Worshiping a Not-So-Holy God

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the annual (bi-annual as of 2021) G3 Conference in Atlanta. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and, as always, my favorite part was meeting so many of you. On the opening day of the conference I participated in a Q&A session that included John MacArthur, Paul Washer, Voddie Baucham, Steve Lawson, and Josh Buice. Those who watched the session undoubtedly saw that most of us deferred to John MacArthur for …

The Rules for Alliteration

Strictly speaking, to alliterate is to provide a list of words that begin with the same letter or sound, as in “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” In a broader sense, to alliterate is to form an outline using similarly-sounding words or phrases. It is a device that, in theory, helps readers to follow along with a book or that helps listeners to follow along with a sermon. So, for example, Steven Lawson’s little work on Jonathan Edwards …

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Have You Read a Book Yet This Year?

We are a week into the new year. We are already a week into the new year. While not all of us took the time to set ambitious goals and resolutions as we passed from December into January, I think most of us at least saw it as a kind of fresh start. A new year presents an ideal opportunity to address some bad habits, to interrupt some apathy, to start something fresh. And with all that in mind, I …

How Is God Present in Our Pain?

In our pain we know God is not absent, but in our pain we also wonder whether God is present. Or perhaps more correctly we wonder how God is present. In times of great grief or dark uncertainty we cling to the reality that God is a loving Father who has welcomed us into his family—we are his beloved children. We dwell on the promise that he will never leave nor forsake the ones he loves—he will preserve us to …

The Bible-Reading Plan I’ll Be Using in 2020

In general, there are two approaches to daily Bible-reading: reading for intimacy or reading for familiarity. Intimacy with the Bible comes through slow, meditative reading that focuses on small portions—deep study of key books, chapters, and verses. Familiarity with the Bible comes through faster reading of much larger portions—the entire sweep of the biblical narrative. Both are fine approaches to the Bible and Christians thrive on a healthy mixture of the two. There is great benefit in knowing the Bible …

A Prayer Before Listening to Sunday’s Sermon

I am very much enjoying Piercing Heaven, a wonderful collection of Puritan prayers. Here is one that seems especially suitable for a Sunday morning, before you listen to that sermon. Lord, I am now entering into your presence, to hear you speak from heaven to me, to receive your rain and spiritual dew, which never return in vain, but ripen a harvest either of corn or weeds, of grace or judgment. My heart is prepared, O Lord, my heart is …

Merry Christmas

Good morning, and merry Christmas! It occurred to me as I lay in bed this morning that my family has turned a corner when it comes to Christmas. We’ve transitioned from the kids begging to be allowed to get up ridiculously early, to the kids wanting to be able to stay in bed as long as possible. And while there was something magical about the lie-awake-all-night excitement of little ones, I also don’t mind this slightly calmer approach. Anyway, I …

A Prayer for a Sunday Evening

I am really enjoying Piercing Heaven, a wonderful collection of Puritan prayers. Here is one that seems especially suitable for a Sunday evening. Holy and eternal Lord, I confess those many weaknesses and imperfections which I have been guilty of today. I call on you for the pardon and forgiveness of my sins. I have heard your word, but with such deadness and distraction, that I have been a very unprofitable and forgetful hearer. I have done your work, but …

Dad Died with Dirt on His Hands

Not many of us get to die the way we wished. But my dad did. A man of the earth, he had a great passion for plants, a love for flowers and trees and all manner of flora. He saw the beauty in each of them, the unique promise every one held to make this world just a little brighter, a little more beautiful. He committed the best part of his life to gardening, and though he was gifted at …

God Alone Can Save: A Prayer

A recent book titled Piercing Heaven shares favorite prayers from the Puritans. Many of them are amazing prayers. As an example, here is Joseph Alleine praying for the salvation of the lost. *** O Lord, how insufficient I am for this work. With what will I pierce the scales of Leviathan—or make my heart, hard as a millstone, feel what you desire it to feel? Will I go and speak to the grave, and expect the dead to obey me …