It’s All Chocolate

It is one of the great debates of a privileged age: is dark chocolate superior to milk, or milk to dark? Both have their advocates. The ones who prefer dark chocolate boast of the flavor of cocoa that is undisrupted by excess sugar, that so wonderfully compliments the bitterness of a dark coffee. The ones who prefer milk tell that milk and sugar enhance the flavor of cocoa the way they do the flavor of tea. Cocoa is at its …

Fruitfulness and Usefulness

Sunflower fields trampled, pumpkin patches trod under, apple orchards pillaged and wrecked. It has become a phenomenon of the Instagram era that fields ripe for harvest are also fields perfect for selfies. When the flowers are at their brightest, the pumpkins at their biggest, the apples at their reddest, word gets out, and crowds descend. One nearby farm had to close after an estimated 7,000 cars attempted to park in the streets around it. “By noon, the hordes were coming …

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This Broken, Beautiful World

For some it was a day of great rejoicing. For some it was a day of deep distress. Though Solomon’s temple had long since been destroyed by the order of King Nebuchadnezzar, the people had now returned from exile and had commenced work on a new temple, a new home for their God. Once the builders had finished laying the foundation, the priests and musicians called for a celebration, a time to praise God for the work begun. Then, as …

A Brief, Daily, Trinitarian Prayer

I have, in the past, shared the prayer John Stott would use to begin his day. A number of years ago I excerpted just a small part of it and began to pray that on a regular or even daily basis. I thought I’d share it here in case you would find it valuable as well. It speaks to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and asks that each would bless in his own special way. Why not make use of …

Could You Use Some Joy Today?

I abominate commercials for the lottery. Though there are thousands of variations of such ads, they all play off a common theme: Money brings joy. One recent ad showed people practicing the happy dance they would do when they found out they had won millions of dollars. Another had people describing the things they would buy for themselves when they finally came into great wealth. In one way or another, all these commercials express the same idea: more money equals …

Accomplishments as High as Heaven, Character as Low as Hell

In recent months the evangelical world has been rocked by a number of scandals, by news of yet more leaders who used their churches or ministries to indulge themselves to the harm of others. These are yet more cases of men who will no doubt stand before God some day and plead all their accomplishments—“Didn’t I preach the gospel for you? Didn’t I encourage many people in their faith? Didn’t I lead many people to the Lord?” Yet despite such …

On Caring for the Property of Others

On a warm, spring afternoon, walking along pathways that lead between city and country, between suburbia and farmland, I passed by a sprawling property, the home and gardens of a local landowner. I saw that the trees had remained unpruned, that the ground had gone untended, that the fences all around were sagging and broken down. I observed the sign by the road that advertised the owner’s business: Landscape & Maintenance. I paused to consider, I stopped to meditate until …

Whatever Is False, Whatever Is Immoral, Whatever Is Prejudiced…

We live at a time of great public immorality, a time in which the only thing that is shameful is shame itself. Immorality is synonymous with entertainment and the basest sexual perversions are flaunted on-screen for all to see. Television shows compete among themselves to explore and transgress any boundary. The very things that marked a respectable man a few years ago mark a bigoted or repressed one today. Society is so saturated with immorality it is impossible to prevent …

A Pastoral Prayer about Love

As you know, I like to share occasional examples of pastoral prayers. I do this hoping they may provide inspiration for others as they prepare their prayers week by week. This particular prayer was prayed this weekend at Grace Fellowship Church. Our Father in heaven, we love you. How can we but love you, for you are so worthy of our love. We look at the gods that men have invented and we can only conclude that none of them …

What Jesus Does Not Pray

The final night that Jesus spends with his beloved disciples is a night of much prayer. Before he prays privately in the garden he prays publicly in the upper room. Before he prays for himself and his own endurance, he prays for them and theirs. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world,” he prays to his Father, “but that you keep them from the evil one.” What he does not pray is as noteworthy as …