When God Took Away: His Goodness in My Grief

There is a deep mystery to suffering. While the Bible makes it plain that we must expect to encounter times of sorrow and loss, of trial and grief, we often don’t know why these times come. Though we know he is weaving together a marvelous tapestry that will wondrously display his glory, we also know it is one whose beauty we will fully appreciate only when faith becomes sight. It was in the waning weeks of 2020 that my family …

If I Was the World’s Only Christian…

If I was the world’s only Christian, I might easily lose confidence in my faith. Can it really be true if I am the only one who believes it? Similarly, if I was the only kind of Christian—if all the world’s Christians were the same age as me or the same race or the same nationality—I might also lose confidence. Can it really be true if only one demographic affirms it while the great majority reject it? Can it be …

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Weekend A La Carte (August 6)

Blessings to you as you work, serve, and/or worship this weekend. Today’s Kindle deals include a few newer books as well as a few older ones. (Yesterday on the blog: How to Read and Understand God’s Word) Closeness Comes Through Fire: How Suffering Conforms Us to Christ Ed Welch makes some helpful observations here about sanctification and suffering. (Though I’m not so sure about using both Ignatius of Loyola and Martin Luther as examples of the same virtue in the …

Once Again Honestly Assessing Our Decision to Public School Our Kids

Many years ago, Aileen and I made the decision to enroll our children in the local public school. This was a decision we made as carefully and thoughtfully as we knew how to at the time (which was way back in the early 2000s). We decided we would take the approach of “a child at a time, a year at a time, a school at a time.” But even as we kept options open, we never felt the need to …

Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord

So much of what we experience in this life is so very heavy. So many of the burdens God calls us to carry are so tremendously weighty that they threaten to crush us to the dust. We bear the weight of our own sin and depravity, the shame of doing evil and the pain of failing to do good. We bear the weight of other people’s sin and depravity as they hurt and harm us, sometimes intentionally and sometimes purely …

Why R.C. Whispered Instead of Shouted

It was still the early days of what came to be known as the New Calvinism or the Reformed Resurgence. The Together for the Gospel Conference had been formed in 2006 and now, in 2008, was gathering for the second time. The four founders were joined again by guests John Piper, John MacArthur, and R.C. Sproul (and, for the first time, Thabiti Anyabwile). R.C. Sproul led the conference’s fifth session and spoke on “The Curse Motif of the Atonement.” He …

Flowers Springing Up in the Rain

In the past couple of years I have learned more about cemeteries than I would ever have cared to know. I have learned about purchasing plots and commissioning monuments. I have learned about proper etiquette and how different cultures relate to their dearly departed in very different ways. I have learned that a grave offers a place to go to grieve and, as importantly, a place to leave grief behind for a time. One thing we learned quickly is that …

Seven Steps To a Good Breakup

Not every relationship works out. Not every couple who begins dating ends up getting married. Neither should they. In fact, for a dating relationship to be healthy, there must be a way out. As Sam Andreades says, “If you are not able to end a dating relationship, you should never start one.” And so, “Before the day you say I do, you always have to be able to say, I don’t. In your heart, you must be able to not …

What the Canyon Echoed Back

He told me of a day he had awoken sick in his heart, sick in his soul. He didn’t know what to think, he didn’t know what to do, he didn’t know what to believe. After all those years of marriage, all those years of joy, all those years of living life together, his wife had gone to heaven and he had been left on earth. Though days and weeks had passed, still he was in the depths of despair. …

Prayers To Pray While You Preach, Lead, and Sing

Those who preach or lead during corporate worship services will probably be familiar with the strange phenomenon of having multiple “tracks” playing in your mind at once. Even as you preach the sermon or lead the songs, your mind may be flitting about from the distraction of a crying baby to the fear that you will flub your lines to the idolatrous hope that your listeners will be wowed by your skill. It’s for this reason that it is wise …