May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)
Strength is the right word. The apostle Paul prayed for the church at Colossae, that they would be “strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11). Patience is the evidence of an inner strength.
Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports — like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts. Their outbursts of oaths and threats and harsh criticisms of the culprits who crossed their plans do not sound weak. But that noise is all a camo…
I read the Bible at the dinner table last night.
One of our daughters was laid out horizontally across her chair. Our son was crying, reaching for me to pick him up. And then our other daughter was doodling letters on the table with her sauce-glossed finger.
So I helped with that, and then I read. Galatians 3:26 says, simply, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Within a minute, I gave a short explanation, prayed, and closed with a hearty amen.
But before we transitioned to busing the table, our three-year-old spoke up. She claimed it was her turn to share and so, without reservation, I slid her the Bible and leaned in with full attention. She opened to some rando…
Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. He knew his mission.
The evangelist Luke captures Jesus’s relentless journey by telling us that “he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Nothing would deter him.
In their new book, Why Cities Matter, Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard discuss this significance of Jesus coming into the city of Jerusalem. Cities, they explain, play a key role throughout the biblical storyline. The end-time vision of the new world is focused on a city, the new Jerusalem. This is at the heart of our hope in the Book of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:22). And as Um and Buzzard contend, the only reason this lasting city can be our hopeful end is be…
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find an example of what we would call a “healthy family” in the Bible? It’s a lot easier to find families with a lot of sin and a lot of pain than to find families with a lot of harmony. For example, here’s just a sampling from Genesis:
- The first recorded husband and wife calamitously disobey God (Genesis 3).
Their firstborn commits fratricide (Genesis 4:8).
Sarah’s grief over infertility moves her to give her servant, Hagar, to Abraham as a concubine to bear a surrogate child (Genesis 16). When it happens, Sarah abuses Hagar in jealous anger. Abraham is passive in the whole affair.
Lot, reluctant to leave sexually perverse Sodom, his home, has to be …
It’s a beautiful thing when a single sentence reorients a soul for good. When one proposition proves potent enough to be life-changing for the better. Especially when it’s a short one.
For me, it was the spring of 2000 — perhaps you have your own story about being rocked by this shorty from Lewis. An older student, who was leading a Bible study on my freshman hall, picked Desiring God as our semester focus. I emphatically did not enjoy reading and had made my way through high school and my first year of college leaning heavily on Cliff’s Notes.
It was only a few pages into the book — if it hadn’t been near the front, I may never have found it — when John Piper uncorked this revolutionary l…
Monday night, in the wake of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma, John Piper posted two tweets at 11:00pm (CST). Both tweets quoted the first chapter of Job. He first cited Job 1:19, and then Job 1:20, and they were posted together consecutively:
- @JohnPiper: “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.” Job 1:19
- @JohnPiper: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.” Job 1:20
Later he decided to take down both tweets.
Many of you may be unaware these tweets appeared online, but some have made what we think is unfair criticism based on misinformation worth briefly addr…
How does the Bible hold together into a single, cohesive story?
It’s an important (and intimidating) question reserved for the discipline of biblical theology, an angle of scholarship that focuses on sections of Scripture, sometimes the whole of the Bible, to show how the texts fits together within the unfolding drama of redemption and consummation in Jesus Christ.
Edmund Clowney, the noteworthy theologian and preacher who passed away in 2005, said the lessons most easily transferable from seminary life to pulpit ministry was what he learned in biblical theology. There seems to be a direct line between advances in careful biblical theology and robust preaching and discipleship.
If you’re struggling with legalism, don’t fight it by quitting your quiet times. That’s the good advice I remember once hearing from a pastor.
In other words, there’s a temptation to presumably fight legalism by running away from good things, whether Bible reading or acts of love, because we mistake them to be part of the problem.
We women are susceptible to this temptation. We are bombarded with choices. Between schooling options, birthing styles, what we should wear, and even what we should or shouldn’t eat, it is easy to confuse principle and practice. A confusion can set in on whether we are really living for God’s glory, or if we’re shackled to legalism. But I think where the confusio…
In light of various tragedies in the news, I asked Pastor John a few weeks ago how he personally reconciles what appears to be two conflicting responses when public tragedy occurs: (1) his compassion towards those who suffer and (2) his conviction that Scripture ascribes to God the final control over all calamities and disasters wrought by both nature and man (see Exodus 4:11, Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6–7, Ecclesiastes 7:13–14, Isaiah 45:5–7, Lamentations 3:37–38, Amos 3:6, Psalm 135:6–7, Job 1:19–21, 42:11).
How a church responds to disaster will be much more complex, especially if a church is located close to a tragedy, a complexity he outlines in a 21-point chapter for pastors, “Br…
Significant Christian push-back was unleashed in recent months by Kathryn Joyce’s criticism of the abuses in evangelical adoption efforts: The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.
As I pondered how to respond to the criticisms of adoption, it seemed best that I try to formulate constructive commitments rather than reactive complaints. I’m not in a position to know the extent of the abuses. I’m not claiming they don’t exist. But I do know some of the key voices in the evangeli…