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Month: February 2018

That’s a Wrap! (24/02)

Digital Tech is Killing our Relationships

It’s not just “The Internet”, it’s our own sinful nature manifesting itself through insecurity, desire for attention or affirmation, and lack of love for our neighbour. This post contains links to many resources making the point that we’re all aware of to some degree, but highlighting this “third person” of our smart phone or other Internet-capable presence in our relationships needs to be done. David Murray writes:

Successful relationships cannot happen unless the people involved have a clear sense of personal identity. But we cultivate and project so many social media personas that we’ve forgotten who we really are.

When Bible Study Goes Wrong

There is Bible study, and there is Bible study. The Bible is not primarily about the Bible. It is not primarily about morality. And the Bible is not merely an encyclopedia of religious knowledge. Scripture’s goal is faith in the life-giving Messiah.

Three Lessons from the Extraordinary Life of Billy Graham

Here are three things we should carry with us all the time.

Mass Shootings, Mental Illness, and Local Church Ministry

I appreciate these words from Brad Hambrick.

Our initial ministry goal is less teaching people how to think theologically, which is vitally important, but can only be achieved after helping people realize church is a safe place to talk about their experience. Anxiety about whether a conversation is safe interferes with people’s ability to assimilate, much less apply, information.

On /Colourblindness, Race, and Imagining a Reconciling Church in Australia

On Saturday, a friend of mine spoke at an event “Gracious Conversations”; it was designed to be an event where Christians could get together to particularly talk about how we love our indigenous neighbours and support indigenous Christian leaders. This post is long, but with good reason. It’s worth making time to read.

Jesus was Not a Feminist (and maybe you shouldn’t be either)

She said it.

What I Read in February

The Emotionally Healthy Leader

Scazzero continues to tell the story of who I am, where I’m at, where I want to go, and who I want to be. He doesn’t simply write intellectually, but his insights forged in the crucible of experience offer so much value with regard to what it means to be emotionally mature; self-aware, others-focused, and to holistically lead by listening to emotions and perceiving needs within your team. These are all things I needed to understand, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Green Lantern: New Guardians, Vol 1: The Ring Bearer

When Kyle Rayner becomes a Green Lantern, the last thing he expected was that he would also be chosen by the red, indigo, yellow, blue, pink, and orange rings of power too. Featuring Sinestro, Archangel Invictus, and a supermassive white hole that has formed a space/time tear to another universe, this issue sees Rayner make a journey from the safety of earth to the citadel of the Guardians of the Universe, and beyond. This is one heck of a story.

Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture

This book was written with a pastoral heart that has seen first-hand the agony of failure in ministry and the burnout that comes at the end of not knowing when to say “no” and rest. But it also speaks as one who possesses the peace found through re-evaluating and re-calibrating life’s rhythms around regular days, weeks, and seasons of humbly accepting our own God-given limitations. Murray writes so clearly and with such compassion that every chapter is like he has his hand on my shoulder, lovingly encouraging me to embrace the gospel and develop strategies so that I can finish the race with my faith intact. Read regularly.

Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel

This punchy little book captures in just a few chapters exactly what you’d hope for from a book in the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. I didn’t feel like its aim was to contribute anything new to the current position on the Biblical view of marriage, but if you’re looking for something that covers all the important bases in one accessible and quick read, then look no further.

Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death

The way in which Russ Ramsey reflects on encountering his mortality and the limitations of his own brokenness is the story of us all. His immense pain and confusion intersected with his faith in a healing and all-knowing God, and the lessons were long and hard for him, his family, and his congregation. Loving God, loving others, and loving yourself during these trials like these gets as broken and remade as Ramsey’s body. But this story has something to offer all of us, because it’s about all of us.

See what else I read in 2018:

Fillers & Drainers

Humans are finite creatures. We have limits placed in our design to help us recognise our dependency on our creator, and we flourish when we reorient our lives towards this truth. Each morning we wake up with a limited energy reserve, and we must use our God-given wisdom to determine which activities will fill those reserves and which will drain them. In Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, David Murray encourages us to maintain a healthy balance of these fillers and drainers through regularly evaluating our fuel consumption. We all have lives that require a mix of things we love and things we don’t, but Murray’s words are aimed at preventing us from puttering out, or doing permanent damage to our engines.

As I consider my own lists of fillers and drainers, they look something like this:

Fillers

Quality time with my wife; reading in a quiet place; singing at church with my family; good coffee and conversation with like-minded people; preaching a sermon that goes well; the beach.

Drainers

Conflict; not getting enough sleep; administration (paying bills, filling out time sheets); difficult relationships at work; over-committing; times when all my children are cranky, all at the same time; being late.

When you stop to consider what these lists might look like for you, you may find that mine look totally foreign. That’s because none of us are the same; just look at how many personality types can be identified from only the top 3 profiling tools currently available. Self-awareness plays a vital role here—it is in our best interest to know what fills us and drains us, then (as much as possible) keep ourselves in mind when we choose how much of ourselves we’re able to give to something. Paradoxically, there are also things that appear on both lists, with results to match. Murray writes:

Another example of this double listing is physical exercise—it obviously drains me at the time and for an hour or so afterward, but the net affect of if in my life is a huge boost of physical and mental well-being.

Drainers are unavoidable. We all have to pay bills, return phone calls and emails, and endure difficulties in relationships. The key is to ensure that we remember to counteract the drainers with regular replenishment. We must never feel guilty about taking time to refill our tanks. Whatever stage of life we’re at it’s important (read vital) that we find ways in our weeks to engage in leisure, rest, and refueling, whatever that looks like for us. We’re no good to anyone (including ourselves) if we go through the week running on empty; so let’s take time to evaluate what impact every activity has on us, work hard to balance the scales, and be good stewards of the gifts God has given us for our good, and his glory.

That’s a Wrap! (17/02)

Six Reasons Reformed Christians Should Embrace Six-Day Creation

Although this is a rapid-fire response containing many ideas that are worth unpacking in greater detail, if you’ve ever wondered which side of the argument you fall on when it comes to the creation narrative, this One Stop Shop should get you thinking in the right direction.

29 and Single: When Life doesn’t go as Planned

If marriage is your primary goal, then you are limiting God. You are limiting Him from pouring out blessings you will never know because your heart is set on something that the world is telling you should be a top priority.

BONUS POST: From the ERLC, 3 reasons why God may be extending your singleness.

When You Lose Your Temper with your Children

It’s humbling to accept that this is your fault. Your kids push your buttons, but ultimately you are the one who chooses how to respond. Excuses abound: “but I’m frustrated”, “I’m allowed to feel this way”, “they need to know they’ve crossed a line”, but none of these change the fact that we won’t grow children with Godly character through anger, harsh words, and flying off the handle. Kids are one of God’s greatest gifts for sanctifying your self-control.

History’s Biggest Food Fight: Catholics and the Eucharist

I attended a Catholic Mass for Ash Wednesday (see Reflections from Ash Wednesday), and one of the things that fascinated me was the way they take the Eucharist. This article sheds some light on why I was fascinated, and why it matters.

He Reads Truth: Lent 2018

He Reads Truth exists to help men become who we were made to be, by doing what we were made to do, by the power and provision that God has given us to do it, for the glory of Jesus Christ. If you’re looking for a Scripture reading plan that will take you through Lent, the team at HRT have a great resource.

Need a new Podcast?

One of my favourite podcasts has just returned for season 2, and now with a co-host to make things even more interesting. It’s a fun ride with authors about what they’re writing, what the’re reading, and where to go to find joy in reading widely. Find it in iTunes; you’ll be glad you did.

Reflections from Ash Wednesday

Yesterday I attended my first Ash Wednesday service at the Cathedral of St. Stephen, a few blocks from my office in Brisbane city. It was a remarkable, foreign, fascinating experience with which I found a number of resonances (not just off the Cathedral walls) and a few reservations (because hey, they’re Roman Catholic). Before I begin, you might want to read Four Thoughts on Lent 2018 to get a picture of where I’m coming from, before you decide to come for me. A few thoughts:

A Time to Focus on Sin

The opening words were a solemn call for repentance. The speaker highlighted that the world knows nothing of sin proper; they understand making mistakes, errors of judgement, and bad decisions (consciously, or in hindsight) but not sin—because sin requires thinking in terms of God as the one whom we sin against. Therefore as believers in Christ, we have a foreign category to the world when it comes to considering our wrongdoing, not only because of God’s law to which we are held accountable, but also because we know God himself and his righteousness requirements. Further, we know of Christ’s finished work on the cross of Calvary on our behalf, we acknowledge that we are sinful creatures who are unable to pay the penalty due us apart from the saving work of Christ, and so we come to God without anything in our hands except the sin that made our salvation necessary, and plead Christ’s atoning sacrifice. On this point, I say a hearty “amen”, and am struck by a profound sense of my own poverty before a holy God—something that lies at the heart of Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the Lenten journey.

Oh The Irony

The liturgy of the service was almost completely made up of responses from the congregation; for which there was no paper or guide, and it was at this point where I’m certain those around me noticed that ‘one of these things is not like the other’ as I remained still, not knowing what to do or say for the bulk of the responses (I did try hard to look appropriately contemplative). Apart from the Lord’s Prayer, I had no clue what to say, and no way to participate. Lastly, it wouldn’t have been a Roman Catholic Mass if not for a ceremony replete with the respectful bow or bending of the knee to the crucifix before entering or leaving the stage or the pews (respectively), the Bishop frequently kissing the altar, or signs of the cross being made over various things throughout the service. For me, the contradiction of being saved by grace alone yet frequently performing all of these works was hard to miss.

Repent and Believe the Gospel

When it came time for the imposition of ashes (the tradition that paints an ashen cross on your forehead as the outward sign of beginning this season of repentance), the words “repent, and believe the gospel” are spoken over you. Here—all the Roman Catholic pomp and ceremony aside—I found myself recognising these words straight from the lips of Jesus at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel and found it to be possibly the best exhortation one person could give to another. I returned to my seat with eyes that were pointed to Jesus, considering the words of John Newton that I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour.

Overall, I was grateful for this experience as one that helped to put me into the right frame of mind entering the season of Lent, contemplating Jesus’ journey towards the cross and our great reward because of his great sacrifice. While there is a time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord over the entire created order, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that to be raised to life again, there must first have been death. Surely the reward tastes so much sweeter once we first take time to remember the cost.

Write!

Arguably the thing that writers wish for more than any other (except perhaps a good publishing deal) is a distraction-free environment. It takes time and focus to get ideas out on the table, push them around, change their order or size, and arrange them into a carefully crafted piece of prose that somebody, somewhere might enjoy reading. Thankfully, there are ways to help us get closer to this Ideal Writing Zone; audible distractions can be reduced with noise-cancelling headphones, and visual distractions can be cut out by finding a quiet cubicle at a local college campus or library. But when it comes to technology, we live in a world of push notifications, constant connectivity, and the incessant demands of email, text messages, and social media. Being writers at heart, the creative team behind Write! are perfectly placed to develop a writing app which is clean and encourages focus, while capturing all the features I need in an uncluttered interface.

All the Mod Cons, and a Kitchen Sink

Write! has all the modern conveniences that we’ve come to expect from an app of this kind: full cross-platform, multi-device support; frequent auto-saves to cloud storage, so everything you write is safe and sound; multiple workspaces for different areas of your life, each containing as many tabs as your writing requires; and not only is there a multitude of font and text-formatting options, but everything is tucked away so that literally all you see is your next masterpiece (or the next blog post, if you’re less ambitious, like me) in a borderless user interface.

How I Use Write!

By far my favourite feature is Focus Mode. Activating this feature gives you the option to fade out all surrounding paragraphs except for the one you’re currently working on. I also appreciate the custom right-click drop-down menu containing the font, style, and colour options at a click, and without having to search through toolbars. The other neat thing I’ve come to love is the productivity boost provided by the plethora of shortcuts for text and paragraph formatting which (once you commit a bunch to memory) help to make better use of whatever writing time you have, especially when coupled with autocomplete and the spellchecker for those long or often misspelled words.

Publish to WordPress

As a regular blogger, this feature (added in Jan 2018) was the icing on top of an already impressive-looking cake. For all the features that I’ve come to love; the quick keys, the shortcuts, the unlimited Ctrl+Z (even after I close and reopen the app), the seamless, pain-free integration with my WordPress site is a thing of beauty. Just enter the specifics, and hit publish. There are so many reasons why Write! is the best app I’ve come across for writing of all kinds.

 

 

This post has been sponsored by the creators of Write! via a free license for review. I was not required to write a positive recommendation.
Check out Write! Here

 

For Whom is God “Father”?

God is the Creator of everything. So, logically this makes him the father of all people, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. Recently in my Christian Classics reading group, we’ve been taking a look at Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, found inside his book Discipleship (Fortress Press, 2015). In Matthew 6, Jesus gives his companions a great gift in the form of a prayer; a prayer which contains many great and wonderful lessons that earnest disciples can find regarding how they are to pray, to whom they pray, and what this prayer reveals about who they truly are.

Jesus begins his prayer in Matthew 6:9 with the words “Our Father”. Bonhoeffer observes that by the Holy Spirit, the disciples have been called out of the world and brought into the family of God—the family of which Jesus is a part—and, as brothers and sisters in Christ they can now share with him in calling God their father.

But it has not always been this way, and it is not automatically this way for everyone simply by virtue of being created by the same God. In his 2018 book, The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution Al Mohler writes

…the term “fatherhood of God” has often been used to imply that God is a father to all people, without distinction and without regard for a person’s faith in Christ. Of course, there is a sense in which God is fatherly toward all his creation. But Scripture affirms that we only come to know God as our Father personally when through faith in Christ we are adopted into God’s family.

God is indeed fatherly towards all his creation. However passages in Scripture such as Ephesians 1:4–5, Galatians 4:4–5,  Romans 8:14–15, and others attest to the reality that sonship (and thus our ability to call God Father) is only attained through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, and the acknowledgement of Jesus as Saviour and Lord by those who would come. Scripture is quite clear with the answer to this question, and we would be wise to take heed, lest we make the mistake of the Jews in John 8, who thought they were safely part of the family of God by virtue of their natural heritage. To them Jesus says

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. …Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (John 8:44, 47)

Those who can call God “Father” are not the ones who are his children by virtue of being his creation only, but rather those who entered his family by virtue of adoption through Christ. This wonderful truth of the gospel should give us cause (as Jesus did) to comfort the frightened, but also frighten the comfortable. Once we were his enemies, but for those who have come to acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, through Christ we can call God our Father, and he loves us no less than he loves his own Son.

That’s a Wrap! (10/02)

Jen Hatmaker and the Power of De-Conversion Stories

De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians. And their purpose is to convince them that their crusty, backward, outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent. A person simply shares his testimony of how he once thought like you did but have now seen the light.

Eschatological Discipleship by Trevin Wax

I’m an advocate for making disciples in a way that helps followers of Christ navigate the darkness of our contemporary age. As people who recognise they are living in the kingdom of God, our focus should be on bringing the values of the kingdom that is soon to be established in all its fullness to our world and issues today. Trevin’s new book looks like a valuable contribution to this important discussion.

Counseling and the “Inconsonable Things”

At the close of 2017 and into the new year, I’ve been making more intentional efforts to establish some key relationships with trusted mentors and a spiritual director. There’s only so much growth that I can undergo on my own, and we were made for community. None of us will be perfect until Jesus comes again, but the great gift of his Holy Spirit gives us faith and strength to go into the ring; so we keep fighting the good fight.

Pursue God, Not Pornography

There are some great resources linked here, in what is still one of the most prevalent areas of ongoing sin—for Christian men as much as any other. This quote in particular demonstrates its destructiveness:

I am not being hyperbolic when I call porn use a civilizational calamity. The sexual revolution promised us more sex and more pleasure. It has actually delivered to us a generation of men who think of women as objects to be used and abused for their sexual pleasure. It has not given us men who know what virtue and honor are. It doesn’t teach men to pursue their joy in self-sacrificially loving and being sexually faithful to one woman for life. It teaches young men to use women for sex and then to discard them when they become unwilling or uninteresting. This means that it has given us a generation of young men completely unprepared for marriage and for fatherhood.

Countermoves: A New Podcast from ERLC

I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts that will stimulate, entertain, or grow me in my awareness of the world around me. This new monthly podcast from Andrew Walker (author of God and the Transgender Debate) seeks to provide a Christian review of ideas shaping church and culture, and I’m keen for the first episode any day now. Maybe it’s your thing too.

The Soul-Soothing Rhythm of Sabbath

Biblical Sabbath is a 24 hour period where we stop work, enjoy rest, practice delight, and contemplate God. As my life gets busier I’ve come to realise that while the day of the week doesn’t matter, protecting the rhythm of regular routine does. The benefits are many, and there really aren’t any drawbacks to dedicating time to pause from hurry, unplug from time-consuming technology, and breathe knowing that the world continues to turn without you. But with deadlines to meet, plans to make, small children to care for, limited time for house and yard work, and the effort of preparing for another week, my plans to practice a regular biblical Sabbath can easily be thwarted. Strange as it sounds, I almost found myself needing to be convinced that Sabbath was a good idea. In his book The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Peter Scazzero discusses his weekly Sabbath (he’s chosen 6pm Friday to 6pm Saturday) in terms of these four things:

Stop Work

Step back from answering emails, hold off returning phone calls, avoid social media (especially if it is tied to your work). Don’t give in to the demands of an untidy house that could be cleaned, and resolve not to catch up on unpaid work like paying bills or organising the family budget.

Enjoy Rest

God rested after his 6 day creation work, and we are to adopt the same rhythm. Again, the key is to rest from what you consider paid or unpaid work. There’s intent at play here though, because resting from unpaid work requires careful planning; in order to enjoy a guilt-free Sabbath where you can truly come to a place of peace and rest, there might be some rearranging of the other 6 days in order to get things done in advance. Discipline takes determination, but the rest is its own reward. Free yourself to play sports, have a date night, go to bed early, read something, watch a movie, or enjoy the good company of friends.

Practice Delight

What brings you joy? As Christians, we most of all should know how to enjoy and delight in creation and in God’s good gifts. Perhaps it’s nature. Maybe it’s enjoying good food. Libraries and book stores spark my curiosity and inspire creativity. Think about what you love and work within your means to find ways of doing that which is good for your soul.

Contemplate God

What sets a Biblical Sabbath apart from just taking a day off is that we are not taking time off from God. This is an invitation to let go of lesser things and remember the goodness of God in the midst of our rest. We recognise that these good gifts come from his hand. It doesn’t mean that you spend the entire day in prayer, but it does mean acknowledging God’s goodness as you practice that which is soul-soothing for you; thank him as you enjoy a good meal, or wake from a nap, or survey the view from a mountaintop. God is good, and he is pleased when we acknowledge him as God and give him thanks for every good gift.

Where to from here?

The danger of Sabbath is to get bogged down in the details. Scazzero encourages us to take a step back, remember the purpose of the gift, and re-frame our thinking into one that has the sovereign God at the centre and me as a dependent, loved child. Some wrongly associate Sabbath with legalism. Constantine actually legally mandated a Sabbath. The Talmud (Orthodox Jewish writing) stipulates 39 prohibited activities (considered ‘work’) that must not be performed during this time. But Jesus says something different. We are reminded by him that the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around; we are not slaves to a religious system but rather this 24 hour period was given as a gift to us by a God that knows we require rest. Mental, physical, and emotional peace is found in remembering who God is, and resting in that knowledge.

This practice isn’t essential to your salvation. But neither is reading the bible or prayer—and yet no one would argue the point that you cannot possibly grow as a Christian without these two things. I’m coming to realise that keeping a regular Sabbath is a key spiritual discipline that has much benefit for the believer, and Sabbath is a wonderful vehicle to carry grace from God to us via an intentional time of slowing down and trusting in his sovereignty while the world spins on without us. It takes creativity and commitment to make the leap from simply having a day off to actually having a Biblical Sabbath, and anyone who has tried to do this seriously will tell you that there is planning and the establishment of boundaries needed in order to truly stop, rest, delight, and contemplate God as the loving father who knows exactly what we need.

Sabbath is a good gift, and one that I’ve left unopened for far too long.

Four Thoughts on Lent 2018

Every year as Lent approaches, I encounter mixed opinions in the Christian world regarding this season on the church calendar. Here are a few simple thoughts on why I embrace Lent as a season of anticipating the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and honour him by making space to examine myself as the one in whose place he died.

Lent Reminds Me of Who I Am

John Calvin wrote that true wisdom consists in two things: knowledge of God and knowledge of self. For Calvin, there could be no knowledge of self without first knowing God. Like the rhythm of a regular Sabbath, or unplugging from technology once or twice a year, Lent is an invaluable period in my calendar where time is deliberately carved out to consider that the same God who made me is also the God who came and saved me. My identity is found in Christ, without whom I am a wretched, evil sinner condemned to a just and eternal punishment for my offences to this holy God. During Lent, I drop something of lesser importance, in order to dwell on truths that are of the greatest importance.

Lent isn’t Purely a Catholic (read Not-For-Christians) Practice

For many, Lent is so identified with Roman Catholicism that it’s difficult to imagine an evangelical observance of it. I often hear the question “what did you give up for Lent” met with the quip “Roman Catholicism”. But Lent (like Advent leading up to Christmas) is what we make it, and it is no more exclusively Roman Catholic than Easter itself. Personally, I’ve found great benefit in intentionally practicing something for the days leading up to Easter; and far from wearing the symbol of the ashen cross on my forehead all day on Ash Wednesday, there are many ways in which I can intentionally be reminded of why Christ came to die. After all, he didn’t die purely for the Roman Catholics.

Lent Gives my Family a Framework to Consider the Cross

Also like Advent, Lent allows for Easter to be more than Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. By pausing on the journey towards Easter through reading a Lenten devotional that walks the Passion road towards Calvary, my family and I are reminded of the journey that Jesus walked; the determination that he had, the love that he displayed towards humanity in his every word and deed. It reminds us that before the creation of the world, our loving Father had a plan to rescue us and restore us to relationship with himself. Devotions for Lent are easy to come by, and these brief daily glimpses of gospel celebrate how God’s love and wrath came together for our good and his glory.

Finally, Remember that Lent isn’t a Show

As with everything in the Christian life, the purpose of Lent is to grow into a more mature disciple of Jesus Christ, becoming like him in mind and action. So, when it comes to taking up the practice of sacrificing something (whether it be a particular meal each day, social media, or something else of value that takes much of your time), any practice than creates more space than usual for personal reflection is a good thing. However, the popular counter-argument is this: many Catholics believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God’s blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17). Also, Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly:

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18).

So, when it comes to giving up something, there’s no need to announce it. “Hey everyone, I’m giving up Facebook for Lent”—do that, and you’ve already received your reward in the recognition of man.

Where to from here?

My hope for Lent 2018 is that it would be a time of prayerful introspection; examining the heart, revealing and uprooting sin, and soberly remembering that the only thing that I contributed to my salvation was the sin that made it necessary. Lent is a time of contemplating what it means to be human, who we are in light of God’s saving grace, and how those things lead us inevitably to consider the cross. I pray it would be a gospel-soaked stock take of my life, to help me see what things can be set aside in order to make more room for “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”.

Finally, the attitude behind Lent should in no way be reserved for this short season leading up to Easter; the Christian life is characterised by thinking and acting upon this process continually. But I (and I suspect I’m not alone) appreciate the discipline of a season for focused prayer and penitence, and so I’ll be practicing Lent, and I know I’ll be better for it.

That’s a Wrap (03/02)

Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth

Rosaria Butterfield knows exactly what she’s talking about. Having been converted out of a life of disbelief and lesbianism to a life found in Christ, she writes from a place of deep empathy and experience when she rebuts Jen Hatmaker’s position that you can have your LGBT relationship and Christ too. I agree that the church has a long way to go in order to love the LGBT community well, but what Butterfield says is also true:

The cross symbolizes what it means to die to self. We die so that we can be born again in and through Jesus, by repenting of our sin (even the unchosen ones) and putting our faith in Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation. …And this war doesn’t end until Glory.

10 Things You Should Know about Suffering

Dave Furman has written another book (released 31st Jan, 2018) to help us better see the way God designs and uses trials for our good, encouraging us to embrace the God who is always near, even in our suffering. While you’re waiting for your copy to arrive, here’s 10 things to be informed and encouraged by.

Two Strategies to Win the War on Lust

Many Christians try to solve temptation only by resistance, but that just won’t work in the long run.

 The Dangers of Echo Chamber Leadership

Perhaps like me, you’ve been in rooms where opposing the leadership’s decision isn’t wise if you like your job. In this short post Thom Rainer defines echo chamber leadership, and identifies six key issues that will help avoid going too far down that dangerous road.

Depressed and Thankful: 6 Ways to Find Joy

A melancholy side to my personality makes me prone to see the glass as half empty. I realize that for many individuals, medication is truly necessary. But the weapon that has made the most difference in my life in fighting depression…

Don’t “Share Your Faith”

I’ve always loved John MacArthur’s scalpel-like precision when it comes to penetrating our subjective, post-whatever use of language. MacArthur’s clarification here is more than just an important shift in perspective, but also remarkably liberating for the believer.

It’s Own Proof

I think I would have preferred someone read this to me, so that my eyes could have been spared. But it’s excellent Calvin, nevertheless.