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

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

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?

A Twist on Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thanks

I love the fact that in the United States we as a nation set aside one day a year simply for giving thanks to God for his good gifts. At some of our tables, we will take a few minutes before we eat to mention the things that we are thankful for: a new job, … Continue reading A Twist on Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thanks

What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?

Last night we encountered some misunderstanding surrounding the word “conservative” during an open discussion after a community meal at The Birdhouse (the mentoring community Trudi and I lead for college students). One of the students commented that I was the first “conservative” she had ever met who was not a cessationist. (Cessationism is the view … Continue reading What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?

If Your Phone Causes You to Sin, Cut it Off

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and … Continue reading If Your Phone Causes You to Sin, Cut it Off

Even Atheists Knew More About the Bible Than Christians Do Today

In 19th century England, Atheists knew more about the Bible than most Christians do today. So did Liberal Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, Unitarians, and Agnostics. So claims Timothy Larsen in A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians (Oxford, 2011). Larsen makes a convincing case that Victorian England was saturated with the Bible. Nineteenth century English people in general cared … Continue reading Even Atheists Knew More About the Bible Than Christians Do Today

“Broken” as an Excuse for Repetitive Sinning

Word meanings sometimes shift.  I have begun to wonder whether one commonplace word has begun to shift recently—aiding certain contemporary Christians who want to minimize their sin and justify ongoing sin patterns.  There’s nothing new, of course, about Christians searching for ways to avoid feeling bad about sinning.  But modern Christians have become remarkably adept … Continue reading “Broken” as an Excuse for Repetitive Sinning