Browsing All Posts filed under »Exhortation«

The Burdened Life and the Weighty Word

July 13, 2014

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The man who regularly speaks without a burden should stop speaking until he finds one. Or one finds him. Until our lives have weight, our words will have none. And until we bear a burden, our lives will be weightless. Burdenless lives produce weightless words. A man’s burden tells us who he is. It tells us […]

Get Weird

January 1, 2014

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In 2014, get weird. You know how you sometimes wonder if you’ll die having given your threescore and ten years to the status quo, having worried too much about being normal and accepted, having spent days and weeks and months looking laterally instead of vertically, having trusted your fears too much and your dreams too […]

Give Me the Scenic Route: Intellectual Curiosity vs. Intellectual Cul-de-Sacs

December 5, 2013

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If you want to be a scholar, you have to know your field. The seminal works, the major contributions, the game-changing periods, the ebb and flow of dialogue throughout the decades or centuries or millennia. You have to join the conversation. There’s one potential problem with this (well, more than one, but only one I’m […]

A Mind Awake

October 24, 2013

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A mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s been said that the intellectual life, or the thinking life, is nothing more than a mind awake. And who in their right mind could bear to live as a mind asleep? To think is one of the highest privileges humanity possesses. Made in God’s image to […]

Temptation Is Bigger Than You Think

July 4, 2013

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In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to make this regular request: “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13a). Perhaps because “temptation” sounds so ominous, believers and non-believers alike typically view it as a noticeable, passing, one-time event. We certainly see these types of temptations in the Bible: Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1-7), Jesus in […]

Assumptions vs. Convictions

June 24, 2013

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In a fallen world, life is not worth living without convictions. If such things as evil, lies, and suffering are not mere illusions — not just the darker side of our social constructs — then evil must be fought, lies unmasked, and suffering eased. If such things exist at all, and especially if they flourish, then we […]

All I Want for Christmas: Simeon’s Hope

December 25, 2012

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I’ve always thought the account of Simeon in Luke 2:21-35 was a very precious and moving story. I’ve read it and been stirred by it at all times of the year. But it’s particularly striking around Christmas. Simeon was an elderly man who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the promised Messiah, […]

Letter to a Sorrowful, Suffering Saint

December 12, 2012

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How do you encourage someone after a tragic loss? How do you minister to someone languishing in discouragement? There’s no simple answer, and certainly no one-size-fits-all solution. The most helpful initial responses are counterintuitive: presence, sympathy, listening, and hands-on help. Inexperienced counselors or fix-it friends often err by rushing to offer solutions and explain truth before the person has […]

How Is the Fear of the Lord the Beginning of Wisdom?

December 10, 2012

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The wisest man in history besides Jesus of Nazareth said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7a; 9:10a). Like many proverbs, this one is layered. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom in several ways: 1. Fearing God grounds wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning […]

From Anxiety to Gratitude

September 20, 2012

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Every day in my role in Student Life at Boyce College, I enjoy rich conversations with students and staff about the nature and dynamics of spiritual life. I only wish that I had an hour at the end of each day to reflect on all that I learned. Today, my late afternoon conversation with an enjoyable young […]

A Great Sermon or a Great Savior?

September 17, 2012

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When the pastor closes in prayer, the service ends, and the congregation is dismissed, what’s the first thing you say about a great sermon? One thing I hear (and say) far too often: “That was a great sermon.” “He did a great job.” “He’s a great preacher.” These are ways of communicating our conviction over the message […]

The Sympathy of Christ and the Throne of Grace

September 13, 2012

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Thrones are not where you go for grace. “The rulers of the Gentiles,” Jesus said, “lord it over them” (Mark 10:42). Sovereigns are not often known for their sympathy. So when we read that we have (a) a “great high priest” (b) “who has passed through the heavens” (c) as the very “Son of God” […]

The Sight of Faith

June 14, 2012

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I often cannot see the guiding hand of God over the days, weeks, and months, but over the years it is crystal clear. I often identify any cascade of consecutive trials as an erosion of his covenant promises, but the dusk of each season of life finds him faithful once again. “God doesn’t play games with […]

Glad I’m Not Famous

June 8, 2012

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I’m glad I’m not famous. I’ve never worried about the possibility, but now and then I eyeball the perks from afar. Something about status, influence, and attention attracts the human psyche. It’s easy to envy the dominant athlete, the stunning actress, the chart-topping artist, the powerful mogul, the soul-moving preacher. “Man, I’d really love to […]

The Story Above All Stories

June 1, 2012

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Four years ago, on August 11, 2008, I preached my first message as Associate Dean of Men at The Master’s College. With 14 pages of single-spaced notes on a music stand and 45 staffers and student leaders packed into the corner of a dorm lounge, I told “The Story Above All Stories” — my first […]

Linsanity (or, Why We All Claimed Jeremy Lin): Ethnicity, Status, Religion, and the Search for Vindication

May 30, 2012

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  Remember Jeremy Lin? This undrafted, unheralded, 6’3″ Asian-American put the sputtering New York Knicks on his rookie shoulders and took the NBA by storm back in February. Gushing headlines about the 23-year-old Harvard grad consumed one of the few industries where being a Harvard grad puts you behind, not ahead. His 38-point, 7-assist explosion (a) against […]

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