If You Are Sad This Thanksgiving

Though Thanksgiving Day will be filled with joy and happy memories for many, for others the holidays can remind them of loss and tragedy. Such is the case for the family of Amanda Blackburn, the young pastor’s wife murdered in her home two weeks ago.

Below is her father, Phil Byars, being interviewed by Indianapolis reporter Scott Swain. Though you can see the grief, pain, and struggle on his face and hear it in his words and voice, you also see and hear the real ministry of Jesus to him at this time. Listen especially to how he answers the question about how his family will spend Thanksgiving. Then take a little time to pray, call, invite over, or visit someone who may be struggling with pain today.

Also, for those who may be wondering how someone can forgive such things, here is a prayer from Martin Luther on the petition regarding forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. You can see in Mr. Byars that he is learning to pray just like this.

O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no man living is justified before thee. Do not count it against us as a sin that we are […]

Growing In Jesus on Thanksgiving Day

The Lord, through the Apostle Paul, teaches us that that thanksgiving is the mark of a mature Christian: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).

So then, how should our cultural Thanksgiving holiday develop maturity in us and the corresponding gratitude of heart? We know that making a mere statement of thanksgiving – whether as a Tweet, Facebook post, or at the Thanksgiving Day table – does not equate to maturity. Rather, biblical thanksgiving flows as we grow and develop by recognizing the many sorrows and joys, gains and losses, defeats and victories of life and still praise the Lord through them.

It’s a great thing to simply rejoice in the obvious expressions of God’s love for us. But it’s been a really hard year for many people. So, on this Thanksgiving Day, perhaps it is also good to begin by thinking about the various low points in our lives over the last year or even at present, to meditate deeply on ways in which the Lord has shown himself faithful, and then to see his […]

What is a Nation? Why does it Matter?

Those interested in the Syrian refugee immigration situation, the role of civil government, and the Protestant concept of nations will be fascinated by this presentation by Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi of India. When Christian thinkers in the East labor to articulate what their nations should be and become, they force Westerners to look more objectively at their own views of God and the world than they otherwise would.

Dr. Mangalwadi was introduced to me by an Indian brother in ministry who loves to find original thinkers in his native culture. Mangalwadi is one such original thinker. Christianity Today has dubbed him “India’s foremost Christian Intellectual.” He has profoundly influenced Indian Christian thought over the last four decades as a Christian philosopher as a teacher and author of more than a dozen books. This disciple of Francis Schaeffer boldly asserts many unpopular truths in the public square. Some have said it is remarkable that he is still alive given his boldness to speak against Hinduism in South Asia.

In this video, Mangalwadi spoke last year to an audience assembled by the Asia Biblical Theological Seminary and Delhi Bible Fellowship in New Delhi, India.  In the first half of the lecture, he postulates that the […]

Mole Patrol

In cleaning out the tool shed upon moving into our home two years ago, I almost tossed out the funny looking, conical-shaped container of half-used mole poison left behind by the previous owner.  Yet instead of seeing the yellow bottle as potential trash, I should have seen it as a prophetical forewarning of battles yet to come.

For though there was no sign of them in my lawn last year, the end of this summer and early fall changed all that. The attack started simply enough. I noticed a few raised areas on the edge of my property. Thinking little of it, I stamped them down and walked away with a smug “that’ll show them” attitude. I shake my head now thinking of how inexperienced at war I was!

For before I knew what had happened, their boots in the ground campaign turned my yard into what looks like someone’s idea of an upside down battlefield. Trenches pushing earth upward hiding the soldiers. Mounds of earth every few feet in certain areas forming upside down craters, as if small bombs had exploded underground. Supply lines of tasty grubs below fueling the troops onward. Exhausting my leftover bottle of poison in one area only to have […]

In Appreciation of C.S. Lewis

Yesterday was the fifty-second anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis. Though his death was eclipsed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the same day, his legacy has endured. While half a century has passed, in the minds of many he remains one of the most successful and influential Christian thinkers of the twentieth century. Personally, I am very thankful for the man and his writings. That may sound strange to some. After all, I have my differences. I’m Presbyterian and he was Anglican. I’m a Calvinist, he wasn’t. I think Christ’s atonement is central, in his impatience he was ambiguous. I believe in the full authority of the Bible, he did not. But despite these and other differences—which are significant—his writings have had a profound effect on me.

C.S. Lewis taught me that Christianity doesn’t have to be mindless. I grew up in the heart of broad-evangelicalism. It was the kind, you might say, that didn’t encourage serious reflection and thought. To put it candidly it was a fairly brainless Christianity. That changed when I first encountered the mind of Lewis in Mere Christianity. Though I’ve moved beyond that book in many ways, it was there I first […]

Pray for Muslims

French bombs falling on ISIS strongholds and command centres.

The British Prime Minister preparing the case to Parliament for British air strikes against ISIS.

Facebook profile pictures with the French flag superimposed on top of them.

Wembley stadium lit up with blue, white and red and the words ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’ above the entrance, while English football fans sang the words of La Marseillaise at Tuesday night’s England-France soccer match, the teams linked arm-in-arm.

Spontaneous displays of respect in schools and workplaces across Europe as people observe a minute of silence for those slaughtered in the terrorist attacks.

In hundreds of ways, big and small, the world is reeling and responding to the unspeakably callous evil of the ISIS gunmen and bombers who, in the words of Psalm 10 ‘sat in ambush in the villages; in hiding places [they] murdered the innocent. [Their] eyes stealthily watched for the helpless; [they] lurked in ambush like a lion in his thicket… The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.’ (vv8-10).

What should our response be as Christians – to this and the ongoing ISIS atrocities throughout the Middle East? Several articles on this blog or linked to it in the last week have given helpful and biblical counsel […]

Browse Worthy: Immigration

Jared pointed out some good reading about refugees yesterday. As the ISIS attacks and immigration issues call the church to exercise great wisdom, several other articles listed below are quite helpful as well.

GenRef Gent Rutledge Etheridge shared some wisdom on Facebook yesterday that we would all do well to heed. Practicing being “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” will be especially important in these difficult and complex days ahead.

Sad to see so many oversimplifications, stereotypes and straw men at play in Facebook posts regarding the Syrian refugee crisis. Especially sad to see all of the above among Christians, all sides seeming to imply that to disagree with their simplistically stated opinion is to deny the generous gospel of Jesus. Perhaps it’d be best, especially in this medium, to acknowledge the extraordinary complexity of the situation (What are the government’s responsibilities in tandem with or in distinction from the church’s responsibilities in these matters? How do we apply the positive implications of the sixth commandment while being willing to die for the sake of the gospel? In proclaiming and living out the gospel, how are we in this situation to apply practically Jesus’s admonition to be wise […]

Good Reading About Refugees

As the debate around refugees continues to grow, both in popularity and intensity of tone, here are some helpful articles to aid us in understanding these difficult and complex things.

First, here is Trevin Wax’s call in the Washington Post to not allow fear to drive out compassion. But be sure to read Kevin DeYoung’s more measured response, where he reminds us that wisdom and compassion don’t have to be competitive in the end. 

A Few Audio Picks

Atheist, Peter Atkins, was in fine form in the latest episode of Unbelievable (Has Science Explained Away God?). No. Seriously. Continual face palm. I haven’t seen this level of obtuse blindness in quite some time. For that reason alone, I would direct listeners to the discussion. Just think of the term enmity.

James White shared a good word last week on the subject of majoring on the majors and minoring on the minors in the church. A good reminder.

While Brian Rosner doesn’t come at the question of the Law from a distinctly (classically, one might say) Reformed perspective, his lectures are thought-provoking and scholarly. The advanced listener who enjoys the subject of Paul and the Law will want to give it a go.

There are five lectures in total. The first can be found here. Here is a search for the rest.