Gospel Weariness

Gospel weariness. It’s a little phrase I picked up from a friend when he preached at our church not too long ago. His text was James 1, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” As he began to preach he told of some of the difficulties his church had encountered in recent days. Most recently and most painfully, dear friends who had only one opportunity to have a child had experienced stillbirth at eight …

The Provocative People of Proverbs

The perverse person. “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (16:28). Just like a computer hacker writes a virus and releases it to spread across the internet, this perverse person creates strife—bitter disagreement—and seeds it into his relationships. He may do this through slander, through gossip, and through backbiting, always with the design of turning other people against his victim. His perversity is aimed at harming others. The lover of transgression. “He who loves transgression loves …

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Are You Going to Hurt Me?

Autumn has descended at last. The heat of summer has slowly, stubbornly given way to the cool of autumn. The long summer days have surrendered to evenings that come too early, nights that linger lazily before yielding to dawn. Most days I find myself outside long before the sun has shown its face, running through darkened streets—my morning ritual. My mind works better when my body has been pushed. Three vignettes, three glimpses through my early-morning eyes. As dawn breaks …

What God Does With Your Sin

Sometimes it’s better to show than to tell. Sometimes it’s more effective to rely on illustration than description. Maybe this is especially the case when we are distressed, ashamed, or sorrowful, when emotions threaten to displace reason. In those moments, God comforts us not only with descriptions of what he does with our sin, but also with vivid illustrations. Are you distressed by what you’ve done? Do you hear whispers that you have sinned beyond God’s desire or ability to …

War, Women, and Wealth

Have you ever noticed that some of our sorest temptations arise around God’s greatest gifts? Food, money, sex, ministry, authority—all of these can be used for such good, yet we consistently find they are attended by such difficulties. That is life in this sinful world, a world in which we turn blessings into curses, gifts into temptations. God’s gifts so quickly threaten to displace the One who gives them. God does not appreciate competition. We find this all over the …

The Utter Devastation of Sin

Do you remember Pepé Le Pew? Pepé was a skunk, one of the classic characters from Looney Tunes. He was known for two things: His obsession with finding amour (love, that is) and his unbearable stink. These factors were constantly and comically at cross purposes. If you remember watching those cartoons, you no doubt remember seeing the trail that Pepé left behind him. Wherever he went, wherever he walked, he left behind an offensive cloud of stink. No wonder, then, …

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit

One mark of a successful sermon is that it satisfactorily answers some questions while provoking still others. On Sunday I visited a little church in an eastern-Ontario village and heard just such a sermon. The pastor preached on Ephesians 4 as part of a series on the Christian’s identity in Christ, but as he continued through the text he was only barely able to speak to verse 30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you …

Have You Looked Into the Mirror Today?

There is something comforting about peering into a mirror every now and then. It’s not so much a matter of gazing into your own reflection as it is looking for those things that are out of place, those things that don’t belong, those things you don’t want to see reflected back—the parsley between your teeth, the chocolate smeared on your chin, the hairs pointing in all the wrong directions. You don’t have to be image-obsessed to grasp the importance of …

3 Truths to Speak To Your Temptation

As a true son of Adam, a person born with a natural affection for sin, I have no shortage of opportunities to consider sin and to consider the desire to commit it in its infinite varieties. As a husband and father, a pastor, and a church member I have no shortage of opportunities to speak to other people about their sin and their temptations. And time and time again I find myself returning to the simplest truths, to words that …

Our Forgetful God

There are some things I just can’t forget. There are some wrongs done to me that I cannot erase from my mind. I try, I pray. I don’t want to remember them. I don’t want them to remain in my memory or to come back to my mind. But somehow I can’t forget them. Somehow, sooner or later, they come back, flooding me once again with all of those thoughts, feelings, and emotions. There are some things God just can’t …