Teaching Others to Sing Sweetly

The story is told of a musician—a particularly skillful musician with a highly-developed ear for pitch, tone, and harmony—who visited a new church for the first time. He arrived a little late and entered the sanctuary just as the congregation was beginning to sing the opening song. To his chagrin, the singing was badly out of tune. It pained him to hear the people attempt to sing one of the great hymns of the Christian faith without the least bit …

The Day We Became Homeschoolers

We have unexpectedly become homeschoolers. After having two children get all the way through twelfth grade in the public schools, we had expected that the third would follow suit. But over the summer Michaela expressed her interest in making a switch as she heads into her final two years of high school; Aileen and I agreed that it would be for the best. Of course “homeschool” doesn’t seem to mean today what it did years ago. “Online-only Christian school” would …

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One String to the Bow

We have been blessed with a number of books that adapt and share the prayers of the Puritans. The Valley of Vision is the most famous of these of course, and Piercing Heaven is another. I was glad to see that we will be spoiled yet again, this time with Tim Chester’s Into His Presence which will be released shortly. Here’s a lovely sample prayer from it, drawn from Thomas Lyle. Lord God, you and you alone should be the sole …

When Pastors Need To Be Extra Cautious

I once read of a pastor who made the commitment to spend several days out of every month with his parishioners at their workplaces. He made it his habit to arrange visits to their factories and offices, their stores and schools. He had a specific purpose in mind and one he believed would make him a more effective pastor: He wanted to understand their day-to-day lives so that in his preaching and counseling he could make application that would speak …

What Can a Heart Do?

What can a heart do? What actions do we associate with the human heart? A heart can beat; a heart can race; a heart can stop. That’s all very literal and speaks to the heart as a physical part of our bodies. But we also speak of the heart metaphorically as the place of our emotions. And so we say that a heart can long and love, it can hurt and break. We even say that a heart can be …

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 …

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 …