Archive by Author

Fighting Fear: Psalm 56

“What are you so scared of?” With such a simple question, our tendency to and hatred of fear are thrown at us by every childhood taunt we can remember.

Fear – the kind the Bible warns against – never looks good on us. Like a perpetually out of style haircut, there’s no way to dress it up. Fear never drives us in the right direction. It is, perhaps, one of the most dangerous reasons to do anything. Fear dishonors God and disheartens us. No wonder, then, that He has much to say about it. Psalm 56 is one of the best pillows on which to lay our heads when our hearts are tempted to fear. 

Is Your Church Pro-Life?

Is your church pro-life? Almost everyone reading this blog would say “Yes. Of course.” If, by “pro-life”, we mean that a church has a stand against abortion tucked away in its confession somewhere and that they pray against abortion on the Sanctity of Life Sunday, then yes, many protestant churches could be called pro-life.

But what if we saw the calling to be pro-life as something more foundational to our identity as gospel-preaching churches? What would it look like to be–in the biggest possible sense–pro-life? 

He Knows

Jesus’ letters to the seven churches at the beginning of Revelation have often been a source of direction and encouragement. While each of the letters follows the same format, each shines a light on the needs of a particular congregation and calls them to greater faith and faithfulness in Christ. Each letter presents Jesus in its own beautiful light (“who holds the seven stars in his right hand…the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David…the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation…”) and calls the congregation to rest upon their Savior. The unity and diversity of these letters is a reminder that every congregation is different but every congregation ultimately has the same deepest need: to worship God and grow in faithfulness.

Maybe one of the most encouraging parts of each letter is the way they begin. After introducing the divine author of the letter, they all begin with two simple words: “I know.” Before problems are addressed or encouragement is given, Jesus tells each church, “I know.”

A Suggestion for Prayer

In this new year, could I suggest you add to your regular prayer list pastors for the church in Asia? As the Holy Spirit continues growing His great work of enlightening and enlivening the gospel throughout Asia, we continue to see the greatest need being men to preach that gospel and the preservation of those already preaching it.

Oh How I Love Your Law!

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Psalm 119:97

For any number of reasons, this is much easier said and sang than actually done. How do we love God’s law and love it more? Recently I’ve been blessed by a sermon series preached by one of our friends and contributors, Michael Lefebvre, on the Ten Commandments. Dr. Lefebvre mines Scripture’s historical and linguistical side of the law to give the listener a much greater appreciation for it. As I’ve listened to these sermons, I’ve often marveled at the wisdom, kindness, breadth and generosity of God’s good laws for us. With Michael’s permission, I’m glad to share them with you today. Although it would be a big commitment, I encourage you to download all of them and listen when you can.

Dealing with Sexual Abuse as the Church

[The following, which may be disturbing to some readers, is mostly from a sermon preached recently at Immanuel RPC in West Lafayette. You can listen to the whole thing here.]

For reasons beyond my understanding, there is a sea change happening in our nation regarding sexual abuse. It has become difficult to go a day or two without hearing new accusations and recriminations. In areas where sexual harassment and abuse has long been winked at – Hollywood and the media – it’s now being taken much more seriously. For this we ought to thank God. In other areas – politics and the church – we could still use some more work. Thankfully, God’s Word is not silent on the subject of abuse. So while we hear accusations and see the results of wickedness, we can turn to the Bible to help us understand how God intends for the church to understand and deal with abuse. 

The Importance of Giving Thanks

This post is not a week late. Most of our readers in the United States celebrated Thanksgiving last week and are perhaps all turkey-ed out and ready to move on to another holiday season. Which makes now the perfect time to remember that the giving of thanks isn’t something a follower of Jesus can relegate to one time of year. Rather, a quick tour through the Bible will show us that giving thanks is part of the very fabric of what it means and looks like to be a Christian.

Praying for more reformation

In her article How the prosperity gospel is sparking a major change in the world’s most Catholic country, Sarah Pulliam Bailey records the changes taking place in Brazil, where Catholicism still reigns but is scheduled to hit minority status within thirteen years. The main force behind the change is the rise of Pentecostalism, with major cities in Brazil being marked by extravagant and gigantic buildings, home to preachers who promise health and wealth to all those generous with God.

While Brazil isn’t the only place in the world being molded simultaneously by Catholicism and Pentecostalism, it does present a unique snapshot of both the ongoing worldwide influence of Christianity and the ongoing need for Reformation.