King David: As shrewd as a serpent?

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When I read 1 Samuel 29 I have a number of unanswered questions. At the top of the list is "Would David really have fought against King Saul alongside the Philistines he had been hiding with?"It is hard to imagine that the answer would have been yes.David told the Philistine king he would have been a loyal subject and fought his fellow Hebrews. The king believed him, but others reminded him of David's long-forgotten past as a slayer of Philistines, and their view prevailed.This is the same … [Read more...]

Piper responds to Patheos authors’ disagreement over Romans 7

John Piper has responded to what he calls our "gracious demurring" on the man of Romans 7 during the conference here and here, and my previous post on the subject.I love that he took the time to explain his position further, and that we are all able to discuss these matters as brothers and friends.  He is totally right when he says: I doubt that when it comes to a positive description of what the Christian life should be, and what it normally is, the three of us would differ significantly. I … [Read more...]

“The church is looking for better methods, God is looking for better men”

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E.M. Bounds was not overly enamored with church growth methods or management techniques. He believed real power comes from a different source: the Holy Spirit anointing a man. Those who want to reject the celebrity preacher culture do need to beware that they don't also reject the way God works by raising up men to do his work: We are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for … [Read more...]

Suicide Prevention: What the Church can do

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This month’s Patheos Book Club includes the book, “Preventing Suicide: A Handbook for Pastors, Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors.” By Karen Mason.It is a timely book, and an important book. It has been encouraging to me to see a significant shift in the approach of the Christian community to issues of mental health in recent years.  So, for example, in a recent survey of 1000 Protestant pastors conducted by Lifeway showed 0% of their sample believed medication should never be used to treat me … [Read more...]

Could Piper be wrong about the man in Romans 7 and does it matter?

The three sessions in Romans with John Piper yesterday were food for the soul. They were enjoyable, engaging, and illuminating. In fact they were life-changing.  Nothing I am going to say in this article should in an way take away from that. And I would urge everyone reading this article to take the time to watch the entire series of five talks from this conference online. Three of them are available already:Scripture: The Kindling of Christian Hedonism Free from Judgment, Fighting Sin, … [Read more...]

How I realized I don’t love the Bible as much as I need to

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When you are listening to a sermon, sometimes you should write copious notes. Other times you should just capture a few key thoughts. Other times you should just listen as the Spirit of God drives the Word home to you. Last night here at DGNatCon was one such night for me.In fact I believe it was Lloyd-Jones who once said that he was disappointed if people weren’t writing notes at the beginning of his sermon, but that he believed he had failed in his task if by the end they had not all put t … [Read more...]

There is nothing sadder than a rudderless leader

I know I may make a few enemies by this post, but I am going to say it anyway:There are many pastors who should not be leading God's people because they are not conscious of being led by God themselves1 Samuel 28 reveals a desperate King who no longer receives God's guidance. Whatever makes us think we will fare any better than Saul if we are not led by God? The message of the Bible is that if we do things our own way we will fail dismally. If we listen to God and follow him we will … [Read more...]

Understanding the violent age the OT occurred in

I thought it was high time I returned to the long running series of posts about leadership lessons from I and II Samuel. Sometimes as you read Scripture you come to a chapter that at first glance it is hard to get comfort, a teaching, or instruction from. 1 Samuel 27 is one such chapter.  In it we see one of the Bible's leading heroes running away, allying himself with God's enemies, ingratiating himself by raiding other villages and leaving nobody alive, and convincing God's enemies that he h … [Read more...]

“People are often saved through a fragment of truth. What comes next is vital” Terry Virgo

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One of the most fatal errors in church ministry would be to assume that people who respond to the gospel on a Sunday morning or at an evangelistic meeting fully understand what they are doing. For many of them, the response is an emotional one to a piece of truth that resonated with them. To simply assume that the person is now a Christian and needs no further help would be foolish indeed. In an ideal world such people will be followed up personally, but sometimes that simply can't happen. Our … [Read more...]

Mark Driscoll encourages us to point people to Jesus

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The Gospel itself is more scandalous than any of the recent controversies that have embroiled Mark Driscoll.The Gospel is the scandal that God loves sinners like you and me.The Gospel is the scandal that he keeps loving us when we fall.The Gospel is the scandal that no matter how low you fall, Jesus can get under you and lift you up.The Gospel is the good news that God never gives up on you.As we learnt from Ann Voskamp, we should never get over the Gospel.Many religious … [Read more...]


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