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Apr 2013 21 Apr 21, 2013
1

Listen closely to what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 - “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” If their love is to increase, indeed if our love for one another is to increase, God has to make it happen. Yes, we are responsible to love others, to do whatever is needed to clear away obstacles and to extend forgiveness and to overcome bitterness and jealousy and envy and rivalry and all the sinf...Read More

Apr 2013 19 Apr 19, 2013
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I’m happy to announce that my new book, Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions, is now available. Crossway, under the Re:Lit label (a ministry of the Resurgence), has done a tremendous job. Lord willing, there will be a second volume to follow in a year or so with answers to 25 more challenging questions. But for now, the 366 pages of this first volume will have to suffice! Even though Amazon currently lists it as not available until April 30, ...Read More

Apr 2013 19 Apr 19, 2013
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“You can think of holiness, to employ a metaphor, as the sanctification of your body. The mind is filled with the knowledge of God and fixed on what is good. The eyes turn away from sensuality and shudder at the sight of evil. The mouth tells the truth and refuses to gossip, slander, or speak what is coarse or obscene. The spirit is earnest, steadfast, and gentle. The heart is full of joy instead of hopelessness, patience instead of irritability, kindness instead o...Read More

Apr 2013 19 Apr 19, 2013

Tertullian (@ 200 a.d.) was one of the greatest of the early church fathers and was actually the first man to use the word “Trinity” to describe the nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lived and wrote at a time when opposition to Christianity and the Church was intensifying. Although Tertullian was an apologist, which is to say he devoted himself to defining and defending the Christian faith against its critics, he was quick to point out that it...Read More

Apr 2013 18 Apr 18, 2013
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No one other than those present during the recent conclave in Rome know all the reasons why an Argentine Cardinal is now Pope Francis. But I read one interesting theory in a fascinating article by Jamie Dean in World magazine (April 6, 2013). Some theorize that the selection of this particular man may be “an attempt to stop the decline in the number of Catholics” throughout Latin America. I’m sure that Pope Francis has numerous qualities that contribut...Read More

Apr 2013 18 Apr 18, 2013
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Countless Christians motivate themselves to obey the call of Christ with the constant reminder of the dreadful consequences of failure or the shameful humiliation of “getting caught” in sin. It is more the terrifying prospect of public exposure than the allure of heavenly joy that accounts for how they live. Others have embraced the truth that the only way to liberate the heart from servitude to the passing pleasure of sin is by cultivating a passion for the...Read More

Apr 2013 18 Apr 18, 2013
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In a previous article I spoke of the danger of pastoral bullies in the local church (1 Peter 5:1-4). One of the factors that can often contribute to this approach to ministry is personal insecurity. Consider the dangers of an insecure pastor (of course, each of the following applies equally well to all Christians). Insecurity makes it difficult to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of others on staff (or in the congregation). In other words, the personally i...Read More

Apr 2013 17 Apr 17, 2013
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“Has there ever been a phrase more adept at smuggling in doctrinal confusion and moral laxity than the slogan ‘spiritual, not religious’? Granted, for some people this means, ‘I want a personal, life-changing relationship with God, not mere church attendance.’ But more often than not the phrase implies a dislike for theological standards, moral absolutes, and organized religion. Being spiritual in contemporary jargon means you are open to my...Read More

Apr 2013 17 Apr 17, 2013
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In his instructions to Elders/Pastors, Peter insists that they must not lead for love of power, which is to say they must not “domineer” those in their charge but rather be “examples” to them (v. 3b). How might a pastor or elder “domineer” his flock? In other words, what makes a man a pastoral bully? Here are some ways. A man can “domineer” or “lord it over” his flock by intimidating them into doing what he wa...Read More

Apr 2013 16 Apr 16, 2013
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“It’s all too easy to turn the fight of faith into sanctification-by-checklist. . . . And inevitably, checklist spirituality is highly selective. So you end up feeling successful at sanctification because you stayed away from drugs, lost weight, served at the soup kitchen, and renounced Styrofoam. But you’ve ignored gentleness, humility, joy, and sexual purity” (Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness, 34)....Read More