Longing for What’s Second Best

We often overestimate our wisdom. We often overestimate our capacity to rightly assess any given situation. We often overestimate our ability to know what would be best for ourselves and those we love. We are nothing if not self-focused, nothing if not self-reliant, nothing if not self-assured. Of course we know that, in theory, we are limited little creatures whose knowledge is small and whose understanding is minimal. But this rarely stops us from acting as if we know far …

How We Worshipped on One Acapella Sunday In October

Every now and again I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this simply to provide an example of how one church structures our time of worship, hoping it will prove a helpful resource to others. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, service leader, and lead worshipper. Tristan served as the elder who led the pastoral prayer and Scripture reading and John, an intern, handled some …

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Why Domestic Abuse Is So Very Evil

There are few churches that have no members who bear painful scars related to domestic abuse. There are few churches where pastors and members are not at times called upon to respond well and wisely to troubling allegations and sorrowful situations. In their book When Home Hurts, Jeremy Pierre and Greg Wilson provide guidance for such times and, as they do so, explain why domestic abuse is so very evil. I, for one, found it very helpful. “Abuse occurs,” they …

My Own Little Paradise in an Ocean of Ugliness

There are few things I love more than a good sunrise. There are few things I love more than waking up before dawn, driving to one of the parks or beaches along the shores of Lake Ontario, and watching the sun rise over the waters. Some of the richest and most beautiful displays of God’s artistry are painted across the sky in those few moments just before and just after the sun rises beyond the far horizon. It never fails …

10 New and Notable Christian Books for September 2021

As we head toward gift-giving season, publishers are turning up their presses and releasing quite a number of key books. Most of the noteworthy releases from September have already landed in my mailbox and, after looking through them, I have narrowed my list of new and notables to these 10. In each case I’ve included the editorial description. I hope there is something here that you’ll enjoy reading! The Right Kind of Confident: The Remarkable Grit of a God-Fearing Woman …

The Tale of the Pig and the Sheep

As I followed a country trail that winds its way across the vast expanse of Southern Ontario, I came to a river crossing and sat in the shade for a time to rest and to catch my bearings. A man soon happened by and, after we exchanged polite greetings, he told a curious tale. He explained that he owns a nearby farm and that one of his sheep and one of his pigs had recently escaped. Together they had found …

Thank You, God, That I Am Not Like Other Men

Comparison comes as naturally to us as eating, breathing, laughing, weeping. From our youngest days we begin to compare ourselves to others and quickly find the old adage to be true: Comparison is the enemy of joy. Though we so readily compare ourselves with others, we discover that this fosters a deep unhappiness. What promises joy actually delivers misery. The reason is that comparison is intrinsically competitive, so that we don’t really want to be merely pretty, but prettier than …

The Ones Who Sow and the Ones Who Reap

Every Olympics provides us with a few special moments. While the great majority of the athletes and the great majority of their successes and failures quickly fade from our consciousness, a few special ones tend to stick around. One moment from the 2020 Olympics that will remain in our minds, even if only because of the mountain of memes it generated, is an Australian swimming coach celebrating his athlete’s success. Ariarne Titmus has just narrowly edged out her American rival …

God Has Found You Faithful

The Parable of the Talents is one of the best-known and best-loved of all the parables Jesus left us. It tells of a man who is going on a journey and, who, before he sets out, distributes his wealth among his servants for safekeeping. To one he gives five talents, to another two, and to another just one. (A talent, for sake of context, is about 20 years’ of wages for a laborer.) It tells how each of these servants …

It Has To Be Dark Before We Can See

A skillful poet once imagined Adam’s first evening in the Garden of Eden. He described the scene as Adam began to notice that the sun was sinking toward the horizon, that the shadows were growing long, that the light was getting dim. The first day was becoming the first night and Adam didn’t know what to expect—he had only ever known daylight. The poet imagined that as evening turned to dusk and as dusk faded into twilight, Adam might have …