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Meditating on Death

The world is loud. And crowded. We surround ourselves with people and noise and busyness (you’re likely listening to something while reading this and will probably read something else while reading this, too). The clamor and commotion add up to more than mental flightiness–they add up to a hell-bent distraction from eternal things. Those great things we do and surround ourselves with–all the music and talk shows, all the home improvement and sports–are things the enemy would love to keep flashing in front of our face, like the magician’s waving hands keeping us from seeing life disappear in front of us.

A Good Reminder That…

…pornography is still bad. For you. For your family. For your church. For our society.

In 1934 Cambridge anthropologist Dr. J. D. Unwin published Sex and Culture. In it he examined 86 cultures spanning 5,000 years with regard to the effects of both sexual restraint and sexual abandon. His perspective was strictly secular, and his findings were not based in moralistic dogma. He found, without exception, that cultures that practiced strict monogamy in marital bonds exhibited what he called creative social energy, and reached the zenith of production. Cultures that had no restraint on sexuality, without exception, deteriorated into mediocrity and chaos. -Donald Hilton

Read the whole article.

How to Feel Better About Yourself

Last Sunday in Psalm 51, I preached on the gift of guilt and shame. Rather than things to be rid of as soon as possible, as our culture might tell us, guilt and shame are gifts from the Holy Spirit meant to lead us to Christ. But there are many ways out of guilt, many ways to prematurely feel better about ourselves, many exits from the highway of shame before we get to Christ.

A quick thought on evangelism

I am currently writing my second-to-last sermon in the book of Acts. The journey through this part of God’s Word has been extraordinary for me; hopefully, for our congregation as well. To see Jesus bring his gospel through Peter and Paul to the world can only birth broken humility and great hope.

One thing I’ve noticed, that I should have learned before: the gospel is simple but it is not simplistic. When he finally got to Rome, Paul called the Jewish leaders to hear his case and then hear the gospel. Rather than lay out before them a five (or forty-five) minute gospel presentation, Paul proclaimed and reasoned with them all day!

Here’s my thought (which reminds me that I’ve been told this already by wiser saints): while it’s good to find ways to communicate the gospel or something about Christ quickly–testimonies, gospel illustrations, etc.–we would do well to work toward much longer evangelistic opportunities. Hours. Days, even. As the wiser saint told me, “I wouldn’t expect someone to buy life insurance after hearing a five minute presentation. How can I expect them to bow before Christ within five minutes?”

To be sure, God can use any gospel message to save souls. But […]

Dear Norway

Dear Norway,

It seems at this point words can only fail. While I, along with the rest of the world, feel stunned breathless by your tragedy, surely your pain and anguish is and will become deeper than we can imagine. But if it is possible to communicate my grief and prayers in a short letter, I’d like to try.

From the nightstand…

Sneaking a peek at friends’ bookshelves is always telling. But even more telling would be to see what’s on their nightstand. In lieu of real book reviews today, consider this a peek at my bedside table (which is straining under the guilty weight of unread or half-read books). Here are some books I’ve been reading and even some I’ve even been enjoying.

Social media: the 3rd degree

In preparing for an online seminar through RPTS on technology and social media, I’ve become even more convinced of the necessity of interrogating (roughly, if necessary) our technology. Authors I’ve read on the subject all agree: the inventors of technology cannot be counted on to subject their inventions to a Biblical, discerning screening.