In the early 1950’s in Communist Russia, three charismatic pastors came up with a risky idea they thought might be worth doing despite the risk. Nik Ripken, in his outstanding book about persecution, The Insanity of God, explains that: “…they planned and organized a youth congress in Moscow and invited all of the young, unmarried … Continue reading Persecution and Scripture Memorization
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
Paul boldly and famously asserts: “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14). But what does he mean by “the love of Christ”? If you’re willing to put up with a bit of Greek-grammar jargon, check out this golden nugget in a paragraph from Maximilian Zerwick’s grammar of New Testament Greek. Zerwick writes: …the … Continue reading The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?
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 led a class session on how to interpret the second half of Romans 7. During the early part of the discussion, I presented four approaches to the overall interpretation of Romans 7:14-25 and asked students to inductively attempt to make arguments for each of the four positions from the passage itself. At one … Continue reading Why Romans 7:18 Needs a Translation Update
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
Some years ago, I counseled with a student who was paralyzed by a fear that she had committed the unforgiveable sin because of some terrible words she had uttered. Her concern came out of Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall … Continue reading What is the Unforgiveable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?
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