If everything is exciting, nothing is.
A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.—Jeremiah 15:12
As overwhelming as our trials can be, as enveloping as the darkness appears, as deep as the floodwaters grow, we can find solace of heart in knowing our souls are safe in a place bigger, broader, deeper than any distress. Our place of safety is no refugee tent thrown together…
They can only go as deep as the gospel we give them.
It is not a miracle, or dependent on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means—-as much so as any other effect produced by the application of means. There may be a miracle among its antecedent causes, or there may not. The apostles employed miracles, simply as a means by which they arrested attention to their message, and…
Managing editor Jared Wilson expresses our vision for FTC's ministry to pastors.
"It happens over and over again that the gospel 'comes alive' in a way that the evangelist had never dreamed of, and has effects which he never anticipated. The gospel is addressed to the human person as a human person in all the uncountable varieties of predicaments in which human beings find themselves.
The gospel has a sovereignty of its own and is never an instrument in…
There are many experiences that seminary can tell you about but can't prepare you for.
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.—John 5:18
Okay, so the biggest problem with the quasi-evangelicals justifying their referring to God as "Mother" is not necessarily their feminist ideology or their misapplying actual biblical metaphors (like Matthew 23:37, for…
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.
In The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul calls this "Luther's own private Gethsemane."
O God, Almighty God everlasting! how dreadful is the world! behold how its mouth opens to swallow me up, and how small is my faith in Thee!… Oh! the weakness of the flesh, and the power of Satan! If I am to depend upon any strength of this world - all is over……
When is God love?
When you are in tribulation, Love will bring you back to himself (Deut. 4:30).
When you are surrounded by the enemy, Love will keep you from evil (Deut. 23:9).
When you are invited to honor, Love will keep you humble (Matt. 14:8).
When you are judged, Love will justify you (Rom. 3:4).
When you are slandered…
The cross of Christ both proves and founds God's eagerness to forgive.
We should note that in all the Bible's words about reproof and rebuke and discipline, the Bible never says to "confess one another's sins."
Let's advance the gospel of the kingdom out into the perimeter of our hearts and lives with affectionate meekness and humble submission.
We really do want the best for you, which is why we felt like you needed to know these things. With a little more hard work and concentrated effort on your part, this can be a win-win for all of us.
Jesus is no talisman. Crucify "Jesus as key to your personal achievement" and he will stay dead. But the real Jesus achieves a victory greater and far superior to any wish-dream of any man.
Christian pastors aren't meant to be chaplains of the American Dream.
While Satan comes to accuse, Christ comes to accept.
Where the law announces death, Christ announces eternal life.
While we're all blame-shifting, Jesus is blessing-shifting.
Jesus is patient and kind; he is not envious or boastful; he's not arrogant or rude. He did not insist on his own way but following his Father's will, left the glory of heaven to empty himself and serve us and sacrifice himself for us.
Jesus isn't irritable or resentful. And Jesus keeps no record of wrongs that he might rejoice over us in our sins and failings…
Do you think Jesus is street smart?
For our joy, Jesus always shoots us straight.
If we simply want more people or better people, a set of programs and events might accomplish that. But if we want Christ-exalting, Christ-loving, Christ-following people, we have to get more personal and go deeper.
Here's one personal test I subject my own reading of the Gospels to (which actually works quite well when reading any Scripture): Is it freaking me out?
Here's an older post of mine written during my former pastorate. I hope you will find it helpful… jcw
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.—1 Thessalonians 2:8
Well, I'm starting this post at 4:57 P.M. ET. I don't know…
If your church orients its weekend gathering around reaching seekers, it's quite possible you've adopted some working assumptions and programmatic arrangements that actually turn the biblical shape of evangelism and mission upside down.
How can we work toward our leaders’ joy and not their anxiety? It’s no advantage to us to be a nagging pain to our pastors.
If you talk a big game about the gospel, but don't live like it's true, the people in your life will begin to suspect you don't actually believe it. Worse yet, they may begin to disbelieve it themselves.
If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, what then?
A toast toward the pastor embracing a Christward self-disregard and a godly un-self-conciousness.
Just like our brother Jesus, Anne faced death with a natural amount of fear and a Spiritual amount of faith in the Father who loves her, cares for her, and secures her. Like Jesus, she had abandoned herself to the sovereign grace of God.
Yesterday morning I undertook the difficult task of resigning the pastorate of Middletown Springs Community Church. The last five years have been a tremendous joy to me and my family, and making that announcement was one of the most difficult things I've ever done.
I shared with my congregation that the sense of discontent I'd been feeling for more than a year had become gradually clearer and…
It is better to die before you die.
On the spirit of charity in the work of receiving criticism and dishing it out.
I fear we vastly underestimate the spiritual damage inflicted on our churches by "How To" sermons without an explicit gospel connection.
Salvation is for us, of course—God doesn't need it—but it's not mainly about us. It is mainly about God. How so?
Turning to the deep well of Ephesians 2, we read:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—- by grace you…
Salvation is for us but ultimately about God.
Proverbs 29:18 is not about "casting vision."
One of the most vivid illustrations and daily reminders of God's grace in my life is my daughter Grace.
We need pastors who have had the swagger gospeled out of them.
Christianity grows best under hardship.
How do we become holy without becoming 'holier than thou'?
I'll tell you why I hope Bigfoot exists -- and why, in a way, I hope he is never discovered . . .
I have been laid hold of. I've been apprehended. I was writing my own life story, and it was a tragedy despite my own best efforts. But my life story got hijacked by the good news.
A gospel-centered church is okay with its own decreasing -- in reputation, in acclaim, in legacy, even in (gasp!) numbers, but especially in self-regard -- so long as it serves the increasing of the sense of the glory of God.
Like the apostle Paul, it is every minister's business to glory in his infirmities. The world says, "Pshaw! upon your oratory; it is rough, and rude, and eccentric." Yet, 'tis even so, but we are content, for God blesses it. Then so much the better that it has infirmities in it; for now shall it be plainly seen that it is not of man or by man, but the…
God looks at the available selection, sees that I have no evident talent or ability and that in fact I give all indications of being a liability to the team, not an asset, and says, "I'll take him."
It's just like the disciples - and us - to freak out about the world's storms and be asleep to the things of the cross.
I have sinned against you. I have apologized. But how do you know if I mean it?
How do you know when someone is repentant? In his helpful little book Church Discipline, Jonathan Leeman offers some guidance:
A few verses before Jesus' instruction in Matthew 18 about church discipline, he provides us with help for determining whether an individual is characteristically repentant: would the…
"[G]entleness is essential to Christian living. It is not an add-on. It is… one of the few indisputable evidences of the Holy Spirit alive and well within someone. Gentleness is not just for some Christians, those wired in a certain way. It cannot merely be an inherent character trait, a result of personality or genetic predisposition, because it is listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians…
The tyranny of hyper-spirituality our church culture had foisted on us set us up for disappointment because it held up religious experiences as the means of God’s grace, rather than the finished work of the cross.