Six books for every pastor’s library

6 Books for Every Pastor

Pastors buy a ton of books, according to a new survey by the Barna Group. On average pastors purchase about forty-five titles a year, considerably more than the general population. How many books are we talking about? Protestant congregations number about 315,000 in this country, Catholic and Orthodox another 25,000. That means pastors buy about 15 million books a year, more or less.As a publishing professional, let me just pause and say thank you to all the pastors out there. My family … [Read more...]

How I learned to love Mary, mother of Jesus

Icon of the Dormition

The first time I really got Mary was on Good Friday a few years ago.In a very solemn service the night of Great and Holy Friday, as the day is called in the Orthodox Church, a series of funeral dirges are sung, one after another. I stood there in a dark church, a bier with an embroidered icon of the crucified Christ in the middle of the room, as the chanters and congregation expressed the mystery of the Lord's Passion in somber melodies. How could the Lord of Life die? And to what end? … [Read more...]

Mary said yes. What about us?

Mary said yes

Many modern Christians have misgivings about Mary, but what if we checked those misgivings for a moment? There's a powerful lesson for us in the life and example of this woman, a lesson about humility, obedience, and putting faith into action. And it all starts with a yes.As the evangelist Luke gives the account, the angel Gabriel wings into view and tells Mary, then an unwed teenager, that she will conceive a child. And not just any child. This would be Jesus, the son of David, the "Son of … [Read more...]

Defending absolutes

In our culture today, to believe in -- much less confess and defend -- absolutes is deemed arrogant. To insist that something is one way and not another provokes charges of egotism, presumption, and superiority. That's tricky for Christians because we absolutely believe in absolutes. … [Read more...]

No progress without resistance

No Progress Without Resistance

"Lot of things can get in the way when you're tryin' to do what’s right." —Bob DylanNobody enjoys difficulty. No one likes opposition. No one appreciates pain. But they are necessary to progress. You can see it in business; competition and problem-solving drive innovation. You can see it in history; the great creeds of the Christian faith developed to refute heretics. The truth is that if you’re paying attention, you can see just about anywhere you look.I recently heard a sermon by Fr. Patri … [Read more...]

Following Jesus in the Psalms

Christ Preaching at Capernaum

Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow him, and he makes a striking provision for us in the Psalms to do so. The Psalter—in its own way as much as the Gospels—sums up Christ’s life and work while also making that life and work something with which we can identify in a powerful way. … [Read more...]


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