The Key To Making the Most Out of Congregational Singing

It’s good to go to a conference or a concert and to sing with hundreds or even thousands of strangers. There is something majestic and soul-stirring about gathering with other believers and using the common language of song to join together in worship. But I believe it’s far better still to go to a local church—to your local church—and to sing with just the few people who make that church their home. To understand why I believe this, we need …

How Evangelism Is Kind of Like Fishing

Simon, his brother, and their business partners were fisherman whom Jesus called to a very different kind of fishing. “Follow me,” he told them. “From now on you will be catching men.” They were caught by Jesus so they could catch others. And in much the same way, we have been caught by Jesus so we can catch others for Jesus. We ought to see this as a tremendous privilege. Not just that we have been caught—we know that’s a …

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Think of Not Having Christ!

Few authors alive or dead speak to me the way J.R. Miller does. In his book Self-Control, now long out of print, he has his readers imagine life without Christ. It’s a passage worth reading and worth reflecting on. *** The relation between Christ and his friends is closer than any human relation. No one can say to any friend, “Without me you can do nothing.” The mother cannot say it to her child. It is a sore loss when …

What Are People Saying About Christian Blogging?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been putting out the call for new bloggers to get started and for given-up bloggers to give it a new try (as in here and here). I’ve been calling for bloggers who have turned all their attention to writing for ministry blogs to also consider writing for their own blogs. This has generated a fair bit of discussion and today I want to look to some of the noteworthy contributions I’ve collected (admitting, of course, …

We Don’t Sing for Fun

One of the trends that has swept our society through the past decades is the “funification” of pretty much everything. We have been told and become convinced that everything ought to be fun. I can’t think of a better example than in schools where the rote memorization that was once considered essential to learning was deemed too difficult and unattractive, so was replaced by activities much more enjoyable but much less effective. We can see the theme in media where …

Fascinating Facts about Aimee Semple McPherson

History is packed full of fascinating figures. Some of these are men and women who were raised to lay claim to great positions—Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II. Some of these are men and women who come from nowhere and nothing but still rose to great prominence. Among these we find Aimee Semple McPherson, the preacher and evangelist who may well have reigned as America’s best-known woman for much of her life. Here are a few key facts …

A Pastoral Prayer about Joy

Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because there are few examples of pastoral prayers online and I thought these may serve to inspire themes, passages, or ideas as other pastors and elders prepare to lead their churches in prayer. Here is one I prayed before my church near the start of a new year. *** Our Father, This morning we want to echo the psalmist …

My Three Essential Writing Tools

During the past few weeks I’ve been asked many questions about blogging and other forms of writing, so thought I’d tell you about the three tools I consider essential to my writing life. There’s an app, a font, and a calendar that represent the heart of all I do. The App: Ulysses For many years now, the great majority of my writing has been done in an app called Ulysses. This is a Mac-only app, though iA Writer is a …

Where Did All This Pentecostalism Come From?

It is impossible to consider the modern history or contemporary state of Christianity without accounting for the sudden rise, the explosive spread, and the worldwide impact of Pentecostalism. To that end, I’ve been reading several books on the subject, focused especially on the Azusa Street Revival, which most historians consider the setting in which Pentecostalism began. Here are a few key points I’ve learned about the Azusa Street Revival and the Azusa Street Mission that housed it. Its roots were …

What Has the Lord Been Teaching You From His Word?

Earlier in the week, eager to be encouraged, I put this question out to Twitter: What has the Lord been teaching you from his Word recently? The responses were quick, plentiful, and encouraging. Here are a few of them. (Click here to read them all.) I’ve been meditating on the Good Samaritan, and I’m learning that loving our enemies isn’t merely the same as not “repaying evil for evil”, it means returning love for evil. It’s been quite convicting. — …