This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13 ESV)
Every church has its flaws. Significant ones, in fact, since even the best of churches are made up of and led by exclusively by sinners. As a result, if you are a member of a local church, you are bound to be regularly disappointed by something going on within it.
In the local church it doesn’t take long before you encounter people who don’t share your excitement for the particulars of your theology, or who don’t seem to be very zealous in evangelism or very excited about living in “community,” or who are just remarkably ordinary (unlike you, of course).… Continue reading
One of the foundational theological convictions of my life and ministry is the principle of Sola Scriptura, the biblical doctrine that Scripture is the only infallible authority of Christian faith and practice. Directly related to this conviction is my belief in the sufficiency of Scripture: the truth that in the Scriptures, we have every divine word needed to live a life that honors God. As Paul puts it so memorably in a letter to his student, Timothy: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, italics mine).… Continue reading
Planting and waiting. That, I am learning, is the essence of biblical ministry. It is perhaps the most important lesson I have been learning over the last few years, at least as it concerns my life as a pastor.
Of all the things that I long to see happen in, around, and as a result of my ministry, I have no power whatsoever to make happen. I cannot save a single soul. I cannot make a single Christian more like Christ. I cannot cause a single saint to endure to the end of his life in faithfulness to Christ.
Beyond these things, I cannot heal a single marriage. … Continue reading
Happy New Year, dear reader! It’s that time of year where we all make commitments that we know we’ll never keep. I’m only kidding of course (sort of!). Although there is nothing inherently different about the beginning of a new year from any time throughout the rest of the year, the turn of a new year is a good opportunity to re-evaluate the direction of our lives, reset our priorities, and even make some reasonable commitments to pursue growth in the coming year.
A couple of helpful posts have been written in the last week about these things here on the PS23 blog.… Continue reading
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it?
Even for those who celebrate the fact that two millennia ago God became a man and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus of Nazereth and that this Jesus will one day return to the world in victory over sin and death, Christmas time is not an entirely joyful season. For some, the holidays are a very difficult time, characterized (for various reasons) by bouts with discouragement and even depression. … Continue reading