When you try to engage someone who is silent, you do your best in a one-sided conversation. Then, with no response forthcoming, you move on to someone who will engage. Such is the experience of many who feel alone in their sufferings. They try to talk to God; they really try. But how long can they wait for nothing? So they adjust their expectations and figure out how to get by on their own. God exists, they believe, but he doesn’t involve himself in day-to-day human affairs.
Since the beginning of the New Testament church, a contrast has been identified between grace and obedience, grace and law, or God’s work and our work. They are typically placed on opposite sides of a scale, and the pastoral task is to figure out how to strike the right balance between them. When in doubt, opt for fifty-fifty—that seems like a wise approach. Spend half your time talking about grace and the other half talking about obedience. That seems to fit the Apostle Paul
When the wealthy young man could not quite give all his money away and follow Jesus, we are given a hard story (Matt. 19:16-22). Many of us have wondered what we would have done if Jesus asked us the same question. The story is always challenging. But the wealthy young man has recently been hijacked by someone new: the young man who is hoping to have sex…soon.
He is twenty-ish and a capable apologist with his friends. If you spoke with him for five minutes you would be
I once thought that the psalms were sung by a fine choir in God’s throne room. Then I actually read them, and they sounded more like the words a street troubadour who encourages the participation of those around him. Now I find that they are simply spoken and sung everywhere: in the darkness of night, in the early morning, in all the details of everyday life. And there are a handful of psalms in which the psalmists speak to themselves. These are the ones I want to consider.
The ingredients of the psychological certainly exist. They are among the most important and interesting features of our inner life, which includes thought patterns, personality, emotions, and individual motivations. But is their conceptual holding tank—the psychological—a real and useful category, or is it unnecessary and unhelpful for understanding humanity? Is there a distinct part of us that is not spiritual and not biological—but psychological? I suggest that
Winston discusses the presence and influence of emotions in Christian growth, counseling, and life.
Apologies require us to say something. It could be something as simple as "I'm sorry" or "I shouldn't have done that to you. Will you forgive me?" All of this is as it should be. But sometimes even wise, appropriate words like these miss a crucial step in the process of reconciliation.
That crucial step is listening. When you apologize, it’s as important to listen as it is to speak.
As a counselor, I have the privilege of witnessing
Travel expands us. We take in new sights, sounds and smells. We meet new people and make new friends. We see what the Spirit is doing in other parts of the world. But travel also makes us feel smaller. It is hard to be puffed up when you meet people more honorable than yourself and find that your cultural forms are not the only or right ones. These two features of travel were evident during a trip that Mike Emlet and I made, on behalf of CCEF, to partner with friends in India.