Three Tips on Being a Friend of Sinners

Jonathan Parnell
Three Tips on Being a Friend of Sinners

Jesus was accused of being a friend of sinners. That was the word on the street in first-century Palestine.

The precise phrase — “friend of sinners” — is mentioned twice in the Gospels, in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34. The naysayers of the day, the religious aristocracy, criticized Jesus as a “glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”

They called him this because it was true. He was a friend of sinners. Jesus himself said that he didn’t come for... Continue Reading

‘Divergent’ Lesson in Human Depravity

David Mathis
‘Divergent’ Lesson in Human Depravity

It’s rare to find a major motion picture that paints humanity, as a whole, to be this bad.

Not only was it human evil that nearly destroyed the world in some great war, but now it is human depravity that threatens to undo it all again. They sought to guard against this very thing when they divided society into five factions: Abnegation to counter selfishness, Erudite to stand against ignorance, Amity against aggression, Candor against duplicity, and Dauntless against... Continue Reading

How to Get Your Mind Back on Track

Jon Bloom
How to Get Your Mind Back on Track

How are you feeling? What’s on your mind?

These are very important questions, not just polite conversation starters. They’re questions we should ask ourselves (and others) frequently because they tell us what direction our train is heading.

Our Train of Thought

The train of the mind is linked together like this: the car of our thoughts is hitched to the car of our emotions, which is hitched to the car of our hope, which is hitched to the engine of our trust.

Here’s how the... Continue Reading

The Wintry Soul: Four Lessons from Suffering

Jason DeRouchie
The Wintry Soul: Four Lessons from Suffering

Seasons of suffering in life are as sure as March snow flurries in Minnesota. And such climate shifts test trust, materialize maturity, and make us long for spring.

In the not so distant past, God let a blizzard of pain hit my home that drained our fuel and tried our faith. While the season of deep sorrow covered months, not years, the grief was real and the scars permanent. The suffering was part of our journey of adoption –– with one child lost, declared... Continue Reading

Ten Thousand Things We Can’t See

Jonathan Parnell
Ten Thousand Things We Can’t See

“The nearness of God is my good,” says the psalmist.

Though the wicked prosper, though evil carries on, though the circumstances of God’s people are bleak, everything makes sense in God’s presence (Psalm 73:17). There the embittered soul is revived. The beastly attitude is tamed. “Nevertheless,” the psalm goes, “I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me into glory” (Psalm 73:23–24).

From start to... Continue Reading

The New Calvinism and the New Community

John Piper
The New Calvinism and the New Community

Last week I gave the “Gaffin Lecture on Theology, Culture, and Mission” at Westminster Seminary. This was a high honor because of the esteem I have both for Richard Gaffin and the school. Gaffin’s book, By Faith, Not By Sight, which just appeared in a new edition, came at a time when I needed help and encouragement in dealing with the New Perspective on Paul.

The topic I chose to address was “The New Calvinism and the New Community: The Doctrines of Grace and the... Continue Reading

Can God Really Be Happy?

Marshall Segal
Can God Really Be Happy?

Do you think of God as mainly happy or mad?

How you think about God will effect how you relate to him. If he’s mainly disappointed, you’ll avoid him because of shame and insecurity. If he’s too busy, you won’t want to bother him. If he’s angry, you’ll stay away because of fear. But what would happen in your life if you knew, truly knew, that God is profoundly happy?

John Piper believes God must be happy. In Desiring God, he writes,

If God is not a happy God, Christian Hedonism has no... Continue Reading

Women, Work, and Our Crisis of Identity

Carolyn McCulley
Women, Work, and Our Crisis of Identity

Several years ago, I spoke to a friend at a church event who had been influential as a lawyer for the cause and practice of religious freedom. She had been single for many years, but now was recently married and a first-time mother. As we caught up with each other, she confessed that her transition from being a lawyer to being a stay-at-home mother with an infant was a lot harder than she anticipated.

“As much as I love being married and a mom after all these years... Continue Reading

Lesbian Sex, HIV, Esau, and Christ

John Piper
Lesbian Sex, HIV, Esau, and Christ

It was a vexing, soul-stirring, Sunday morning.

First came my devotions, flaming with the words of Jesus on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Second was a New York Times article about the transmission of HIV through lesbian sexual relations. Third came a powerful sermon, from the pastor at the church we’ve been attending, about Esau from Hebrews 12:12–17.

Here’s how they relate — and vex and stir — in reverse order.

The Insanity of Sin

Esau... Continue Reading

Extraordinary Help for Gospel Productivity

Jon Bloom
Extraordinary Help for Gospel Productivity

Does God care about how productive we are? He does. Deeply. Consider:

  • Our fruitfulness reflects on Jesus: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).

  • We are to live purposefully and manage our time: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16).

  • We are not to let the less important tasks crowd out the more... Continue Reading