Renew Your Minds

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)   As the shelter-in-place order drags on, and the path to reopening looks lengthy and trying, tempers are beginning to flare. Experts have different, even contradictory, opinions—and worse, every person in America has seemingly dubbed himself or…

Reading Leviticus in Pandemic

I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart…

Light for Any Path

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)   A profound truth struck me while reading our Associate Pastor Kyle’s last devotional for our church’s e-newsletter. It wasn’t the devotional itself (no offense, Kyle), excellent though that was; rather, it was the passage Kyle had chosen. Our church is using The Gospel Coalition’s Read the Bible Bible-reading plan this year, and he chose a passage from this week’s reading…

Three Bad Bible-Study Questions

In many ways, the prevailing (and dramatic) shifts in western culture during the past few centuries all center on a single issue: truth—and how we learn it (if we can). To Christians, who worship the One who claimed to be Truth (John 14:6), these cultural shifts prove exceedingly relevant. If we are not mindful of our culture’s changing views of truth, we will imbibe the spirit of the age unwittingly. This is especially evident in…

Marks of Smoking Flax

The Puritans left behind a great store of wisdom—rigorously theological, warmly devotional, and always centered on Christ and his gospel. Sadly, given the diminishing attention paid to language, grammar, and the humanities, they are less accessible to modern audiences than they deserve. Still, there are a few Puritan works that are short and simple enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest every English-speaking Christian read them. John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress would head the list,…

Homiletical Relativism

A Tale of Two Sermons? I recently heard two close friends give their opinion of the same sermon—a sermon I did not hear, delivered at a church I have only attended once. These were both seasoned believers who genuinely love God and seek to follow him. One raved about the sermon, touched by the pastor’s humility (and self-deprecation) and the liveliness of the delivery. The other actually wept at the conclusion of the message because…

Why I Preach Expository Sermons

Attend a few different churches in your area in rapid succession, and you will undoubtedly discern some striking differences. Some sing hymns with organ accompaniment, others choruses with a rock band; some follow a traditional liturgy, others follow the modern liturgy of sing-sermon-sing again.   At some point someone will stand up to preach a sermon. That’s a widespread similarity. But once he starts talking, we face a whole new slew of differences. Is the…

Spending Time with God

This is my annual New Year’s post about establishing the discipline of devotion. I hope it encourages you to new depths of intimacy with him this and every year!   Nothing is more essential to experiencing the riches of God’s grace than our regular time with him in prayer and study. However, disciplining yourself to spend time with God can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you on…

Reading through the Bible

This is my annual New Year’s post about reading through the Bible in a year. I hope you will choose to discipline yourself and discover the riches of God’s Word in this way again this year! As the new year rolls in, we would be wise to plan for the coming year. We accomplish few things of lasting value without having planned for them in advance. This is true for our spiritual journey. Now, at…

From Athens to Jerusalem

The last in a three-part series on Christian education.[1] As I am a pastor by training and an educator by hobby, I am certain my reflections will be limited and misguided. I invite correction by those with greater wisdom and experience. Please comment below.   Modern educational principles apply unequally to the various disciplines. Owing to the unique content and skills objectives in each discipline, very little of what works in one class will work…