Pastor's Blog

The health of the church depends on the preaching of God’s Word. It depends, in other words, on the proclamation of the Scriptures through the power of the Holy Spirit by preachers who honestly believe that the Bible is the actual words of the one true God.

The Charles Simeon Trust is an organization grounded in that conviction, which exists to train the next generation of expository...

. One of my seminary professors used to call baptism “Jesus’ altar call.” In other words, baptism is the immediate response to the gospel Jesus Himself ordained for His followers. Are you a Christian? Show it by being baptized. If you claim to be a Christian and you’ve not been baptized, you need to ask yourself why. Perhaps one of the reasons is that you don’t really...

How do you build your life?  That’s a question that the writer of Ecclesiastes relentlessly works through as he works through our frustrating experience and our frustrated intuitions.  Our culture has many competing ideas on pursuing the good life.  Some tell you to look inside for your truest, most authentic self, making authenticity outweigh love, wisdom, and self-sacrifice,...

Maintaining the inadvertent theme of long reviews of short books, I’d like to introduce two helpful books:

 The Message of Ecclesiastes, by Derek Kidner, Coming soon to a book table near you.  Per Josh, this is a very high value per pound.  God’s people are usually not tempted to think in an atheistic way, but often in a...

I commend to you a book by a former pastor of mine:  She's Got The Wrong Guy by Deepak Reju.  I’d like to convince you to read and benefit from it, and that you need more than the book.  

  • As a pastor I feel joy that our godly young women love and serve God, but also concern that they could be harmed in a...

One of the delights of being in a rich, high technology culture is that we can readily get excellent books.  These books are being added to the church distributed library, and I would commend them to you.

-          Jesus Made in America by...

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher. “All is vanity!”

It’s the well-known and joyless refrain from Ecclesiastes—the obscure book we’re setting out to study for the next 3 months. Why would anyone ever choose to preach through this gloomy book?

For one thing, this book is part of God’s revelation to us. Since God gave it, we can reasonably assume we need it. The only wise course...

I first wrote this column in May. I believe it’s important enough to rerun frequently. I hope you agree.

“Pastoral work, in large part, deals with the difficulty everyone has in staying alert to the magnificence of salvation.” So says Eugene Peterson (Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work). I believe he’s right.

Do you really know what it means to be “saved”? Read...

It’s an intriguing and enchanting story, that aspect of the nativity where the wise men visit the holy family in Bethlehem. Noble magi. Long journey. Mysterious star. Valuable gifts. From our perspective, it’s an enchanting story.

But from the perspective of the Jerusalem locals, it’s sadly ironic. Foreigners greet the King of the Jews, while His own people overlook Him. Pagans travel...

Getting together with family this Christmas? Here’s a tip:

Don’t be a Satanist.

I’m not joking, and I’m not exaggerating. I guarantee things will go better for everyone if you don’t follow Satan this Christmas. Let me explain…

Satan’s sin was, of course, pride. He was too jealous of God to enjoy heaven, and too full of himself to remain a citizen there. Satan’s theme song isn...

Was Jesus born on December 25? Probably not. The Bible doesn’t specify a date or even a month, but what little evidence we have points to a time for Jesus’ birth sometime in the fall, not the winter.

Nonetheless, Christians have commemorated Jesus’ birth on December 25 for well over 1,000 years. The first recorded “Feast of the Nativity” on December 25 was held in Rome in AD 336. Church...

The word “advent” simply means “coming.” When used in a Christian setting like ours, it refers to the arrival of Jesus Christ in the world.

For the people of God, however, Advent usually has much more to do with waiting than arriving. The four outer candles on the candelabra represent the four centuries of waiting between the end of the Old Testament and the Messiah’s birth. In our own...

C. S. Lewis called pain “God’s megaphone.” As he put it in The Problem of Pain: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.” Among the many sources and types of pain, it’s physical pain in our bodies that shouts more loudly than perhaps anything else. I’ve been reminded of that more this week than usual—not so much in my own case, but in...

What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. (Ps 116:12-14)

I love the pairing of this answer with this question. The psalmist asks: “What can I give God in return for the favor He has shown to me?” Potential answers tumble into...

In the 25+ years I’ve been following Jesus, I’ve come to realize the Christian experience is a sustained tension between daily duties and deeper desires. I long for a deeper experience of God, more love, more power—what our Christian forefathers called “revival.” But my day-to-day Christian walk is usually rather uneventful and drab, composed of simple duties to be done and deliberate choices...

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