Your Pastor, Melancholy And The Black Dog

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Recently news broke that Andrew Stoecklein, pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino California took his own life. It is heartbreaking news, and shocking, but I have to say not overwhelmingly surprising. I’ve heard and read some express sentiments along the lines of “how could a pastor do that?” Sadly, some have gone on to posit that no “truly called” man could possibly be depressed much less suicidal. While I don’t know anything about this man or the church he served, over the last several years, both through my own experiences and through relationships with other pastors, I have learned a thing or two about pastoral ministry. Continue reading

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How to Ensure Success in Counseling

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Later this week a Christian man named Andrew will begin counseling with his pastor in a last stitched effort to overcome a sin that he has long struggled with.  Andrew is 32, has been married for 8 years, is the father of 3-year-old twins, is an active member of his church, and is hooked on porn.  He’s been viewing pornography since he was a teenager, and with exception of a month here and a few weeks there, has not yet found victory over his addiction.  His wife has been living under the impression that Andrew’s struggle came to an end, at least as a daily struggle, several years ago. … Continue reading

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Reprise: When Gray Areas Are Black and White

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I have been thinking a lot about Christian liberty lately. Not because I tend to ruminate on this subject, but because in the last month or so I have noticed a ton of chatter about it in the Christian blogosphere  It isn’tblackorwhite that a lot of writers have decided that now is the time to discuss the doctrine of Christian liberty, it is that the comment sections of various blogs have erupted into a chorus that seemingly thinks that Christian liberty is the ultimate defeater argument.
Christian liberty can be defined as the freedom believers have in Christ to allow their redeemed conscience to guide their actions when scripture is silent on a topic or an issue.
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Why, God? On the Problem of Evil & Other Questions

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Why did God create man with the ability to sin?  I suspect this is a question that you have asked at some point in your life.  I know I have.  It is a variation of the age-old “problem of evil.”  Is there an answer to this question?  And how might it apply to other kinds of God-ward questions beginning with “why”?

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin gives a very good two-part answer to the question of why God made man with the ability to sin.  I thought I’d pass it on to you in this post, as I have found it helpful, and I believe it is relevant to the other why questions of life.… Continue reading

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Making Use of Providence

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In his excellent book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, Jerry Bridges wrestles with the doctrine of God’s Providence as it relates to the difficult circumstances of life.  Bridges summarizes the doctrine of God’s Providence this way: God’s “constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His own glory and the good of His people.”

For the sake of understanding, he goes on, “…note the absolute terms: constant care, absolute rule, all creation.  Nothing, not even the smallest virus, escapes his care and control.”

To the ears of some, the idea that not even the smallest virus escapes God’s care and control may sound like a fairly radical (and perhaps ridiculous) idea.  … Continue reading

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