Discerning Your Call to Ministry

We know the concept and are well-familiar with the phrase: “called to ministry.” We know that some men are called in a special way to a special task—the task of gospel ministry. But exactly what constitutes the call, exactly how to understand it, exactly how to know we’ve experienced it—these are matters of more than a little confusion. Thankfully we have been well-served in recent years with books attempting to bring clarity. New to the field is Jason Allen’s Discerning …

12 Marks of Excellent Pastoral Ministry

John MacArthur has had a long, faithful, fruitful ministry unblemished by great scandal. For decades he has maintained a tight focus on teaching the Bible verse by verse and book by book. In 2006 he taught through 1 Timothy 4 and there he saw Paul providing his young protégé with “a rich summary of all of the apostle’s inspired instruction for those who serve the church as ministers, as pastors. And it all begins with the statement, a noble minister, …

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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 …

Prepared To Stand Alone

I trust you know the rule when it comes to books by Iain Murray: If he writes it, you ought to read it. Murray has a long legacy of authoring books that look to the past to help us better understand the present. Through this work he has had an unexpected and far-reaching impact, and any serious account of today’s New Calvinism needs to tell of his influence. When Mark Dever wrote a series titled “Where’d All These Calvinists Come …

The Hidden Beauty of a Bad Sermon

There have been times in the life of Grace Fellowship Church when we have endured some bad sermons. You could even say that in these seasons we purposely endured bad sermons. We heard men preach texts that were clearly beyond their ability to understand and explain. We heard men preach with all the fire of Paul Washer but with none of his depth or pastoral concern. We heard men preach who had neglected to ensure the sermon actually had a …

The New Pastor’s Handbook

Pastoring is a difficult calling. Those who commit their lives to pastoral ministry commit to a tough, tough job. I’m convinced there is nothing quite like it. There are other jobs that require more precise skill and longer training. There are other jobs that demand longer hours. There are other jobs that require more exertion. But somehow, when taken as a whole, I can’t imagine a more difficult vocation. That is especially true for the pastor who takes the lead …

The Prodigal Church

John MacArthur’s book Ashamed of the Gospel changed my life. Literally. At the time I found it on the shelves of a local Christian book store I was attending a church that was committed to many of the principles of church growth. Though MacArthur had never attended that church, he understood it, he described it, he critiqued it. Best of all, he opened up God’s Word and showed something much, much better. I soon found that I had to move …

The Compelling Community

If the number of highlights in a book can serve as an indication of its worth, then The Compelling Community has already proven an especially valuable one to me. It is littered with notes and highlights (or the Kindle equivalent, at least) and many of its ideas and applications are still percolating somewhere in the back of my mind. There is a lot it taught me, and a lot within its pages that I intend to ponder and apply. It …

Do You Take Care of the Body?

The Bible is a book full of metaphors—word pictures that God uses to explain who he is and what he requires of us. We are sheep and God is a shepherd. We are treasonous prodigals and God is a forgiving Father. We are trees, able to bear good fruit or bad fruit. Jesus is water, able to refresh the driest, thirstiest soul. From beginning to end, the Bible teaches us using vivid pictures. One of my favorite metaphors is one …

The Man on the Moon

I have a particular interest in technology and the way human society has been shaped by it. Over the past few years, I have pursued this interest by reading several books and watching several documentary series on the race to the moon. Having been born in 1976, I was too young to witness anything more than the aftermath of this epic race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and maybe this is why it fascinates me so much. …