Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2021

I read quite a few good Christian books in 2021. Here are seven of my favorites, plus a bonus book. Insider Church: Ekklesia and the Insider Paradigm, by S. T. Antonio. What should a church composed of Muslim-background believers in Jesus look like? How contextualized can/should such a church be? Solid and readable Christian ecclesiology … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2021

Church Bells, Biblical Bells, and Redemption

In the Christian world, at least before the advent of modern telecommunications, church bells were the most common way of reminding Christians that a worship service was about to begin. But there is another kind of bell—a “bell that goes off in your head”—that is really useful when you read the Bible. For years I’ve … Continue reading Church Bells, Biblical Bells, and Redemption

Why You Shouldn’t Tell Your Children that Santa Claus is Real

A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and … Continue reading Why You Shouldn’t Tell Your Children that Santa Claus is Real

One Thing You Can Do to Improve the Way You Pray for Other Christians

Do you ever struggle to know how to pray for other Christians? One possible (and common) approach is simply to pray for whatever people ask you to pray. That’s fine, as far as it goes, and we do see the Apostle Paul sometimes asking people to pray for him (Col 4:3; 1 Thess 5:25). Another … Continue reading One Thing You Can Do to Improve the Way You Pray for Other Christians

Advocating for Biblical Literacy

I just returned from a weekend in Philadelphia where I spent two days with individuals and organizations laboring to counter a dangerous pandemic. No, not that pandemic…. I’m talking about the pandemic of biblical illiteracy. I enjoyed numerous conversations with some really dedicated Christians who are on a mission to address a pandemic that ultimately … Continue reading Advocating for Biblical Literacy

What is an “Open Door”?

Not every door that appears to be is an open door. And not every door that appears to be closed is a closed door. Just because a ministry setting looks like it’s going to be hard doesn’t mean that it is a closed door. For the Apostle Paul, an open door was a God-given opportunity … Continue reading What is an “Open Door”?

Tattoos and Biblical Greek

A few years ago, a delightful young college student came up to me and asked, “Would you like to see my tattoo?” “Um…OK,” I mumbled, somewhat unsure of where on her body the tattoo might be located. She lifted her long hair so I could see what was engraved on the nape of her neck. … Continue reading Tattoos and Biblical Greek

Why Do Non-Christians Pray During Times of Crisis? Twenty Years After 9/11

Twenty years ago, my wife and I were living with our two daughters in a suburb on the northern edge of New York City. The shock waves from the two planes that slammed into the World Trade Towers reverberated across the nation—and indeed, around the world—but it was categorically different living in New York on … Continue reading Why Do Non-Christians Pray During Times of Crisis? Twenty Years After 9/11

12 Awkward Metaphors in Worship Songs

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

How Wide is the Sphere of Ministry God has Given You?

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?