The Particular Temptations of Young Men

Young men have it tough. In so many ways, this world seems to have been custom-crafted to take advantage of their weaknesses, their flaws, their immaturities. Solomon lamented this in his day, telling of the seductresses and prostitutes who laid in wait for young men. He told as well of the immaturity and ungodliness of young men that made them especially prone to sadly blunder or joyfully sprint into the traps and snares laid for them. Today he might write …

Rule #1: Trust the Means of Grace (8 Rules for Growing in Godliness)

The great goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The Christian longs to be influenced by Christ to such an extent that every thought is one Jesus would think, that every action is one he would take. Such conformity depends upon a renewed mind, for it is only once our minds are renewed that our desires and actions can follow (Romans 12:2). The Christian life, then, is one of taking off the …

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8 Rules for Growing in Godliness

By the end of first grade, every child has learned to grow a plant. They fill a cup with soil and press a seed into it. They pour water over their cup, place it in a sunny window, and wait. Sure enough, within days there are stirrings of life. First, roots begin to emerge, then a sprout, then a stem. Finally, a plant shoots up out of the soil and its tiny leaves unfurl. There is something wonderful about this, …

The Hidden Strength of a Weak Mother (Christian Men and Their Godly Moms)

You may have heard the phrase before: Behind every great man there’s a great woman. Like most maxims, it is generally true, even if not universally true. But here’s the surprise: Sometimes that great woman is not behind the man, but before him. Sometimes that great woman is not his wife but his mother. In this new series, “Christian Men and Their Godly Moms,” we are looking at noteworthy Christian leaders whose most formative spiritual influence was a godly mother. …

8 Ways God Works Suffering for Our Good

It is a conviction meant to quiet our minds and encourage our hearts: In some way God has a hand in our suffering. Whatever circumstances we experience can no more arise without the hand of God than a saw can cut without the hand of the carpenter. Job in his suffering did not say, “The Lord gave and the devil took away,” but, “The Lord gave and the Lord took away.” Suffering never comes our way apart from the purpose …

8 Ways God Turns Temptations to Blessings

God promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This gives us assurance that God can and will turn anything to our good. No situation is too grave, no enemy too strong, no temptation too great. Yes, God overrules even temptations so they benefit us instead of harming us. Just as a tree which is blown by the wind is settled and rooted …

Why I Didn’t Sing When I Visited Your Church

It was a joy to finally visit your church a couple of Sundays ago, and to worship with the believers there. You know I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Just as you promised, the pastor is an excellent communicator and a man who loves God’s Word. His sermon was deeply challenging and led to some great conversations with my children. Now, you asked me why it looked like I wasn’t singing. I know that was probably a …

Christian Men and their Godly Moms

Boys thrive under the love and leadership of an attentive father. Boys need their dads to model godliness and masculinity, to display patterns of love and respect within marriage, to teach skills necessary to grow into mature manhood. Much has been written to encourage fathers to embrace these responsibilities, to be the example their sons need. Well and good. But with all the attention given to a father and his son, I fear that too little has been given to …

We Have Not Even Heard That There Is a Holy Spirit

It’s a funny little story that could only have happened during the church’s earliest days. Paul has been on one of his missionary journeys and, while traveling through Asia Minor, stumbles upon a little group of believers. But there’s something unusual about them, something missing. Here’s how Luke describes it: And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did …

Suburban Sprawl and the Dying Dream of Community Churches

Let me begin with a question: Do you shop at the grocery store closest to your home, or at the grocery store you like best, even if it’s a little farther away? If you are like my family and live in the endless suburban sprawl that surrounds so many of today’s cities, you probably drive past several perfectly good grocery stores to go to one you prefer—one with the better selection of produce or the great coffee shop or that …