A Letter of Comfort to a Widower: An Example of Pastoral Care from John Berridge (1716-1793)

One of the most difficult tasks given to pastors is the care of those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. Pastors are expected simultaneously to provide comfort to the grieving and reminders of Christian truth, all with a spirit of compassion. In the course of my dissertation reading on eighteenth and nineteenth century evangelicalism,  I have read a number of letters written by evangelical ministers to people who had lost loved ones. Some of these letters come across to my modern ears as harsh and unsympathetic (perhaps they were not taken this way at that time), […]

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10 Parallels Between John the Baptist and Jesus

John the Baptist and Jesus have some fascinating parallels. Here are 10: Both men were prophesied by the prophet Malachi Both men had births which an angel foretold Both men preached about repentance and the kingdom Both men criticized the religious leaders of the day Both men were opposed Both men were accused of operating by […]

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My 2014 Highlights

2014 was full of some great highlights for me and our family. Here are some ramblings on some samplings: January: Jensen started team sports this year, beginning with joining a basketball league for his age group–he’s tall and fast, so he had a blast and wants to play again next time. Due to polar vortex […]

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The Parables in Matthew 13

There are eight parables in Matthew 13, four before Jesus goes into a house with his disciples, and four after Jesus goes into a house with his disciples (see 13:36). The Parable of the Sower and Four Soils (13:1-9) The Parable of Weeds Sown by an Enemy (13:24-30) The Parable of the Mustard Seed (13:31-32) […]

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Six Reflections on John 3:16

John 3:16 is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Clear, concise, powerful. Gospel. News worth shouting and celebrating! Here are six reflections that I hope will help us […]

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My 10 Favorite Books in 2014

What a gift reading is! I’m thankful for good books that illumine mind and stir the soul. And at a time of end-of-year lists, here’s my compilation, in no particular order, of my 10 favorite reads from 2014 (though they weren’t necessarily published this year). 1) Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible is […]

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“Silent Night” — A 2014 Christmas Poem

The incarnation was about the cross. The birth of the promised son was about the mission of dying for sinners and achieving victory over death, sin, and the dragon. “Silent Night” Christmas 2014 Silent night: Gospel light Blazing bright. Bloody sight: Sinful plight Washing white. Evil spite: Serpent bite Holding tight. Dragon fight: Holy smite […]

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Don’t Wait Until New Year’s; Start Reading Your Bible Now! (With A Good Resource for Bible Reading Plans)

It is fairly customary for Christians to make a New Year’s resolution to read through their Bible in a year. I have been there personally. You make a decision, starting January 1st, to read a few chapters a day for the whole year. Everything starts off well. Genesis isn’t all that bad. There are a few genealogies, but it’s mostly written in story form. The same goes for Exodus. But then we reach Leviticus, that venerable killer of Bible reading plans and New Year’s resolutions. We get bogged down in the difficult reading. We miss a day–then two; and the […]

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Thomas Scott (1747-1821) on Redeeming Time in Ministry

One of the hallmarks of the evangelical movement has been its emphasis on active Christian service. Like the Puritans before them, the early evangelicals thought it important to make the most of each day, and doing so required a careful use of time. This care was especially needful for ministers of the gospel, whose very occupation meant tending to both personal and public responsibilities. Some, like the early Methodists, would schedule out basically their entire day into short blocks of time. However, other evangelicals were less rigid. Concerned about how to balance the various demands of ministry on his time, the […]

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