Bearing Grief through Truth and Worship

We all—hundreds of us—asked God for something good: a baby’s life. Something that would give us an opportunity to magnify his mercy and exalt Jesus together as a church family. Instead, he let baby Tahlia die just a few hours after she was born. Instead of a telling miracle story, we are grieving with our friends who have been left with empty arms.

Every grief is different, and it’s usually unfair to compare one loss with another. But most people seem to acknowledge that grief over a lost baby is in a special category.

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Is Preaching the “Heart” of Worship?

Last week the esteemed Al Mohler reprised an excellent article he originally posted several years ago, “Expository Preaching—the Antidote to Anemic Worship.” I recommend it highly. As the title suggests, he argues that much of the corporate worship in today’s evangelical churches is weak because the preaching is weak. Whether the style is choir-and-orchestra traditional or guitar-and-drums contemporary, it is often the case that “music fills the space and drives the energy of the worship service.” Music, that is, instead of the Word of God accurately preached.

It’s not my purpose here to disagree with this well-made point but rather to build on it.… Continue reading

Do You Conference Well?

Catalyst.   Drive.   Thrive.   Connect.   ARC.   T4G.   C3.   D6.   Orange.

Energy drinks? Herbal supplements? No these are the names of conferences, semi-randomly chosen from a very, very long list. Maybe it’s just another evidence of the aging process taking hold in my life, but it seems that the multiplication of Christian conferences is accelerating, and as I’ve watched this phenomenon grow over a number of years, I’ve often thought that we need a theology of conferencing to guide our participation. This article is an attempt to get us thinking in that direction.

Now, lest we get off on the wrong foot, let me begin by saying that conferences can be a good thing in the life of a pastor or layperson.… Continue reading

Don’t Give Up On Lent (pt. 2)

This is the second half of an article I wrote two years ago defending an evangelical practice of Lent. Yesterday I was prompted to post it here when a friend asked me for some feedback on our mutual friend Jesse’s attempt to steer fellow evangelicals away from Lenten observance. I count Jesse as a good friend and one of my favorite dialogue partners, although we don’t get to talk much anymore. This response is offered with the love and respect my brother has earned well over the years. You can catch up on part 1 here.

In this discussion of Lent I have attempted to answer some of the key objections evangelicals have raised as they observe other evangelicals observing Lent in some form or other.

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Don’t Give Up On Lent (pt. 1)

Yesterday my friend Jesse Johnson wrote an article suggesting that evangelicals stop trying to observe Lent. I, on the other hand, have come to appreciate the potential of Lent, and in 2015 I wrote a short series (for a now-defunct blog) defending an evangelical approach to the practice. We’ve decided to offer it in two parts here on PS23 for your consideration. Note that I wrote it in 2015, and I intentionally wrote it after Lent. Here is part 1:

Every February as Ash Wednesday approaches there is a surge of angst among some evangelicals: should we observe the season of Lent?

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