Are you a people pleaser? Do you do things for others so they will like you, thank you, or just not get upset at you? The Urban Dictionary facetiously remarks that when people-pleasers die, it isn’t their own lives that flash before their eyes; they see the life of someone else flash before their eyes! … Continue reading Are You a People Pleaser?
Have you ever been present when God’s manifest presence breaks into a prayer time, a sermon, a worship service, or a Bible study? This happened quite unexpectedly one morning during a summer class I was teaching—yes, in a college classroom. I was discussing Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-8). What was it, anyway? … Continue reading Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom
Have you ever experienced pain from someone you deeply love? I have. Few things in life are harder. The hurt penetrates even deeper when the person who has spurned you also turns his back on the Lord. Following is a list I drew up in my journal some time ago during a period when I … Continue reading It Must Have Been So Painful
Last year, I was at home with my family on Good Friday because of Covid-19. My home church streamed a somber and beautiful online service. One of our church leaders led a soul-searching time of reflection on the passion narrative, interspersing six pre-recorded readings from the biblical text with solemn songs led by our worship … Continue reading I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection
“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor 2:15-16) One smell you’ll probably never encounter on the … Continue reading The Fragrance of Christ
I recently read John Piper’s little book, Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ. In this book, Piper wrote three short biographies of Christian missionaries who were martyred for Christ: William Tyndale, John G. Paton, and Adoniram Judson. In the introduction, Piper made a comment that has been stirring and working its way into my heart. … Continue reading Dying Daily
A hymn I learned as a child was running through my mind. I was perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the town of Idyllwild, California—one of my favorite places to pray. I had set aside this time for prayer because I sensed a spiritual storm on the horizon. Here is the chorus of … Continue reading “Your Life is Hidden with Christ in God”: A Devotional Reading of Colossians 3:3
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?