Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:1-2) This proverbial couplet expresses a simple wisdom principle: surround yourself with wise people and listen to them. Most of us hear that and say, “Good nugget. Ok, I’m gonna try to listen to people today.” But Proverbs is designed to do more than give us fortune cookie sayings that we strive hard to apply. Proverbs is still a part of the story. It is an extended, poetic, reflection on what it means to live within … Continue reading The Gospel Discipline of Listening
Most of the resources I come across that emphasize “spiritual formation” or “spiritual disciplines” focus on how I can grow my personal relationship with God. Things like reading the Bible, going to church, journaling, prayer, fasting, giving, and solitude make the list. These are good things. These things simply serve as instruments, or means, of God’s grace in my life. They are essential to my progress in the faith. Very rarely, however, do I see “community” emphasized in these spiritual formation discussions. On a few occasions, I actually see community or fellowship listed as a “spiritual discipline.” I ran across … Continue reading Is Community a Spiritual Discipline?
As a father of two daughters (one outside the womb and one inside), I am continually thinking about the gospel-shaped environment of our home. Carly and I want our girls to grow up dazzled by the grace of God in the gospel. As the husband and father, it is my divinely-ordained joy and duty to pray about and plan intentional opportunities to cultivate a “gospel culture” in our home. (If you are a single mom or the wife of an unbeliever, keep reading. I hope this will be helpful to you, too!) The problem is that if I don’t plan … Continue reading What Should Family Worship Look Like?
The more I think about trial and suffering, whether great or small (see James 1:2), the more I can’t help but conclude that we don’t like trials because they reveal sin. When I see more and more of my sin in any particular place or situation, I tend to say, I want to leave. This is hard. I don’t like this because (fill in the blank). I fail to realize, however, that the problem is usually me, not other people or things. Sure, there are other contributing factors to trial, and by no means am I saying that we only … Continue reading What Suffering Shows Us About Ourselves
The transmission in my Mazda 626 went out this week. It still works for the most part, but the odds of it falling out of my engine and lying dead on the road soon are relatively good. I’m not going to lie, that sucks. I need a car and God knows that. However, God has shown me his glory through the process of dropping $1,400 two weeks ago for other problems and getting ready to sell the car in December due to the fact that I’m moving to South Africa. I can’t put more money into it. But I can’t … Continue reading Automatic Transmissions and the Glory of God