The Gospel and the Church

The Church Has One Testimony—and It’s Anything but Boring

God’s Calling I have no memory of the moment of my own calling. Raised by godly parents in the nurture of the church, I didn’t pray a salvation prayer or walk an aisle or have a sudden revelation. I don’t actually remember a time when I didn’t love Christ. My...

The Book That Ignited Revival

A certain pastor was visiting various Sunday school classes when he made a disconcerting discovery in the sixth-grade boy’s class. As the boys were talking about some of the stories in the Old Testament, the pastor listened closely for a while and then asked, “Who...

Don’t Believe the Hype: Why Your Church Might Not Be As Great As You Think

Due to the ubiquitous nature of social media, pastors and church leaders live and minister in a world of carefully crafted sound bites and heaping amounts of hype. While social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook are incredible tools for church leaders to use...
Growing Men through the Public Reading of Scripture

Growing Men through the Public Reading of Scripture

Introduction One thing I remember about the church as a kid was the older men. There was the man who gave all the kids sticks of Juicy Fruit before we went into the service. There was the man who sang loudly (and well!) They all seemed bigger-than-life with calloused...

Paul’s Pastoral Protection of Pastors and 1 Timothy 5:19

Paul’s Pastoral Protection of Pastors and 1 Timothy 5:19

Erwin Lutzer, pastor of the historic Moody Church in Chicago, recounts a story in his book “Pastor to Pastor” that could be multiplied several times over of the kinds of disparaging experiences that regularly happen to faithful pastors. A friend of mine, fresh out of...

Spurgeon on Building an Evangelistic Culture in a Church

Spurgeon on Building an Evangelistic Culture in a Church

Why is it that most churches that hold to the doctrines of grace lack evangelistic zeal? If we are going to foster evangelism today in our churches, we must first build into its culture. Ray Ortlund helpfully notes that: “Gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture. The...

What is the Essential Virtue Pastors Should Model and Teach?

What is the Essential Virtue Pastors Should Model and Teach?

Where a text appears in Scripture is all-important because the location often teaches pastors and their congregations' big lessons. For example, The Sermon on the Mount contains Jesus’ first recorded teaching, and the first sentence in Matthew 5:3 is this simple...

On the Usefulness of a Ministry Fellowship

On the Usefulness of a Ministry Fellowship

Within the category of Christian ministry are scores of important topics to consider. Life often moves so fast that ministers do not think through ministerial issues of consequence until they have to. But too often, their thinking comes too late. For each aspiring...

Developing Elders in the Church

Developing Elders in the Church

Suppose you were called to pastor a church where none of the elders were biblically qualified, though they had been serving in their “positions of authority” for decades? Or what if you are serving at a church that had learned a bit about the Bible’s teaching on...

Helping Paul and Trophimus: Doing Life With One Another

Helping Paul and Trophimus: Doing Life With One Another

“I left Trophimus sick at Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). As some churches tiptoe back into corporate worship and ministries reboot in a post-corona mode, those who are immune-suppressed or elderly are being gently asked to stay home awhile longer.  Some church people are...

There Are No Unimportant Parts of the Church

There Are No Unimportant Parts of the Church

A Varied Menu Every few months, my church gathers in the fellowship hall for a slightly different purpose: lunch. Each person brings a dish of their choice in addition to contributing items such as drinks or bread from a sign-up list. After morning worship, the pastor...

Four Lessons For the Church In This Time, and Beyond

Four Lessons For the Church In This Time, and Beyond

These are strange, sad times we live in, and a perfect season for the glory of the Christian gospel and the light of Christ’s church to shine brighter than ever before. But how? While countless headlines and speeches declare the value of every human life— in the midst...

Apollo 8 and the Faraway World of Pastoral Ministry

Apollo 8 and the Faraway World of Pastoral Ministry

Perspective allows you to see farther than you can look. Take Apollo 8. The crew of William Anders, Frank Borman, and James Lovell were a hurry-up “dream-team” thrown together by a pressure-cooker NASA Leadership and a beleaguered US president named Lyndon Baines...

4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

Beauty on the Inside Around the corner from where I live, a house is for sale. In bold green letters, the lawn sign reads: “I’m Gorgeous Inside!” The message is surprising. From the street, the house is thoroughly ordinary, even run-down. It’s a seventies-era raised...

The Gospel and Teamwork

The Gospel and Teamwork

This material has been previously published in Jeff Mingee’s Called to Cooperate: A Biblical Survey and Application of Teamwork. (Ichthus Publications, Apollos, PA., 2016). Reprinted with permission. “Whether or not one realizes it, the gospel is – by its very nature...

God Blesses Holiness, Not Pastoral Talent

God Blesses Holiness, Not Pastoral Talent

God Blesses Holiness, Not Pastoral Talent from Crossway on Vimeo Constantly Turn from SinIt’s a very simple thing to go down the path of sanctification. Through prayer, cry out to the Lord, confess your sins, repent of your sins, and turn from your sins so that you’re...

Gospel Mission and Unity: How Far Am I Willing to Go?

Gospel Mission and Unity: How Far Am I Willing to Go?

I went to a funeral the other day, not to officiate, but simply to attend as a friend and pastor to the grieving. Since I orient toward others far more as a brother than as pastor, I instinctively sat toward the back alongside those I knew and loved. Then I noticed...

Change Minded Churches Who Don’t Want Change

Change Minded Churches Who Don’t Want Change

The search committee announces to the church they have found their next pastor, a young, energetic family man, who is ready to help the church move from decline to growth. The new pastor is excited about serving in the new church and can see her potential if just a...

Uncommon Partnerships a Theology of Partnerships

Uncommon Partnerships a Theology of Partnerships

Why Partnerships[1] There is a discernible theology of partnership in the Word of God. The purpose of this article is not to list and evaluate every instance of “partnership,” “partner,” or “partaker” in the Holy Bible (a worthy undertaking that), but rather to...

The Dangers of Pride and Pursuing Genuine Humility

The Dangers of Pride and Pursuing Genuine Humility

Ministry service is a noble task for one to be called to. The Apostle Paul tells young Timothy, “if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Timothy 3:1). What better way to live one’s life than in service to the Lord? For it...

Submit to Your Leaders

Submit to Your Leaders

Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Don’t Make Your Pastor Groan...

Dear Pastor: Please Serve Me Jesus

Dear Pastor: Please Serve Me Jesus

Dear Pastor, I had the honor of visiting your church this past weekend and was warmly welcomed by your flock. We managed with ease into the children’s ministry and found comfortable seating in the sanctuary. The sound of the choir’s harmonies caressed my arms, leaving...

Finding Your Writing Voice as a Christian Writer

Finding Your Writing Voice as a Christian Writer

In 2007, I thought I was a good writer. Looking back, I was dead wrong. I had asked my wife, a gifted editor, to edit my papers for school. To that end, she had me double space each document and then print it out. She took hours editing my essays. When her edits came...

Taming the Social Media Beast

Taming the Social Media Beast

Last year I had an encounter with Scripture that got me thinking about my habits in a whole new way. A reply given by Jesus to the Pharisees regarding the Sabbath invited me to revise my attitude toward the various activities that occupy my energy every day....

Why I Am Blogging Through Job

Why I Am Blogging Through Job

Last year I started blogging through the book of Job, one chapter each week. While the basic plot is quickly told -- riches to rags to riches -- Job is not a short book. I am currently on chapter 31 of 42. Thankfully, over the course of these many months, the...

Three Important Dimensions of Academic Writing

Three Important Dimensions of Academic Writing

Editors Note: This is part three of a three part series from Dr. Andreas Kostenberger. To read Dr. Kostenberger’s first article click here. To read his second click here. How Write? In a recent book on writing, Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful...

The Four Phases of My Writing Development

The Four Phases of My Writing Development

Editors Note: This is part two of a three part series from Dr. Andreas Kostenberger. To read Dr. Kostenberger's first article click here. Write What? The question of what to write is fascinating. Writing these reflections has certainly increased my own self-awareness!...

Why Write: Some Personal Reflections

Why Write: Some Personal Reflections

I love writing. For me, writing is a divine calling. It is also a lifelong passion and a guiding vision. In the following brief reflections, I’m going to share some of my thoughts about three things today: the why, what, and how of writing. First, why write? Why...

6 Questions To Ask Before Using Social Media

6 Questions To Ask Before Using Social Media

In 2019, experts estimate that almost 3 billion people will utilize social media in some capacity. In 2017, 71% of internet users engaged with social media.[1] If you are reading this article, the chances are you saw this posted on a social media platform you engage...

Proverbs for the Writer

Proverbs for the Writer

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). This, stated my professor, would be the starting point for our class on doctrine. Delivered to Bible college by the bus of the public school system, this axiom was delightfully new to my academic...

Three Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry

Three Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry

3 Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry from Crossway on Vimeo. Consistent Time in the Word The practical things you need to do in your life to remain faithful in ministry are the same means of grace that are available to every believer. First is time in the...

The Stories A Writer Tells

The Stories A Writer Tells

Sometimes I wonder what message I have for the hurting, the chronically ill, the wandering soul. How can I convey hope to my readers when I haven’t gone through their struggles? Have not walked a mile in their shoes? I may not fully understand their perspective, but I...

Sharing God’s Comfort

Sharing God’s Comfort

Comfort. Self-care. Indulgence. Emblazoned on tumblers and t-shirts everywhere, and of course, often critiqued, especially by Christians. Should we seek our own comfort? At what point does wise care for our bodies turn into sinful indulgence? For those with a chronic...

Pain and Passion in Ministry

Pain and Passion in Ministry

You have heard the old adage, “I must catch up with the others for I am their leader.” Often preachers feel like this. I know that I do. After I was called from the parish to the academy as President and Chancellor of a seminary, I sat at my new desk, the first...

Village Poet

Village Poet

When I first arrived, the internet felt wide open with possibility. I staked out a quiet corner where I established my blog Little House in the Suburb. (It seemed a fitting name for a blog written by someone named Laura.) I took great care with each post, wanting to...

Blogging as a Local Ministry

Blogging as a Local Ministry

Tim Challies recently wrote on the need for Christians to continue writing on their personal blog instead of only writing for major ministry sites. He made several compelling points, but it was his final point that most resonated with me. He states: …You may think...

Stewarding the Skill of Writing

Stewarding the Skill of Writing

There are so many good reasons not to write. I mean, do people even read anymore? Everyone has something to say and the internet is a virtual cacophony. Why add to the noise? Especially when writing is hard. And lonely. Is it even worth it? The Christian writer...

How to Move Doctrine from Head to Heart

How to Move Doctrine from Head to Heart

How to Move Doctrine from Heads to Hearts.mp4 from Crossway on Vimeo. Tasting the Word of God Biblical preaching moves the hearer from head to heart and from the ethereal to the experiential by focusing on what the believer actually encounters when he really...

Marks of a Healthy Church- A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

Marks of a Healthy Church- A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

A few weeks ago we began looking at the distinguishing marks of a healthy church. People typically determine the “success” of a church by numbers, programs, or budget. However, we must ask ourselves if the Bible focuses on such qualities. In 9 Marks of a Healthy...

Finding Your Voice as a Christian Blogger

Finding Your Voice as a Christian Blogger

Tim Challies has been doing an excellent job (as always) blogging about…blogging (here, here, and here). He’s noticed the decline in the number of individual bloggers actively blogging and is seeking to motivate Christians to blog again. Mom and Pop Blogs In...

Introduction to the Plugged in to the Vine

Introduction to the Plugged in to the Vine

I grew up with the computer. The timeline of my youth is punctuated by the invention of new, disruptive technologies. As I got bigger, the computers got smaller. This makes me a digital native, albeit one who can still remember a world where none of this technology...

3 Crucial Qualities of All Good Sermons

3 Crucial Qualities of All Good Sermons

Anatomy of the Soul John Calvin once said that the Psalms are an anatomy of all parts of the soul. What the Psalms do is present the idealistic, the realistic, and the optimistic view of the Christian life. In a sense, the whole Bible does that and it’s important that...

Marks of a Healthy Church- Biblical Theology

Marks of a Healthy Church- Biblical Theology

A tear runs down the cheek of your friend as they tell you theirteenager is rebelling and they’ve tried all they can but nothing isworking. A family member has lost their job but the mortgage paymentskeep coming, and they tell you they are considering giving “in...

The First and the Last Word On Preaching

The First and the Last Word On Preaching

Every breath is vital to life. Naturally. Likewise, every movement in a sermon is essential. I am confident that you will agree with me that a similitude about life and preaching is appropriate. Preaching is for life. So, whether you are just now answering God’s call...

Breaking In To Community

Breaking In To Community

I heard it a variety of ways: “Your church is not very friendly.” “No one greeted me on Sunday morning.” “I don’t feel welcomed here.” “Everyone seems to already have their friends, and they don’t have room for more.” This familiar critique came through email, on the...

Three Ways Parachurch Leaders Can Promote the Local Church

Three Ways Parachurch Leaders Can Promote the Local Church

I love the institutional church. I believe the local church is God’s plan for saving and transforming the world. Jesus shed His blood for His bride, the church. Nothing will stop Christ from building His church, not even the gates of hell. I have followed God’s call...

How To Care For Your Pastor

How To Care For Your Pastor

Care for your pastor. Those four words may not be on your radar right now, but by the end of this article, I hope to persuade you of the importance of caring for your pastor, his wife, and his family. Consider Joe (not his real name), a pastor of many years. He and...

How to Be a Profitable and Encouraging Church Member

How to Be a Profitable and Encouraging Church Member

As a pastor, I genuinely love the local church. In my own context, I love my church that I’m a member of and that I have the privilege of leading. As I often explain to my children when we read the Bible together in the evening—I don’t love the church simply because...

Why Does Church Matter?

Why Does Church Matter?

It has been said, correctly I think, that “baptism is the starting gun of the Christian race.” This statement implies two things. First, we have not yet fully obeyed Christ until we have publicly professed Him in baptism and publicly claimed Him as our Lord and...

When Speaking About Jesus’ Bride

When Speaking About Jesus’ Bride

It has become all too common for men and women to attack the church for all of the ways in which they believe that the church has failed. Almost every day professing believers rant online about the failures of “the evangelical church,” “the Reformed church,” “the...

Preacher, Feeling Good is Overrated

Preacher, Feeling Good is Overrated

“Feeling good is overrated.” Those were the words of a sports psychologist speaking to a group of athletes. He was explaining that focusing on feeling good to perform well is problematic for any athlete. Occasionally, an athlete feels excellent, is in the zone, and...

Young Men, Aspire to Be Elders

Young Men, Aspire to Be Elders

Young men, aspire to be elders. 1 Timothy 3:1, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” In the coming weeks, a lot of Christian college students will be moving into their dorms. Some will be headed out the door...

The Local Church and Orphan Care

The Local Church and Orphan Care

In his book, Orphan Justice, Johnny Carr says, “To our God, taking care of orphans isn’t just a great idea. It’s critical. Why? Because every man, woman, boy, and girl—including orphaned and vulnerable children—has been created in God’s image and is precious to him.”...

The Need for Biblical Community in the Local Church

The Need for Biblical Community in the Local Church

Recently Mark Zuckerberg the founder and CEO of Facebook said that he views Facebook as a church. The problem with Mark’s statement is that there is no way Facebook could ever be a New Testament church. The Bible prescribes that the local church is to preach the Word,...

Domestic Abuse and the Church

Domestic Abuse and the Church

One in four women. Those are the startling national statics for cases of intimate partner violence. For many of us within the church, those numbers reveal just how desperately our world needs Jesus, but we fail to realize that domestic violence is a serious problem...

Don’t Theologize or Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity

Don’t Theologize or Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity

I believe in the primacy of Christ-centered expository preaching in the life of the church. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asserted in his classic book, Preaching, and Preachers, “I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is...

Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church

Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church

Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” In the Bible hospitality is no small matter. From Abraham to the Apostles, God called His people to greet one another with love and concern. For instance, in the Old Testament, it was...

Go Back to the Local Church

Go Back to the Local Church

Go Back to Church Perhaps a Pastor painted a poor picture of Pastors for you. Maybe a church staffer didn’t elevate your ministry the way you thought it deserved. Did a fellow member rebuke you harshly instead of with gentleness and in love? Cultural Christians and...

When Christians Hurt You

When Christians Hurt You

As the culture war rages on, there is another battle raging to which we must turn our attention. When I was a boy, my dad would sometimes tell me, “No one will hurt you so much as others in the church.” In my lifetime, this has generally proven to be true. Believers...

Five Ways to Prevent Ministry Burnout

Five Ways to Prevent Ministry Burnout

It was a busy day of ministry. Five thousand people covered the hillside where Jesus taught, not including women and children. The evening was coming on fast, and the people were hungry. So Jesus fed them food from a boy’s lunch of two small fish and five loaves of...

Contentment in a Discontented World

Contentment in a Discontented World

Discontentment may be the greatest trap in our culture. It may be greater than lust, greed, and even lying because discontentment leads to all these other sins. It tends to be a well-spring of iniquity. I have yet to meet an individual who engaged in an affair without...

Gospel Motivations for Gospel Ministry

Gospel Motivations for Gospel Ministry

Competitiveness is the companion of quality, right? After all, that seems to be true of the role of competition in healthcare, technology, transportation, sports, restaurants, design, and construction. In all forms of production, men constantly seek to surpass their...

Boring Church Services Changed My Life

Boring Church Services Changed My Life

I’ve never really had a moment in my life—39 years—when I wasn’t going to church. My parents got engaged and married in the church. I was born into, raised in, and baptized in the church. My parents, first-generation Christians, were devout church-goers. We went every...

Five Things Only The Local Church Can Do

Five Things Only The Local Church Can Do

There is nothing on earth like the local Christian church. Hundreds of conferences offer life-changing experiences for several days but can’t come close to the life-long impact of a local church. Evangelistic crusades may draw tens of thousands to hear the gospel, but...

Jonathan Edwards A Missional Theologian

Jonathan Edwards A Missional Theologian

I try not to put much stock in buzzwords. They often become part of my vocabulary, but I try always to remember their limits. In recent years "missional" has become one of those buzzwords I use. The word has a dozen different meanings, but it frequently finds a place...

Learning to See the Beauty of a Gospel-Centered Church

Learning to See the Beauty of a Gospel-Centered Church

I love the gospel and the church, and I can’t wait to teach them every Sunday. But it wasn’t always that way. How Do You See the Church? Admittedly, for me, I was slow to understand and appreciate the importance and beauty of the local church. In high school and...

Four Ways to Respond When a Ministry Leader Is Removed from Ministry

Four Ways to Respond When a Ministry Leader Is Removed from Ministry

It happened yet again. A popular ministry leader fell into sin. Over the years, I’ve sadly seen this happen so many times. Each time a ministry leader falls and has to resign from his position it breaks my heart breaks. I’ve also sadly seen people who come down overly...

Fellowship Within the Church

Fellowship Within the Church

I am a member of a church that has home groups that meet every other week. These groups are filled with many different people, and they come from different areas of life. But there is one thing that unites us. It is the gospel! It is through relationships like those...

4 Reasons for Biblical Leadership Qualifications

4 Reasons for Biblical Leadership Qualifications

I’m thankful that God didn’t leave us to guess about the qualifications of church leaders. Both Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 provide some basic traits that should characterize elders and deacons. Elders, for example, should be men who are “above reproach, the husband of...

Keeping Short Accounts

Keeping Short Accounts

My family moved to St. Simons Island, GA in 1989. I was 12 years old. One of the first things that I distinctly remember about that beautiful, little secluded Island was the fact that we could walk into a store, write our name on a ledger and walk out with just about...

Pray for Your Church Leaders

Pray for Your Church Leaders

The warning in the book of James to teachers is sobering, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (3:1). Some of that “greater strictness” is seen in the responses of church members...

New Ministry Resolutions: Remembering the Old Convictions of Preaching

New Ministry Resolutions: Remembering the Old Convictions of Preaching

The old has passed and the new has arrived. The calendar has turned and we’ve entered into 2017. However, we know that the “new” will soon wear off and the fresh reminder of the “old” will define the plowing of pastoral ministry. If you’re like me you probably have...

The Church: A Community and a Family

The Church: A Community and a Family

The Church in Acts The early Church, as described in the Book of Acts had a beautiful sense of community and family. They sold possessions for the sake of the poor and sold houses to the point that “there was not a needy person among them”. There was devotion to the...

A Marathon Mentality for Ministry

A Marathon Mentality for Ministry

I was always better at sprinting than running long distance--back in the days when I actually ran...in high school. My wife, by way of contrast, was and is a marathon runner. One of the things that I've noticed as I have watched her run over the years is that she...

The Four DNA Elements You Must Understand About Your Church

The Four DNA Elements You Must Understand About Your Church

Every local church is one of a kind. Each one is unique. There are an estimated 350,000 churches in the United States. They are all distinct and unlike any other. You can find churches with similarities based on common beliefs or methods, but no church is exactly...

Killing Envy

Killing Envy

There are certain sins that we tend to tolerate in our own hearts and lives, as well as in the church. They are what Jerry Bridges has called "respectable sins"--gossip, slander, envy, covetousness, pride, etc. We like to single out what we deem to be other, more...

The Need for Rest and Solitude

The Need for Rest and Solitude

Recently I wrote about my experience with a failed adoption. In that post, I talked about how that situation revealed to me several areas that the Lord needed to work in my life. One of those areas is my ability to rest and relax. As a type-A personality, I’m...

Pastoral Ministry in a Post-Christian Context

Pastoral Ministry in a Post-Christian Context

Things are changing for American churches. The cultural landscape is shifting. Whereas even a generation ago, Christianity was valued for its contribution to the fabric of our nation, today, the church is becoming marginalized. While there are certainly some areas...

The Pain of a Failed Adoption and God’s Grace in the Midst of It

The Pain of a Failed Adoption and God’s Grace in the Midst of It

The past Fall and even early Winter have been a very difficult and trying season for my wife and me. Early in the Fall, we were asked if we would be willing to adopt a child. Of the two times, we’ve been asked to adopt a child; this past one hurt the most as we were...

The Blessing of Visiting the Sick

The Blessing of Visiting the Sick

In 1892, John D. Wells delivered three lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary that were transcribed and subsequently published in a little booklet titled, The Pastor in the Sickroom. This book is one of those unique little volumes that every man preparing for...

Five Ways to Prepare for Challenges in Ministry

Five Ways to Prepare for Challenges in Ministry

If you’ve been in ministry for any length of time then you’ve probably heard or said that oft-repeated refrain, “There are so many things that they don’t teach you in seminary to prepare you for the challenges in ministry.” While one could easily lay the blame at the...

Preaching the Earthiness of Heaven

Preaching the Earthiness of Heaven

You are preaching to your congregation. You are proclaiming the wonders of the cross. You thunder out the incredible promise, “Not only have you been given access to God now, you have been given the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven!” Here is my question for...

The Delusional Dream of Secret Sin

The Delusional Dream of Secret Sin

“What I did is certainly known.” Moses (Exodus 2:14; HCSB) Sin absolutely wrecks the lives of men and secret sin wrecks them absolutely. In my experience counseling with men, it has usually been public sin issues that have garnered the concern of family, friends, and...

How Pastors Can Help Their People Find Their Calling

How Pastors Can Help Their People Find Their Calling

I remember sitting in church hearing sermon after sermon on the importance of giving it all up to serve God. These were great convicting sermons God used to melt my heart toward him. But I never knew exactly what God’s will looked like, specifically. Did it mean...

Seven Marks of an Evangelical

Seven Marks of an Evangelical

What is an Evangelical? An Evangelical is a Christian who practices his or her faith with absolute belief in the inerrant Word of God, seeks out and yearns for gospel conversations, evangelistic opportunities with unbelievers and believers alike, and who lives a life...

Gospel-Centered or Practically-Sensible? Yes.

Gospel-Centered or Practically-Sensible? Yes.

Imagine this scenario that is all too real: A family who has not been to church in years pulls into your parking lot. The husband works with a member of your church who has been faithfully proclaiming and embodying Jesus to this man for years. Invitations to attend...

Prayer and Exposition

Prayer and Exposition

As ministry leaders, we must always remind ourselves that study and sermon delivery are not all that we are required to do. Like the apostles, we must “devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry” (Acts 6:4, my emphasis). Our job description includes both...

Spirit-Filled Worship is Christ-Centered Worship

Spirit-Filled Worship is Christ-Centered Worship

How do you know if your church is Spirit-filled? One answer, the charismatic one, is to equate passion with presence. The presence of the Spirit is displayed in a congregation’s passionate expression and rockin’ music—to use technical language. As an example, recently...

Three Ways to Receive a Compliment While Giving God Glory

Three Ways to Receive a Compliment While Giving God Glory

Receiving compliments can be awkward. This is especially true if you are in ministry. While you want to be appreciated for the work you do, you also want to avoid taking the glory. Nobody wants to be guilty of—or experience in—what Herod did in Acts 12 when the crowds...

Improving Your Preaching

Improving Your Preaching

Earlier this summer I had a conversation with David Prince and he mentioned to me that he was thoroughly enjoying H. Grady Davis’ Design for Preaching. Davis was a Lutheran pastor and then homiletics professor at Chicago Lutheran Seminary, and he published this work...

A Greater Vision for Your Church: Pastoral internships

A Greater Vision for Your Church: Pastoral internships

As a local church, dare to think beyond yourself. There is everything right about encouraging or inviting people to your church services, and promoting such outreach events as a summer VBS. In fact, it is good and right to focus on ministry in our own little portion...

Why You Should Become a Knowledgable AND Wise Leader

Why You Should Become a Knowledgable AND Wise Leader

I pastor a fast-growing church, and our staff is incredible. We are young. The median age of our staff is 31 years old, and if it wasn’t for our 52-year-old family pastor—who is a rockstar, but busts the curve—our average would be 29 years old. Having a young staff is...

Six Ways to Fight the Monday Morning Pastoral Blues

Six Ways to Fight the Monday Morning Pastoral Blues

Monday Morning. The weight and pressure of another week rolls around as you roll out of bed to find that first cup of coffee. But this Monday is different. You feel “off,” like something is wrong. There is that lingering thought in the back of your mind to just stay...

Three Emotions Pastors Bear Which Are Unknown to Most Congregants

Three Emotions Pastors Bear Which Are Unknown to Most Congregants

Pastors are like ogres. No, we are not hideous monsters who smell, at least not all of us. We are like ogres because we have layers. My Shrek reference and a poor attempt at humor are to lead into a discussion about the emotions pastors often feel. As I seek to...

How Much Should a Pastor or Elder Tell His Wife?

How Much Should a Pastor or Elder Tell His Wife?

What should an elder or pastor share with his wife about issue or people in the church? My guess is that previous generations of elders/pastors probably shared too little with their wives. Again, it is only a guess, but I would submit that in our day and age many...

Your First and Most Important Labor: Communion with Christ

Your First and Most Important Labor: Communion with Christ

Most of the people I know in ministry are exceptionally busy people. Yes, there are some who are lazy and idle, but they are like overweight distant runners or pale lifeguards – rare. The majority of those in ministry are usually running after more things than time...

Discipleship 101: What is a Disciple?

Discipleship 101: What is a Disciple?

What is a disciple? The answer may not be as easy as it might first appear. First, there is a shift in the meaning of the term ‘disciple’ from the Gospels to the book of Acts. For instance, in John 6 many of Jesus’ ‘disciples’ leave him. These are the ones who...

Extending the Forgiveness We Preach

Extending the Forgiveness We Preach

Forgiveness is often a subject that resounds from our pulpits. We herald the most incredible message of forgiveness imaginable. The God who is holy, holy, holy sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world, to save sinners, by dying on the cross as our substitute. All who...

Platforms or Stewardship: The Issue of Influence in a Digital Age

Platforms or Stewardship: The Issue of Influence in a Digital Age

The other day I was talking with a good friend at my local church about my writing and ministry in general. We were talking about celebrity pastors and the tendency with this approach to pastoral success for them to fall from their ministry position. I made the...

Preaching Is Not the Old Way

Preaching Is Not the Old Way

The 18th Century preacher, John Wesley, once said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven...

Sin, Discipline, and Not Being the Next Pastor Who Falls

Sin, Discipline, and Not Being the Next Pastor Who Falls

Sin is no respecter of persons. It does not care what your name is, what your title is, how successful you are, or how large your platform is. It’s not impressed with how long you have been in ministry, how big your church is, or what degrees you have hanging on the...

More than Marriage Tips

More than Marriage Tips

It was my very first marriage counseling case and I was a very young counselor. The couple was in all out chaos in their marriage. She had cheated on him, he had cheated on her, and both were living the results of a lifestyle of self-indulgence. They needed lots of...

Striking the Right Balance with the Past

Striking the Right Balance with the Past

The past can be incredibly powerful. We all have one, and it shapes us to varying degrees, ranging from childhood trauma to the accepted patterns of our homes that created a sense of normalcy throughout childhood. Our past shapes us. Yet counselors have often...

The Gospel and Community

The Gospel and Community

The Encounters As long as I can remember, my close-knit family has always done life alone. You see, chronic illnesses are prevalent in our family. Health problems tend to cause everyone to run away like it's contagious. It is a different culture of community, where...

Why We Speak of Addiction As Sin

Why We Speak of Addiction As Sin

I am pointed in my conversations with all the men and women that come to our recovery program: we think and talk about addictions from within a robust Christian worldview. That means that while other programs intentionally avoid the word “sin,” we do not. We speak of...

Habits and Confrontation Within the Church

Habits and Confrontation Within the Church

“You either love Jesus or you love your sin.” It was a true-ish statement, but it was so simplistic that it was dangerously unhelpful. My friend had said it of himself, but with a sense of desperation. He wasn’t sure he was a Christian because, after all, Christians...

Primacy of Preaching

Primacy of Preaching

Preaching is the priority of Christian ministry. It is the most important aspect of ministry within the church because all other ministries are an outpouring of what is preached. The guiding of the Holy Spirit within the preaching ministry of the church is what builds...

5 Ways to Listen to the Preaching of God’s Word

5 Ways to Listen to the Preaching of God’s Word

In part 1 of my advice on how to listen to a sermon, I said that listening to a sermon begins on the drive home Sunday afternoon and continues throughout the week. The Sunday sermon is a sacred part of our worship, but it's not the only part of our worship. Worship is...

Three Ways to Prepare to Listen to a Sermon

Three Ways to Prepare to Listen to a Sermon

Yesterday I wrote about four things to look for when listening to a sermon. My aim was to get at the heart of what we should want from a sermon. This is difficult because some (it would seem) don’t even know why there should be a sermon let alone the what of one. From...

Four Things to Look for When Listening to a Sermon

Four Things to Look for When Listening to a Sermon

Disclaimer: I don’t mean for the title of this blog post to sound so self-serving. “I want this, I want that, me, me and more me.” I’m not coming at it from that angle. I’m coming (hopefully) from the angle of Scripture and what we ought to want from the preaching of...

Six Ways God Uses Difficult People in the Life of His People

Six Ways God Uses Difficult People in the Life of His People

Dealing with difficult people in a Christ-like manner may be one of the most difficult ways to live out the Gospel. Difficult, because this requires patience, something I struggle to display. It has been said that if you pray for patience, God will indulge you with...

Four Reasons You Should Read and Preach the Old Testament

Four Reasons You Should Read and Preach the Old Testament

“Long ago, at many time and in many ways, God spoke to our father by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through who also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the...

A Blessing and a Means of God’s Grace

A Blessing and a Means of God’s Grace

Discipline in the Christian life is often viewed as drudgery. I know this mindset well since I became a Christian at a young age. Sometimes to this day I struggle to regularly read my Bible and pray. When this happens, I’ve learned it is easy to then proceed to beat...

Six Ways Pastors Can Equip Churches to Engage Cultural Issues

Six Ways Pastors Can Equip Churches to Engage Cultural Issues

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Three Reasons Why People Leave Your Church

Three Reasons Why People Leave Your Church

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Five Helpful Considerations for Sermon Preparation

Five Helpful Considerations for Sermon Preparation

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Handling Grumbling and Critique from the Congregation

Handling Grumbling and Critique from the Congregation

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Loving Christ, Loving the Church

Loving Christ, Loving the Church

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Entertainment and Worldview

Entertainment and Worldview

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Five Requirements for Pastoral Preaching

Five Requirements for Pastoral Preaching

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Evangelizing in the Authority of Christ

Evangelizing in the Authority of Christ

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Brotherly Love: Because Jesus Loved Us First

Brotherly Love: Because Jesus Loved Us First

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Protecting the Lord’s Table

Protecting the Lord’s Table

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Patience with an Unresolved Heart

Patience with an Unresolved Heart

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Growing Together Towards Love and Good Deeds

Growing Together Towards Love and Good Deeds

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Brotherly Affection Protects the Purity of One Another

Brotherly Affection Protects the Purity of One Another

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

W.E.L.C.O.M.E. Seven Good Actions Towards a Better Welcome

W.E.L.C.O.M.E. Seven Good Actions Towards a Better Welcome

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Five Ways to Revitalize Your Worship Services

Five Ways to Revitalize Your Worship Services

I’ve heard it said that if you want to figure out a church’s theology, you can simply watch their worship service. Is the congregation typically lively, or does it look more like Lord’s Day of the Living Dead? How does the congregation respond to the lyrics? Does the...

Battling Discouragement and Depression with the Gospel

Battling Discouragement and Depression with the Gospel

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Applying the Doctrine of the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture

Applying the Doctrine of the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Confronting Falsehood in the Church

Confronting Falsehood in the Church

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Four Ways I Deal with Anxiety in My Own Life

Four Ways I Deal with Anxiety in My Own Life

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Orchestrating Seasons For His Glory

Orchestrating Seasons For His Glory

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Preventing Poverty of the Soul Through Bible Intake

Preventing Poverty of the Soul Through Bible Intake

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Five Ways to Pray for Your Pastor

Five Ways to Pray for Your Pastor

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

The Importance of Church History

The Importance of Church History

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Dramatizing the Gospel: Church Membership

Dramatizing the Gospel: Church Membership

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Doctrine: The Fuel for Discipleship

Doctrine: The Fuel for Discipleship

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian Life

Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian Life

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

The Priority of Regularly Communing with God

The Priority of Regularly Communing with God

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Expository Preaching: An End Goal More than Style

Expository Preaching: An End Goal More than Style

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

Five Things to Look for in a Local Church

Five Things to Look for in a Local Church

Going to and finding a new church can be quite hard. Some people only church shop and never settle down. Others find a church quickly and jump in with both feet. In this article, I want to help both the church shopper and those who are actively looking for a local...

Leadership Principles and Pastoral Ministry

Leadership Principles and Pastoral Ministry

In recent decades, there has been an influx of leadership journals, websites, blog posts, videos, etc. in which those whose churches have thrived numerically or programmatically offer help for measurable success to those ministering in mediocrity. Some of these...

Twenty Ways to be Refreshing in the Local Church

Twenty Ways to be Refreshing in the Local Church

There are few epitaphs I would rather have engraved on my tombstone than Paul’s words of commendation to Philemon, “the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philemon 1:7). Oh, how I love Philemons and want to consistently be one! It has been my...

Jesus Loves The Traditional Church

Jesus Loves The Traditional Church

I have friends who are church planters and revitalizers. I can’t even describe how thankful I am for them. I praise God for calling these guys to establish new gospel communities and empower dead churches with gospel life. There is indeed a need for this kind of work....

Preparing for Sunday Worship

Preparing for Sunday Worship

The Christian life is lived from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day. Corporate worship is the high point of our week and the constant rhythm of our lives. We dare not “neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:25), because there is nothing as meaningful, rich,...

Seven Ways to Overcome Discouragement in Ministry

Seven Ways to Overcome Discouragement in Ministry

Once a month, I have the great privilege of meeting with a number of extremely wise and godly ministers alongside of whom I minister in the PCA. We either discuss a topic or share with one another certain things that are going on in life or ministry. Recently, we...

Three Critical Reasons the Church Exists

Three Critical Reasons the Church Exists

I’m sure you’ve read the blogs and articles regarding the reasons why people don’t attend church. Among these lists, I’m sure you will find reasons such as “the church is full of hypocrites” or the person asked had a “bad experience with someone in church.” Regardless...

Encouragement to Search Committees and Pastoral Candidates

Encouragement to Search Committees and Pastoral Candidates

In the first article I provided some examples for search committees to consider when giving feedback to pastor candidates, especially those areas of opportunity for growth. My reason for writing that article is to help both parties think through how to treat one...

Areas of Opportunity for Pastoral Search Committees

Areas of Opportunity for Pastoral Search Committees

Over the past three years since graduating from seminary, I’ve been actively pursuing pastoral ministry positions. During this time, I’ve been interviewed as a candidate for pastoral positions at a number of churches, and my experience for the most part with search...

Living Pure Lives In Light of Our New Identity in Christ

Living Pure Lives In Light of Our New Identity in Christ

Savor Your Security (Ephesians 5:5–7) Though we gain strength for the Christian life by savoring our purity and savoring our identity, we ultimately must face the dangers of sin. If we do not recognize the danger, then we are not prepared to live the holy lives God...

Speaking Maturely, Wisely and Modeling Christlike Behavior

Speaking Maturely, Wisely and Modeling Christlike Behavior

We Are All Dependent (4:15–16) For this opus to echo the majesty of Christ’s music, every believer must do his or her part. While we are the same in some ways and different in other ways, in order to fulfill Christ’s purposes we also must remember that we are all...

Three Reasons for a Multiplicity of Mentors

Three Reasons for a Multiplicity of Mentors

Having returned from the 43rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the enormous blessing–not only of being with the many dear brothers with whom I have formed strong friendships over the past decade, but...

The Insatiable Quest for Greatness

The Insatiable Quest for Greatness

Not that long ago, a friend of mine who is church planting told me that one of the ministers in the church planting network to which he belongs told him, “You have to position yourself around guys who are excelling and who are well connected in order to get ahead in...

Five Reasons We Need To Hear and Believe the Gospel Is Enough EveryDay

Five Reasons We Need To Hear and Believe the Gospel Is Enough EveryDay

“What you really need is good news,” I told him. He didn’t understand. We had met time and time again and unbeknownst to him, he was trying to perform his way into the kingdom. “You can’t do that,” I exhorted, “otherwise you miss the entire point of Jesus and his...

Six Ways Pastors Can Use Social Media Wisely

Six Ways Pastors Can Use Social Media Wisely

A number of years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who has a fairly substantial public ministry. We were discussing the issue of motives in ministry and the perception of opportunism among ministers. Knowing my own sinful heart and mixed motives within,...

Leading from Bitterness

Leading from Bitterness

A few years ago I read a few books on the life of President Richard Nixon. I have always been interested in American history, especially Presidential history. I’m fascinated by the inside look at leadership at the top levels. But the one enduring lesson I gleaned from...

Five Ways To Sing Your Heart Out

Five Ways To Sing Your Heart Out

Many years ago, I had an employer who was intent on trying to provoke me with a variety of sacrilegious jokes and statements. Having just come back from visiting her parents over one Easter weekend, she told me how she had visited their church that Easter Sunday. What...

Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator

Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the calling of a Christian communicator. This could be your duties as a writer, whether blogs or books or articles. Or it could be your task as a preacher or teacher, whether in small group, pulpit ministry, or classroom. To...

The Cruciformed View of Wisdom and Power

The Cruciformed View of Wisdom and Power

The Cruciformed View of Wisdom and Power Living in a pluralistic society where relativism is the norm it is inevitable someone is going to be offended. Those of us who live as witnesses of the Crucified Christ know all to well that mentioning the statement "Jesus is...

5 Critical Keys to Healthy Discipleship

5 Critical Keys to Healthy Discipleship

Everyone makes disciples, and everyone shares good news about it. Just think about all the disciples that are made each and every Fall as college football and the NFL kicks off (pun intended) with a brand new season full of thrills and excitement. It’s not new. It’s...

Three Ways to Pray and Support Persecuted Christians

Three Ways to Pray and Support Persecuted Christians

From Asia to Europe, Africa to Latin America, Christians are facing persecution for what they believe. We live in an increasingly hostile culture that no longer values the foundation upon which it was built—that is biblical Christianity. As I have been thinking and...

Bringing Young and Old Together

It appears to me that there is a growing chasm between generations in local churches. Churches are becoming more and more generationally homogenous. If you entered a church on Sunday, you might easily label the church as either a baby boomer, generation X, or...

A Call to the Mission of God

In 2001, I attended Urbana in Urbana-Champagne, Illinois. It was winter, and it was quite cold. During the conference we were challenged by the speakers about giving our lives to the cause of missions. My mom had given me some money which was for food. It was nearing...

Book Review – The Unfinished Church

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love Jesus, but I hate His church?” Let’s be honest, the church has done some hurtful things to the world in the name of Jesus. Perhaps you’ve been hurt, either in word or deed or by someone at church, or you have painful memories...

Para-Church Youth Ministry Cannot Replace the Local Church

I benefited from several para-church groups as a teenager, and I’m grateful for the men and women who serve as leaders and volunteers of those groups for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. Over the years, however, I have become increasingly aware of my generation’s...

Book Review – Transformational Discipleship: How People Grow

Discipleship is a topic that is much talked about but very rarely understood in the evangelical world today. In the early 1990’s and 2000’s it was popular to talk about discipleship as a conversation divorced from doctrine and theology. When discipleship is taken down...

Church Series: Legalism, Gospel and the Church

Church Series: Legalism, Gospel and the Church

One of the biggest changes in my Christian life happened when I realized in my late teenage years that the Christian life had little to do with the rules and more with the grace of God. Now don’t get me wrong, Christians are expected to behave a certain way but only...

Church Series: When to leave your local church but not the Church

Church Series: When to leave your local church but not the Church

In this series on the Church, we’ve been writing about a great deal of topics that hopefully are relevant and helpful to you as you think through the importance of the local Church for your Christian life and ministry. As I’ve thought about the Church, one topic that...

Church Series: Loving Christ and the local Church

Church Series: Loving Christ and the local Church

One of the greatest areas of concern to me when it comes to the idea of the Church is the lone ranger mentality many have succumbed to in our day and age. In seminary I used to sit with a large pile of books at coffee shops to work on homework and research papers....

Church Series: The Discipline of Going to Church

Going to church can become routine. I know it, because I grew up going to church three times a week (at least). It was not a choice my parents gave me. It was something we did, part of our regular routine. As a 2nd Generation Christian, I know full well the dangers of...

Church Series: Why You Need Your Local Church Every Week

Church Series: Why You Need Your Local Church Every Week

We live in an age when, increasingly, people are asking the question, “Do we need to gather on Sunday mornings for worship anymore?” It’s a valid question. After all, isn’t there a plethora of good sermon content online? Aren’t there churches that actually offer...

Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church

Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church

Before I begin, there is an operative assumption in this post. It is that a fitting local church home should offer three non-negotiable elements (sine qua nons). Here are those three sine qua nons: a local church home should offer consistently faithful expository...

Church Series: Church Discipline and the Mercy of the Good Shepherd

Church Series: Church Discipline and the Mercy of the Good Shepherd

The Church is the only God-ordained institution that will last for eternity. In a sense, that brings a great amount of legitimacy and authority to the church, that no other institution has. Ironically, I think there is more legitimacy and authority than most pastors...

Church Series: The Church: Gospel, Worship, & Mission

Church Series: The Church: Gospel, Worship, & Mission

In the time of the Reformation, the church local was at the center of every day life. The church and state were in bed together and so, in one sense, some questions about the church couldn’t be asked, but, in another very real sense, they didn’t need to be asked. Part...

Church Series: A Better Way to Discern

Church Series: A Better Way to Discern

I come from a very conservative theological background and I maintain many of those same convictions. But one thing that has changed in my heart over the years is my attitude toward people from different ministry contexts and denominations. I used to think that if...

Church Series: Hobbling, Encouragement and the local Church

Church Series: Hobbling, Encouragement and the local Church

I had just slipped and fallen down the stairs for the umpteenth time. What was different about this time was I sprained my ankle. I hobbled to the refrigerator to get some ice in a lot of pain. As it turns out, my dad, a trained physical therapist, said I had a second...

Book Review – The Trellis and The Vine

The authors compare the twin towers of church life—institution and disciple-making—with a trellis and a vine. The trellis is the institution; the management, infrastructure and governance of the church. The vine represents disciple-making; how the gospel takes root...

Church Series: Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community

On May 12, 2013, I preached a Mother’s Day message from 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9. Paul compares discipleship to the actual practice of a mother nursing her child. In this, the mother is a source of life for her child. So it is that we as [Tweet "Christians, must be...

Church Series: Growing Together Towards Love and Good Deeds

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 In Hebrews 10:19-25, the author makes a...

Book Review – Problems Of Christian Leadership

One of the central issues of our day is leadership. The decline of morality outside the church and the many scandals inside the Church among Christian leaders have caused many to question the importance and validity of the church. The real issue and one that is rarely...

Church Series: Why Going to Church on Sunday is An Act of War

Church Series: Why Going to Church on Sunday is An Act of War

Okay, so maybe that title is a bit melodramatic. But I wanted to get your attention, because I think faithful, weekly attendance at your local gospel-preaching Church is important. It’s important for all the reasons we know, right? To hear the Word preached. To...

Church Series: The Best Way to Help your Church

Church Series: The Best Way to Help your Church

If you’re a Christian, whether you realize it or not, you are called, by God, to be on mission in the world. This is the essence of the Gospel call, that you were not simply saved from death but also saved for a purpose (Eph. 2:10). That purpose is to make disciples...

Church Series: 5 Reasons We Should Gather in Local Churches

Church Series: 5 Reasons We Should Gather in Local Churches

The belief that professing Christians should gather together as members of a local Church is waning in many sectors of Christianity today. Some feel that faith should not be “institutionalized” and should be a private matter between individuals, not something to be...

Church Series: 5 Ways You Can Help Your Church

Church Series: 5 Ways You Can Help Your Church

Editors note: This is a brand new series on the Church designed to help people think through what the local Church is, and why it is important. The first post in this series is by Dan Darling on 5 Ways You Can Help Your Church. ***************** So, yes, your Church...

Loving Christ, Loving the Church: A Response to Donald Miller

I was recently at the optometrist getting my eye exam. After the examination I got my new glasses and prescription sunglasses that my wife and I had picked out a few days before my eye appointment. As I sat in the chair chatting with the lady who helped fit my new...

Book Review – Preaching: A Biblical Theology

Recent years have seen an explosion of good books on preaching come out. With the resurgence of conversation about the Gospel and biblical theology publishers have taken notice and provided the people of God with many resources across the board to help them understand...

Controversy and Faithfulness: Why I don’t Speak on every issue

In my early twenties I was often asked to give my opinion on a variety of topics. Most of the time I, humbly submit, I had no idea what I was even talking about. From my teens till the present I’ve been a leader both in the church and outside the Church which has...

The Biblical Model of a Pastor as Shepherd vs. The Pastor as CEO

In seminary, I took several pastoral ministry and Christian leadership classes. In those classes, the emphasis was more on programs than on understanding the task and responsibility of the Pastor or elders. Granted, programs have an important place in the Church in...

Reversing the Accidents: Trent and the “Separated Brethren”

Many Protestants today wonder how they could be considered “anathema” by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century and “separated brethren” by Vatican II in the twentieth century.  We hear this idea expressed often: “Until Rome rescinds Trent, we are not in...

Book Review – How to Evaluate Sermons

I remember in seminary when I had to take a preaching class. I stood before two Pastors, family and friends who “listened” to me preach. Afterwards, I was told I did well and made much of Jesus. I was also told areas of improvement based on the opinion of those who...

The Need for a Return to a Fully-Orbed Evangelicalism

As I sit here in the very early hours of the morning (1am), I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind about the present state of evangelicalism. Perhaps none of those concerns is greater than how modern Christianity approaches the Bible. For the vast majority of...

Book Review – Preaching The New Testament

Preaching has always had a long and storied history in Christian Church.  From the Apostles to the present day, preachers have declared the good news that Jesus saves, sanctifies and is going to glorify a people for His own possession and praise. A new book, Preaching...

He Is Before All Things

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians...

A New Testament Church Is …

I can’t help but notice what little regard is given to the church by the world … professing Christians. You don’t need me to look up stats that you are perfectly capable of looking up yourself. Suffice it to say, there are countless people who will tell you they are...

The Gospel Versus Nostalgia

This summer I had the privilege of travelling to Eastern Europe to attend my brother’s wedding. His wife, Annette, is a native of Krakow, Poland. After the wedding, I continued on to Slovakia to visit missionaries we support near Bratislavia. Jason and Adele Rice and...

Dealing with adversity

Everyone has a story to share and a testimony to tell. This is not because of the stories themselves, but because of the One who has intersected their story. When Jesus meets one where one is their sin is exposed, their lives are changed and they are given knowledge...

What Pastoring Taught Me About Spiritual Growth

As a lifelong Christian, I’ve always known the importance of spiritual growth. But when I became a pastor, suddenly my ideas about this were bigger than simply what was going on in my life. As an undershepherd of God’s people, now the spiritual growth of other people...

Killing the Jerk Gene in Leadership

In a defense of polarizing NBA superstar, Lebron James, sportswriter, Rick Reilly wrote this: You think of the great athletes of our generation -- Jordan, Woods, Lance Armstrong. They all had a bit of the jerk gene in them. James is missing it. He is loved by his...

5 Reasons Pastors Should Apologize

For some reason, the hardest two words for a leader to say are often, “I’m sorry.” This is especially difficult for young leaders. Especially young pastors. But here’s the thing, an apology may be your best leadership tool. This I know, because as a young, green,...

Can We Build the Church By Being Against the Church?

It's hard to read a Christian book or blog post or to hear a sermon without hearing some overt or implied criticism of some part of the evangelical Church as a whole. That's not even counting the Twitter feeds of Christians. I'm reading a terrific book right on the...