I’m writing these comments as someone who has great appreciation for the modern worship movement. Still…. Am I the only one who has noticed a spate of unusual metaphors popping up in our worship songs in recent years? There isn’t anything profound that I’m trying to communicate in this post. I’m simply issuing a plea … Continue reading 12 Awkward Metaphors in Worship Songs
After an extended time of prayer in the mountains last year, I left with one perspective that has proven extremely helpful to me. Here is that perspective: God has apportioned to each of us who are part of his kingdom not only specific ministries to build up the church and extend God’s kingdom work in … Continue reading How Wide is the Sphere of Ministry God has Given You?
What attitudes should Christians display when compelled by conscience to disobey the government? Before addressing that question, let’s review one thing. Christians normally should not disobey the government. Quite the opposite is the case. In most situations, Christians should obey the government even when governmental directives appear unreasonable or overreaching. There is one broad biblical … Continue reading Christian Virtues for Civil Disobedience
This morning I talked with someone who was describing some items on their bucket list. A “bucket list,” if you don’t know the term, is “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying,” according to Dictionary.com. Such lists routinely include fun activities to do … Continue reading A Different Kind of Bucket List
In the early 1950’s in Communist Russia, three charismatic pastors came up with a risky idea they thought might be worth doing despite the risk. Nik Ripken, in his outstanding book about persecution, The Insanity of God, explains that: “…they planned and organized a youth congress in Moscow and invited all of the young, unmarried … Continue reading Persecution and Scripture Memorization
Last year, I was at home with my family on Good Friday because of Covid-19. My home church streamed a somber and beautiful online service. One of our church leaders led a soul-searching time of reflection on the passion narrative, interspersing six pre-recorded readings from the biblical text with solemn songs led by our worship … Continue reading I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection
Muslims are coming to Christ all around the world. But what should a church composed of Muslim-background believers in Jesus look like? How contextualized can/should such a church be? I recently read an outstanding book dealing with the central biblical-theological and missiological questions surrounding this central question: Insider Church: Ekklesia and the Insider Paradigm. The book's author, … Continue reading Muslim Insider Movements and the Church: An Interview
Some years ago, I counseled with a student who was paralyzed by a fear that she had committed the unforgivable sin because of some terrible words she had uttered. Her concern came out of Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall … Continue reading What is the Unforgivable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?
Following are seven books I read in 2020 that I found beneficial in my Christian life. This year I read quite a few biographies, so three of my entries are biographies. Unfortunately, none of the academic books I read this year made the list (compare my list for 2019), even though most of the books … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2020
If you fundamentally identify yourself as being in Christ—as opposed to all the other options for self-identification—you will regularly respond differently than those who closely identify with the world’s lesser alternatives. Let me offer some examples of responses that might proceed from people who view themselves fundamentally as “in” a lesser alternative rather than viewing … Continue reading How Do You Identify?