True Spirituality, Dealing with Addiction, and Self-Help Manuals

Dealing with addictions can push a Christian to the limits of patience, trust, and exhaustion. The addiction might involve drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, sex, pornography, power, popularity, wealth, social media, technology, or recreation—and many more. Recovering addicts soon find that they need help—help from God, help from family, help from friends, help from their church. As the battle rages to control the addiction, it has become very common for counselors and addicts alike to turn to self-help manuals. Who hasn’t been helped at least a little by getting some good biblical advice from a significant book like Heath Lambert’s Finally Free,[1] which deals with pornography and lust?… Continue reading

Hi-def Leadership in a Hi-def World: Attributes of Godly Leaders

IMG_0003High-definition (or, Hi-def, or HD) refers to increased visual resolution as compared to the commonly used standard of resolution. This involves twice as many scan lines per frame, a proportionally sharper image, and a wide-screen format. In other words, this technology produces a sharper, clearer image. Therefore, a Hi-def view of Christian leadership should present a clearer understanding of what leadership involves. As an aid to examining the characteristics of Christian leadership, I have outlined my thoughts by means of “HI-DEF” as an acronym:

  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Discipline
  • Excellence
  • Faith

Humility

As Andrew Murray pointed out in Humility and Absolute Surrender,[1] neither failures nor sin can produce humility.… Continue reading

Psalms and Hymns: Preach the Psalm Headings

The psalm is a hymn that is sung to an instrument, either a lyre or a psaltery. According to the spiritual or analogical sense, the poem is a contemplation of truth that happens not only in the mind but also in the music as with measured harmony. The psalm denotes actions that are done according to right reason; so as one sings he follows the way of an effective life; he sings who follows a life of contemplation.[1]

Didymus the Blind (ca. 313–398 AD) was an Alexandrian exegete whom Jerome admired. Origen influenced Didymus in his exegesis and theology.… Continue reading

My Pilgrim Songs: A Birthday Meditation

billbarrick1948January 5 comes around right regularly—every year—on my birthday. Yes, my parents were among the “Greatest Generation” who fought and lived during World War II. My birth took place in the first year of the “Baby Boomers.” January 5 marks the traditional twelfth day of Christmas—“twelve drummers drumming,” according to the popular Christmas song. I share my birthday with a number of friends and acquaintances (at least two others in our church family). Famous people also populate the birthday list: Diane Keaton (same day and year; actress), Elena Barrick (my grand-daughter), Robert Duvall (actor), Jim Otto (NFL; his son was one of my students at The Master’s Seminary), Mercury Morris (NFL), Juan Carlos I (king of Spain), Konrad Adenauer (German chancellor), Walter Mondale (American politician), Charlie Rose (TV anchor, host), Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing with the Stars”), Umberto Eco (semanticist and one of my favorite authors), Jane Wyman (actress, President Reagan’s first wife), George Reeves (actor—Superman), Kathleen Kenyon (British archaeologist who excavated in Israel), Stephen Decatur (US naval officer in the American Revolution), and many others.… Continue reading

Blow the Shophar! It’s a New Year!

screenshot-2016-12-27-11-29-09Are you thinking about making any New Year’s resolutions? You know what folk wisdom says about that: “New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other.” We all know that most of the leaves we turn over in January have already started to fall by the end of the month. Therefore, let’s turn to the Word of God for instruction. Let’s see what Scripture declares about the concept of New Year. Does God’s written revelation provide any basis for Christians to celebrate the arrival of a New Year? According to Leviticus 23:23–25 and Numbers 29:1–6, the Lord commanded Israel to observe the Feast of Trumpets—also known as the New Year.… Continue reading