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."
Jonathan Edwards saw God's grace as a tide of goodness.
I believe obscurity is good for Kingdom laborers, particularly pastors, and most especially newly up and coming pastors.
Every theological idea which makes an impression upon you must be regarded as a challenge to your faith.
When we are tempted to doubt the Father's faithfulness, we have no further to look than His provision of Christ.
"If any Christians are in earnest and full of love to God and man, they are those who know what Grace has done for them."
"If there is to be a renewal, it will be a renewal that grows out of the blazing center that is the glory of God in the face of Christ."
When I fret about life, time, finances, relationships, I'm tempted to control them for my preferred outcome. When I rest in the giver of good and perfect gifts, I see every allowance as unmerited favor and can walk in the confidence as one who is held by the God of the universe—the perfection of every attribute.
Christ died to redeem men and women from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation. When those men and women gather together, we ought to sing as only redeemed men and women can.
Why so much grief? Why waves upon waves upon waves of sorrows? If the Lord desired to deprive atheists and agnostics of ammunition for their powerful theodicy argument we would welcome the cessation of pain. Even for those of us committed to the Lord’s sovereignty have existential reasons to doubt when the miseries pile up.
In the pastoral ministry world, we sometimes get the impression from the Bright Minds Among Us that only losers quit. Well, maybe so. But Jesus came for losers.
Two sweet words start the reversal of our will and fate.
Are there areas of your life that you find yourself comparing to others? If we constantly find ourselves in “comparison mode,” we may have placed our identity in the accomplishments and status of this world.
Whether it’s a laughable underwear-on-stage experience (laughable later), or a deeply unsettling loss of integrity, embarrassment is a besetting quality of human life. It lurks and stalks beneath the surface of our circumstances, waiting to sink its teeth into our every failing and loss — intentional or naive, serious or jovial, public or private, embarrassment is a trained hunter of human failure.
When we dwell on the gospel, it should stir within the depths of our soul an uncontainable joy.
Pastors, your sermon prep is not sufficient for personal nourishment in the word of God. We must be chasing after Jesus constantly in the Scriptures in order to feed our hungry souls and, consequently, to feed our churches.
In these moments our humanity lies bare. Our greatest fears are realized—we are exposed for the weak and woefully inadequate people we are. We failed to meet even the lowest expectations. Things that are so seemingly obvious nobody should mess them up.
Elyse Fitzpatrick is a popular conference speaker and author and one of the leading voices in helping the evangelical church apply the gospel to all of life. She was recently kind enough to answer a few questions for For The Church on the importance of gospel-centrality and some of the alleged perils of it too.
In 1535 Martin Luther wrote a little book on prayer for his barber, which included a helpful recommendation that believers pray through the Ten Commandments as a means to warm one’s heart to God. What can following Luther's example show us about living honestly before our neighbors?
When we feel like our lives are a mess and hope seems to be just beyond arm’s length, we know that God has sent Jesus into the mess of this world and then became a mess for us. And it helps us see the need to extend the hope of the gospel to those whose lives seem hopelessly a mess.
As a young man, just converted to the faith and boiling over with anger toward my stepfather, I spent a lot of time praying imprecatory psalms. It wasn’t hard to cast myself in the image of the unjust sufferer, echoing David’s cries for vengeance on my enemies. But at some point during all that vitriol I read the book of Jonah . . .
When I feel small, there is the gospel that reminds me that my size and worth is determined by that which was sacrificed for me.
Acts 2:42-47. A bunch of normal folks, like you and me, praying, eating, and worshiping together. It’s not much different than my church’s community groups that meet around the Dallas/Fort Worth area together. It’s a relief, a needed calm. And yet it isn’t calm at all . . .
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
- Luke 17:20-21
In Jesus' day, the Jewish world was fractured into factions, each of which sought to…
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…
The LORD our God is Lord of Hosts.
He holds all time within his hand.
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
From all eternity will stand.
From deepest deep, before the start
God has declared the sweetest end
He's loved and purposed in his heart
The brokenness of man to mend.
Brother Jesus his siblings saves
And conquers sin…
What is the dumbest thing you have ever said? You probably don't want to repeat it. Since, I think it is edifying, I'll reset my moment. I was a new Christian and was talking to my wife one Sunday afternoon when I dropped this gem on her: “Christianity is so easy. I don't see what the big deal is.” But, I wasn't finished “I read my Bible, pray and talk…
There are millions of pages of truth, facts, opinions, epics, myths, fairy tales and short stories available to us. But there is a truth that can be summed up in a sentence or two and it has more value than everything thing.
Theology Springs from the Gospel
There are also stacks of wonderful theology books available. Some incredible and some terrible. But what is fundamental to…
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…
We weren't sure when Grandpa woke up, but we knew it was long before the sun did. My earliest memories of him revolve around a small kitchen table where he sat each morning drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. The walls of his basement were decorated with World War II honors and pictures of his hunting victories. Locked gun cases held treasures we were only allowed to behold when Grandpa…
What in the world does it mean to be gospel-centered? What does it look like to have a gospel life?
A Gospel Life will have these 5 M's as it's lens that it sees and does everything through. These become a way of thinking, living, responding and reacting to life. You'll find that there is a gospel wakefulness that oozes in everything. Gospel growth can occur by applying…
We are all in repair. We forget that about ourselves and others far too much (at least I do). We are not allowed to wallow in the muck of guilt after we sin . Godly sorrow yes (Romans 7:21-8:1)! But we need to get over ourselves and our stupid thoughts of how “great of a Christian” we thought we were. And please don't be shocked when another Christian sins and…
"Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”—1 Corinthians 10:31
The Purpose of Marriage
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that getting married and staying married is to be done to the glory of God. To glorify God means we do things in such a way that we put His greatness on display for all to see. In…
"[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…
No, Victoria Osteen is not exactly right when she says we ought to do good for ourselves instead of for God, but neither is she totally wrong. She's derailed and in the ditch, but the right track is in eyesight.
Osteen is not totally wrong, because walking with God is a—let the reader understand—happy thing. It's a different kind of happy, to be sure. But it's…
A few years ago I had a book published called Gospel Wakefulness. It is a very important book to me, as it came out of the second most important event of my life, second only to my conversion—the moment when the gospel became realer than real. And this happened out of a great personal disaster. I won't rehash my testimony here; many of my readers are familiar with it. But…
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…
"The Christian life is the life of sons and daughters; it is not the life of slaves. It is freedom, not bondage. Of course, we are slaves of God, of Christ, and of one another. We belong to God, to Christ, to one another, and we love to serve those to whom we belong. But this kind of service is freedom.
"What the Christian life is not, is…
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……
What if we looked at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 from the reverse angle? I think it helps us put so much of our pettiness and self-interest in stark perspective and shows love as that much more beautiful.
Impatience and unkindness is hatred.
Hate is envious and ego-centric.
Hate is arrogant and rude.
Hatred is insisting on one's own way;
hatred is irritable or resentful;
Eternal love moved the heart of Jesus to relinquish… heaven for earth;
a diadem for a cross;
the robe of divine majesty for the garment of our nature;
by taking upon Himself the leprosy of our sin.
Oh, the infinite love of Christ!
What a boundless, fathomless ocean!
Ask the ransomed of the Lord, whose chains He has dissolved, whose dungeon He…
(35) Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (36) But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. (37) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (38) For I have come down…
There is this really magical thing that happens in homes all over the world. When you first have a child, you want your child to crawl. And then you want your kid to walk. My first child, Audrey, pulled herself to the coffee table. When she got to the coffee table, she began to bounce on her knees, and then she began to coast along. From there she started…
"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…
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Thessalonians 5:23
Not a single one of us is a perfect repenter. And not a single one of us ever will be. I do believe we cooperate in the work of our sanctification, working out what God…
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms… —Deuteronomy 33:27
Natalie was one of my deaconesses. I say "was" because she passed away in January. One of my first memories of Natalie was at a funeral, actually, one of the first of the many I have officiated in my five years in Middletown. I don't even remember who it was for—it was not…