The Problem with the “Want Ads” in Denominational Magazines

I will keep the intro short: You ought to read and consider this brief excerpt from Derek Thomas’s commentary on Acts in which he shows how our expectations of pastors—and perhaps their expectations for themselves—are often far removed from God’s. If you’re in a huge hurry or have a microscopic attention span, skim right down to the second paragraph. Paul preached Jesus. Had you spent a month in Thessalonica at the time of Paul’s visit, you could not have failed …

’Tis a Point I Long to Know

So much of the beauty of poetry is finding words that express your soul. Poetry has a way of expressing both our conscious thoughts and our unconscious desires. Such is the case with this little poem I dug up recently. It’s an old one, written many years ago by John Newton. He expresses the universal experience of the Christian in our searching, our wondering, our perplexity, and, eventually, our confidence. The poem is titled “’Tis a Point I Long to …

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Jane Austen’s Prayer

Most people—most English-speaking people, at least—know the name Jane Austen. But what few people know is that she was a woman with deep Christian convictions. Michael Haykin makes this clear in his new book Eight Women of Faith. There he shares a prayer was composed by Austen. It is not a particularly great prayer (whatever that means). It is not a particularly original prayer and was clearly inspired by the Anglican prayer book. But it is sincere and personal and …

Falling Stars

Last week I was in England and spent a fair bit of time touring sites related to church history. As we passed by a church building in Cambridge, our host said as an aside, “That was Charles Simeons’ church.” I immediately took note because lately I’ve been so enjoying Simeons’ work. I purchased his strangely-titled Horae Homileticae for Logos and have found it a brilliant resource for Bible study and preaching preparation—one of my new favorites. In this work, a …

She Had Never Stopped Loving Him

The Eric Liddell story is well known. We all know the broad outline: He was one of Great Britain’s great hopes at the 1924 Olympics, he refused to race because of his Christian convictions, he switched races and won an event he had barely trained for, he left it all behind to travel to China to serve as a missionary, he died there in a Japanese prison camp. It’s an amazing story, really. I was recently reading For the Glory, …

Jerry Bridge’s Seven Standout Spiritual Lessons

Shortly after I heard that Jerry Bridges had died, I sat down to write about the ways he had impacted me through his life and ministry. In a too-weak tribute, I outlined five big lessons I had learned from him. Recently I read his memoir God Took Me by the Hand: A Story of God’s Unusual Providence and came to a section where he outlines seven big lessons he learned over the course of his sixty-plus years of being a …

There Is No Place for Regret

Today I’m handing the reins to A.W. Tozer. In his book That Incredible Christian he has an extended look at the futility of regret. I read and re-read it this week and found it too sweet not to share. The essence of legalism is self-atonement. The seeker tries to make himself acceptable to God by some act of restitution or by self-punishment or the feeling of regret. The desire to be pleasing to God is commendable, certainly, but the effort …

To Be Devoid of the Fear of God…

Albert Martin’s The Forgotten Fear is a very good book on a much neglected topic. I reviewed my notes for it this week and was struck again by the urgency of the subject. In the book’s opening chapter Martin examines a series of texts related to the fear of God and, having looked at each of them, draws three important conclusions. What can we conclude in light of these pivotal texts found in both the Old and the New Testaments? …

Why Did God Create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

Why did God keep back just one thing from the people he made? Why would he make people in his image, then give them one prohibition? What was the purpose in that tricky Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Sinclair Ferguson addresses this in The Whole Christ. I am giving you everything in this garden. Go and enjoy yourselves. But just before you head off, I have given you all of this because I love you. I want …

The Atrocity of Sin

I’ve got a little bit of Spurgeon to share with you today. Here is Spurgeon reminding you of the cost of your sin and calling you to repentance for it. A deep sense and clear sight of sin, its heinousness, and the punishment which it deserves, should make us lie low before the throne. We have sinned as Christians. Alas! that it should be so. Favoured as we have been, we have yet been ungrateful: privileged beyond most, we have …