Is That in the Bible? | “Bloom Where You’re Planted”

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to notice my mom would often repeat a proverbial phrase in response to my anxious musings about the future. “Bloom where you’re planted,” she would quip as I worried openly about what I should do with my life. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and I was right in the thick of my teenage years, so these sayings—she had a host of others—would, to borrow another idiom, “float in one ear and out the other.” What hath horticulture to do with a young man’s concern over the future?

When I trusted Christ during my sophomore year of college, my passion for the Scripture turned insatiable. I desired to know the truth and talk about it with others. My parents were already Christians, so it was natural that our conversations would often turn to the Bible. It was sometime after my conversion that I was talking with my parents, probably pondering over concerns about the future, when my mom again unearthed her agricultural wisdom: “Bloom where you’re planted.” But this time she added, “Where is that in the Bible?”

Continue reading “Is That in the Bible? | “Bloom Where You’re Planted””

Can I Date an Unbeliever?

Ever since my first ministry post as a middle school ministry director in 2003, I’ve dealt regularly with Christian folks who want to know if it is acceptable for them to date an unbeliever. Often (but not always), those who are pondering this question readily acknowledge that the Bible says a Christian cannot marry a non-Christian. Nevertheless, they believe they can move down this path because (1) the Bible does not forbid dating an unbeliever; or (2) their romantic relationship can serve as a means of evangelism to the unbelieving boyfriend or girlfriend; or (3) their situation is unique; (4) a combination of some or all of the above. Continue reading “Can I Date an Unbeliever?”

Age, Humility, and Discipleship

Discipleship, in the words of Mark Dever, is helping another person follow Jesus. Said another way (by Dever): Discipleship is doing deliberate spiritual good to another Christian.

Jesus commands Christians to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20), and Christians should count it a privilege to come alongside others to aid them in their walk with the Savior. We should also receive discipleship from others with gratefulness and a desire to learn. In light of Christ’s command in Matt 28:18-20 and, for that matter, the entire structure of the New Testament where believing relationships are an indispensable means of spiritual growth (e.g., Rom 15:14; Heb 3:12-15), discipleship should be central to our individual Christian lives and our corporate church life. Continue reading “Age, Humility, and Discipleship”

Reacquaint Yourself with the Trinity

How familiar are you with the Trinity? I’m not asking whether you believe that God is Triune. I’m asking how often you ponder and delight in the reality that your Creator and Savior is One God in three Persons. For many of us, the doctrine of the Trinity appears too lofty and complex for us to engage. We believe it, but we’ve never sought to think carefully through the theological nuances and practical implications of this biblical teaching. In this brief article, I want to reintroduce you to the Trinity and help you see how glorious and practical this doctrine is. Let’s start in the Old Testament. Continue reading “Reacquaint Yourself with the Trinity”

Which Paul Is It? An Argument for Paul’s Christian Experience in Romans 7:14-25

Romans 7:14-25 is one of the most debated passages in the Bible. There are three major positions that have vied for interpretational prominence over the years. One view sees Paul’s description of his struggle with sin as his pre-conversion experience. The other sees Paul’s description as his post-conversion experience. A third—articulated by Martyn Lloyd-Jones—argues that we ask the wrong question if we inquire about Paul’s spiritual status in Romans 7:14-25. Rather, as the Doctor asserts, Paul is explaining what happens when someone pursues sanctification according to the law rather than by the Spirit. Each of these positions has been articulated and defended by skilled and sound exegetes, a fact which makes me recognize, again, how demanding the task biblical interpretation really is.

I do not want to enter into the intricacies of the debate in this post. Rather, I only want to offer my defense of a post-conversion reading.  That is, I believe Paul is describing his Christian experience in Romans 7:14-25. Here’s why. Continue reading “Which Paul Is It? An Argument for Paul’s Christian Experience in Romans 7:14-25”

‘Why the Reformation Still Matters’ by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester

Why the Reformation Still MattersFive hundred years ago this October 31st, a young Augustinian monk, disturbed about the Roman Catholic Church’s many pastoral abuses and doctrinal aberrations, nailed to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, a list of topics he wanted to debate with the local religious authorities. Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” would serve as the catalyst for a theological and ecclesiastical upheaval within Europe that would transform churches and whole communities around the world. By returning to the Scriptures as the fount of divine knowledge and rediscovering the doctrine of justification by faith, Martin Luther and those who followed in his footsteps opened a gateway of truth and life to those who had long walked in error and death. Continue reading “‘Why the Reformation Still Matters’ by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester”

Death the Intruder, Christ the Victor

Death is an intruder. And everything that leads to death—sickness, pain, old-age, heart-attacks, high-blood pressure, brain aneurisms, and cancer—are also all intruders. We live in world that is not the way it’s supposed to be.

But even before any of these intruders entered our existence there was a more primal intruder: sin. It was sin against God that brought about not only physical suffering like cancer and migraines, but inter-personal and social trouble as well. Broken relationships, divorce, hate, murder, racism, bitterness, family disputes, bullying, and betrayal all flow from the same source: sin. What happened? Continue reading “Death the Intruder, Christ the Victor”