The Problem with Principlizing: How Do We Move From Biblical Text to Application?

When you read the Bible, how do you connect what you read to practical life? When you preach or teach from the Bible, how do you move from a historically-rooted text to application in the present day? The most common modern approach is “principlizing.” Modern Christians frequently try to discover a “principle” in whatever biblical … Continue reading The Problem with Principlizing: How Do We Move From Biblical Text to Application?

The Ministry-Impact Gap

Today, my friend Chris Grace[1]  introduced me to a concept that recent social psychologists refer to as “The Liking Gap.” In simple terms, when people converse with others, they normally think that the person with whom they have conversed leaves the conversation liking them less than the other person in fact does.  In other words, … Continue reading The Ministry-Impact Gap

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2019

As I reflect on the books I read in 2019, I note seven Christian books that have impacted my own Christian thinking and spiritual life more than any others. This year’s list is a bit more academic than last year’s, though it ranges from easy-to-read to serious academic. Nevertheless, these are the seven books that … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2019

Christmas Presence

Two days before Christmas last year I was sitting in church when the worship leader invited us to ponder a question: “What is it that you need to release to the Lord during this Christmas time?” He gave us a few moments of quiet to prayerfully contemplate a response. It wasn’t long before I knew … Continue reading Christmas Presence

Is Contextualization the Key to Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth?

“The key to missions is contextualization.” “The key to growing the American church is relevance.” If we could put the Christian message in just the right form, and set up our churches to be places where visitors felt comfortable, a lot more people would come to Christ. Right? No, I’m afraid that’s not right. But … Continue reading Is Contextualization the Key to Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth?

A Twist on Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thanks

I love the fact that in the United States we as a nation set aside one day a year simply for giving thanks to God for his good gifts. At some of our tables, we will take a few minutes before we eat to mention the things that we are thankful for: a new job, … Continue reading A Twist on Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thanks

What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?

Last night we encountered some misunderstanding surrounding the word “conservative” during an open discussion after a community meal at The Birdhouse (the mentoring community Trudi and I lead for college students). One of the students commented that I was the first “conservative” she had ever met who was not a cessationist. (Cessationism is the view … Continue reading What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?

Can Any Christian Learn How to Do Miracles?

When my wife, Trudi, was a college student, a Christian friend invited her to visit a church on the other side of town to hear a well-known preacher. Since Trudi had been raised in churches that were rather tame when it came to overtly miraculous activities, she was surprised to discover an announcement in the … Continue reading Can Any Christian Learn How to Do Miracles?

The 10 Lamest Excuses in the Bible

Most of us are amazingly good at making excuses, especially when we do something wrong. I know I am. The other day I was reading my Bible, when I came across one of the most boneheaded excuses I have ever encountered (#1 below). It made me think of how many lame excuses show up in … Continue reading The 10 Lamest Excuses in the Bible

J. C. Ryle on Christ as Divine and Human: An Insightful Paragraph

In his classic book on sanctification, Holiness (1877), J. C. Ryle, an evangelical Anglican bishop, penned a profound paragraph on the importance of Christ being both divine and human.  It is rare to encounter such devotionally-rich reflections in modern Christian literature, so I offer it to you for your meditation today.