This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Thank you, God, for Failure: The author closes his brief reflection, " In my failure, I see an accurate picture of myself. No one fails at everything, but we hit the ground more often than the bullseye. Thank you for Jesus, who always hit the mark. Thank you for the gracious exchange of the gospel, in which he took my sin and gave me his righteousness. Thank you that every failure is a reminder of your patient mercy toward your children."

2.      Why 81% of Evangelicals Voted for Trump: Ed Stetzer and Andrew MacDonald dig into the research to draw nuanced conclusions around evangelical support of Trump. I found their discovery that the Supreme Court nominations and abortion weren't primary motivations surprising. It's too complicated a picture to summarize in one quick statement, but I thought this line of reasoning was illuminating: " Whether it is the Supreme Court or religious liberty, many evangelicals appeared willing to accept a presidential candidate who is able to secure policy initiatives they favor in the long term."

3.      How God Changes Our "Why Me" Questions in Suffering? Ed Welch speaks such loving truth to those who are struggling: "God’s story makes you just the right size. Everything counts, but the scale changes to something that makes much more sense. You face hard things. But you have already received something better which can never be taken away."

4.      Should Married Couples Separate? I rarely recommend separation, but I agree with Steve Cornell's advice, "When I began ministry (35 years ago), I never would have imagined advising a married couple to separate. I would have understood such a need in cases involving danger, but I never thought much beyond this scenario. Gradually, I encountered individuals dealing with mates who were persistently behaving in ways that were destroying their marriages. These people typically felt hopeless because they think they have done everything possible to save their marriages. In some cases, however, marital separation becomes a needed step for sending the ultimate wake-up call to a complacent and selfish mate."

5.      Virtual Reality Church: It's painfully funny because it's so close to reality.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump Aren't So Different: Following the recent push for Oprah to make a run for President in 2020, Elizabeth Dias reports, “…beneath their vastly different images, Winfrey and [Donald] Trump share the same populist theology. Both preach a gospel of American prosperity, the popular cultural movement that helped put Trump in the White House in 2016. … Winfrey and Trump both preach a gospel of wealth, health, and self-determination, following in the relatively recent prosperity gospel tradition, which broadly speaking says that God wants people to be wealthy and healthy and that followers are responsible for their own destiny here on Earth.”

2.       The Story You've Been Told About Church and Science is Wrong: The history of pastors is the history of advancing, not hindering scientific inquiry, Jennifer Powell McNutt shares. "Pastors after the scientific revolution viewed engagement with new science as an opportunity to understand God as Creator with greater depth in order to bring him greater glory. And so, the clergy were frequent promoters rather than detractors, enthusiasts and participants rather than fear mongers. Their observations and contributions through publishing, preaching, and their own scientific pursuits helped enable the advancement of modern science in Western communities."

3.       A Reminder of the Danger of Communism: 100 years after the Bolshevik Revolution, Laura Nicolae reflects on the very present danger of communism: "Depictions of communism on campus paint the ideology as revolutionary or idealistic, overlooking its authoritarian violence. Instead of deepening our understanding of the world, the college experience teaches us to reduce one of the most destructive ideologies in human history to a one-dimensional, sanitized narrative."

4.       Why is Parenting so Darn Hard? Joe Carter reflects on the six ingredients that make parenting difficult. He ends by comparing us to the disciples: "The disciples, apparently, didn’t have super powers. What they had was access to the Father because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. When they neglected that access they found themselves operating without power in a hostile and unbelieving world. Why is that lesson so very hard for us to learn? I don’t have super powers. I cannot save or sanctify my kids. I cannot teach them out of their sin. I cannot discipline them out of their sin. I cannot scold them out of their sin or shame them out of their sin. I need grace and help from God! I need to get my children before Jesus!"

5.       Our Tiny Star, the Sun: An incredible 90 second video showing just how big our sun is.

Headed to Haiti

Headed to Haiti

Haiti was thrown into the public spotlight recently under unfortunately circumstances. It is disputed whether or not President Trump called Haiti “a %*$&hole country,” but it is not disputed that those sentiments reflect the attitude of many Americans toward Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  

Friday I head off with a New Life group to Haiti. It will be my first time in Haiti, but Haiti has been close to my heart for many years. Our church in Princeton had a close relationship with Haiti and we have a friend who currently serves as a missionary in Haiti I have been hoping to be able to visit for many years.

I would be grateful for your partnership in prayer as we continue our partnership with Cross to Light Ministries. Cross to Light trains up indigenous pastors and has planted dozens of churches in Haiti (below is a picture of Pastor Kyle with students at the Bible Training Center from a previous trip). I look forward to teaching at the center with Pastor Kyle, helping at medical clinics in the tent cities and villages, and assisting in construction projects.

Haiti has struggled as a people and country for over two hundred years.

10 Reasons to Leave Your Church

10 Reasons to Leave Your Church

It’s that time of year, when transitions happen: seasons close and new seasons begin. Maybe you’re a student who will be headed off to college in couple months. Maybe you got a new job. Maybe your employer transitioned you. Those are some of the many natural reasons that you might be leaving your church in the coming weeks.

Maybe you’ve left or are planning on leaving your church for entirely different reasons, though. Maybe your pastor is in a rut. Maybe the worship grates on you. Maybe you feel like you just don’t know anyone there any longer. Maybe you were injured by someone at the church and you tense up at the awkwardness of returning. Maybe you feel like you’re not getting spiritually fed there any longer.

In this four part series we will explore appropriate reasons for leaving a church, how to leave a church, how to choose a church, and how to join a church.

Let’s explore some of the most common reasons[i] people leave the church and reflect whether they are appropriate or not.