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?

Christian Virtues for Civil Disobedience

What attitudes should Christians display when compelled by conscience to disobey the government? Before addressing that question, let’s review one thing. Christians normally should not disobey the government. Quite the opposite is the case. In most situations, Christians should obey the government even when governmental directives appear unreasonable or overreaching. There is one broad biblical … Continue reading Christian Virtues for Civil Disobedience

“Let Go and Let God”?

I grew up in a church setting that was really into “higher life” teaching. This teaching goes by many different names, including “victorious Christian living,” “the exchanged life,” and “the crucified life.” A particular stream of higher life teaching that continues to be influential is known as the Keswick Movement (pronounce KES-ik), named after an … Continue reading “Let Go and Let God”?

A Different Kind of Bucket List

This morning I talked with someone who was describing some items on their bucket list. A “bucket list,” if you don’t know the term, is “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying,” according to Dictionary.com. Such lists routinely include fun activities to do … Continue reading A Different Kind of Bucket List

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

Warning: Don’t Drink the Water in the Sea of Galilee. You Might Start Allegorizing

There must be something in the water of the Sea of Galilee. Otherwise, how can you explain why so many people allegorize stories from the life of Jesus that take place on or around the Sea of Galilee? (What is allegorizing, you ask? Allegorical interpretation draws meanings out of a Bible passage that the biblical … Continue reading Warning: Don’t Drink the Water in the Sea of Galilee. You Might Start Allegorizing

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

Was there One John or Two in the Early Church? What Did Papias Think?

Early in the second century A.D., Papias, one of the Apostolic Fathers, penned an interesting paragraph about which my students sometimes ask.  In particular, students are sometimes curious to know whether Papias is referring to one John (that is, the Apostle John), or to two Johns (the Apostle John and a different elder named John).  … Continue reading Was there One John or Two in the Early Church? What Did Papias Think?