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Bring Back Foxe’s

There’s nothing like reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs as a teenager. Want an easy life? Foxe’s will cure you of that expectation. Beginning with Stephen, and continuing for some 2,500 pages, you will learn that following Jesus will may include suffering or worse. The descriptions are stark. The pictures are worse. Historian Douglass Campbell writes, “Those who could read for themselves learned the full details of all the atrocities performed on the Protestant reformers; the illiterate could ...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, Jesus, Christ, Stephen, Timothy, PAUL, Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon, Christian Living, Sabina Wurmbrand, Paul Philippians, Foxe, Douglass Campbell, Voice of the Martyrs Christians


The Death of Porn

The Death of Porn is unlike any other book I’ve read. First, it’s a very personal book — a series of letters — written by Ray Ortlund. If you don’t know Ortlund, read this article about him, watch one of his sermons, or check out his podcast for pastors. If you’re looking for a cold, dispassionate book, look elsewhere. Ortlund begins this book with a personal letter to the reader. It’s a book characterized by warmth, intensity, and hope. That hope also sets this book apart. You’d e...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Book Reviews, Jesus, Ray, Martyn Lloyd Jones, Ray Ortlund, Christian Living, Ortlund


Knowing and Enjoying God

I’m a fan of habits. Because we live a good part of our lives by habit, it’s important that we build habits that help us pursue God. I agree with David Mathis: Your perseverance, under God, is in your habits. Heaven and hell hangs on habits. Show me a man’s habits, and you’ll give me a glimpse into his very soul. The habits you develop and sustain today will affect whether you persevere till the end or make shipwreck of the faith.Simply put, your habits are one of the most important things ab...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Book Reviews, God, Christ Jesus, Tim Challies, Challies, Christian Living, David Mathis, Jen Pollock Michel, Goblin, Jules Goblin


Go Narrow, Go Deep

Suggestion: Since the Bible is probably too big a book for us to master it all in one lifetime, in addition to many annual read-throughs, choose one OT book and one NT and spend the rest of your life drilling down really deep there. Mine: Isaiah, Romans. Both are addictive.— Ray Ortlund (@rayortlund) August 24, 2018 Pick a book from the Hebrew Scriptures, and pick a book from the New Testament. If you want to go even narrower, pick a passage: the Servant Songs of Isaiah, the Sermon on th...
Tags: Featured, Life, PAUL, Mount, Ray Ortlund, Isaiah, Christian Living, Pastoring


The Great Stores of God’s Provision

I recently read an account of one of the world’s most dangerous and demanding races. Over the course of a week, participants must run nearly 300 kilometers over scorching desert terrain. Once they set out, they are expected to remain mostly independent and to follow a track that has been staked across flatlands and dunes, dry river beds and infrequent oases. To ensure participants have the provisions they need, the race organizers leave stores of food, water, and medical suppl...
Tags: Articles, Blogging, Jesus Christ, PAUL, Christ Jesus, Perseverance, Christian Living


We Must, We Can, Bloom for Him

F ar down a desert road, far from the swarms of people crowding Bryce and Zion and the other big attractions, far from just about anything and anyone else, we pulled over and got out. Beneath us was parched ground, above us a vicious sky, before us a towering cactus. And there, under the dark clouds, there against the stark desert, there before the sharp thorns, we gazed at the bright beauty of gentle, precious flowers. We saw flowers in the desert that told of the might of t...
Tags: Articles, Blogging, Zion, Bryce, Christian Living


Why I Wrote 8 Habits for Growth

My first book, How to Grow, was written primarily for individuals who want to grow in their walk with God. I know some churches used it, but my sense is that most readers picked it up and read it on their own. 8 Habits for Growth is different. You can buy it and read it alone, but my deepest desire is that churches use it as a discipleship tool to help their people build discipling relationships within the church. In the book, I write: A good way to use this book is to work through it b...
Tags: Books, Featured, Life, Moody, Char, Christian Living, Moody Publishers, Patrick Schreiner


Why Start With Rest?

Five years ago, I began to work with my wife on a disciple-making plan for our church plant. We were reaching people who’d never practiced spiritual disciplines before, and I wanted to think about how to lead them to build the essential habits of the Christian life into their lives. We started with a surprising habit: rest. Technically, it’s the second habit, following one that talks about making time. We started with making time to build habits and then resting for a practical reason and ...
Tags: Books, Featured, Life, Israel, Jesus, Adam, Sabbath, Christian Living, Christopher Ash


The Psalm 1 Life

If I aspire to anything, it’s to live a Psalm 1 life. Psalm 1 captivates me. It pictures two ways of life. There are only two ways, after all. We think there are more, but the choice before us is binary. One is to listen to all the wrong voices, to be shaped by views of life that seem to make a sense of a lot of people. It’s to allow ourselves to be influenced by the zeitgeist, to be consumed with a constant diet of posts and media that drag us, slowly and imperceptibly, away from God. ...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, Christian Living


More Than a Battle

According to Christianity Today, sexual ethics among Christians are changing. “Evangelicals, especially those under 40, increasingly see cohabitation as morally acceptable. Most young evangelicals have engaged in it or expect to.” Not only that, but many younger evangelicals seem to be adopting progressive views of sexuality. Purity culture and the Billy Graham rule are out. Determining your own sexual boundaries is in. Opportunities for sexual sin are everywhere. That’s why I’m gr...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Book Reviews, Billy Graham, Christianity Today, Christian Living, Joe Rigney, Rigney


Help Others Build Onramps for Spiritual Habits

We should all be concerned. It’s important for every believer to read Scripture regularly and well, to allow God’s Word to shape their hearts and minds so that they live according to Scripture’s story rather than lesser stories peddled by the Word. It’s important that every believer live in prayerful dependence on God and participate in the life of the church. But the evidence shows it’s not happening as much as we’d like. “I don’t want to sound alarmist, critical, or preachy,” writes Geor...
Tags: Featured, Life, Guthrie, Lifeway Research, George Guthrie, Christian Living, Pastoring


Why Habits Are Important When Talking About Spiritual Disciplines

I have books on my shelf about spiritual disciplines: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney, A Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard, and more. They’re good and worth reading. But I also own books about habits, including A Habit Called Faith by Jen Pollock Michel, Habits of Grace by David Mathis, and Your Future Self Will Thank You by Drew Dyck. I’ve even written a couple: How to Grow and 8 Habits for Growth. T...
Tags: Florida, Featured, Life, Christ, Gretchen Rubin, BJ, Charles Duhigg, Donald Whitney, Dallas Willard, Drew Dyck, Christian Living, David Mathis, Jen Pollock Michel, Wendy Wood, Katy Milkman, Katy Milkman All


The Double Danger of Scorn

In the Canadian TV comedy series Corner Gas, residents of Dog River hate neighboring town Wullerton so much that they spit on the ground whenever the town is mentioned. The local newspaper refers to the town as “Wullerton (SPIT).” Their spitting is a form of scorn, “the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable.” Scorn reveals itself through mockery and contempt for others, and a sense of one’s own superiority to the other group. It’s funny on Corne...
Tags: Life, Jesus, Matthew, Skye Jethani, Corner Gas, Christian Living, Bruce Waltke, Wullerton


High Conflict in the Canadian Church

Conflict is good. Actually, the right kind of conflict is good. As Amanda Ripley writes in her new book High Conflict, healthy conflict “can be serious and intense but leads somewhere useful.” It “does not collapse into dehumanization.” High conflict, though, is bad. It “becomes self-perpetuating and all-consuming, in which almost everyone ends up worse off.” It’s “typically an us-versus-them conflict.” Ripley’s book tells stories of high conflict: a town council in California, a gang memb...
Tags: New York, Featured, California, Life, Chicago, Colombia, Canada, Current Events, Venezuela, Michigan, Hugo Chavez, Friedman, Ripley, Chavez, Gary Friedman, Christian Living


Character Matters

I’d set up and tested the recording gear. I phoned my podcast guest and listened through my headphones. Nothing. I picked up my phone and put it to my ear. “Sorry. Technical difficulties.” I adjusted a few buttons, and asked if I could call back. I did. Problems persisted. I began to feel flustered, trying to solve what was wrong as quickly as I could so I didn’t waste my guest’s time. “Darryl,” my guest said. “It’s no problem. Take your time.” He exuded calm. He wasn’t just being po...
Tags: Featured, Life, Spirit, Christ, Martin Luther, Darryl, Christian Living, Pastoring, Aaron Menikoff, Eugene Peterson Winn Collier


Slow Reading, Fast Reading

I generally read the Bible once a year. Last year, I tried something different: I read the Bible in . I decided to take a slower approach this year and read it over 90 days instead. God-willing, I finish in a couple of weeks. Now I’m going the other way. I’m planning to read the Bible in — get this — seven years, give or take. Here’s why and how. Big Idea Bible I’ve always wanted to complete a big idea Bible. If you know Haddon Robinson’s book Biblical Preaching, you know the powe...
Tags: Featured, Life, Spirit, Martin Luther, Robinson, Haddon Robinson, Christian Living, Nate Pickowicz, Pickowicz


About Writing

Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to write. Other more accomplished authors have lots to say about writing — these articles (one and two) by Jared C. Wilson are a good place to start — but, even with my limited experience, I do have some advice to offer. If you feel the nudge to write, you probably have something to say. Barbara Ueland is right: “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say” (If You Want to Write). Even if a topic has been covered before, you have a uni...
Tags: Writing, Life, Ministry, Steve Laube, Christian Living, Charles Swindoll, Amazon KDP, Jared C Wilson, Barbara Ueland, Bird On Writing Writing for Life


Being Nice Is Overrated, but Kindness Is Essential

I follow good people on Twitter, and I’m quick to unfollow to keep it that way. When I open my Twitter feed, it’s usually a pleasant experience, because I’m careful about who I follow. I made the mistake the other day, though, of reading responses to a couple of good tweets. I was disappointed by what I read: accusations, assumptions about motive, and the least charitable reading of the original tweet possible. All of these were written by people who, from the context of their comments, claim...
Tags: Twitter, Featured, Life, Spirit, PAUL, Clinton Arnold, Christian Living


So Many Great Books

In the acknowledgments of A Habit Called Faith, Jen Pollock Michel writes, “This book was seeded by an inconspicuous Pascal reference in Kent Annan’s Slow Kingdom Coming. In the margin, I wrote, ‘Book idea?’ I tracked down the reference and tucked it away for several years.” Books are like that. A book references a second book written centuries before. The idea from that earlier book lays dormant. Eventually, it becomes its own book. The idea contained in a book is like a seed: one is enough ...
Tags: Books, Featured, Life, Pascal, Lewis, Packer, Brett McCracken, Christian Living, Jen Pollock Michel, Kent Annan


The Problem Covering the Problem

I remember the first time I witnessed, from afar, the fall of a Christian leader I respected. One of the painful lessons I learned is that we’re all vulnerable. I appreciate what Ray Ortlund says: “Every one of us is always five minutes away from moral and ministry disaster.” It’s closer than we think. We have a problem. 64% of Christian men admit to watching porn. 57% of pastors admit they have struggled with porn, either now or in the past. This is a problem we clearly must address. Books l...
Tags: Featured, Life, Boston, Jesus, Samuel, Ray Ortlund, Randy Alcorn, Christian Living, Pastoring, Ortlund, Matthew Kruse


For the Long Haul, Go Deep

My early years were characterized by a mad rush to the pastorate. I took a Bachelor of Theology Honors degree, which was a Master of Divinity with a year tacked on for those with no undergraduate degree. I graduated and took my first pastorate at the age of 24. I was ordained less than two years later. I don’t regret any of it. The professors who taught me in seminary were world class. My first pastorate had some hard moments, as all pastorates do, but was a gift from God. But looking back, I...
Tags: Featured, Life, Christian Living, Pastoring, Longman, Tremper Longman III


Does Leviticus Teach Us How to Handle COVID-19?

Passages in Leviticus that deal with topics like diseases and quarantine no longer seem so removed from our experience. What do these passages teach us? And how can we apply them today? What Leviticus Teaches Leviticus 13 to 15 cover a variety of issues related to ceremonial cleanness. It’s part of a larger section (chapters 11 to 16) dealing with purity. God provides a way for impure people to be purified so they can worship him. Chapters 13 and 14 cover a particular condition. So...
Tags: Featured, Life, Current Events, Middle East, Jesus, Luke, Leviticus, Christian Living, Gordon J Wenham, Derek Tidball, Wenham Jesus


God Heard. God Remembered. God Saw. God Knew.

Some passages grab me every time. Exodus 2:24-25 is one of them: “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel — and God knew.” (Exodus 2:24-25) There’s enough here to sustain someone for years. God Heard Exodus 2:23 says, “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help.” They were burdened beyond what they could handl...
Tags: Featured, Life, Israel, Egypt, Abraham, Isaac, Christian Living, Jacob God, Maxie D Dunnam, God Knew God


Known for Being Reasonable

Sometimes verses scream at you. Philippians 4:5 is one of them. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Reasonableness: the idea that we’re gentle, kind, courteous, and tolerant to everyone, not just those with whom we agree, but those with whom we disagree. It’s “a balanced, intelligent, decent outlook” (New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology). Not just to believers, but to unbelievers too. It follows the command to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4). That means t...
Tags: Featured, Life, PAUL, Adam Grant, Christian Living, Charles Simeon, J Gnilka, Charles Simeon We


The Joy of Being (Slightly) Less Productive

“From what I can see, one of the themes of your blog is productivity.” The speaker was a friend, someone I respect. Her words surprised me. Productivity? No! I want to “help people grow in life and ministry for God’s glory, our joy, and the good of others.” At least that’s what I’d written for the purpose of this website. Productivity seemed like much too small a goal. And yet she was right. I was, at that time, posting a lot about how to make the best use of our time. It’s a fine topic, o...
Tags: Featured, Life, Time, Knapp, Morten Hansen, Christian Living, Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Greg McKeown, Zeratsky


A Psalm 1 Life

One of the best goals anyone could set is to develop a Psalm 1 kind of life. What a Psalm 1 Life Looks Like Psalm 1 describes what this looks like: Blessed is the manwho walks not in the counsel of the wicked,nor stands in the way of sinners,nor sits in the seat of scoffers;but his delight is in the law of the LORD,and on his law he meditates day and night.(Psalm 1:1–2) We reject certain things: the influence of ideas and people that lead us away from God. Instead, we build eight i...
Tags: Featured, Life, Carson, Christian Living, Alec Motyer


This Marriage Tells a Story

I don’t know how many years of marriage one has to have behind them to write with any authority on marriage, but I suspect it’s more than thirty. But I can tell you that, thirty years ago, the pair pictured below knew little about the journey ahead of them. Like most, they felt more confident than was reasonable as they took vows and began their married life together. Marriage is a funny thing. You can’t be more or less married. The moment the marriage ceremony was over, we were as marr...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, God, Eden, Ray Ortlund, Char, Christian Living, Elaine Kapteyn


My Plea to Those Who Hold Strong Views on Masks and Lockdowns

I’ve felt the tension most of the year. Good friends hold very different views on whether the pandemic exists, how the government should respond, and what churches should do. And they aren’t afraid to share them! I’m grateful for my friends. I’m also grateful for how they are making me think through various issues related to the church. And I like them a lot. But here’s my concern: that we are in the process of creating two streams of churches divided over our view of the pandemic — most v...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, Jesus Christ, PAUL, Andy Naselli, Christian Living, J D Crowley


Every Moment Holy

I didn’t always see the value of written prayers until I attended an Anglican church one summer. I discovered the beauty and depth — not to mention the Scriptural content — of well-designed written prayers. That opened the door for me to discover books like The Valley of Vision and Piercing Heaven (affiliate links). A friend one day gave me a book of written prayers called Every Moment Holy (affiliate link), “a book of liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life … These are ways of remind...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Book Reviews, Char, Christian Living


Nobody Like Him

“I have no one like him,” Paul writes about Timothy (Philippians 2:20). Immediately I’m curious. What set Timothy apart? Left to guess, I’d probably imagine that he was unusually gifted or had personal charisma. But that’s not what set Timothy apart. “I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:20-21). I dare you to dig through leadership books for this trait. You’ll find that oth...
Tags: Featured, Life, Rome, Jesus, Christian, Christ, Jesus Christ, Timothy, PAUL, Christian Living, Bob Goff, Timothy Philippians