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The Unique and the Normative in Acts

The book of Acts is the sequel to the record of the history of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Rather than recording what Jesus did and taught during His earthly ministry, Lukes gives us the record of the history of the ascended Jesus through His apostles for the advancement of the Kingdom in the fullness of redemptive history. Acts is, in short, the history of th...

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Count Your Blessings

If you grew up in a Christian home, you almost certainly sang a number of hymns as a child that have stuck with you (for good or ill) throughout your life. I distinctly remember singing the chorus to the hymn, “Count Your Blessings,” with my sister in the back of our parents’ car. The last two lines of the chorus seemed to play on repeat in my little mind: “Count ...

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God's Extraordinary Work in the Ordinary Family

Over the past decade, a barrage of articles and blog posts have been blanketed across the landscape of the internet--promoting and counteracting the idea of radical and extraordinary Christian service. Those who have emphasized radical Christian service have done so in an attempt to thwart the complacent, materialistic, self-focused, inhospitable, and unmerciful lifestyle...

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From the Books to the People

Like so many pastors I know, I have long had a love affair with books. Books are the best of friends, smiling down from where they sit on the shelf––urging you to come and spend time with them. "A good book," as one has put it, "is like a good friend. It will stay with you for the rest of your life. When you first get to know it, it will give you excitement and advent...

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What is the Chief End of Scripture?

I have sometimes heard well-meaning believers--who have recently come to a better grasp of God's sovereignty and the doctrines of grace--make inaccurate or disproportionate statements about God's end in redemption. Many years ago, I watched a man--who was preparing for ministry--go around telling other believers, "The gospel is not about you and your salvation; it's about...

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When Talking about Congregants...

A young church planter in a small town was getting his hair cut by a woman he knew. "You're not like the other pastor whose hair I cut," she said. He asked what she meant. She quickly replied, "You don't talk about your congregants negatively." Apparently, there was a minister who would come in and vent all of his frustrations about different people in his congregation to...

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Gracious Gospel Repentance

It is not uncommon to come across statements on repentance on social media. Most of these come in the form of atomistic sayings. Some of these statements--though well-meaning--are simply theologically inaccurate. Others lack biblical nuance. Many fail to connect repentance to the good news of the gospel. Still others gives the impression that repentance is a legal and pre...

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Un-Dragoned by the Lion

There is a beautiful picture, in C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader--where he portrays the transformation of a sinner by means of the figure of a dragon-like boy being descaled by Aslan. With this symbolism, Lewis depicts what Christ does in transforming those He has redeemed and called to Himself. This symbolic picture is set in the middle of a dialogue between E...

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The Eternally Wounded Christ

There is so much we do not know about the experience of believers in glory. The Scriptures give us just enough insight to stir up within us an anticipated longing to be in glory. "Being with Jesus" is the most common way in which Christ and the apostles spoke about the believer's eternal happiness. Jesus told His disciples, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will com...

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Talking about the Church...

Talking about the Church is actually quite a difficult task, since Scripture speaks of the Church in a variety of ways. More often than not, individuals have failed to rightly distinguish between the different ways in which the biblical authors speak about the church. This, of course, raises the question, "What is the Church?" In order to give the most biblically robust a...

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