The Year of Our Dreams or the Year of Our Nightmares

There is an undeniable intricacy to God’s world. There is an inescapable predictability to the universe God has made. The stars and planets follow their course day after day, year after year, millennium after millennium. We can predict with absolute certainty the next time we will have a full or partial eclipse. We can gaze thousands of years into the past or future and know when human beings did see (or next will see) Halley’s Comet. We can forecast down …

Free Stuff Fridays (TMAI)

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by The Master’s Academy International (TMAI), who also sponsored the blog this week with the article “Support Indigenous Publishing with TMAI.” They are giving away the 42-volume Essential MacArthur Library set. The Master’s Academy International (TMAI) is currently training local pastors in 18 schools around the world. The student body represents almost 90 nations, and as a natural extension of this training ministry, nearly every one of their schools is engaged in the …

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Christmas Hope for the Broken-Hearted

The tree is trimmed and decorated and glowing with lights. The gifts are wrapped and tied with bows and arranged carefully beneath. The stockings are hung by the fire and bulging with trinkets and surprises and sweet delicacies. The table is set and waiting for a great feast to be laid out upon it. Christmas has come again—again with all its joys, with all its pleasures, with all its precious traditions. But look again, look more carefully, look and see that …

What I Long for More than Miracles

I suppose it is possible that I have witnessed a miracle in my lifetime, but if so, I’m not aware of it. If a miracle is a “supernatural, extraordinary event that diverges from observed natural processes,” then I can’t think of a time that I’ve seen a clear example of one. That’s not to say that God can’t work miracles today or that he doesn’t. That’s not to say he hasn’t worked around and about me in extraordinary ways. It’s …

Delayed Obedience Is Disobedience (Except When It Isn’t)

You’ve probably heard the phrase before. You’ve probably applied it to your children. You’ve hopefully applied it to yourself. Delayed obedience is disobedience. The phrase exhorts us that when we know the right thing to do, it is sinful to fail to do it. Or as we instruct our little ones: Do it now; do it all the way; and do it with a happy heart. But is it invariably wrong to delay obedience? Is delayed obedience always disobedience? My …

Talk About Jesus, Not Celebrities

I have said it before: gossip is a “respectable sin” among Reformed Christians. The Christian world, and perhaps especially the Reformed Christian world, is absolutely chockablock with gossip. From the pulpit to the pew, from the conference green room to the conference hallways, gossip is rampant. It is whispered in the name of important information and blogged in the name of discernment—both ways of dressing it up in respectable apparel. But if it isn’t true and it isn’t edifying and …

Much Will Be Required

You know the old adage, I’m sure: To whom much is given much will be required. Or, to express it in the words of Jesus, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” The point is clear: God holds us responsible for all that we have. Said otherwise, God holds us responsible for all that he bestows upon us. We tend to think …

No, It Wasn’t the Vaccine

A couple of weeks ago I was on live radio doing an interview about Seasons of Sorrow. The interview went well, I think, and I was able to speak about Nick, about the book, and about my hope that it will bless and serve others as they pass through their own seasons of grief and loss. As soon as I hung up, I sat down at my computer and saw that I had received an email to this effect: “I …

To the Impetuous and Impulsive

There is a kind of personality we are all familiar with, I’m sure—a kind of personality that is impetuous and impulsive, prone to act in ways that are spontaneous and ill-thought-out. It’s the personality of Simon Peter whom we know so well from the pages of Scripture—the one of the twelve disciples who stepped overboard to attempt to walk on water, the one who exclaimed, “not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!,” the one who …

Let’s Hear It For the Failures

I once heard a Christian say that when he arrives in heaven he does not expect not hear “well done, good and faithful servant,” as much as “well tried.” He does not mean that God will be impressed by a reckless succession of rash attempts at self-grandiosity. He does not mean that God will laud him for projects he began with great passion before losing interest and becoming distracted by the next big thing. No, he means only that he …