'Practical Christianity' Tagged Posts

'Practical Christianity' Tagged Posts

Preparing to Be an Amazing Old Man or Woman: Six Motivating Suggestions

Like it or not, if you continue to live, you’ll get old. As you look around at all those ancient people in the grocery store, the golf course, the retirement village and the nursing home, don’t be smug — you’ll be there soon enough. It will do you well to prepare to make those years the best they can be for the glory of God. It’s not uncommon for God to use older people. Take Caleb who fought giants as…

Suffering and Seeking the Kingdom

Below are some thoughts on Matthew 6 that I wrote one year ago. I sent them to my wife, Rachel, who read them and saved them on the eve of an impossibly difficult year. Today, still in the midst of our darkest suffering, I want to tell you that I have often failed to believe and do what I am encouraging you toward. Rachel sent my words back to me last week, and there they were: staring into my heart,…

Music in the Church: How Special Should We Make It?

You could put the entire teaching about church music in the New Testament in a paragraph or two. Add to this teaching those spirited illustrations of corporate singing in heaven displayed in the last book of the Bible, when angels and throngs of people fill the air with thundering six to eight line choruses. When it comes to intentional instruction about music, however, there are really only four passages in the New Testament: Speaking to one another in psalms and…

Seven Laws of the Race

The motif of the Olympic race was dear to the Apostle Paul. Did he sit in the stands in Athens or Corinth? Perhaps so. Regardless, parallels between “the games” and the believer’s race in life were often on his mind. He (along with the author of Hebrews) gives us seven laws for running the race. 1. Run to win “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such…

Book Hoarding

“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance of books does his life consist of his library.”      A pastor in a small church received his first book allowance, provided by the church. He began to purchase the books he needed to stimulate his thinking, improve his understanding, and jolt his conscience. His library grew. Later, at a larger church the book allowance increased, and he was able…

Check Your Guns at the Door: Responding Like Christians to Social Media, Blogs and Web Forums

Those of us who have a ministry of writing are usually pretty tough folks. Many of us have been in the combat zone for quite a while and can take almost anything that is said by readers of our articles. This short is more about my embarrassment for all of us who are web-interactive Christians than it is for my own hide. In short, I’m appealing for etiquette characteristic of believers in reader’s responses to articles, blog entries, and social…

What they Did Before TV

My mother was the youngest of fourteen children growing up on a farm in the first part of the last century. The old home place burned down when she was a girl. It was a typical Southern house divided into a boys’ room, a girls’ room, a kitchen (they ate in the open breezeway during the summer), and the parents’ room. A porch surrounded the entire home. “Mom and Dad’s” room was the gathering place at night. The fireplace blazed…

35 Reasons Not To Sin

Because a little sin leads to more sin. Because my sin invites the discipline of God. Because the time spent in sin is forever wasted. Because my sin never pleases but always grieves God who loves me. Because my sin places a greater burden on my spiritual leaders. Because in time my sin always brings heaviness to my heart. Because I am doing what I do not have to do. Because my sin always makes me less than what I…

My Darkest Night; Hopefully Not Yours

At 3:30 a.m., I awoke to a black room, so dark that my eyes could not see even one inch away, much less to the other side. The simple room in a Romanian home in Brasov had one of those metal external shades that is lowered over the window, capable of completely deleting light. I was in the darkest place I had been in perhaps for years. And, since it was night and I was alone in the house, I…

When Pastors Aren’t Able to Pastor

The church is medium-sized in attendance, yet, on paper the membership roll is even larger. Its solo pastor is a frustrated man. There are some good days, and certainly some fine people who encourage him, but he’s frustrated because the job God called him to do just cannot be done. He has many people to tend to, numbers of which are missing, and even those who are present are more than any average man could possibly care for—that is, really care for. So,…

An Appeal to Churches to Use Bibles

I’ll never forget my shock the first time I attended a Bible-less church. My kind of church was a Bible-teaching one and Bibles were standard operating equipment. The last word I heard as I got in the car to drive to church was, “Jimmy, do you have your Bible?” A child might forget his belt or socks, but never his Bible. Just as dutifully, the church children found their mothers after the church meeting to load her up with their…

The Heart of Family Reformation

When our children were younger we began the day with the hymn we are currently memorizing. When Laura was five, she sang for all of us the second verse of “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” by the Yale president of the late 1700s, Timothy Dwight. With a determined look, she sang out, I love Thy church, O God. Her walls before Thee stand. Dear as the apple of Thine eye, And gravy on Thy hand. My boys collapsed on the…