Have you ever seen Google make a mistake? I hadn’t. I just assumed that what Google says goes. So when I typed in the location of an important meeting today, I trusted that Google would steer me the right way.
Where Google said there should be a church was a wooded plot of land. So I kept driving. And driving. And driving. Finally I called the person I was meeting. His instructions? Keep driving. All in all, the actual location of the church was almost eight miles away from where Google told me it was supposed to be. Google was wrong. (And, consequently, I was late.)
This rocked my world. I mean, Google tells me when holidays are, how to bake five-star lemon pepper chicken, what my kid’s sickness symptoms mean, what really happened at the end of Inception, and where I can book that hotel for the least amount of money. Google is never wrong.
But this time it was. And it was a potent reminder that there is only one infallible source of truth. Continue reading
I’ve been a political junkie ever since middle school. While most kids were watching Nickelodeon or playing football, I was the oddball reading USA Today, watching cable news, and vehemently arguing politics with friends and family.
As an American, I had every right to assert my political opinions. To take a stand. To make my position known. And though I have mellowed in recent years, that itch never went away. As a result, I still liked posting opinion columns on controversial issues to my Facebook.
Then, last spring, I ran across this line in D.A. Carson’s book The Cross and Christian Ministry:
“How can Christians stand beside the cross and insist on their rights?”
This quote—and the passage in 1 Corinthians 9 it referred to—floored me. I was immediately convicted about my “right” to assert my political views.
You see, when I ardently posted my political views, I was inevitably driving away the friends who disagreed. And their greatest need is not a change in politics. It’s a change in heart, the kind only the gospel can provide. Continue reading
Have you ever been channel surfing and landed on a cable documentary about the Bible? You can find loads of them out there — such as “Banned from the Bible,” “Biblical Mysteries Explained,” or “Who Was Jesus?”
The majority of these documentaries present a one-sided picture, painted almost exclusively by liberal theologians. And if you take them at face value, they can really shake your faith. I mean, were stories really “banned” from the Bible? Are there natural explanations to all of Jesus’ miracles? Did Jesus simply decide one day to adopt the title Son of God?
There is another side. And Craig A. Evans’ Fabricating Jesus explains it. Continue reading
I like learning.
There, I said it. I’m sure that makes me a nerd or something, but I don’t care. I honestly enjoy reading books, watching lectures, listening to NPR… you name it.
With this interest comes some spiritual baggage: I feel like I must prove Christianity to my non-Christian friends. That I must somehow make it reasonable. And, to be sure, there are plenty of brilliant scholars who excel at defending the Christian faith — William Lane Craig, Tim Keller, Alvin Plantinga, etc.
But Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 were a welcome reminder that in many ways, Christianity will always seem foolish.
But don’t take it from me: Continue reading
I have preached a handful of times. And though I have far from mastered the craft, I do know this: it is a weighty task. I fear preaching something other than what is taught in God’s Word.
Others are less concerned. In the concise, practical preaching primer Engaging Exposition, Daniel Akin, Bill Curtis and Stephen Rummage identify this “crisis in twenty-first-century preaching”: many ministers neglect the preaching God’s Word in favor of lesser substitutes.
In response, the authors prescribe one powerful solution: expository preaching, which they define as “Christ centered, text driven, Spirit led preaching that transforms lives.”
To equip you to preach expositionally, the authors dive into the three steps of the expository preaching process: Continue reading
Yesterday I wrote that seminary introduced me to the marvelous world of biblical counseling. And when you talk about biblical counseling, you have to talk about Paul David Tripp.
Tripp’s Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands was one of the first books I read about the subject. In this exhaustive primer, Tripp calls his readers to a “daily ministry lifestyle” rooted in Scripture, argues that God has called the church to be ambassadors, and suggests that this work “involves every member of the body of Christ.”
Tripp achieves these goals by presenting the why of biblical counseling (the scriptural and theoretical basis) and the how (via his four-step counseling model, “Love, Know, Speak, Do”). As I read the book, four key emphases stood out. Continue reading
One of the joys of seminary has been encountering theological fields that I never knew existed. Case in point: Christian counseling. One of the best introductory books on the topic is Paul David Tripp and Timothy S. Lane’s How People Change.
In it, the authors seek to help readers “grasp the implications of the good news of Jesus Christ for [their] identity and the daily trials and temptations [they] face.” The book effectively achieves this goal. Continue reading
Years before David Platt became the President of the International Mission Board, he was an ordinary pastor. Then he wrote Radical (2010) — the short yet piercing book that took the evangelical world by storm.
In it, Platt reacts to an American church that has embraced unbiblical values, fallen prey to materialism, and valued comfort above all else. He calls Christians to believe and obey all of Jesus’ teachings — even the parts that are most difficult to stomach. He takes the reader on a journey to rediscover the truth and urgency of God’s gospel, learn how to fulfill God’s global purpose in his divine power, overcome significant blind spots, and live a life of radical abandonment to Jesus.
Radical by David Platt is a small and concise book, but each page pops with challenging issues. In light of his recent appointment to serve as President of the International Mission Board, I revisited this book to discover the top four issues that stood out to me: Continue reading