The Value of Your Salvation Testimony

By delivering His people from sin’s power and penalty, God has given every Christian a testimony—a story of sin and grace; justice and mercy; failure and redemption. Yet, a personal testimony of salvation in Christ is unique to all other stories we can tell. We might have warm-hearted stories of time spent with family or riveting stories of adventure and friendship. Our testimony of salvation in Christ is unique, however, for it is the story through which all our other stories find meaning and significance. Continue reading “The Value of Your Salvation Testimony”

Spiritual Disciplines, Part 5: Why Pray?

In This Series
The Vital Importance of Personal Discipline
Spiritual Disciplines, Part 1: Is Self-Discipline is Unspiritual?
Spiritual Disciplines, Part 2: The Priority of Bible Reading and Meditation
Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3: Bible Reading: Some Practical Suggestions
Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4: What is Biblical Meditation?

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In the next two posts, I will focus on the discipline of prayer. In this post, I will look at a few foundational questions related to prayer. In the next post, I will address some practical issues. Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines, Part 5: Why Pray?”

The Importance of Devotional Reading for Pastors and Theologians

As a pastor, I make theological reading a priority. The truth contained in these books informs my teaching and writing, undergirds and permeates my counseling, and enables me to discern harmful doctrinal trends that may be influencing my people and the greater church.

Earlier this year I read The Holy Trinity by Robert Letham and Inerrancy and the Gospels Vern Poythress. These were followed by Ladd’s The Blessed HopeBiblical Hermeneutics: Five Viewsedited by Stanley Porter and Beth Stovall and The Pastor-Theologian by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson. I am currently reading  Sam Storms’ treatise on amillennialism, Kingdom Come and just finished Steve Wellum’s excellent book in the Five Solas series, Christ Alone. I also recently finished Barrett’s book in the same series, God’s Word Alone as well as Trueman’s Grace Alone. Peter Gentry’s little book Reading and Understanding the Biblical Prophets was helpful, and I am looking forward to tackling Matt Waymeyer’s response to amillennialism, Amillennialism and the Age to Come in the near future (no pun intended). Continue reading “The Importance of Devotional Reading for Pastors and Theologians”

Barrett’s ‘God’s Word Alone’ is a Must Read on the Doctrine of Scripture

Scripture AloneI recently finished Matthew Barrett’s God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture. Even at 374 pages, it is a unique confluence of concision, breadth, and depth. I am grateful that God equips men with such theological skill and calls them to ply their craft for the benefit of the church. My heart resonates with Robert Yarbrough who, in his endorsement, called this book “a feast.”

For the last five decades, evangelicals have wrestled with the past and with one another over what constitutes a true evangelical doctrine of Scripture. Over the last seven years, I’ve had the privilege of studying some of this history and even wading into the present discussion, if only just a little. It’s become painfully clear that the disagreement among evangelicals over how to understand Scripture’s authority, inerrancy, inspiration, and clarity has only intensified the last two decades, and there is no immediate indication that the clamor of controversy will soon quiet to a din of discussion (present attempts at dialogue notwithstanding). Continue reading “Barrett’s ‘God’s Word Alone’ is a Must Read on the Doctrine of Scripture”

Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4: What is Biblical Meditation?

So far we’ve learned that spending time in Scripture must become a priority—a severe discipline—in our lives. We’ve also considered a few practical ways to make that happen. But we will keep ourselves from much blessing if we halt our discussion at the discipline of reading and don’t talk about the discipline of meditation.

The moment I mention the word meditation, however, it is possible that you are immediately drawn to images of people sitting in the Lotus Position: eyes closed, legs crossed, with palms up on one’s knees, with the thumb and middle finger on each hand slightly touching. That’s because our culture is fascinated with eastern-style meditation, and, most recently, something called “Mindfulness” (although mindfulness experts do not all insist on one specific kind of posture, even though they would say posture is important). Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4: What is Biblical Meditation?”

Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3: Bible Reading: Some Practical Suggestions

So far we’ve seen that spiritual discipline is essential to our spiritual growth and that discipline is not a burdensome alternative to spiritual spontaneity, but is actually a means to it. We’ve also seen why Bible reading should be a priority in our lives. In this post, I want to offer you a few ideas to help you build Scripture reading and meditation into your regular routine. Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3: Bible Reading: Some Practical Suggestions”

Spiritual Disciplines, Part 2: The Priority of Bible Reading and Mediation

In his little book, Make Your Bed: Little Things that Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, former Navy SEAL and Admiral William H. McRaven offers his readers ten pieces of hard-earned wisdom, each culled from the rigors of life as one of the U. S. military’s most elite soldiers. Making one’s bed first thing in the morning, McRaven suggests, is a discipline that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Why? Because “sometimes the simple act of making your bed can give you the lift you need to start your day and provide you the satisfaction to end it right.” By beginning the day with a task completed, we establish a pattern that will enable us to accomplish larger tasks during the day.

This is sound advice, and I am glad to receive it as a gift of common grace. But there is another discipline that is infinitely more important when it comes to setting the tone for our day, even if our bed remains slightly disheveled. Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines, Part 2: The Priority of Bible Reading and Mediation”