Are You a People Pleaser?

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![1] … Continue reading Are You a People Pleaser?

Persecution and Scripture Memorization

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

Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom

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

The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?

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”?

I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection

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

The Fragrance of Christ

“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

Why Romans 7:18 Needs a Translation Update

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

Dying Daily

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

What is the Unforgivable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?

Some years ago, I counseled with a student who was paralyzed by a fear that she had committed the unforgivable 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 Unforgivable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?