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Mar 2013 30 Mar 30, 2013

I strongly urge you to log in to www.desiringgod.org at approximately 6:10 p.m. this evening to watch live the final sermon that John Piper will preach as Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His text will be Hebrews 13.20-21. I write this fighting back tears, tears of both gratitude for the many years of powerful preaching that John has brought to Bethlehem and the larger body of Christ, and tears of joy and expectation as I await the next chapt...Read More

Mar 2013 30 Mar 30, 2013

Back in December, before I had resumed blogging, a few friends posted my article on the best books of 2012. Since I’ve started blogging again, several people who didn’t see the article have asked that I publish it one more time. So here it is. It’s that time of year again . . . time for top ten lists of every sort. The only lists I care about are those of the top ten books of the year. As with every year, so too in 2012, it’s hard to keep it to t...Read More

Mar 2013 29 Mar 29, 2013

I’m happy to announce that the new website for Bridgeway Church is now up and running. Many thanks to Church Plant Media for their incredible commitment to this project. I highly recommend them if you are looking for someone to build your site. Please visit the new site at www.bridgewaychurch.com....Read More

Mar 2013 29 Mar 29, 2013
Mar 2013 29 Mar 29, 2013

We have finally arrived at Golgotha where our Lord is nailed to a cross. There “they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it” (Matthew 27:33-34). This has been interpreted in two different ways. The traditional view is that it was customary for Jewish women to provide a narcotic drink to those condemned in order to deaden their sensitivity to the pain of crucifixion (see Prov. 31:6-7). If so, then Jesus' unwil...Read More

Mar 2013 28 Mar 28, 2013
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Oh, really? Well, that’s what the new Nike ad for Tiger Woods asserts (according to the lead story at U.S.A. Today, March 27, 2003). Evidently it is what Woods himself believes. If this weren’t so pathetic, it would be laughable. So, let me get this straight. Winning golf tournaments takes care of the absence of moral character. Winning golf tournaments is the remedy for lack of integrity. Winning golf tournaments takes care of broken vows and restores shatt...Read More

Mar 2013 28 Mar 28, 2013

The seventh and final shocking sin is, of course, the crucifixion itself (vv. 31-32). Normally the victim was forced to walk naked to the place of crucifixion and was scourged along the way. But since Jesus had already been scourged this custom was abandoned. If it had been repeated, Jesus may well have died before reaching Calvary. Custom also required that the victim carry the cross-beam on which he would be nailed. It weighed between 30 and 40 pounds. But it was phy...Read More

Mar 2013 27 Mar 27, 2013
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I’m happy to announce that the revised and expanded edition of my book, The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts (Regal, 222 pp.), is now available. The book first came out in 2002. This revised edition is considerably longer and contains new material that I think should prove helpful. Here are a few of the items not found in the first edition: (1) discussion questions for individual and small group studies follow each chapter; (2) a detailed account of a m...Read More

Mar 2013 27 Mar 27, 2013
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If there were a way to avoid talking of this sixth shocking sin, I would seize the opportunity to remain silent. I find it painfully difficult even to write these next words: they spit on him (v. 30). Spitting on someone and the inflicting of blows were conventional gestures of rejection and humiliation (cf. Job 30:10; Num. 12:14; Deut. 25:9; Isa. 50:6). Throughout Jewish history, people would go to Absalom’s tomb in the Kedron valley outside Jerusalem and repeate...Read More

Mar 2013 26 Mar 26, 2013
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Psalm 130:3-4 is simply stunning. “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (Ps. 130:3-4). On first reading, something seems terribly askew. Would it not have made more sense for the psalmist to have said: “But with you there is justice, that you may be feared”? Is it not the prospect of God exacting payment for our transgressions that evokes fear in the human sou...Read More

Mar 2013 26 Mar 26, 2013

In the previous article we looked at (1) the scourging of Jesus, as well as his being (2) adorned with a scarlet robe and (3) a crown of thorns. Although it may seem rather innocuous, the fourth of these seven shocking sins occurred when they placed a reed for a scepter in his hand (v. 29). The reed was again an instrument of mockery, for the monarch's scepter was a symbol of his authority and power. Thus, the point of the robe, the crown, and the reed was to portray J...Read More

Mar 2013 25 Mar 25, 2013

The world is a mess and it would be all too easy for God’s people to fall into despair and disillusionment. So take a moment and read of the glory and beauty of heaven to come, and be reassured once again that our God is working to bring all things to their consummation in Christ. Oh, what a day this will be! “All shall stand about the God of glory, the fountain of love, as it were opening their bosoms to be filled with those effusions of love which are pour...Read More

Mar 2013 25 Mar 25, 2013
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“Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And t...Read More

Mar 2013 22 Mar 22, 2013
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I recently read that Lady Gaga has over 32 million followers on Twitter. Justin Bieber has around 31 million. John Piper has a mere 450,000 or so. I seriously doubt that anything of value has ever come out of the mouth of Lady Gaga, yet such is our world today that her pathetic drivel is considerably more appealing than the wisdom of Piper. Of young Bieber I’ll refrain from saying anything. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is...Read More

Mar 2013 22 Mar 22, 2013

This article explains what it means to say that Christians are "sojourners" on the earth....Read More

Mar 2013 21 Mar 21, 2013
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One of my heroes is Joni Eareckson Tada. Most of you know the story of her diving accident that left her almost completely paralyzed. In an interview with World Magazine (January 12, 2013), Joni revealed something of which I was unaware. It’s a stunning illustration of divine providence, both sweet and a bit strange. The day before the incident Joni had gone to the drugstore to purchase a bottle of Nice ‘n Easy midnight summer blonde to lighten her hair colo...Read More

Mar 2013 21 Mar 21, 2013

This post explains what Paul means when he calls Christians "saints" in Christ Jesus....Read More

Mar 2013 20 Mar 20, 2013

A Polish man impales himself with a screwdriver and doesn't know it....Read More

Mar 2013 20 Mar 20, 2013
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Here I focus on what the charismatic renewal needs most in order to move forward in a positive and God-glorifying way....Read More

Mar 2013 19 Mar 19, 2013
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Charismatic Renewal: 10 Strengths and Weaknesses It seems everyone has an opinion on what is known as the charismatic movement. I’m no exception. But in this article I want to focus on what I perceive to be both its strengths and weaknesses. In a subsequent post I’ll comment on what I think is most needed in the charismatic world for it to move forward to the glory of God. (1) The charismatic tradition has done well in emphasizing the role of authentic expe...Read More

Mar 2013 18 Mar 18, 2013
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Yes, I confess. I’m an unrepentant fan of Duck Dynasty. If you have no idea of what I mean, read this article, 9 Things you should Know about Duck Dynasty....Read More

Mar 2013 18 Mar 18, 2013
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The Excitement and Stupidity of March Madness If you aren’t a fan of college basketball here in the U.S., stop reading and go about your business. But if you enjoy the game as much as I do, read on. I’ve been tempted to write this for several years, but always resisted the urge lest I offend and upset my friends. But I can refrain no longer. So here goes. Deciding the national championship of college basketball based on a single elimination tournament is ut...Read More

Mar 2013 15 Mar 15, 2013
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When I started preaching through Philippians at Bridgeway Church here in OKC, I suspect that more than a few people wondered aloud about my decision actually to spend an entire sermon on the opening two verses of chapter one: “Sam, are you kidding me? You actually plan on preaching an entire sermon on the opening greeting of a NT epistle. Come on! Give us some biblical meat, something we can really chew on and apply to our lives, something that’s going to mak...Read More

Mar 2013 14 Mar 14, 2013
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I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. Of course, I have to be careful in giving an answer, insofar as I can’t peer into the hearts and thought processes of another human. Only they know the true answer to that question. But let me venture a few thoughts. Notwithstanding the efforts of ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together), the divisions between Catholicism and Protestantism are long-standing and the reasons multi-f...Read More

Mar 2013 13 Mar 13, 2013
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A lot has been made of the fact that with Benedict’s resignation the Roman Catholic Church will have two popes for the first time in 600 years (technically speaking, of course, Benedict is no longer pope; but you get my point). To be more precise, it was during the time span of 1378-1417. I’ll briefly explain. The power of the papacy had surged under Innocent III (1161-1216), but suffered serious decline once Boniface VIII (1294-1303) came into office. Foll...Read More

Mar 2013 12 Mar 12, 2013
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My book, The Singing God (Passio; an imprint of Charisma Media, 220 pages), has just been released in a slightly revised edition. The most obvious difference is the new cover design, but I’ve also made changes that bring the book up-to-date in terms of stories, illustrations, and other matters. If you struggle with believing that God genuinely loves you, if you doubt whether God could ever take delight in a sinner such as yourself, or if the idea of actually exper...Read More

Mar 2013 12 Mar 12, 2013
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Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world when he announced that he would resign from his position as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The process to select his successor is well underway, and news reports indicate that it officially starts today, March 12th. But how is it done, and should any of you bother to send your resume to the Vatican? You’ve probably heard a lot about something called the “Conclave,” which literally means “with a key”...Read More

Mar 2013 11 Mar 11, 2013
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It has been a few years since I last blogged with any degree of regularity and I’m thrilled to be at it again. I hope you find the blogposts, articles, and sermons here to be helpful, encouraging, challenging, and edifying. They might even be a bit controversial at times (“all” the time?)! Here are my designs for this website. First, my intention is to blog every day, Monday through Friday. I’ll probably take off on Saturday and Sunday. On occasi...Read More