Fighting the Tyranny of Ministry Success

Ben Stuart

What is the most loving thing God can do for a 22-year-old minister?

In my case, it was ordaining that my inaugural, epic, game-changing, well-publicized ministry event be attended by one kid.

One single human being. A junior high boy named Austin.

Feed His One Sheep

My honest reaction as I sat there and looked into the face of this young man was one of resentment. I wanted, needed, and even expected God to give me a far more successful…

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Loving Muslims, While Rejecting Islam

David Mathis

Only one major world religion has a built-in apologetic against Christianity: Islam.

“While I profoundly disagree with Islam,” says Zane Pratt, dean of missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, “I love Muslims.”

For 20 years, Pratt lived and ministered the Christian gospel among Muslims in Central Asia. He knows the religion well and is one of the foremost evangelical teachers on Islam. And perhaps the first thing he’d say to Christians about Muslims is, “Don’t be afraid.”

“We Fundamentally Disagree

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The Genius of C.S. Lewis

Jonathan Parnell

You’d probably recognize his voice. Max McLean has narrated the Bible five times, as well as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and several other pieces of Christian literature. But his most celebrated work is a theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s famous novel, The Screwtape Letters. This critically acclaimed production is currently on national tour, playing in over fifty major cities and performing arts venues, including recently in Minneapolis.

While Max McLean was in town, we had the chance to ask…

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Lay Aside the Weight of Sluggishness

Jon Bloom

*“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11–12)*

Sluggishness in a runner signals danger to a coach. Something isn’t right. Something is causing ambivalence, draining confidence. The runner is losing heart. Half-hearted running is a forerunner to quitting.

That’s when a caring coach intervenes.…

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Not Your Ordinary Exposition

Josh Etter

John Piper writes in the foreword to Jon Bloom’s new book Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith,

These meditations are not your ordinary exposition. These are stories. Really good stories. They are rooted in what the Bible says. The creative additions never go beyond what really could have happened. The truths that Jon sees for our lives are based not on what might have been but on what was. The might-have-beens give…

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Gospel Stability for a Life in Spin Cycle

Gloria Furman

Around the time our first child was born it felt like the physics of my well-ordered life had been tossed into a salad spinner. The centrifugal force of my circumstances made me feel out of control in my day-to-day work, and my heart quickly followed suit.

In the midst of finishing grad school, getting ready for a move overseas, and learning to take care of a newborn, I found ready answers and wisdom to managing my chaotic home life. But…

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When the Not-Yet Married Meet: Dating to Display Jesus

Marshall Segal

Dating is dead.

So says the media. Girls, stop expecting guys to make any formal attempt at winning your affections. Don’t sit around waiting for a boy to make you a priority, communicate his intentions, or even call you on the phone. Exclusivity and intentionality are ancient rituals, things of the past, and misplaced hopes.

I beg to differ. It’s not that this new line of thinking is necessarily untrue today, or that it’s not the current and corrupt trend…

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When the Christian Life Becomes Impossible

Jonathan Parnell

“Christian Hedonism is a liberating and devastating doctrine,” John Piper writes.

It teaches that the value of God shines more brightly in the soul that finds deepest satisfaction in him. Therefore it is liberating because it endorses our inborn desire for joy. And it is devastating because it reveals that no one desires God with the passion he demands. Paradoxically, many people experience both of these truths. That certainly is my own experience.

So begins his book When I Don’t

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Singing to Silence the Enemy

John Knight

Two weeks ago I took an oath, “so help me God,” in a courtroom where two lawyers asked me questions about my son with multiple disabilities. At the conclusion of their questions, the judge determined that my son did not have the capacity to take care of himself as an adult and that my wife and I would be named his legal guardians, making all decisions about his life and finances for him.

It took about ten minutes. The severity…

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Live Bold

Jonathan Parnell

To live Christianly in a culture of confusion is to live boldly.

There is some explaining to do here. On one hand, the above sentence is simple and agreeable at face-value. On the other hand, there’s a sense in which it will resonate with certain personalities while alienating others. Does our culture really need Christians to live bold? What does that even mean?

The answer hangs on our understanding of “bold.” And if we’d learn from the Book of Acts,…

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