One Way to Pray about the Coronavirus Crisis

Many people I know are praying for family members who are currently ill, immunocompromised, or facing other critical risks from COVID-19. Others I know are praying for those who have lost jobs or otherwise undergoing economic hardships. Some I know are praying for governmental leaders, first responders, and medical professionals who are heroically waging war … Continue reading One Way to Pray about the Coronavirus Crisis

How Did Early Christians Respond to Plagues? Historical Reflections as the Coronavirus Spreads

COVID-19 is spreading across the globe as I write these words. In my section of the world, people are stockpiling hand sanitizers, facemasks, toilet paper, and bottled water, and some have already self-quarantined. The focus of these efforts, naturally, is protection of self and others from the spread of the virus. But in the midst … Continue reading How Did Early Christians Respond to Plagues? Historical Reflections as the Coronavirus Spreads

How Much Should Christians Touch? A Book Review of Handle with Care, by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

I have just finished reading Lore Ferguson Wilbert’s newly published book, Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry. I will limit this review to four points of appreciation, and three points of concern. Four Points of Appreciation The author effectively highlights the pain that people experience who do … Continue reading How Much Should Christians Touch? A Book Review of Handle with Care, by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

Humility and Prayer

Humility supports prayer, and prayer supports humility. First, humility supports prayer. Suppose that I enter into a time of prayer arrogantly. When I address my heavenly Father—who, by the way, is also the Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of all the world!—I might start addressing him casually, as though he’s my homeboy. I might start thoughtlessly … Continue reading Humility and Prayer

Spurgeon Comments on Whitefield’s Preaching

Charles Spurgeon’s words about the way Whitefield preached are worth pondering. “Whitefield’s sermons were not eloquent, but were rough and unconnected.  But it was not in the words themselves, but in the manner in which he delivered them, the earnestness with which he felt them, the pouring out of his soul as he preached them.  … Continue reading Spurgeon Comments on Whitefield’s Preaching

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?