The Problem with Daydreaming

The Problem with Daydreaming

The inclination to create realities in which we are best served and most comfortable is a pervasive sin pattern we all share. But it stops us from getting to real hope that is offered because we settle for the cheap comfort of our own saccharine imaginings. 

Should We Give Things Up for Lent?

Should We Give Things Up for Lent?

. . . if you choose to give something up to fast this season of Lent, the purpose should be to shift your focus from being on you and your needs, to being on the Lord.

Why Should We Take Care of Our Bodies?

Why Should We Take Care of Our Bodies?

Taking care of my body is a way of taking care of my soul and often, the state of my body is an indicator of how my soul is doing. We worship, minister and relate to others with both our body and soul.

Does Church Membership Really Matter?

Does Church Membership Really Matter?

I went to Bible school and seminary, and I have never been a member of a church. Never.

I always considered myself a member of my childhood church by default of my parents’ membership, but, like my faith at the time, it was never my own. 

The Burdens and Brightness of Morning

The Burdens and Brightness of Morning

More than anything, early mornings have the tendency to heap condemnation upon me. I never feel my inadequacies and sin as acutely as I do at this time of day. It's a burden of weighty proportions. But in it, is God.

When Sex Disappoints

When Sex Disappoints

I resented others who said they had a great first year. I was envious of those who were popping out kids with no problem while we couldn’t even figure out sex. I hated when people joked about “doing it” all the time as newlyweds.

And as I saw my sinful responses to my trial grow, I realized that maybe I had worshiped my hopes for sex more than my God.

The Truth About Marriage

The Truth About Marriage

As we continue to talk about how we can love both our single and married friends well, know this: one way married couples can love their single friends is by being honest about marriage.

How Jesus Grieved

How Jesus Grieved

When we face grief, the faith of Jesus is ready and waiting to help us through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, providing the strength and comfort we need in God’s character, promises and gospel. So to understand how to grieve by faith, we should seek to grieve in the same way Jesus grieved while on earth.

When Jesus Wept

When Jesus Wept

He hated death. He hated pain. And it broke his heart. This story gives a beautiful picture of Jesus being fully God, yet totally human; his grieving was completely appropriate. It was 100% perfect.

Worshiping in Grief

Worshiping in Grief

My sorrow was the unexpected death of my infant son, Parker, who was stillborn after living 42 weeks in my womb. Then I imagined myself mustering praises to God from this posture in my current assignment of suffering. I saw myself with my face smashed against the dirt, struggling between breaths as I pursed my lips in praise, declaring the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord who had been our Refuge all of our days. 

Growing Through Grief

Growing Through Grief

Scripture teaches us that suffering is one of God’s means (and I might argue, his primary means) of growing us in spiritual maturity. So how can we respond to suffering in a way that participates in that work of spiritual and physical life in us, rather than bringing about more pain and death?  

Living with Grief

Living with Grief

For a while after my sister’s death, my family was silently labeled as “the family who had lost a child.” It was the badge we wore that made people talk softly around us and hug us too much. I hated it; but I couldn’t get away from it. When one of your earliest memories is of a baby-sized casket, it just changes you. 

When A Hard Year Ends

When A Hard Year Ends

When I really think about it, the reason I want 2015 to end is that I think I deserve better. I am a pretty nice person. My husband and I both work for our church. We love our families. We recycle. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to have more kids. We deserve to live until we are old and die together holding hands . . . right?

Where to Find the Joy of Christmas

Where to Find the Joy of Christmas

Those who weep at Christmas—in hospital beds, in empty homes, in shelters, in family conflict or loneliness—are not marginalized from experiencing the purpose of Christmas because of their circumstance. Rather, the magnificence of experiencing the joy of Christmas is actually made more deeply available to sufferers because of pain.

Amanda Blackburn's Tragedy and the Realities of Urban Ministry

Amanda Blackburn's Tragedy and the Realities of Urban Ministry

Untold numbers of potential, missional-city-dwellers are internalizing Amanda's murder as yet another sign that “the city” is not for them.

Yes, Amanda Blackburn’s death should move us; but it should move us toward action, not fear.

We Need Female Group Leaders

We Need Female Group Leaders

Our community groups exist to reach people with the gospel, build them up in the church, and release them on mission into the world. This mission will never be accomplished—and wouldn’t be biblical and worthwhile if it was—by men alone. I have never seen a small group thrive without a strong and loving female leader, because the thing is, women are more natural group leaders. 

When Church is a Lonely Place

When Church is a Lonely Place

If all the church should be seeking to pursue one another, and you are in fact a Christian, then this includes you. It doesn’t say to expect everyone else to do this for you. Regardless of personality or comfort level, every Christian is called to love and care for one another.

The Jerks and The Jaded: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Seminary

The Jerks and The Jaded: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Seminary

Whenever you feel like you are chasing a campus popularity contest or entering the rat race to publish or be a certain teacher’s favorite, remember: no one cares. Globally? There are two billion Chinese and Indian people who couldn't care less. Don't believe me? Walk up to a dozen American millennials and ask who John Piper is and watch them stare at you. 

Discerning God's Will

Discerning God's Will

When we are faced with the question of “What should I do?” or “What’s Next?” we can often turn to Scripture as though it’s a magic 8 ball. We pray as if, in return, we will get a Siri-like voice telling us where to turn next.