Shepherding & Suffering

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For the best several years I have been privileged to participate in The Grace Advance Mid Atlantic (GAMA) equipping conference.  The theme of this year’s conference was a biblical view of suffering (you can listen to some conference audio here with more to come in the near future) and I was blessed to give a seminar on shepherding someone in the midst of suffering.

Unfortunately this is something I know a lot about. My wife suffers profoundly from an MS-like demyelinating disease of the brain. She has significant gait problems, diplopia, bouts of optic neuritis among other symptom, but the most impactful symptom is chronic extreme neurogenic pain.… Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit & the ‘Ordinary’ Christian Life

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Over the last couple of months I’ve been preaching through a series on what the Bible says about the present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit; how the Holy Spirit works today.  As I’ve been coursing through the teaching of the New Testament on the ongoing works of the Spirit, what has stuck out to me are the repeated connections made in Scripture between the work of the Holy Spirit and what we might regard as the ordinary patterns and practices of the Christian life.  When we compare the emphasis of Scripture in regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to many (most?)… Continue reading

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Books: A Gift Guide

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I know it is hard to believe, but Christmas is just around the corner. I was more than a little dismayed that upon returning from our annual Fall vacation, I found that the candy corn and pumpkins had been replaced with shortbread cookies in the shape of pine trees and artificial wreaths at my local grocery store.

While I’m not exactly sure why Thanksgiving has been blacklisted but it seems to be the Christmas season now, so in the spirit of the season I thought I would a few suggestions of books that will make great gifts.

On Loan From the Lord by Erica Siebert

I’ve often heard people say they know there are faithful men doing great things for the Lord in complete anonymity. … Continue reading

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Reprise: Christian, Be Nice

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smileyface

As a Christian, and as a pastor, one of the things that frustrates, and quite frankly saddens, me the most is how some who claim the name of Christ behave on social media.  I get that sitting behind a keyboard provides an emboldening buffer for many, but for those who claim the name of Christ, this ought not to be.  Even when it comes to online interactions God looks on the heart. This is supremely important. So let me be clear; Christian be nice!

When I say be nice, I am saying treat others, including unbelievers and Christians you disagree with, in other words everyone, with kindness gentleness and respect.… Continue reading

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On Faith, Works, the Lordship of Christ, and Assurance

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The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one.  “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus.  “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul.  “Faith without works is dead,” says James.  Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ – the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God – is a fruit-bearing faith. … Continue reading

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