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Can Women Be Deacons?

Within egalitarian circles this is a very easy question to answer. Egalitarians generally believe that men and women are equal in all respects and that gender differences are largely relativized by the grace of the Gospel. Therefore, whatever men do in the church, woman may and should do likewise. Case closed. Complementarians, on the other hand, generally believe that men and women are equal with respect to dignity and worth and equal with respect to salvation graces, but different with…

Should You Anoint Your Head When You Fast?

The Bible was written by particular people, in a particular culture at a particular time, and yet, Christians also believe that it was written by the Holy Spirit of God. Believing both of these things simultaneously requires us to exercise wisdom and discernment when studying and applying the Scriptures. Take Matthew 6:16-18 for example: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they…

All The Links You Need To Jumpstart Your 2023 Bible Reading Plan

Getting off to a good start matters. If you fall behind on your goals right off the bat, they begin to look and feel unattainable. To help you start strong and build early momentum on your Bible Reading Plan for 2023 I have assembled a number of useful tools and resources. Plans: If you haven’t selected a plan yet, see this useful compilation of plan options put together by Reagan Rose. Click here. I don’t love the version of the RMM plan that Reagan uses in this article, so for a different…

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.’ That proverbial saying appears to have proven true in the time of King Hezekiah. His father was arguably the second worst king in the history of the covenant community (the distinction of being the worst king is usually reserved for Manasseh). Ahaz was an absolute train wreck. He engaged in child sacrifice, he was an avowed pagan, he made stupid and wicked alliances and through his unfaithfulness and incompetence he brought the people of Judah…

If He Had Not Come

When I was 10 years old I memorized a short story about Christmas as part of my leadership development training at the Boys J.I.M. Club of America. The story was originally written by Nan Weeks in 1938 and then was republished in 1959 in an anthology titled “Christ And The Fine Arts”. The story goes like this: It was Christmas Eve; and after Peter had carefully hung his stocking by the fireplace, he went off to bed. Usually Peter did not like to go to bed early, but tonight he was eager to get…

A Sample Schedule for Pastors: Review and Reflections

I wrote a brief article about a week ago entitled “A Sample Schedule For Pastors”. I received a fair bit of response, both online and through private correspondence. Some of the responses took the form of requests for more information and further clarity; a few expressed concern or disagreement. Given that the goal of the original piece was to provide some insight on time management and prioritization it occurred to me that a follow up contribution might be welcomed. First, in response to a…

Two ways to read the Bible in 2023

I began reading the Bible for myself as a 12-year-old. I had read parts of the Bible before as a younger child and had even memorized Romans 12 as a 9-year-old boy for camp, but I had never attempted to read through the whole Bible before the summer of 1986. It didn’t go particularly well. I remember really enjoying Genesis and most of Exodus but things came to a crashing halt once I encountered the strange and impenetrable world of Leviticus. For the next several years I stuck largely to the…

What Is The Fear Of The Lord?

There are a number of words and expressions used within the wider Christian world that need to be explained to the modern-day inquirer. Near the head of that list would be the expression “the fear of the Lord”. Whatever that means, it is clearly important. Proverbs 1:7 says: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 ESV) This expression is repeated in some form or fashion a further 19 times in Proverbs and is also found in Psalms,…

A Sample Schedule for Pastors

In the last decade or so it has become increasingly common for younger pastors to start off as church planters or revitalizers. Whatever wisdom and benefit there may be in this development, it does come at a particular cost. Many pastors today have never had the opportunity to watch and learn from the second chair. I recently had a young man ask if he could buy me lunch just so that he could ask me to describe my weekly schedule. To save you the cost of a burger and a club soda, I thought it…

Why Did God Command The Absolute Destruction Of The Amalekites?

God’s command to utterly and entirely destroy the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15 has been a cause of stumbling for many Bible readers over the years. The command itself leaves little room for compassion or mercy: Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and…

Unconfessed sin and the Christian

After the service on Sunday a lady from our church asked me a very interesting question. She had heard me say two things that can be difficult to reconcile in our minds. I had said: “It is sin that ultimately blocks us from receiving the blessings and gifts of God. That’s why in James 5, in the passage about calling the elders to pray for you when you are sick it says: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16 ESV) Unconfessed,…

Who (or what) is the Antichrist?

The Apostle John is the only New Testament author to use the term “antichrist” or any derivative thereof. John uses the terms “antichrist”, “antichrists” and “the spirit of antichrist” for a total of 5 references in his epistles. Many scholars believe that the person referred to by the Apostle Paul as “the man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2 is the same person or phenomenon referred to by John as “the antichrist.” Both figures fulfill a pattern that originates in the Book of Daniel and…