How to Become Rooted, Fruit-bearing, Resilient, and Prospering

How would you like your life to be characterized by the following descriptors:  1) Rooted deeply in the Lord, 2) Bearing spiritual fruit, 3) Resilient during suffering, 4) Prospering in your God-given mission? During this past year, I have been trying to memorize more psalms—and boning up on psalms I already know or kinda’ know. … Continue reading How to Become Rooted, Fruit-bearing, Resilient, and Prospering

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

How to Kill an Intercessory Prayer Meeting

Actually, there are lots of ways to kill a prayer meeting. You could display bitterness or hostility to someone just before you start praying; that’s sure to do the job. Or thoughtlessly rush into a prayer meeting, without any spiritual preparation, cracking jokes up until the moment you bow your head. That, too, has a … Continue reading How to Kill an Intercessory Prayer Meeting

Iterative Prayer

Recently, just after morning prayer at “The Birdhouse” community where Trudi and I live, I got into a short conversation with a couple of our residential college students about 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing.”  We realized as we talked that we often tend to think of this command as pointing toward some sort of … Continue reading Iterative Prayer

Desire to Sin Decreases When You Walk in the Spirit

As you daily walk in the Holy Spirit, God will fill you with his Spirit in such a way that your desires to sin lessen. Galatians 5:16—set in a chapter that parallels Romans 8 in many ways—says it so well: “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” … Continue reading Desire to Sin Decreases When You Walk in the Spirit

A Liturgy for Fasting and Prayer

I recently participated in A Call to Fast and Pray at Biola.  This event was the vision of Peter Brown (a current graduate student at Biola).  Fifty or so Biola students gathered to eat dinner together at the start of the fast and to listen to a message by Biola professor Jon Lunde.  At evening’s … Continue reading A Liturgy for Fasting and Prayer

On Heaven (and Hell): Alan Gomes and Randy Alcorn

Ever since the day God got a hold of my life as a teenager, I have wanted to learn everything I could about heaven.  In fact, thinking about the brevity of life in comparison to the length of eternity was what got me on track and motivated me to really follow Christ as a teenager.  … Continue reading On Heaven (and Hell): Alan Gomes and Randy Alcorn

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2018

As we move into a new year, I thought I might share seven Christian books I really appreciated in 2018. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible, by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien Many useful insights (and a few not-quite-as-useful) on how understanding cultural contexts can improve … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2018

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East

Years ago, when Trudi and I lived in the Middle East, I wrote a prayer letter employing the poetic structure of “The Night Before Christmas.”  I share it with you on this Christmas Eve. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our house Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept Trudi my spouse She stirred … Continue reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East