Grace for Sinners to Love Like Saints

I am often asked how I read so many books. My pat answer is something like this: “The more you read, the easier it gets. When you’ve read 8 books on marriage, the 9th goes really quickly.” The point is that there is a kind of sameness to Christian publishing where books tend to focus on the same themes, exposit the same passages, quote the same authors, and in the end say roughly the same things. It’s awfully refreshing, then, …

A Message for Young Men

Somewhere out there in the great, wide world, someone is praying for you. He probably doesn’t know you and you probably don’t know him. You may not meet one another for many more years. But he’s praying for you nonetheless and has been for a very long time. He is the father of a daughter. He is the proud father of a daughter who is very precious to him—more precious than anything he owns, more precious than anything he has …

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The Great Challenge of Every Marriage

We’ve all heard that marriage was designed to make us holy more than to make us happy. And though it’s a bit of a trite phrase that threatens to force a false dichotomy between holiness and happiness, there is a measure of truth to it. At its best, marriage does, indeed, help us grow in holiness. It helps us in our lifelong quest to put sin to death and come alive to righteousness. Aileen and I knew this was true …

What If Marriage Isn’t Making Me As Holy As I Had Hoped?

He told me he knew that marriage was designed not to make him happy, but to make him holy. He had accepted the wisdom in the phrase, and there is certainly an element of truth behind it: Marriage really can serve as a significant means of sanctification in the life of the believer and it really can foster growth in holiness. But as useful and challenging as the phrase is, it failed to address the question that had been nagging …

A Few Practical Pointers on Marriage

If you could speak to 70 nearly-married or newly-married couples and give them some practical pointers on marriage, what would you say? That was the question I faced as I prepared for a recent event across town. My first assignment was to speak on the Christian family and then to describe some of the challenges couples may encounter in the first ten years and the ten years after that. Well and good. But then they wanted me to get practical …

A Husband’s Perspective on a Postpartum Body

It was with sorrow but not surprise that I read a recent article at Risen Motherhood. In The Gospel Frees Us From Shame: Embracing Sexual Intimacy with a Postpartum Body, Lauren Washer writes about an experience that’s common among women who have given birth to one or more children. “I never thought my feelings toward sexual intimacy would change so drastically after having babies. Yet, with each pregnancy and every extra pound on my body, I have struggled to believe …

Leave and Cleave Like a Strawberry

Living in a multicultural city and serving in a multicultural church has given me a wide view of some of the ways different generations of a family can relate to one another. As a young generation begins to pair up and to marry, forming new families, they need to learn to relate to the generation or generations that came before. This can take many different forms and I’ve long observed that the most significant determining factor is usually culture. We …

Counsel for Couples

Over the past few years, we have been blessed with an incredible volume of resources related to biblical counseling. From primers for amateur counselors to in-depth examinations of specific issues, we are now well-served with resources meant to address a host of common issues. New to the field is Jonathan Holmes’s Counsel for Couples: A Biblical and Practical Guide for Marriage Counseling. Holmes is the pastor of counseling at Parkside Church in Ohio and brings a wealth of both practical …

Shepherding At Home

In this video, which was filmed at a nearby conference, I was asked about some of the concerns related to pastors and their families. I tried to briefly to remind church leaders of the temptations that draw us away from this primary calling. Transcript Pastors always need to remember that you’re qualified to ministry through your family, not apart from your family. So being a pastor doesn’t make you a good dad, being a good dad may help you become a pastor. …

Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youth (and Not-So-Youth)

This summer Aileen and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary and I can say with honesty that few things in life have thrilled or honored me more than the fact that she chose to spend her life with me, of all people. All those years ago she agreed to link her life to mine and we’ve been together, joined, ever since. How amazing is that? Just around the time of our anniversary my devotions led me to the words of Solomon: …