When Laughter Is An Act of Defiance

Joe Rigney
When Laughter Is An Act of Defiance

When you finally get the news, you hope you’ll be ready. You never know until the moment arrives, until you’re finally confronted with the long-awaited reality.

A few weeks ago, my mom called to tell me that my father’s long fight with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s was coming to an end. Seven years of fading memories, of weight loss, of slow death. Seven years of decline, then plateau, then sharp decline again. Seven years of stooping shoulders, trembling hands,... Continue Reading

Let Us Adore Him

David Mathis
Let Us Adore Him

Advent is not just about acknowledging Jesus, but adoring him. Christmas is not first about witness, but about worship. So, come, all ye faithful. Come, joyful and triumphant. Let us adore our Christ.

But beware your standard of who can come in worship. At Jesus’s own birth, it wasn’t the squeaky-clean, religious elites of biblical faith who bowed the knee in worship. Rather, they bowed their back, and it was the dirty pagans who streamed in to adore him.

All Ye Faithful

We need look no... Continue Reading

God Will Fulfill His Purpose for You

Jonathan Parnell
God Will Fulfill His Purpose for You

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

This is the straightforward truth that David clings to in Psalm 57:2.

Here he states two basic facts: God has a purpose for him and God will fulfill that purpose. Both these truths combine to become that deep and wondrous theological concept we call “providence.” The word was much more common centuries ago than it is today, though its relevancy has never waned. Its meaning captures God’s relationship to... Continue Reading

Rethinking Santa

Tony Reinke

With Christmas quickly approaching, several Ask Pastor John podcast listeners filled the mailbag with Santa-related questions. Corbin, a listener from Gainesville, Georgia, asked: “Pastor John, should parents allow their children to believe Santa Claus is bringing them gifts on Christmas?”

Here’s how Pastor John responded (six-minute audio):

What follows is a transcript of the salient portions from Pastor John’s response.

The salvation of sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus is... Continue Reading

Making Christmas Melancholy Point Hopeward

Jon Bloom
Making Christmas Melancholy Point Hopeward

Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling melancholic. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we sit in the messy aftermath watching the taillights and music of another Christmas fade into the distance.

Christmas Melancholy

Such melancholy is common — known as “Christmas let-down.” Everyone feels sad for different reasons. Younger children are sad that the excitement is over and next... Continue Reading

Stockpiling Weapons Through Bible Memorization

Bryan DeWire
Stockpiling Weapons Through Bible Memorization

Besides the Bible, When I Don’t Desire God is the most life-changing book I’ve read. I use “life-changing” carefully and intentionally. It has changed the way I go about my day-to-day life more than any other book written by men.

As I read this book, I desperately wanted my life to radiate with joy in God. And as Jesus told his disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). So, the joy of... Continue Reading

Newtown, and a Thousand Losses, One Year Later

John Piper
Newtown, and a Thousand Losses, One Year Later

Last year on December 14, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, twenty first-graders and six educators were killed by Adam Lanza, who then shot himself. This Saturday marks one year.

Most of these wounds are still open. Even where the gaping gash is closed, the surrounding flesh is so tender that the slightest bump brings tears. And in this, these empty arms represent millions.

For many of us, the wounds stay tender to the end of life. My mother... Continue Reading

Five Steps for Relating to Theological Liberals

Dave Abernethy
Five Steps for Relating to Theological Liberals

1. The desire for the Christian faith to be free from the word of God in mood, methods, morals, or message.

For many of us happily immersed in the world of conservative evangelicalism, liberalism is a highly suspect word. Strictly speaking, though, liberalism (the desire for freedom or liberation) is amoral. That is, the morality of freedom is entirely contingent upon the subject from whom we desire to be liberated.

To be free from sin, from... Continue Reading

Is There a Point to the Last Minutes of Suffering Before Death?

John Piper
Is There a Point to the Last Minutes of Suffering Before Death?

I’m still thinking about Ronnie Smith’s death in Libya, followed by Christians and the mainstream media alike.

Two days before he died, my mind turned, at it so often does, to the reasons for suffering. This time the thoughts were triggered by the difference between suffering that refines in this life and suffering that leads to death.

Suffering That Refines

Often, when counseling people who are walking through suffering, I lean on Bible passages... Continue Reading

As Cool As the Other Side of a Calvinist

Marshall Segal

If you know Calvinists, you probably know some bad ones. The stereotypes aren’t fair, but they don’t come out of nowhere. Calvinists are “cold,” “heady,” and “condescending.” They think they have it all figured out and everyone else is blind, slow, or stubborn. They’re so lost in their books, they’re not interested in the needs around them. And they’ve somehow misplaced Christ, but are quite content to follow John Calvin. Unfair, but not uncommon enough either.

But... Continue Reading