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
God broke into history by bringing a surprise announcement to a peasant girl in Nazareth. Mary’s response to this astonishing—and scandalous, even terrifying—proclamation that she would be the virgin mother of the Messiah is instructive for how we should respond to a God who not only broke into history, but has broken into our lives … Continue reading Four Lessons for Christmas from Mary’s Song of Praise (The Magnificat: Luke 2:46-55)
One of the hardest things about being a Christian author is determining how much—or how little—to promote a book I’ve written. Nevertheless, in the presence of the Lord, I know that I have the responsibility not only to prayerfully and carefully write books that strengthen people’s faith and further Christ’s kingdom, but also to encourage … Continue reading Can I Recommend a Christmas Gift?
Thanksgiving in the United States is one of my favorite holidays. I used to view it as the only holiday still untainted by secularism and materialism. But that was before football took over. Now, for many of us, largely because of the national obsession with American-style football, the most thanks that gets expressed on our … Continue reading Thankfulness in Christ
This morning I awoke to the sound of a mosquito in my room, a predator intent on sucking the blood out of my body. Mosquitos are evil creatures whose only positive feature is that some birds and bats like the way they taste. This particular mosquito was tiny, and moved too quickly for me to … Continue reading The Tongue is Like a Mosquito: James 3:1-12
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?
Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose that you possessed a magic ball from which dangled a tiny magic thread. Furthermore, suppose that when you tugged on that magic thread, you could skip to a later time in your life. If you tugged a little on the thread, little time would pass; if you tugged a lot, … Continue reading Let’s Just Get Through This
Have you ever tried to uproot a tree? I don’t mean a little one… I remember as a teenager helping my dad remove an old and less-than-healthy cherry tree that sat in the middle of the front lawn of our family home in San Jose, California. All of us were tired of stepping on cherries … Continue reading Rooted in Christ
How can you identify that you have a problem with pride? Following are 14 diagnostic questions that I recently adapted from a set of “rules” (advice) written by 17th-century clergyman Jeremy Taylor to help Christians grow in humility. Personally, I have returned a dozen or more times to Taylor’s advice over the past 25 years, … Continue reading Diagnosing Pride: A Checklist
Following is a little exercise I did while working on my new devotional book on union with Christ (what I refer to as inChristness in the book). I had noticed—like many before me—that Ephesians 1:3-14 is packed full of references to inChristness. Consequently, I decided to try to re-order the various clauses and phrases in … Continue reading Ephesians 1:3-14 Re-ordered Twice