Just Say No

October 11, 2013

“Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin”; so said Charles Spurgeon in the mid-19th century. We could update the quote giving it the punch it needs in our day: “Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than a smartphone.” Call it self-control or call it self-discipline; whatever the terminology, if we cannot say no to our wants, desires, and passions—our life is going to be a mess. Solomon put it this way: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and…

Who’s the Arrogant One?

October 3, 2013

The king wrote the law. He gave it to his sons. They were to take it throughout the land. The first went to the people. In each village he proclaimed, “Hear ye, hear ye, I bring you the words of the king. His word is law. You must obey it. You will be held accountable. Long live the king!” The second went to the people. He didn’t like all the king’s laws. In each village he proclaimed, “Hear ye, hear ye, I bring you some of the words of the king. His word is the law, but it needed amending.…

A Parched Church

September 26, 2013

He said “church sucks.” The surprise isn’t the off-color phrase he used; no doubt, many others have said it before. The surprise is who said it. He’s the pastor of the One Love Church in Eugene. He and his church are in the midst of their “Church Sucks” campaign, sending out mailers to hundreds of homes promising they are a different kind of church. They are that. Their “worship” services are about 30 minutes long and use music by Katy Perry and Maroon 5. Feel free to Google but trust me, Perry and the Maroon’s are no Newton and Wesley.…

What’s Your Kid’s Name?

September 19, 2013

My parents knew a Harry Butts; I knew an April Showers—really. What were you thinking Mr. and Mrs. Butts?—you, too, Mr. and Mrs. Showers? A few days ago in, Joseph Norwood wrote an article entitled A Boy Named ‘Humiliation’: Some Wacky, Cruel, and Bizarre Puritan Names (September 13). Norwood doesn’t strike me as a fan of the Puritans. He describes them as a movement that “argued amongst themselves, schismed, predicted the end of the world, and still found time to fight the English Civil War.” I wouldn’t describe them that way. Norwood adds “perhaps their greatest gift to history…is…

Dark Mornings

September 12, 2013

There is no way around it; Psalm 88 is a dark psalm. Life is hard at the beginning. “My soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to Sheol [death]” (v. 3). Life is hard in the middle. “I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow” (v. 9). Life is still hard at the end of the psalm. “You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness” (v. 18). Whereas most of the Psalter’s laments end well; working their way to hope and praise—this…

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