I’ve always been a bit fascinated with fear. When I was little, when the mildest frights could send me running, I still looked forward to October and to Halloween, the decorations, the costumes, and the spooky movies on the Disney channel each captivating my interest. In literature, I loved reading Edgar Allan Poe with his mastery of the macabre. Even in Batman cartoons and video games, I found myself enjoying the stories with Scarecrow more than the stories with many of the other villains. Fear, in a way, has been a lifelong interest. Continue reading
Matt Chandler, a pastor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, once imitated Mark Driscoll, another pastor, to illustrate Paul’s charge to Timothy to “fulfill your ministry” in 2 Timothy 4:5. In the video, Chandler shows that simply copying a popular pastor’s style of teaching will not make one’s preaching powerful. Instead, each one must do as the verse says and fulfill his own ministry, carrying out the work God assigned him to do. Though short, the video stuck with me, reminding me to fulfill the ministry to which God has called me and to avoid unwise comparison and copying in the work. Continue reading
In high school and college, I saw a number of people set boundaries on their lives for the sake of holiness and purity. Friends of mine would declare a “Facebook fast” and would deactivate their accounts for months at a time, citing their need to strengthen a relationship with God as the motivation to abstain. Other friends would declare a year of singleness, determining not to date for twelve months in order to refocus on the Lord. Others set boundaries on existing relationships (“we will not be alone in a bedroom together”; “we will not hang out past 11:00 pm unless others are present”; “we will not kiss until marriage”). At the outset, hopes were high for the excited individuals, each one intent on drawing nearer to God. But not every promise produced the desired result, and not every pledge proved effective.
When I read verses like Philippians 3:17 (“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”) or 1 Corinthians 11:1 (“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”), I think of John Piper. Piper has consistently been an encouragement and a challenge to me, from first encountering his work when I was a high school student to seeing him preach last month at a missions conference. No matter how many authors I read, and no matter how many preachers I hear, I still hold John Piper in the highest regard. Today, I simply want to express my thankfulness for his ministry by highlighting a few things that have deeply influenced me in my walk with the Lord.
Do you ever try to form a phrase out of license plate letters?
I don’t typically rush to theaters to watch horror movies, but when I have gone to see the latest in scary cinema, I’ve found the times to be memorable. Continue reading
Marriage is a journey. I had the privilege of watching two dear friends begin that journey on Saturday, and I loved seeing their excitement for the road ahead. As they exchanged their vows and reflected on how God had so perfectly led them together, I saw yet another picture of God’s love for us. The simplicity and humility shown was beautiful, and it pointed to the pure example of Christ, who died for his enemies to make them adopted children of God.
As new marriages are beginning, others I know are marking the first of many anniversaries, allowing me to see couples in a various number of early stages. Not surprisingly, I’m learning a lot by watching those facing the challenges that time brings. Today, I wanted to continue adding to a post I wrote in June. I pray God will encourage and challenge you through these observations. Continue reading
Every season, the three teams that finish last in the Barclays Premier League get relegated to the Championship, meaning they lose their place in the top twenty teams of the BPL. This makes for a really intense football season, because even the best teams can quickly drop into the relegation zone. The danger is real, making the football season a fight for survival for some of the lower teams. Those slots can be filled with teams from lower divisions, but a team has to fight to earn a place in the elite twenty BPL teams. This system makes for some great football. But it’s a horrible system for theology.
Has Batman ever reminded you of Jesus? That may be a bit of a longshot, I admit. But I think the question is worth asking. Continue reading
Shortly after I started leading Bible studies, I grew a strange desire to buy a sword. I knew of a little shop in a mall about an hour away from the university that sold all manner of blades, so, one day, when I had sufficient funds, I made the trek and purchased an epic battle sword. Sadly, it wasn’t sharpened (which is probably for the best), but it still fit the bill: full scale, heavy metal, and awesome. Between this and another sword I was given in college, I felt much more prepared for war, though I wasn’t swinging either blade against the enemy.