pray to the Holy Spirit?

My Three Least Favorite “Christmas” Playlist Songs

I dislike playing the part of the Grinch, but can we as Christians admit that there are some really awful “Christmas” songs that have become standards on many Christmas playlists? None of the songs I have included today on my least-favorite list are actually Christian Christmas songs at all; but they all commonly get included … Continue reading My Three Least Favorite “Christmas” Playlist Songs

What is “Contextualization”? What is “Syncretism”?

Contextualization is putting the gospel into cultural forms that are easier for recipients to understand and receive without changing the gospel. Syncretism is mixing the gospel with false philosophical or religious ideas, resulting in the gospel message getting changed or substantially diluted. Contextualization is good and necessary. Syncretism is dangerous and should be avoided. Although … Continue reading What is “Contextualization”? What is “Syncretism”?

Nurturing the Spiritual Lives of our Children: 14 Tips

A few years ago, Trudi and I led a session at a parenting seminar. We offered 14 “tips” for nurturing the spiritual lives of one’s children. I’ve included the 14 teaching points here for your own consideration. Our prayer is that many parents will take on the call to intentionally train their children in the ways of … Continue reading Nurturing the Spiritual Lives of our Children: 14 Tips

How to Change from a Prayer Worrier into a Prayer Warrior

Are you a Prayer Worrier or a Prayer Warrior? What’s the difference? Prayer Worriers only pray about things that they’re worried about. The only items that some people pray about are the matters that make them anxious. A person who only prays about their worries is a classic Prayer Worrier. Prayer Warriors, in contrast,battle in … Continue reading How to Change from a Prayer Worrier into a Prayer Warrior

A Biblical Spectrum of Guidance from God (from clearest to least clear)

What if we were to plot biblical examples of the leading of the Spirit on a continuum from clearest communication to least clear? That’s what I propose to do in this post. For years I have been taking note of moments in the Bible where God communicates with his people beyond the written Word. Please … Continue reading A Biblical Spectrum of Guidance from God (from clearest to least clear)