America First? Reject America? Early Christians Offer a Third Way

This week citizens of the United States are pondering once again what it means to be American. Personally, I am deeply grateful that God permitted me to grow up in this incredibly blessed nation. Some people I know, though, act like they are first Americans and only second Christians. That’s a problem. At the opposite … Continue reading America First? Reject America? Early Christians Offer a Third Way

An Ancient Prayer to Help Us Pray into Our Cultural Moment

Sometimes we need to spiritually step outside of our historical and cultural setting to adequately engage the demands of our own cultural moment. To this end, I offer you the earliest Christian prayer after the time of the New Testament, 1 Clement 59.3-61.3. 1 Clement is a lengthy letter written by the church in Rome to … Continue reading An Ancient Prayer to Help Us Pray into Our Cultural Moment

Civil Disobedience in an Age of Coronavirus

Do Christians have to obey their governmental leaders when such leaders issue specific declarations about: 1) where you can and cannot go, 2) what you should wear on your face, and 3) how far away you should stay from other people? What if you don’t agree that such directives make sense? The short answer is … Continue reading Civil Disobedience in an Age of Coronavirus

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