Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2018

As we move into a new year, I thought I might share seven Christian books I really appreciated in 2018. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible, by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien Many useful insights (and a few not-quite-as-useful) on how understanding cultural contexts can improve … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2018

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East

Years ago, when Trudi and I lived in the Middle East, I wrote a prayer letter employing the poetic structure of “The Night Before Christmas.”  I share it with you on this Christmas Eve. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our house Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept Trudi my spouse She stirred … Continue reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East

What kind of person do you hope to be in twenty years?

Recently, Trudi and I hosted six of my current college students for dinner.  (Note: as is our custom, we invited all my current students, but this time only six came).  In addition to those six were my wife, Trudi, and my daughter, Grace.  The nine of us had a great time together, and a wonderful … Continue reading What kind of person do you hope to be in twenty years?

A Simple Way to Keep the Old Testament Organized in Your Head

How can I keep the Old Testament organized in my mind?  There’s so much going on…  How do things connect?  Where is it going? Here is the simplest way I can think of.  Learn the four most important Old Testament covenants and their corresponding (rough) dates.  If you memorize this simple outline, you will kill … Continue reading A Simple Way to Keep the Old Testament Organized in Your Head

Why Do We Sing in Our Worship Service?

This past year I started the New Year by worshiping, fellowshiping, and preaching at Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California.  At one point in the service, Pastor Bob Burris read aloud a short explanation of why Christians sing during times of worship.  I appreciated what he read and want to share it with you.  … Continue reading Why Do We Sing in Our Worship Service?

The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram: A Book Review of The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz

Several of my college students in recent days have asked for my opinion about the Enneagram of Personality.  It turns out that while I’ve had my nose stuck in my Greek New Testament, the Enneagram has become all the rage.  So I decided to hunker down and educate myself about the Enneagram.  My initial take … Continue reading The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram: A Book Review of The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz

Ask God for What? Paul Weighs in on the Content of Petitionary Prayers

I am regularly vexed by how shallow my prayers can become. When I pray for something—and I know that all prayer is not for things—what should I pray for? Only for my family? For someone I know who is ill? For God to help me in the day ahead? For God to resolve whatever problem is currently … Continue reading Ask God for What? Paul Weighs in on the Content of Petitionary Prayers

“But that’s legalism!” What Legalism Is and Isn’t

“But that’s legalism!”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard those words.  A Christian friend suggests that it’s unwise to smoke marijuana, and they get blasted with: “But that’s legalism!”  A pastor preaches on the importance of generosity, and he receives a terse note with three words on it (or four, if you … Continue reading “But that’s legalism!” What Legalism Is and Isn’t

The Shortest Verse in the New Testament

What is the shortest verse in the New Testament?  Did you respond “Jesus wept”?  (Buzzer sound)  No, that is the third shortest verse in the New Testament. Granted, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) is the shortest verse in English.  In English it is 9 letters long.  But in Greek it is 16 letters long (Ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς). For a … Continue reading The Shortest Verse in the New Testament