God Has Found You Faithful

The Parable of the Talents is one of the best-known and best-loved of all the parables Jesus left us. It tells of a man who is going on a journey and, who, before he sets out, distributes his wealth among his servants for safekeeping. To one he gives five talents, to another two, and to another just one. (A talent, for sake of context, is about 20 years’ of wages for a laborer.) It tells how each of these servants …

What Can God Do With Broken Hearts?

God has a special place in his heart for the weak, the weary, the downtrodden, the broken. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden,” he says, and “bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.” His special blessing is upon those who are poor in spirit, who are meek and mournful, who are reviled and persecuted. The faith that honors him is the faith of a child, and his power is made perfect in weakness …

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This Broken, Beautiful World

For some it was a day of great rejoicing. For some it was a day of deep distress. Though Solomon’s temple had long since been destroyed by the order of King Nebuchadnezzar, the people had now returned from exile and had commenced work on a new temple, a new home for their God. Once the builders had finished laying the foundation, the priests and musicians called for a celebration, a time to praise God for the work begun. Then, as …

What Jesus Does Not Pray

The final night that Jesus spends with his beloved disciples is a night of much prayer. Before he prays privately in the garden he prays publicly in the upper room. Before he prays for himself and his own endurance, he prays for them and theirs. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world,” he prays to his Father, “but that you keep them from the evil one.” What he does not pray is as noteworthy as …

The Ministry of Sorrow

The church would be impoverished if Joni Eareckson Tada was not a member of it. Christian history would be lacking if it did not involve the accounts of Marie Durand and Corrie Ten Boom. We would be missing out on much encouragement if its ranks did not include Amy Carmichael and Elisabeth Elliott. What binds these precious saints together is not first their common gender, but their common faithfulness in suffering. By facing trials in a distinctly Christian way, by …

The Path to Glory

Jesus did not tell his followers to take up a feather and follow him. He did not tell them to take up a scepter or a sword, a flag of surrender or a trophy of triumph. Rather, he told them to take up a cross, to shoulder a rough and heavy burden that was synonymous with pain. It should be no surprise, then, that his followers’ path to glory is paved with much sorrow and much suffering. He told us …

A Prayer About Brokenness

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 our church not too long ago. (For context, it was my first time leading in a service after Nick’s death, …

Waiting with Faith

Have you ever bitten into a green tomato? Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fall apple during the heat of summer or into a summer strawberry during the cool of spring? Have you ever listened to a choir’s first rehearsal, read a book’s first draft, gazed at an artist’s initial sketches? Have you ever tasted a chef’s half-baked dish, watched a choreographer’s first dance, listened to a song’s initial lyrics? If you’ve eaten that apple or read that …

Would It Be Okay For Me To Be Angry With God?

It felt like a test—a test of my faith, a test of my convictions, a test of my love for God. Soon, very soon, after I learned that my son had died, I received a message from an old acquaintance. Her intentions were good—she wanted to offer consolation. But her instructions were suspect—she wanted me to rage against God. Paraphrasing one of her favorite authors she said “It’s okay to be angry with God about this. It’s okay to tell …

Grief Should Always Make Us Better

Death is the great interrupter. Death is the great interrupter because, far more often than not, it strikes when it’s least expected. When death comes it invariably interrupts plans, dreams, projects, goals. One author observes how very sad, how very pathetic it is, when a man dies suddenly and we go into his home or his place of business “and see the unfinished things he has left—a letter half written, a book half read, a picture begun but not completed. …