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

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

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”?

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)

Reclaiming the Language of “Temptation” in Christian Discussions of Human Sexuality

I recently sat in (yet another) seminar about how to counsel Christians[1] who are tempted toward same-sex sexual activity or tempted to embrace a gender contrary to their birth sex. I left the seminar helped in a number of ways. But I was struck once again—since I have begun to identify this as a pattern—that … Continue reading Reclaiming the Language of “Temptation” in Christian Discussions of Human Sexuality

What Does “As the Deer Pants for the Water” Mean (Psalm 42:1)?

I used to love Psalm 42. I still do. But now it’s for a slightly different reason. When I was younger, I often quoted the first words of the Psalm as an expression of passion for God. I understood it to be an expression of zeal to know God…an intense longing to be close to … Continue reading What Does “As the Deer Pants for the Water” Mean (Psalm 42:1)?

Perseverance and Apostasy

Dr. Dongsu Kim recently published a valuable (and very large!) book entitled Perseverance and Apostasy in the New Testament: Unpacking the Dynamic of God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. Coming in at almost 1,000 pages, this is the most thorough treatment I have ever encountered of New Testament passages dealing with the question of whether a true Christian … Continue reading Perseverance and Apostasy

The Chronicler Teaches Us What it Means to “Seek” the Lord

I recently stumbled upon a delightful biblical discovery while doing a word search on the word “seek.” I discovered that the most common place in the Bible where the word shows up in connection with God is 1 and 2 Chronicles. Who would have guessed that? This suggests that seeking God is an important theme … Continue reading The Chronicler Teaches Us What it Means to “Seek” the Lord

Wordle or God’s Word?

What is the average amount of time it takes to solve a Wordle puzzle? I can’t locate any hard data on this question, but a guy who wrote a computer simulation to figure out the best two starting words for Wordle—and who claims he has played Wordle “a million times”—estimates that it takes about 15 … Continue reading Wordle or God’s Word?