Being Open to Closed Doors

Have you ever been so sure that the Lord wanted something or someone for you, some particular way of serving Him, only to find in the end that you and the Lord were apparently not on the same page?  How are we to handle these disappointments, especially as they raise unsettling questions like these:  How could I have been so wrong about God’s will for me?  Did I unknowingly do something to disqualify myself from the blessing I so deeply desired, and if so, how will I ever know?  Or perhaps most painfully: “Now that He’s taken from me what I was certain He was giving to me – what do I do now?”     


Why Joy Increases Through Evangelism

We all struggle with discouragement as Christians. We wonder, “Why I am I not more joyful?” One of the ways joy grows in our lives is through the practice of evangelism. Many people I know say that if they are discouraged, one helpful diagnostic question they ask themselves is “when was the last time I spoke to a person who does not yet believe in Christ about the kingdom of God?” The Lord delights to multiply our joy by calling us into the harvest fields with him. He just does.

The seventy-two that Jesus sent out in Luke 10 experienced this increase in joy first-hand. Their circumstances and calling were not identical to ours, but our gladness will grow similarly as we serve as Jesus’ witnesses in our own settings. Why does joy grow when we proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to those yet apart from Christ?

Joy increases through evangelism because we see the power of God at work. Luke 10:17 records “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’” Jesus said of what he had seen while they were on their mission “I saw Satan falling like lightning […]


Russell Moore Interview of Rosaria Butterfield

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church held their national conference at the end of October on the topic of “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.”  Russell Moore interviewed Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.  You can watch this fascinating interview below.


Left Behind Theology – A Critical Look

A young lady recently asked one of the authors here about the “Left Behind” phenomenon, and specifically the theology undergirding the perspective. She wanted some help understanding the viewpoint. Since we haven’t posted anything on the topic, it seemed good to go ahead and say a few things.

Now to be perfectly transparent, I haven’t read the Left Behind series, nor have I watched the movie. If the reviews over at IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes are any indication, no one in their right mind would consider doling out money to watch the show. One reviewer bemoaned it this way, “I am now relatively certain there is a Hell and it is a darkened theater with no doors showing Left Behind on a loop for eternity.”

Ouch!

But never mind the movie. What about the theology behind it?

While there are many variations and nuanced differences within this particular school of thought, the theological perspective motivating the ideas found in Left Behind originate with a viewpoint known as dispensationalism.

Much could be said about this. In fact, to really get a firm grasp on the position, as well as some of the more recent developments (known as Progressive Dispensationalism), it would require reading book length works. […]


Guardian Angels

When Peter was in prison awaiting his execution that was to take place the next day, we read in Acts 12 that the church conducted an all-night prayer service for him.  God responded, sending an angel to release him from his imprisonment. When Peter showed up at the door of the house where the prayer meeting was taking place and knocked to come in, the servant girl Rhoda was so astonished at his appearance that she left him there and ran to tell the others.  In a rather ironic moment in redemptive history, we are told the very people praying for Peter’s release denied it could be him.  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her (Acts 12:15).

In reading this, we might be tempted to shake our head at their unbelief.  Yet we ought to do so humbly rather than condescendingly if we do.  For what they said next is especially fascinating.  “When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.’” That the early church would rather think it was an angel at the door than Peter himself shows an acute awareness of the spiritual realm that they had which we moderns often lack.  Then, notice the […]


The Kingdom of Donkeys and Pachyderms

This week the United States saw a major shift in the political landscape of the nation. The Democratic blue has faded to Republican red as Republicans celebrate victories in the House, the Senate, and in gubernatorial mansions across the nation.

Does this mean that the nation is becoming more conservative? Maybe. Does it mean that people are tired of the liberal rhetoric of the past six years? It could be. Does it mean that our nation is on its way to seeing hope and change? That may be the case. Does it mean that we find ourselves under the gracious blessings of Jesus Christ?

In that last question stands the warning.

The Reformed Presbyterian Testimony wisely warns: “We deny that simply having a democratic or republican form of government insures God’s approval and blessing (RPT 23.10).”

There is great wisdom in this statement.

Over the past decade the United States of America has moved the furthest away from biblical ethics that it has ever been. Although the pendulum swung right again on Tuesday, the Church of Jesus Christ must not allow that to be seen as a victory for biblical Christianity.

It […]


Praying for Home-Grown Laborers

Instructive words for our own day from B. W. McDonnold’s History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church:

“There is a wonderful difference between the growth of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the two States to which this chapter is devoted. In Indiana there are now (1885) but three presbyteries; in Illinois there are ten. There is one thing indicated both by recent statistics and by this early history which may help to explain the difference. In Illinois from the beginning there was a vigorous struggle to raise up a home supply of preachers. Fast-days were appointed on which all the congregations joined in prayer that God would call and send forth men of his own choosing to preach the gospel. God answered these prayers, as he will do today in all our frontier presbyteries if, instead of clamoring for more preachers to come from the older States, they will ask God to call their own sons into the work.”

Historical note: The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was formed in 1810 by Presbyterians ejected from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. in the Cumberland River valley of Kentucky who loosened the requirements of subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith. In particular, the denomination effectively rejected the reformed […]


Browse Worthy: Challies on How to Get Things Done

Tim Challies is running a helpful series called “How to Get Things Done.”  As I’m finding the need to be more organized and productive in handling the various responsibilities the Lord has given to me, I’m thankful for posts like these that give helpful advice to that end.

Tim says that “productivity depends upon four tools: information tools, scheduling tools, task management tools, and communication tools.”  Here are his first eight columns.  Clearly more columns are yet to follow, but wanted to point you to this help now!

1) Productivity

2) Areas of Responsibility

3) Time, Energy, & Mission

4) Tools

5) Organization & Systems

6) Task Management

7) Information Management

8) Using Your Calendar Effectively


Don’t Drive Like My Brother

I hope you don’t think worse of me, but I’ve never been upset by a celebrity’s death. A movie star wrecks a Porsche? A comedian commits suicide? Doesn’t seem to bother me at all. Not that I’m glad about it or don’t understand why their families are grieving, but I’ve got a lot more hurt a lot closer to home without worrying about someone else’s tragedy.

That’s why I was surprised at my sadness yesterday to find that Tom Magliozzi died.


The Unimaginable Excellencies of Eternity

The last paragraph in C.S. Lewis’ famous children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, contains a thought so heart-shatteringly wonderful, it causes the human mind to shut down… or skip… or erupt in worship soaked adoration.

The children in the story have just learned that they are dead. There was a railway accident. Aslan is with them though, and that is all they really want. With words of comfort, the Lion tells them, “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

C.S. Lewis then concludes by writing the following,

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on […]