Pastor if your church music is missing the mark theologically, you not only have the authority to do something about it, you have the responsibility to do so.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's 2017 For The Church National Conference kicks off today at 3 p.m. CST in beautiful Kansas City, Missouri.
The most incredible thing you could ever see is just around the corner.
Lay down the luggage of condemnation and kneel in worship at the feet of Him who bore your sins.
This week's links include resources on systematic theology, hurricane Harvey, bad reasons to leave a church, congregational singing, murdering your marriage, and online tribalism for women.
O that we may leave forever the couch of fleshly ease, and go forth with flaming torches to meet the coming Bridegroom!
Churches are called to function with institutional and missional piety.
Is our body life suffering because all of its parts live so far away?
When we accept that God’s kingdom comes through hands other than our own, we’ve begun to relinquish control of our own kingdom as it’s eclipsed by his.
It does not matter if we think we’re worth it; He thinks we are.
There’s a funny thing that happens when God takes you on the long way – you actually become something, rather than just end up somewhere.
Episode 14: Christian George
“We are most beautiful when we are broken.”
Christ brought his own petition of a perfect life and signed it in his blood so that the Highest name of all could be given to the lowest of us.
Just as Jesus is both all-powerful and all-compassionate, only Jesus can be all grace and all truth at the same time.
Just stop for a moment and ponder this truth: we get to wiggle our way into the eternal embrace of the Father and the Son.
Grace, as it presents itself in the Incarnation, is love intentionally crossing barriers.
FTC.co asks Christian songwriter and author, Keith Getty, "How Can Believers Cultivate A Culture Of Family Singing?"
When we find Christ supremely valuable and fulfilling, the desire to cut our neighbor down disappears.
It put too much emphasis on one man’s speaking, and too little emphasis on the “one anothers” of Scripture, membership accountability, and careful shepherding of the flock.
This week's links include resources on groups every pastor needs, buying a car and prayer, winning one another, and camp for girls.
God employs his people to encourage one another.
Jesus Christ has it all together as he goes to die for people who can’t ever seem to get it right.
We can’t just accept something as true because it looks professional, comes out of a pastor’s mouth, is written in a book, or appears on TV.
Gospel-centered unity acknowledges that the church belongs to God, not men, and reflects the churches submission to God’s authority.
Contra our narcissistic culture, you find yourself when you find God.
These lessons have taught me to not put a price-tag on my ministry.
But the shame is in the fact that they, in many ways, show more faith in their beliefs than I do.
Suffering may destroy our bodies, but sin destroys the soul.
The theological root of so much burnout is a failure to believe in the sovereignty of God.
If God is calling you to experience the painful paradox of Christian friendship, know this brothers and sisters, he is good.
FTC.co asks J.D. Greear, Pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, "What are some keys to sharing the gospel with Muslims?"
As Christians, we are called to share our faith, but we are also called to keep it.
I just wanted to know he was there.
When I am tempted to bemoan gifts I feel the Lord has withheld, the Godhood of each person of the Trinity helps me to see God’s gifts correctly.
This week's links include resources on religious liberty and creativity, anger at God's plan, teaching like Jesus, forgiving friends, and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
May not the furious creature represent our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind?
Preaching flows from the heart of a man who has seen great things in the Bible, has savored what he has seen, and stands before a people to tell them what he saw
We want a 12 step program that takes us from sinner to saint with black and white rules to get there.
If a pastor, as a signpost, points to the revealed theological realities of God, he must point supremely to the heart of that revelation: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We cannot be a Jesus-loving, Great Commission-obeying people and fail to love the church.
Episode 13: The Curing of Souls
“Godly pastoral care is the overflow of love.”
Ultimately, glorifying God through our songs should be our highest priority.
Gratitude toward another person or toward God is the result of a conscious awareness of the giver and his gift.
Don’t despise the walls that law built, they serve a significant purpose. The prison was built in order for us to open our eyes and long for freedom.
Releasing today, Portraits of a Pastor -- edited by Jason K. Allen and featuring numerous great contributors -- is the latest entry in the FTC imprint with Moody Publishers.
Don’t stop showing up, Christian. In fact, if you are doubting today, it’s the best time to show up again.
It takes conscious and concerted effort to orient our stubborn selves around the gospel.
Put away the games you played in youth group and start digging deep into Jesus.
This week's links include resources on teaching kids about those different from them, pastor's and giving records, blue-collar workers, and a Biblical understanding of sexuality.
No one ought to give any rest to his spirit till he feels quite sure about a matter of such vital importance.
We are children of God adopted and cherished in Jesus Christ.
Are you helping your church grow in holiness, unity, and love by your cherishing of the entire Body, instead of your individual preferences?
If you can’t point to ways your preaching has evolved over the years, it could be you were exceptionally gifted from the start, or it may mean you’re still preaching junior varsity sermons.
We prefer power. But oh, to find the beauty of service good again!
Church planting reminds us that we are feeble, weak creatures, but we are banking on the words which Jesus spoke to His disciples and to us - "I am with you always."
The goal is not for Christians to seize power through political maneuvering, but it is instead for Christians to model how the Kingdom of God subverts and redeems power.
Jesus’ sinlessness and corresponding righteousness mean he never wasted a second in disobedience outside of God’s decreed will.
Sometimes shepherding the room is simply getting out of the way so that the real Shepherd can do His work.
Each king must have a prophet.
When it comes to suffering, avoidance and escape are our defaults. But there is an invitation to consider the trials in our lives as sources of joy.
We need the Holy Spirit to awaken us to God and to real freedom—the freedom found in God himself.
Praying these three prayers allows us to seek the activity of God in all this and yet to display deep trust in him to work as he chooses for his glory.
"The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth blog about how cool he is with, you know, whatever your deal is, man."
It’s easier to disengage altogether in the places we could engage well.
This week's links provide resources on fast food for singles, pastoring in small places, grief, loving the church, and parenting perfection.
Strive with all diligence to keep out that monster unbelief.
We asked Matt Chandler to describe his sermon prep process.
If I need to forgive myself, it suggests that I am the God that I have offended and need to appease.
Even death, the great scourge, only serves to unite us to the One we long for.
Prayerlessness in the Christian life, especially in seasons of being tried and tested, is a fascinatingly sad phenomenon.
Changing expectations is one of the most effective means for enjoying any experience, including the experience of pastoral ministry.
Pastor, don’t over-shepherd your church at the expense of under-shepherding your heart, the heart of your wife, and the hearts of your children.
Is it important to pay attention to cultural narratives?
In Episode 12 of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and author and teacher Jen Wilkin discuss the dynamics of community groups, discerning a teaching gift, why the prosperity gospel sells, the differences between men's and women's "learning styles," and why women's ministries are often so cheesy.
We will be crushed under the weight of ministry if we forget that Christ's church is Christ's.
One difficulty in our churches in regards to discipline is that we often don’t have this type of authentic community with each other.
When people ask me why I am a rural church planter or ask what good can come from Arma, my response is always the same: "Come and see."
There is a kind of shame that is both redeeming and sanctifying and it may bring us to gospel heights otherwise unknown.
Our churches aren’t more than 300 yards from each other. One is a white church. One is a black church.
Jesus is sweating blood while the disciples are sawing logs.
The sad irony of August 21, 2017, is that what many will celebrate today, even with decadence, signals God’s wrath upon human idolatry.
If the average church member would seek to live out these principles, they would find deeper relationships and have a much richer sense of purpose.
This week's links include resources on whole living, insecurity, Satan's two voices, and virtue signaling.
We walk at liberty, because we keep his precepts.
Pastors and ministerial leaders are shaped and fashioned only in the context of a local church, and nowhere else.
It is deadly to wallow in guilt. It saps joy as it eclipses Christ.
What if our perceived problem in worship is not the congregation's problem after all? What if the problem lies within the music itself?
There’s so much that I do not know about planting a church. But those things I do, I will commit to with all the heart and passion which I can muster and which the Spirit so graciously supplies.
If left to make the decision again, you should know I’d be turning in my application and renting a moving truck before you finish reading this sentence.
Even if we don’t feel like God hears us and struggle with doubt, we know that we belong to Jesus.
We don’t need a Left Behind novel to tell us where we stand in the context of redemptive history.
When it comes to revitalization, it's more difficult to help people change than it is to change the curtains. But the hard work is worth it.
Three ways we can make the most of the journey through the wilderness to meet our Lord.
Only a fool would leave God’s house to build a shack to impress him.
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.
When he does not heal us the way we want to be healed, it is not because our afflictions or convictions overwhelm him.
This week's links include resources on color-blindness, multiplying leaders, suicide and mental health, community, and same-sex attraction.
It is not my remembering God, it is God's remembering me which is the ground of my safety.
We want to set a table that entices our people to sit down and dig in.
Grace doesn’t just usher us into the presence of God to leave us on our own.
We don’t need new or flashy words from God when we have His Word solidified for us.
The point of pastoring, I think, is to take people who think they can rescue the world, and remind them that the burden is too heavy for them to carry alone.
Had I chosen a different road, I could have another diploma and an impressive honorific on my name. Instead, I’ve got scars and stories and schooling in a degree program only accredited in heaven.
Our church planting strategy? Take our three-year-old church of 84 members and send half of them out.
In Episode 11 of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and Dave Harvey discuss vital ministry practices of preaching, counseling, applying the gospel to one's self, and the celebrity pastor problem.
In both intentional and unintentional moments, we pass on our stories to the people we love most because we know and understand their significance and power.
The primary point of Jonah is not about how Jonah should have obeyed, it's about how God continued his redemptive plan despite Jonah's disobedience.
My question is, even though we may be gospel-centered, are we still asking people to come to Christ?
Husbands and wives, do you feel like failures in marriage? The Gospel is for failures like us - man and woman alike.
God may well use you in spite of a lack of formal training, but if you have accessibility to theological education, why find out?
He is the embodiment of love, and love never ends.
When we delight in You and want You, You never fail to give us what we want.
This week's links include resources on leadership and Nehemiah, mean Christians, ministry family and tragedy, and teens who need church history.
O Jesus, if thou come not in person to thy waiting Church this day, yet come in Spirit to my sighing heart, and make it sing for joy.
We begin to dwell in rich proximity with God when we take the intangible truth and give it arms and legs in our lives.
Unending sunshine creates shallow pulpits.
While Jesus did spend much of His time binding the wounds of the broken, healing the sick, and even raising the dead, his ultimate concern was for the souls of men.
What do we actually mean by the phrase "gospel centered"?
What God has filled up in the gospel, let no man empty with the law.
I want my children to understand that the gospel of Jesus and the spread of that message is the most important thing on earth.
These aren’t means carried out on our own strength or wisdom, but these are actions committed in surrender to the Lord in acknowledgment of the ordinary system that he has created within this world.
Parents should take comfort in the fact that the primary work of salvation in a child’s heart is the work of God.
We cannot miss that what Bill Nye and his panel see as a cancer the Scripture sees as a blessing.
Some trust in Presidents, some trust in kings, but we will trust in the name of the Lord, our God.
Most people say they'd be happy if they could just have more. But God often makes us content not by giving us more stuff or relationships, but by giving us more humility and trust.
As John Piper says, “Don’t waste your life!” Oh my, what if I accidentally do?
Doubting and insecure Christian, one day you’ll believe God.
A curious thing happens when a church and its shepherds are committed to this radical notion of gospel-centrality.
This week's links include resources on identity crisis, loving a prodigal, spectator worship, and remembering the gospel.
Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn?
If you are privileged enough to proclaim God’s word in front of the church and don’t feel the weight of it, then you don’t understand what God has called you to do.
How often have men and women entered “outer darkness” after pretending a life of faith in Christ?
Pastor, I want to invite you into this kind of existence. Jesus is the savior of the sheep, not you. Shepherd your people well by letting them shepherd you.
Read, compare, and seek the truth.
Episode 10: Why Discipleship Matters
"Maybe our failure to disciple the converts we make is why we’re making fewer converts."
Isaiah and the book of Revelation help us to connect the exile and restoration of Jerusalem with the brokenness and restoration of the world.
The man called to leadership within the church must see himself as overseeer and view his calling as a high calling that requires sacrifice and passion for the task.
I’m convinced that, instead of focusing on keeping students, a truly kingdom-focused church will be passionate about sending students.
No matter where you serve within in your church, it will require sacrifice.
I very often treat the gospel like something I've moved on from, but every time I bring it back to mind, it transports me to a more beautiful, more powerful, more helpful place than any of these newfangled messages I flirt with every day ever could.
This week's links include resources on parenting as narrating, real friendship, perpetual singleness, and suburban church planting.
Side with the afflicted people of God, and not with the world.
The more we encourage our pastor through prayer the more we will realize our own need in the ministry God would have for us.
I fear that in our attempt to eliminate distractions we’ve also eliminated the corporate reality of worship.
A robust understanding of the sinfulness of the human heart leads to a right understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Give me a godly man with an average gift over the orator of the ages, whose character hasn’t been shaped by the gospel.
My prayer is not for my disability to show you something lacking in yourself, but to demonstrate the wholeness of Christ.
Scripture isn’t always meant to comfort us. Sometimes it addresses us in our pride, when we think incorrectly, or when we behave sinfully.
To be free from self-reflection and consumed with the glory of the preaching moment is a gift of God.
Rather than backing God into a corner, the spiritual disciplines position us into a kneeling position.
If you try to do theological education in your own strength, you fail, no matter how good your grades are.
Because of His perfection, we know that what He says is reliably true.
This week's links include resources on climate change, good intent with racism, strong women, and grief in a worship service.
A large-hearted Christian has other springs from which to supply himself with comfort beside those which lie within.
When distress comes, do not succumb to the pride-filled response of the world.
For the glory of God, the pastor labors to make the message of Christ’s finished work known to needy, hell-bound sinners.
Learning about God isn't easy on our own; it works best inside the community of faith.
The Sabbath separates us from the notion that the world can’t survive without us.
In Episode 9 of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and John Onwuchekwa discuss ministry and mission in urban environments, the declining numbers in the SBC, and what it's like for stutterers to make a living doing public speaking.
I am tempted to erect a false dichotomy, where I recognize that the pulpit at my church is the Lord’s, but the “pulpit” on my smartphone is mine to use at my discretion.
Both verbal and written communication are important because of the significance of the message we are conveying.
How do you know if repentance is real?
It matters that we get the Trinity correct because it pertains to the God we love and worship, and we want to worship Him rightly.
This week's links include resources on parenting, going through the motions, loving the wrong things, and worry.
A believer has two principles at work within him.
Watch all the videos from the recent FTC: Phoenix event at the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention, including talks from Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Thom Rainer, and Jared C. Wilson.
Instead of valuing consumerism, the Bible roots our membership in the idea of a covenant, which offers an infinitely superior alternative.
Sufficient preparation is indispensable to faithful preaching. Insufficient preparation makes mortals of us all.
Transformation from true sabbath rest comes by renewing our minds, not simply amusing them.
When taking the risk to develop deep friendships with others, I find that most of my deepest pastoral worries never comes to pass.
We should never think that just because God has blessed us, we are free to allow our heart to be turned from God.
If God’s wrath has not fallen on Jesus at Calvary, then his justice is not satisfied.
For Liberty, each Freeman Strives
As it's a Gift of God
And for it willing yield their Lives
And Seal it with their Blood
The Bible tells us over and over again that the way we treat others is a reflection of what’s going on inside us.
We trust God to use his word as he sends it forth, and we pray for fruit.
The move is subtle. The switch from ordinary human achievement to blasphemy requires no explanation. It just flatout happens.
This week's links include resources on mask-wearing, your smartphone friend, evil as a good thing, character in leadership, and judgment from friends.
We must have answers to prayer.
When God burdens a preacher for a people group, a neighborhood, or a block, it’s right for that preacher to go and become all things to all people so that he might save some.
Their works cannot take them out of God's favor because their works didn't put them into God's favor.
Leaders who regularly justify themselves are forgetting that God has already done that for us in Jesus.
We savor the times when a passage soothes our fears, but how do we respond when Scripture confronts our sinfulness?
While distracted driving is bad, distracted living can be great. In fact, it can be liberating.
God allows us to continue to struggle with our sins so that we are complete not in ourselves, but in Christ.
Is it really that big a deal to skip church?
Our hope is that God is incredibly generous with how much grace he dispenses and upon whom He dispenses it.
Faith that always looks at self and surroundings, rather than Jesus, has no power over the tsunamis of your life.
When we live with open hands, we reflect the generosity of our God.
Unless we have a vision of God’s holiness, we’ll be great at pronouncing woes against sinners, but woefully inadequate at proclaiming God’s grace.
Here’s how you know if you hate something someone has done or if you actually hate that person.
God has given us all we need to know about Him in His Word, and He has much grace and patience for those who seek to know Him.
This week's links include resources on joy in the morning, children and the Bible, lamenting for real people, same-sex attraction, and anxiety.
If thou art still crying after and craving after something better, Christ has not forgotten thee, for thou hast not quite forgotten him.
The man I wanted to be was the man God prescribed, above all.
The power of God flows through the Christian community and it also flows through our lives as we live alongside non-believers.
To grow, leaders must stoop.
Your church doesn't need to be preoccupied with vision; it needs to be serious about the Bible.
Tribulation is real—we should not be surprised by it—but it is not our defining reality. We have a living hope, an imperishable inheritance, and a secure salvation.
To my daughters: I pray that you will be a light for Jesus, that you will live for him, and tell others about him.
We are holistic beings who need holistic rest.
Church planting wives need to have the light of God’s Word shine on their various blessings and burdens.
Trust that your pastor is following Jesus closely enough that you can trust him.
Guarding your ministry through sound stewardship can benefit both your home life and your ministry.
God is committed not to our behavior but our hearts; not just in what we do but to what we are becoming.
The tendency we have to rely on ourselves for our own justification is gospel-muting. It’s Jesus-eclipsing. It’s legalism.
Considering the multiple dimensions of church life is like walking through one of those warehouse hardware stores. The complexities are countless.
Revival given of the Spirit of the living God, places Christ always and ever at the center.
This week's links include resources on race, anxiety and creatives, soulful living, and marks of humility.
The Lord grant the sweet showers of his grace to water his garden this day.
Remembering that the faithful Savior’s blood covers sin and is the means of sanctification helps guard us against self-condemnation.
When the reality that your true address is on high in heaven with Christ, then you will think, live and talk as such here on earth.
God loves us so much that he will push us off the altar of our accomplishments.
For the Christian, Christ’s honor and name are at stake with each and every word that piles out of our mouth.
For a pastor, the stewardship of the gospel message is best understood in light of the broader stewardship of the household of God.
Oh, that ministers-to-be might give themselves to the time and to the process of becoming the man God will use to shepherd his people.
Until the heart is transformed, we are no more than broken people breaking people—the wounded inflicting more wounds on the already wounded.
In Episode 7 of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and Barnabas Piper discuss curiosity, platform, pastors' kids, and what it's like growing up the son of John Piper.
Since we all bear God’s image, we should affirm and celebrate every kind of personality He has designed.
Jesus is saying that on judgment day, your words will be like a traceable cookie crumb trail leading to an unarguable conclusion - you’re either dead in sin or alive in Christ.
Give generously. Save wisely. Live appropriately. And avoid letting debt become a ministry killer.
Attractional methods fail to work because they're simply a veneer for insecurity.
God has entrusted each of us with an almost immeasurable quantity of words, a gargantuan gift to be stewarded and wielded for His glory.
“Come, get under my shade,” the bramble calls. “I will take care of you.”
This week's links include resources on husband leadership, missionaries and conflict, repentance, weary anti-racist workers, and selfie-centered worship.
Sin hath no more dominion over us.
His wrath leads us to far greater comprehension of the mercy and love shown to us in His Son.
If I fail to behold the glory of the dawn, how much more have do I fail to behold the glory of the Son?
When I can’t hear the gospel, my role grows large, my expectations swell and my mind visits some strange places and absurd ideas.
Prayer is an important aspect of the spiritual life, but if we were honest, we’d probably admit that we pray much less than we ought
Job's story is one of trusting God’s heart, even when he could not trace God’s hand.
In our preaching, let us find ourselves winded by the pace at which we get to Christ.
There is no salvation without full and final atonement for sin.
I'm afraid if I go further down the path, the next spot won't be as comfortable.
I have a moment-by-moment choice to press on through the trenches or give way to the crushing burden of my circumstances.
The Word tells us to be sober - to have a clear mind going in - so that when the taunting from the enemy comes, we will be ready.
When it comes to our children's salvation, we must be careful that our eagerness does not overcome their readiness.
When we continue to uphold the gospel and what Christ has done, then they will see the purpose of discipleship.
The idea that a book could impact a soul, that it could awaken something fresh in a weary spirit, give a reader a new sense of Christ's grace that changes everything -- that's worth writing for.
This week's links include resources on apologetics, social media, a pastor's personal life, sabbath, and missionary confusions.
How sweet it is to behold the Saviour communing with his own beloved people!
Always seek to feed your people, do not settle for unhelpful—or even less helpful— diversions.
When our churches recall the duty of prayer, they also step into the exact footsteps Christ taught his disciples to live.
To embrace solitude and quietness is to reflect on an image of our own self.
Six things I was reminded of when I sought the congregation's feedback on my preaching.
In aiming to exemplify hospitality to orphans, pastors are given the unique opportunity of leveraging their influence to fulfill James's biblical ideal of pure and undefiled religion.
In this episode of the For The Church Podcast, Jared Wilson talks with Miles Rohde, lead pastor of Redemption Spokane, which began as the Mars Hill Spokane campus prior to the collapse of that ministry empire, about what we can learn from Mars Hill's fall.
If you’re a Christian, knowing your personality is not your end game.
Often adversity is a tool of the Lord to remove the things that impede our contentment.
Living a Christian life means putting to death the right to live life on your own terms.
God doesn’t just want begrudging obedience. He desires us to have hearts which reflect His.
Alistair Begg on the work of the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in the life of a Christian.
What do you think of when you hear the word "discipleship?"
This week's links include resources on delayed adulthood, purity with young women, women's discipleship, a theology of home, and the struggle of reading the Bible.
In the greatest act of love, Jesus Christ, the eternal, pre-existing Prince of heaven, left His throne and came to earth to redeem His people from their sin so that they may live eternally with Him.
Thus memory may be, as Coleridge calls it, "the bosom-spring of joy."
The barren land of human brokenness, which has only ever yielded enough fruit for us to fight over, has been trumped completely by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the True Vine.
Don’t just look for a church that is like the churches you have already been acquainted with.
The truly aberrant among us are those submit themselves to the Lord.
Four things we enjoy as receipients of God's grace to us through Christ.
It doesn’t get better than the gospel. There isn’t a higher up, further down, deeper, wider experience to be had in the Christian life.
Part 2 of the fourth annual C. H. Spurgeon Lectures, delivered by Alistair Begg at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this lecture, Begg offers two lessons gleaned from Spurgeon's Letter to My Students.
God rarely invites men into ministry roles where some kind of financial faith is not required to accept the role.
Touching and handling a Bible anchors us physically to God’s gracious gift of the Bible itself.
I was bitter because theological education was stealing time I thought was due me.
When we embrace the multi-faceted reality of the sovereignty of God, we are equipped to help others in their time of need.
The church doesn't just need more leaders; it needs more leaders who are pursuing godliness.
Alistair Begg delivering the fourth annual C.H. Spurgeon Lectures at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In Part 1, Begg reflects on Spurgeon's life as he discusses the "measure of the man."
I can rest assured that my powerlessness to determine my future makes room for me to trust God who is most powerful.
Ever notice how Jude identifies himself not as Jesus' kid brother, but as Jesus' servant?
This week's links include resources on loving your church, Proverbs 31, service, and word-centered discipleship.
Believer, though all things are apparently against thee, rest assured that God has made a reservation on thy behalf.
Without proper study of God, we cannot know what will please Him or how to best worship him.
God uses questions to force us to confront our own hearts.
Learn to groan in the pit, but never grumble!
My weaknesses show me just how great and powerful God is, because only he could bring something good out of the mess that is me.
Our attempts to improve Christian worship may, in fact, distract from it. Often, less actually is more. There can be a beauty in simplicity.
In Episode 5 of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and Dr. Owen Strachan discuss Rod Dreher's book The Benedict Option and ask the important question, "What would it look like if Satan took over a city?"
Being around the flock helps them see what our message looks like in real life.
Powerful preaching and fruitful ministry on the mission field depend on the prayers of God’s people.
Some ask, "Do we really need another church?" The better question is, "Are there still lost people in our communities?"
Hang in there, Sam. The church has been through some pretty dark times, but she’s beautiful.
Scripture testifies to the stark reality that the heart of man is the problem of man.
The way some people talk about prayer owes more to New Age spirituality and witchcraft than biblical Christianity.
This week's links include resources on the law, single working women, culture and counseling, and Christians at work.
Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood.
We do not have editorial authority over the message.
Men, if we want our country and community to change, if we want to see people come to Jesus, we have to be spiritual leaders who are leading out in prayer.
As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we should be reminded that the Gospel is not something we merely study or talk about.
Christ invites us to freely approach the throne, but not to usurp it. He invites us to come as children, not as rebels.
Give it up. Allow yourself to be nobody. Have a seat at the end of the table and you might just find Jesus sitting there too.
We are to make indentions, impressions, dents, whatever, upon the mind and heart by preaching the Word of God.
We get to engage in a selfless, other-exalting relationship that frees us from our focus on ourselves.
With whatever differences temptations present themselves, their effect is the same.
Pastors, find fuel for patience in the power of the gospel.
We need strong words from one another because the glory of Jesus is too wonderful to miss out on.
Who is this King of glory?
In our efforts to encourage discipleship in the local church, be open to different ways God might choose to influence you.
This week's links include resources on parenting, hospitality, the pastor as steward and soldier, corporate confession, and Jesus and our grammar.
It is a very sad reflection that tens of thousands are now waiting in the use of means, and ordinances, and vows, and resolutions, and have so waited time out of mind, in vain, utterly in vain.
He cared for the one who was lost and that is what Jesus does.
In our time, there is a great temptation to be gospel-centered in name but not in deed.
Learn from the past, while running to Jesus.
When we “sabbath,” we do as God did. This is the essence of godliness.
If you’re thinking about giving up on church, reconsider. Don't be fooled by the idea that you're better off with the body.
Our minds could never rummage through to the ends of grace.
Episode 4: Jonathan Leeman
“Churches seem to have lost track of what the Bible says about organizing our lives together.”
I need to be reminded that even though my little children will one day be grown, joy in Jesus is possible now, will be possible then, and will be fully complete in heaven forever.
Read the book Matt Chandler says "demystifies discipleship."
Because the Spirit doesn’t give strength for disobedience, He isn’t going to help perpetuate a myth of “Super Pastor.”
The church with the snot-nosed kids and the cantankerous old folks and the arrogant hipsters and the out-of-touch Baby Boomers and the overweight “praise team” and the pastor with his short-sleeved button-up shirt tucked into his high-waisted Dockers? Well, that’s the kind of place where grace can really show off.
This week's links include resources on quick-fix phrases, the infertile couple, distraction in prayer, and children's personalities.
Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with consolation.
Your paper Bible could be precious and useful to you in ways that a digital Bible never could.
We are living in a time when being ordinary is the worst thing that can happen to a person, and nothing screams ordinary like at-home work.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would prompt others to take a risk and answer your inquiries honestly, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Singleness on its own terms is not a problem. In Scripture, it’s an opportunity.
Our response to Jesus will often be proportionate to our understanding of the egregiousness of our sin.
Imagine what could happen if your church started sending overseas those members who love and serve the church best.
Others can do the work to study and reframe the truths of God’s Word for you, but you’ll then miss the riches and rewards that come from hard work and study of the Word for yourself.
You are encouraged to love one another as Christ has loved you, and a key way that happens is through the extension of merciful strength and aid in the face of failure.
Jesus is the true and better Prophet, Priest, and King, who is able to do what those who came before could not do.
Often, in lieu of your local church becoming the best contextualized version of itself, God is fashioning its parts into a whole that looks more like Him.
It is not about your house or your meal; it is about the Christ-centered fellowship that takes place at your house over your meal.
This week's links include resources on marriage, smart women, expository teaching, and frienship.
There are lots of distractions from and temptations to discard a commitment to gospel-centeredness. Here are just eight . . .
This is the only way to give it a death-blow.
Throughout our days, we are to retain the flavor of who God is, what he has done, and what he has promised.
They looked the stone over and marked it unusable, not valuable, replaceable and inadequate.
Hosted by Jared Wilson, this new podcast from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary features reflections and conversations aimed at encouraging leaders in gospel ministry.
The church should not be afraid to acknowlege the depth and range of human suffering even as we place our hope in God.
Our righteouness goes beyond legalism when we obey the true intent of the law.
Only an "in-person" preacher can bear the burdens of the congregation, weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
God does not answer prayers that are motivated by selfish ambition, misplaced priorities, or worldly passions.
Episode 3: Preventing Ministry Burnout
"You might say your season of life does not allow for much rest, but you are setting yourself up for a disastrous next season."
Episode 1: Matt Chandler
"If you can teach the Bible in a compelling way to 1st through 5th graders, you've got all the raw tools you need."
Life defines the Christian experience.
Episode 2 with Matt Boswell
Matt is the pastor of ministries and worship and an elder at Providence Church. A native Texan, he grew up the son of a pastor. He has been leading worship and involved in church planting since 1995. His passion is to see our congregation engaged in gospel-centered ministry, and in this environment live out the great commission. He writes songs for congregational worship…
Why, O Father, must I endure this cycle of repentance in hard-heartedness forever?
In His life, on the cross, and in His resurrection, Christ labored to accomplish salvation for spiritual sluggards like us.
Let us be radically compassionate because of the radical compassion we have richly received from Jesus.
Do you know the name of the kinsman redeemer who was first in line to marry Ruth? Exactly.
This week's links include resources on pain, union with Christ, dying, students and missions, and historical evidence of Jesus.
The home is where stories are taught, faith is worked out, neighbors are heard, plates are filled, and where sojourners can find rest.
The resurrection is the corner-stone of the entire building of Christianity.
Simple math tells us that it is faithful, ordinary, anonymous lay people who make up the vast majority of the churches around the world.
Defend your people’s freedom in Christ with your life if necessary. But do not impinge on their freedom, even if you think it’s for their own good.
Plurality is possible. God commands it. Let’s pursue it and protect it.
True love makes obedience a joy-filled pleasure.
The Lord knocks at their door in order to remind them of who they forgot.
Suffering does and should cause us to ask deeper questions about life and the nature of God.
God's goal for us as his children is not to conform us to Christian culture, but to his Son.
Blending age-groups in our ministries helps us accurately represent the diverse spiritual family that God has given us.
As much as reading the Bible is an intellectual exercise, gaining knowledge shouldn’t be the main reason we read it.
We ask Michael Kelley, "What do too many churches get wrong about discipleship?"
If you’re interested in hosting a conference or otherwise hosting a speaking engagement, or if your ministry platform is allowing you to begin pursuing God’s call into that option, I hope this advice will serve you well.
These young believers possessed a demonstrable commitment to personal and corporate growth in their walks with Christ.
This week's links include resources on believer's baptism, perfectionism, loving your neighbor, and gray hair.
How marvellous has been our experience of God's gentleness!
Most of the pastors I know garner my trust and respect and deserve my prayers and support.
Discipleship is about helping a disciple faithfully relate to Jesus, not to you.
Be that friend. Love the addict. Remind them of the gospel - that there's another way that is better.
Part 1 of a 4-part series on leadership and rest.
The very worst thing God could do for us is give us the life we want in our flesh.
Sex simply cannot sustain the weight of our culture's expectations.
As pastors, should care more about getting the Bible right than simply feeling like we’re right.
One enters into eternal peace and joy. The other? “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
For all His love for humanity, God did not ultimately preserve a nation for the sake of sheer benevolence. He did so for His glory.
Moving to a plurality of pastors is a good goal that is worth pursuing, but it’s important to not get in a rush.
We asked Dan Darling, "How should a church decide which, if any, parachurch ministries to support?"
The safe Jesus of modern evangelicalism is not offensive, but neither is He very compelling.
This week's links include resources on redefining ministry, protecting your children, folding singles into the family, anxiety, and leadership credibility.
His pleasure was rooted in the harvest he hoped for.
Such a petition, fervently presented, will elevate the spirit of all your devotions.
You must get this right.
If we want to learn more about who we are, we don’t look within, instead, we look outside ourselves to God’s Word
You are not at your workplace by accident but by divine providence.
70 percent of 18–22 year-olds stop attending church for at least one year, and a majority of 20 year-olds leave church, often never to return.
If we’re the people who are reconciled to God, that reconciliation must reveal itself through our relationships within the church.
All of us, when the work slips into tedium and routine, are prone to ask the question of whether or not what we are doing really matters.
The truth of the matter is that there is no ground for creativity that comes close to the intellectual fertility of Christian theology.
The Holy Spirit progressively conforms Christians into the image of Christ.
The line between noble intentions and prideful purposes is so difficult to see that it's easy for us to cross.
Whenever true disciples are added to the church, the gospel has been proclaimed.
The gospel is bigger than the universe, but can it be tweeted in 140 characters or less?
We ask H.B. Charles, "What are the pastor’s most important weekly tasks?"
The Church should cradle the richest, most outlandish dreams.
This does not make pain painless, of course, but it doesn’t make it purposeless either.
This week's links include resources on lamenting, singing at a new church, flirting, and sour desires.
The Surety is bound, and justice demands that those for whom he stands a substitute should go their way. In the midst of Egypt's bondage, that voice rings as a word of power, "Let these go their way."
If I prioritize production, I end up frustrated, and I actually abandon virtue and toy with anger or bitterness.
It’s not the tears that produce fruit, or even the faithfulness of the sower.
Writing music for your people is a challenge - it is a heavy responsibility to put words and thoughts about God into people’s hearts and minds.
A few reflections on whether or not pursuing a PhD is a right fit.
The more we trust in the sand of our own efforts, the less secure we’ll actually be.
God exposed my misplaced allegiance by closing doors that, if opened, would’ve led down a path of continual self-destruction and false worship.
If you’re a leader, others might have been involved in the mistake, but they were likely following your lead.
In prayer we are able to find comfort in the arms of our Father, trusting that he is working all things for the good of those who he loves, especially those he has entrusted to our pastoral care.
Leaders, trade in the tricks of the trade for the all-powerful, all-surpassing glory of Jesus Christ in the gospel.
More than likely, you and I are the products of the quiet faithfulness of a generation of men and women whose names the world will never know.
We asked Adam McClendon, "How can a church stay attractive to younger people without alienating older people?"
This week's links include resources on conviction, congregational singing, preaching race, and weary moms.
If you are only taking notes during the sermon because you feel you must, because you treat the sermon like a lecture or "lesson," I would encourage you to reconsider.
The gospel is the ultimate "tale as old as time" because we get God.
If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith.
God’s Word is able to comfort and counsel without lecturing because it flows from people’s real life experience, not their bare philosophical reflections.
Abundant religious activity cannot mask a rebellious heart at the last day.
There are only two options with Scripture: either we say amen to its entirety, or we entirely reject it.
Let us embrace the love we don't deserve and love our Father because He first loved us.
My friends, let us be a church that savors, promotes, and clings to grace.
I want the Father’s adopting-love ingrained into the very fabric of my thinking
While we must fight against the oppression and violence that women experience around the world, we must be careful not to venture beyond that into a realm of self-exalting and unbiblical femininity.
There is no such thing as a pastor who knows only the burden of leadership or only the sweat of service.
Let the unveiled image of Christ burn into the eyes of your heart. This is the hope of transformation.
This is the believer’s confidence in the Lord. God alone is my help and my hope.
We asked David Prince, "What should the Christian think about high-impact sports?"
For our joy, Jesus always shoots us straight.
We each echo God’s glory differently for the sake of the Kingdom.
This week's links include resources on rest, childlessness, spiritual strength, and a forgotten hero.
No neutralities can exist in religion.
Go to the source. Go into the dark of things you don’t know. Watch how the stars shine.
Christians, how can we be vigilant to guard against selfish ambition in our lives and ministries?
The way to help my daughter pursue purity isn't to lock her up in a castle, but to help her walk in the freedom of the gospel.
Let us learn from God’s words through Malachi and seek out a true relationship with God characterized by Jesus’ command to love God and love our neighbor.
A community that lives with love enough to both provide and receive gentle rebukes from one another makes for an incredible family.
Until our race is finished, we glean from him, day in and day out.
Because Christ walked ahead of us, we know greater fellowship with Him as we follow in his steps.
The work of Christ applied to our hearts is such an unstoppable, unopposable force that it refigures us entirely.
In an effort to help us create self-awareness and keep us out of the trap, here are 11 characteristics of the self-righteous . . .
The culture that we allow our doctrine to create is the real test of what we believe the doctrine to be.
We ask J.T. English, "How do you make sure a growing church keeps 'feeling small?'”
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.
This week's links include resources on integrity, home, small group woes, and knowing God.
God delights to work through weak vessels that are small in the world’s eyes.
Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am thine, and that thou art mine.
We will be as prayerful as we are cognizant of our own weakness.
His perfection becomes hers when he takes her filth with him in death.
The commands of Christ feel crushing without a new heart to help us obey.
You are in Christ and fully in, or you are out and fully out.
A few reflections on a modern-day hymn.
God gave Jesus because Jesus is the highest form of praise I could ever receive.
To fully enjoy one another is to view them with new eyes, saturated in the grace of our Savior.
If you are a leader and you’ve led them thus far, lead them further by giving them some space to plan, pray, and get collected.
But there is much more to the Abraham narratives than a simple “do this; don’t do this.”
What if we walked into every day with the expectation that God hears and answers specific prayer?
We ask Michael Kelley to describe his writing process.
It is Jesus who is available to you 24/7, and I'm not him.
This week's links include resources on social media, raising faithful kids, lessons for American Christians, and the benefits of discipleship.
If we strive to build up one another in our ministries and tune into other people’s feelings, we can help the body of Christ feel unashamed for the call given to them by God.
Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone.
If we allow ourselves to be diverted and distracted all of the time we will scarcely enjoy the deeply meaningful seasons of discovery that come from thoughtful reflection.
We should strive to preach our best sermons in overseas contexts.
If conservatives have lost the culture war and the American church is in decline, what is there for evangelicals to be encouraged by?
Walk where Edwards and Whitefield walked, visit everywhere from Yale to Harvard and coastal Maine to rural Vermont, meet with local pastors and church planters, and even enjoy some local eateries and coffee.
Mark this down: the Lord hears and answers the cries of desperate people.
To read the Bible is a risky thing. We cannot read it, put it down, and claim ignorance.
Sometimes, we won't think there are good enough reasons given to obey God, yet we are called to obey Him anyway.
While important matters call for our earthly attention, we cannot forget that the church's unique commission is to promote a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
We ought to be the most hospitable toward the sojourners among us.
The promise of the gospel is not that man will remember you, but that God knows you.
When your children grow up, and they are asked, “Tell me about your dad” or “Tell me about your mom” - what do you think they will say?
We ask Nathan Finn, "Why should one consider formal theological education?"
This week's links include resources on entertainment, letting God, the Trinity debate, and singleness.
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.
The gift hidden within difficult seasons is that we may see more clearly and understand more deeply our desperate need of His keeping.
I will not believe that thou hast tasted of the honey of the gospel if thou canst eat it all thyself.
Your artful questions and interest make both sides of the conversation possible.
Revival wasn't shouting and screaming; it was the beat of love within me for others.
How can a church engage in social justice without falling into the errors of the social gospel?
The power to answer prayer belongs to God alone. And the glory for answered prayer belongs to God alone.
Seven pitfalls to avoid when preaching expositional sermons.
Jesus is not far-off, peering through a telescope. He is among the churches. And He is with us now.
The incarnation glorifies the extent to which God would go to seek out those who were running from him.
Is your greatest desire to see the gospel go forward in the place where God has you?
God was mercifully insensitive to our feelings and desires at the cross.
If we are to follow Jesus, then we must have a growing understanding that the Christian does not operate in the realm of desperation.
There is something freeing when you humble yourself and place yourself before a group of people who say, “We see this area that needs to be worked on.”
We ask Clint Pressley, "How do you lead big change in a church without blowing it up?"
You shouldn't trust your illustration to do what only God's word can.
What if we refused to be threatened by our sister churches and instead committed to pray for them?
This week's links include resources on spiritual formation, joy, women's roles, and multi-ethnic ministry.
The Holy Ghost is no temporary gift, he abides with the saints.
The call to plant and pastor is primarily a call to help people keep the gospel in focus.
Our people need the hope of the cross and the assurance of the resurrection.
What are the pastor's most important weekly tasks?
"First day on the job with the new flock. It isn’t the biggest or the healthiest flock in the world…but it’s mine. And I’m excited to see how they’ll grow."
When the Bible is our delight, we look forward to reading it each day and feel a keen sense that something's missing when we don't.
Thinking through these questions often can help identify your stream as a gospel-filled well your followers should drink from often or a gospel-less pit followers should avoid.
Ultimately, God’s glory in your selections should be more important than making someone happy
Roll up your sleeves, labor alongside them, and love them.
There is no nobler task than to deliver good news to weary souls week-in and week-out.
The danger of focusing on things over people is that we might actually get what we want.
A simple, but profound truth: Jesus came to save glory thieves from themselves.
We asked J.D. Greear, "What are some important things to remember when sharing the gospel with Muslims?"
Journaling is not an end in and of itself; the end is to look to and live by the cross.
I have composed this list thinking of the kinds of needs and interests most Christians seek out answers for in the sorts of books that sell most often at Christian bookstores.
This week's links include resources on self-care, abortion, our problem, and community.
Didst thou ever consider the depth of love in the heart of Jehovah, when God the Father equipped his Son for the great enterprise of mercy?
You don’t get to decide to lay down your life one day and then not think about it again
How important is it for preachers to pay attention to cultural trends and popular media?
Hitting the pause button on life and ministry will help us find rest for our souls and experience a sweet foretaste of heavenly rest in Christ’s presence.
In a thread of confirmation bias, hate, uncareful thinking, narcissism, and over exaggerations, be the voice of gospel reason.
Community isn’t something that comes to us; it’s something that we go toward.
Belief in the gospel is the only way anyone can cross the gospel line and experience eternal life.
We've heard it said, "God will not give you more than you can handle." Truthfully, God can and does give us more than we can handle - all because it leads us back to Him.
We asked H.B. Charles: "What are some common rookie preaching mistakes?"
Be filled with the Spirit? How can I be something the Spirit does?
This week's links include resources on womanliness, accountability, seminary, and presence.
The joys of heaven will surely compensate for the sorrows of earth.
When we ponder the right things, we proceed in the right direction.
What are the pastor's most important weekly tasks?
Remember, a cross and the pursuit of the good of others should mark your Christian life. This must be true for your social media presence as well.
As we acknowledge the need to lead humbly, what does godly, humble leadership look like in the day-to-day?
I believe encouragement should take its place alongside any list of spiritual disciplines.
There is much wisdom when you have a love for people wherever you find them, urban or rural.
Five little words that once fed my pride in ministry are now terrifying to me.
We asked Adam McClendon, "How can a pastor effectively counsel someone without creating a co-dependency?"
Christians should have nothing to do with utilitarian arguments against abortion.
This week's links include resources on the rich, waiting, masculine friendship, and heresy.
Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire.
All of us... are communicators of the gospel.
How can smaller churches conduct successful ministry training?
Psalm 23 has a lot to say about Christ's tender, loving care for us. But the psalm isn't primarily about the sheep; it is about the exaltation of the Shepherd.
Your justification isn’t in the fact that you don’t post selfies or engage in over-the-top political comment streams. It’s in the blood of a murdered Son.
We must actively pursue deep relationships with others within our churches in which we bravely share how the gospel lays claim to our lives.
Christians must hold to the higher standard that all believers are one, a new race in Christ.
It would be convenient if Satan would show up as a talking snake. Then, we could run away screaming or call animal control. Instead, he comes to us as an agent of reason.
We ask David Prince, "Who is a criminally under-appreciated figure in church history we should know more about?"
How would you know if your Christian life has become hijacked by confirmation bias? Here are some possible diagnostic signs . . .
This week's links include resources on feeling dead on the inside, pro-life causes, repetition in worship, and teaching children about hell.
The common fault with the most of us is our readiness to yield to distractions.
How does God reach us when our heart staggers mindlessly into the gray dusk of ‘whatever’?
How do you lead big change in a church without blowing it up?
Feel you aren’t useful? Need a reminder of God’s methodology? God uses the willing. God uses the available. God uses the weak.
If God has called you to be His preacher, never stoop to be a king of men.
The real call of Christianity is to find our love and meaning by trusting in, submitting to, and abiding in Christ.
I would argue that a book is only truly influential in so far as it somehow moves into your life without you asking it to.
If I had a few minutes to sit a new minister down and share a few things I’ve learned, there is one piece of advice that I believe is vital.
In the spirit of charity, seeking to identify some good gifts the seeker church of yesteryear has given contemporary evangelicalism
This week's links include resources on curiosity, congregational singing, procrastination, and weakness.
Even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives.
Declawing the Bible of its warnings against and judgments upon sin is not good for the church.
Let the church say, “Huh?”
All Christians want to stay close to Jesus. But to try to do that on your own is to set out to fail.
The pastor's wife is just like every other woman in the church when it comes to friendship: she gets a choice who she lets in.
There are leaders that propel their churches forward at breakneck rates helping them journey great distances and achieve impressive results. Though they often refer to themselves as “visionary leaders," I would argue that many of them are more hyperdriven than visionary.
As beautiful as the temple was, it was but a shadow of the magnificence of Christ.
Is your ministry an individual sport or a team sport?
I wonder how the resolutions of us donut-eaters might stack up to these from Jonathan Edwards.
This week's links provide resources on interpreting the Bible, true masculinity, resolutions, and Christology.
We open the gates of the year to the sweet strains of the harp of joy!