How Introverts Can Thrive in an Extroverted World

I’m an introvert.

This is a shock to exactly no one who knows me well (although apparently people have been surprised meeting me at a conference or when I’m preaching).

Particularly over the last decade, I’ve had to work really hard to learn how to function as an extrovert. It doesn’t come naturally to me and it is exhausting. But it’s absolutely necessary in order to function in a culture dominated by the Extrovert Ideal, what author Susan Cain describes as “the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight.”1

As you can imagine, this ideal creates a whole host of issues for a number of people who would identify themselves as introverts. The prevailing attitude seems to treat introversion—and along with it sensitivity, shyness and seriousness—as “a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.”2 I’ve personally experienced this attitude on numerous occasions. The work culture I’m a part of places a very high demand on “face-time,” physical availability, and being seen as bright, cheery and nice. These are not bad things in and of themselves. We should certainly be kind (even if we can’t do that super-out-there kind of personality) and willing to meet with people when they need to talk. But how do those of us for whom high degrees of personal interaction do not come naturally survive and even thrive in such cultures?

“Paradoxically, the best way to act out of character is to stay as true to yourself as you possibly can—starting by creating as many “restorative niches” as possible in your daily life,” Cain explains.3 The best way to get through the day, the best way to thrive, is to develop a series of helps—restorative niches— that allow you to be who you are.

Here are a few of mine and how I incorporate as many as I can into my day:

1. I work outside the office as much as is possible and realistic. Doing this makes my time in our office as intentional and productive as possible. It also has the added benefit of giving people the impression that when I’m around, I’m happy to have a conversation about whatever.

2. I work in places where I can choose the amount of social interaction I require. Although I have the option to do so, I rarely ever work at home (my children’s fierce love for Daddy typically prevents me from getting anything done). I do, however, spend a lot of time at the local Starbucks. Normally I’m left alone, but sometimes people will strike up a conversation or I’m able to do the same with the baristas, other patrons and even my colleagues who are coming in for their afternoon coffee fix.

3. I find times to read. For me, my greatest restorative niche is reading (which explains why I do so much of it). One of the healthiest things I can do is to take 15-20 minutes somewhere in my day to just stop and read, particularly if it’s a day that requires a lot of social interaction (read: meetings).

Those are a few of my restorative niches and overall they’re pretty helpful for me. Because I have been given a great deal of freedom when it comes to how I manage my time, I’m allowed to implement these things during my work week. For some reading this, implementing your restorative niches might be a bit trickier. You may need to look at how your evenings and weekends are set up to ensure that you’re providing yourself adequate time to recharge. It might mean a few less activities and it may mean disappointing people on occasion, but in order to serve others well, we need to make the time and develop the habits that allow us to embrace the natural personality traits that God has given us.

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Moody Blogger Review Program

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The Moody Publishers Blogger Review Program provides bloggers with free copies of Moody Publishers products.  We require participants to post their review on their blog as well as another online consumer site such as

Getting Healthy: Fighting Spiritually

Joe Thorn:

I believe the life of a Christian is a life of fighting. We fight against sin and temptation. We wage a spiritual war against everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. But it wasn’t until I found myself in my weakest condition that I had to fight the most intense battles of my Christian life. It was frightening? I was too weak to fight, but this was when God called me to fight in raging battles.

What do We Believe about the Bible?

Bill Mounce:

There are four things that followers of Jesus believe about the Bible. I don’t have time to cover them in detail, but let me mention them . . . The Bible wants to become your guide, and you have to decide whether you will believe it or not.

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

Tim Challies:

There are many ways to react badly when sinned against by another Christian. Some of us tend to react with sulking and feeling sorry for ourselves. Some go big and blow up while others give in to the slow, brooding kind of anger. Some just walk away. There are as many ways to react badly to sin as there are ways to sin against one another. There are not nearly as many ways to react well to being sinned against. The Bible gives us two: lovingly overlook that sin or lovingly address that sin. The question is, when are we to overlook and when are we to address?

Book Review: The Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson

One doesn’t have to be a great student of culture to know that there’s been a shift in how we view the world. It’s a change that, D.A. Carson argues, is subtle in form, but massive in substance. What’s happened? We’ve changed our understanding of tolerance. We’ve moved from an understanding that accepts the existence of different views to one that presupposes the acceptance of those same views.

“To accept that a different or opposing position exists and deserves the right to exist is one thing; to accept the position itself means that one is no longer opposing it,” writes Carson in his recently released book, The Intolerance of Tolerance. “The new tolerance suggests that actually accepting another’s position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own. . . .  We leap from permitting the articulation of beliefs and claims with which we do not agree to asserting that all beliefs and claims are equally valid.” Based upon his lectures given over the last decade, this book delves into the nature of this new form of tolerance, its implications for our culture and how we can respond.

Tolerance: Out with the Old…

One of the things I love about reading Carson’s work is that he’s very good at taking something really big and heady and making it reasonably easy to understand (either that or I’m so comfortable with abstract concepts that I don’t even notice anymore). For example, here’s how he describes the difference between the old and new forms of tolerance:

The older view of tolerance held either that truth is objective and can be known, and that the best way to uncover it is bold tolerance of those who disagree, since sooner or later the truth will win out. . . . The new tolerance argues that there is no one view that is exclusively true. Strong opinions are nothing more than strong preferences for a particular version of reality, each version equally true.

This distinction is important because if we did even a quick survey of how our culture’s changed in the last 20 years—heck, even the last decade—it’s easy to see the shift. Where once there was a fairly significant debate over whether or not it was appropriate to prominently feature homosexual characters on television shows, today, if you don’t have at least one, you’re considered either bigoted or outdated. If you express your belief in the traditional, biblical view of marriage as being between one man and one woman to the exclusion of other options, you’re likely to be branded a hate-monger or worse (as Kirk Cameron learned not that long ago).

The new tolerance—one rooted in relativism—is anything but. While we’re often told that a dogmatic view of absolutes leads to tyranny, Carson shows us that it’s actually the opposite that is true. “Put simply, tyranny is not the inevitable outcome of an absolutist view of truth, but is, rather, the direct product of relativism, “he writes. “Likewise, tolerance arises not from relativism but from the very thing that our society anathematizes – the belief in absolutes.” [Read more…]

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How a Book is Born

I’ve heard rumors that this is so:

If We Believe All the Same Things, Why Do Our Churches Seem So Different?

Kevin DeYoung:

Have you ever been talking to a pastor or someone from another church and it seems like you should be kindred spirits. The person you meet is obviously a warm-hearted, sincere Christian. They don’t have a problem with any of the doctrines you mention as precious to you and your church. They don’t affirm liberal positions on major theological questions. They nod vigorously when you talk about the Bible and prayer and church planting and the gospel. And yet, you can’t help but wonder if you are really on the same page. You try to check your heart and make sure it’s not pride or judgmentalism getting the best of you. That’s always possible. But no, the more you reflect on the conversation and think about your two churches (or two pastors or two ministries) you conclude there really is a difference.

The Unskeptical Questioner

Barnabas Piper:

I even consider myself a borderline skeptic. Not the rabid, virulent sort, but rather one who is prone to questions and teeters on the brink of that slippery slope into “prove it.” I am insatiably curious and very rarely is the first answer I receive satisfying. There must be more. So I keep questioning things, especially relationship, belief, and aspects of faith.

For many Christians, someone who questions everything is already a skeptic. Questioning is seen as a mark of unbelief. There’s a fine line, though, between being someone who questions and being someone who refuses to believe any answers—a true skeptic.

We May Look Alike and Talk Alike But We are not Alike

J.D. Payne:

The Anglo majority in the United States (especially within the Church) is oftentimes quick to assume that if a group of people speak Spanish and have a dark complexion, then they are all culturally alike. Of course, this is not true, and the Church misses the missiological boat whenever we begin to think in such ways.

That Which His Holiness Demanded, His Grace Has Provided

The “god” which the vast majority of professing Christians “love” is looked upon very much like an indulgent old man, who himself has no relish for folly, but leniently winks at the “indiscretions” of youth. But the Word says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa 5:5). And again, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa 7:11). But men refuse to believe in this God, and gnash their teeth when His hatred of sin is faithfully pressed upon their attention. No, sinful man was no more likely to devise a holy God than to create the Lake of Fire in which he will be tormented for ever and ever.

Because God is holy, acceptance with Him on the ground of creature doings is utterly impossible. A fallen creature could sooner create a world than produce that which would meet the approval of infinite Purity. Can darkness dwell with Light? Can the Immaculate One take pleasure in “filthy rags” (Isa 64:6)? The best that sinful man brings forth is defiled. A corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit. God would deny Himself, vilify His perfections, were He to account as righteous and holy that which is not so in itself; and nothing is so which has the least stain upon it contrary to the nature of God.

But blessed be His name, that which His holiness demanded, His grace has provided in Christ Jesus our Lord. Every poor sinner who has fled to Him for refuge stands “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6). Hallelujah!

A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God

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Seven Marks of a Good Theologian

C. Michael Patton:

Are you willing to change your position? What if the evidence was not on your side? Are you lead purely by your emotional convictions? If you cannot change, what gives you the right to require it of others. Theologians will always be adapting because they know don’t have it all figured out.

Michael Horton, Gender Stereotypes, and Me

Douglas Wilson:

There are certain creational differences between the sexes, which God intended to be operative from the begining of the world to the end of it. Women bearing and nurturing children would be something in that category. Men protecting and providing for their families would be another one. But these creational differences have a deep need to find, discover, and apply a wider vocabulary. They want to express themselves further. That is why there are other differences that do not fall into this category of creational difference, but which are roles assigned to the two sexes by societal expectation. And (cue the zombie) it is facilely assumed in discussions like this one that if it is not a creational given, scripturally assigned, with black ink on white paper, we need not pay any attention to it. It is only “a gender stereotype,” and what a relief to us all!

Is Learning Greek and Hebrew Really Worth It?

Marc Cortez:

For many, learning a new language is an exhausting, frustrating, and spirit-killing endeavor, one that has been scientifically proven to cause premature hair loss, marital discord, excess book throwing, and, in small rodents, cancer. So it should come as no surprise that many wonder if it’s really worth it. Should I really invest that much time and that many brain cells in learning these languages? Isn’t that why we have translations in the first place?

Goodbye to Traditional Publishing?

Steve Laube:

If you wish to wave goodbye to traditional publisher and go Indie (independent) I believe the first question to ask is whether or not you want to start a small business. Just like an entrepreneur.  Those authors who are entrepreneurs are ideally suited for the self-publishing route. The understand the energy it takes and pitfalls ahead.

4 Functions of Sound Doctrine

Recently, I wrote that one of the key functions of doctrine is that it divides. Because Jesus himself is the most divisive person ever to live, all doctrine that aligns with him will necessarily cause division. But that’s not all that doctrine does. Consider Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:6-16:

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching [or doctrine]. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Paul points to four truths about sound doctrine in this passage:

Sound doctrine prevents us from falling into irreverent and silly myths.

Man-centered, pop-psychology preaching that has little or nothing to do with the cross of Christ, and in fact makes a mockery of it, leads us to error. It makes us the Bible about us, which is always going to end badly. Sound doctrine will always point us back to Jesus. He is the point of Scripture. He is the Redeemer. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. If what we teach, whether in sermons, books, blogs, lectures or films, doesn’t make Him the point, then we’ve completely and utterly failed in our task.

Sound doctrine trains us in godliness.

Godliness holds promise for the present life and the life to come, says Paul. Good doctrine allows us to better understand who Jesus, and live out our lives in loving grateful response to Him as He truly is.

Sound doctrine will save you.

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers,” says Paul. The doctrine we proclaim tells others what we believe about Jesus, and if our proclamation is antithetical to Scripture, we have cause for concern. Therefore, we must keep a close watch on ourselves that we not fall into error.

Sound doctrine prevents confusion.

We are not ashamed of the hope that we have in Jesus. We need not fear that teaching sound doctrine—teaching the Scriptures—will return void. Isaiah 55:11 says, “O shall my word be that goes out from my mouth it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (emphasis added). God’s word always accomplishes God’s purposes. We need to stand in that confidence and not be afraid to proclaim the word of God!

When we fail to stress the importance of sound doctrine, when we fail to teach it, when we treat everything as “caught,” but not “taught,” where do we find ourselves?

Confusion. We find for ourselves teachers whose words are clever and sound nice, but they teach a different doctrine that does not agree with the sound words of Jesus. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

“Preach the word,” says Paul in 2 Tim 4:2. “Be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” At all times, in all places, patiently, lovingly, confidently teach sound doctrine. Remind people that doctrine matters because what we teach about Jesus makes all the difference.

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Why Seth Godin Might Be More Pastoral Than You

Eric McKiddie:

There are two kinds of pastors in the world: those who are good at following up, and those who aren’t. Which one are you?

Before you claim to be at the “good” level, let me set the standard.

Leo Tolstoy: Youth Group President?

Eric Geiger:

Tolstoy pursued perfection in his own strength and energy apart from the grace of God. He constantly lived under guilt and shame, and he died a miserable vagrant. He never enjoyed the Christian life because he missed the essence of Christianity. The essence of sin is our attempt to take the place of God. The essence of the Christian faith is God taking our place, not only on the cross but also as the One who daily sustains and satisfies us. Tolstoy, because he missed grace, lived the antithesis of the Christian faith. Sadly, many churches teach as if they desire to produce children and students like Leo Tolstoy.

Pray That You Will Be Crushed…By Love

Stephen Altrogge:

My method of studying in college was what you might call “brute force learning”. When I didn’t understand a subject I would beat it into my brain. I would study my notes and the text book until my brain finally tapped out and grasped the subject. I would force my brain to get it. I would put my brain into a submission hold. And that method worked pretty well for me. I made it through college with good grades, without embarrassing my mom, and without having a nervous breakdown.

Unfortunately, the brute force learning method does not work when it comes to Christ.

Cheap eBooks:

Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn—$2.99 (US)/$3.99 (Canada)

Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray—$2.99

Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson—$3.99

The Gospel and the Mind by Bradley G. Green—$2.99

Education or Imitation? Bible Interpretation for Dummies Like You and Me by Curt Allen—99¢

4 Reasons to Remember Your Creator in Your Youth

David Murray:

Our enemy says, “Youth for pleasure, middle age for business, old age for religion.” The Bible says, “Youth, middle age, and old age for your Creator.”

But as it’s especially in our youth that we are most inclined (determined?) to forget our Creator, it’s especially in these years that we must work to remember our Creator (Ecc.12:1). Remember that He made you, that He provides for you, that He cares for you, that He watches you, that He controls you; and remember that He can save you too. That’s a lot to remember, but it’s much easier to start memorizing when we are young!

Forgive Our Vain Service

O my Lord,

Forgive me for serving thee in sinful ways – by glorying in my own strength,
by forcing myself to minister through necessity,
by accepting the applause of others,
by trusting in assumed grace and spiritual affection,
by a faith that rests upon my hold on Christ, not on him alone,
by having another foundation to stand upon beside thee; for thus I make flesh my arm.

Adapted from “Vain Service,” Puritan Prayers & Devotions (Kindle Edition)

A True Physician Only Makes Incisions to Cure

If our hearers will weep over their sins, and after Jesus, let their tears flow in rivers; but if the object of their sorrow is merely natural, and not at all spiritual, what good is done by setting them weeping? There might be some virtue in making people joyful, for there is sorrow enough in the world, and the more we can promote cheerfulness, the better; but what is the use of creating needless misery? What right have you to go through the world pricking everybody with your lancet just to show your skill in surgery?

A true physician only makes incisions in order to effect cures, and a wise minister only excites painful emotions in men’s minds with the distinct object of blessing their souls. You and I must continue to drive at men’s hearts till they are broken; and then we must keep on preaching Christ crucified till their hearts are bound up; and when this is accomplished, we must continue to proclaim the gospel till their whole nature is brought into subjection to the gospel of Christ. Even in these preliminaries you will be made to feel the need of the Holy Ghost to work with you, and by you; but this need will be still more evident when we advance a step further, and speak of the new birth itself in which the Holy Spirit works in a style and manner most divine.

Adapted from Charles Spurgeon, The Soul-Winner

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Our Disturbing Contemporary Culture

John Johnson:

A few weeks ago, at the Q Conference I attended in Washington, DC, we were greeted by the US President (via video). I initially found it remarkable and assuring that we have a President who affirms his stance with us in the cause of Christ. In fact, he wanted us to know he had just come from an Easter prayer breakfast, which reinforced his message of solidarity with the 7-800 Christian leaders in the audience, and how meaningful is the resurrection of Christ for us. But I was sitting next to a member of a conservative think tank in DC, and I couldn’t help but ask him how genuine the remarks were. His assessment, given the ongoing actions of the administration, was somewhat skeptical (and cynical). He reminded me that this is the same administration that recently signed off on withholding any government funding to those in the medical field who withhold surgeries due to conscience (e.g. performing an abortion). And then there was yesterday’s ABC interview, and his statement affirming gay marriage.

Hindus want to take back yoga

Rheana Murray:

A Hindu organization is fighting to take back yoga, saying that America’s version of the practice has lost its meaningful roots.

The Hindu American Foundation launched the “Take Back Yoga” campaign not to convert Westerners to Hinduism or urge them to cease practicing it altogether, but to remind people that yoga is rooted in Hindu philosophy.

Law Begets Resistance

Tullian Tchividjian:

Suppose a woman marries someone who really loves her. But he has a couple of personal sensitivities. He does not like a mess. In fact, he is a little obsessive about order. He is always picking up after her and implying, by doing so, that she is a slob. This sensitivity of his did not seem very important at first. Other aspects of their life together were good. But the older he gets, the more anxious he becomes when she is just being herself.

6 Bullet Points on Preaching

Tim Challies:

The Apostle Paul had a lot to say about preaching, but I think the majority of it can be grouped under six main headings or ideas. You could, of course, extract specific teaching points from each one, but I think there’s value in looking at them in a broad sense. Here is what Paul says about the preaching of God’s Word.

Division, Contending and Speaking the Truth in Love

The recent vote in North Carolina and this week’s generally unsurprising announcement from President Obama in support of same-sex marriage have Christians all abuzz. Some, lament the North Carolina decision saying they’re tired of the culture wars. Others have reminded us that there are good reasons that believers ought to continue to oppose gay marriage.

Younger Christians (and non-Christians) struggle to understand the uproar from their conservative forebearers. Rachel Held Evans is right to point this out. But just because homosexuality seems “normal” to the 30 and under crowd, it doesn’t mean that our response ought to be to throw their hands up in the air and sigh, “Can’t we all just get along?”

As Christians, we have an obligation to, as Jude calls it, “contend the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). So whether it’s a matter like gay marriage, the prosperity “gospel”, or the perpetual Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, to name but a few examples, we need to remember a few important truths that ought to guide our behavior as we contend for the faith:

1. Doctrine is intended to divide

There is a sense in which doctrine does divide. It can’t not by its very nature. Jesus himself—the Word of God made flesh—was and is the most divisive person to ever live. The people of his day were divided over his identity. They either didn’t know or refused to recognize him as the promised Messiah. Indeed, he himself said of his divisive nature, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division,” (Luke 12:51) and, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Because Jesus caused division and because he was uncompromising in his exclusivity as “the truth,” doctrine that aligns with Jesus will cause division. This necessarily means that we will be at odds with others—friends, relatives, perhaps even other believers.

2. Contending does not mean being contentious

Christians are never to be a quarrelsome people with “an unhealthy craving for controversy” (1 Tim. 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:24). Instead, we are “to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2). The one who is contentious is looking for a fight; he loves controversy and debate. He builds men of straw simply to tear them down. But this person is one “who stirs up division . . . is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned,” wrote Paul. We are to have nothing to do with him—which also means that we must not be like him (Titus 3:10-11).

3. Don’t make doctrine more (or less) important than people

We are to speak the truth in love, not the truth or love. The Ephesian church deeply loved the truth of the gospel and that love overflowed toward “all the saints,” giving the apostle Paul cause to rejoice (Eph. 1:15). Yet, as we read in Revelation 2:2-5, it seems that, despite their rock-solid doctrine and their wealth of love for one another, their hearts had become cold to the things that had once burned so warm within them. Sam Storms writes:

What we see in the church at Ephesus, therefore, was how their desire for orthodoxy and the exclusion of error had created a climate of suspicion and mistrust in which brotherly love could no longer flourish. Their eager pursuit of truth had to some degree soured their affections one for another. It’s one thing not to “bear with those who are evil” (Rev. 2:2), but it’s another thing altogether when that intolerance carries over to your relationship with other Christ-loving Christians!1

We must not forget that there are people involved in every debate, both “those who are evil” and those who are, as Storms puts it, “Christ-loving Christians.” We must remember contending is an act of mercy on those who doubt and those who have been deceived. It’s much easier to view those with whom we disagree as being demons when they’ve more likely just been duped. But in doing so, we do them a great disservice and dishonor Christ in the process. There is a tension in contending that requires us to uphold both people and doctrine. We cannot contend without compassion anymore than we can contend without a love for the truth. “Doctrinal precision is absolutely necessary. But it isn’t enough. May God grant us grace to love others with no less fervor than we love the truth.”

I realize that the fight is exhausting—but we dare not give in and we dare not sit on the sidelines.

If we truly love Jesus and if we truly care about the well being of the Church then we must contend. “People’s eternal fate is at stake,” writes Robert Gundry. “With might and main [we] are to join in the fight.”2

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Grief — A Forgotten Apologetic

Nathan W. Bingham:

Whether that’s from seeing “prosperity gospel” false teachers on television, or observing conservative Christians leaving their homes on Sunday morning wearing their “happy clothes” and “happy face.” Either way, we’re good at giving the world the impression that life’s hard for the heathen and roses for the righteous. But that’s not true.

Who Are You Calling a Culture Warrior?

Daniel Darling:

Our generation is in the midst of a good discussion on the connection between faith and politics. We’re a bit weary of a previous generation’s highly partisan nature. We feel the Christian brand has been badly damaged. We’re not culture warriors. Or so we think.

What is Better?

Jared C. Wilson:

Don’t believe the lie that struggling always to obey God is a worse lot in life than disobeying him with peace. God did not make us to “feel good inside” (or outside) all the time this side of heaven; he made us to share in the sufferings of Christ, that we might share in his resurrection. And the reality is, for many, the resurrection kind of life in these areas of death isn’t always postponed to the life to come. But you won’t know that until you’re willing to go to the cross for as long as it takes to die.

12 Ways to Guarantee You’ll Never Be Called a “Fundy”

Carrie Hunter:

We Evangelicals have a reputation to uphold. We cannot, under any circumstance, be confused with Them. Them of course being those crazy, unsophisticated, hard-line, uncharitable, literalistic, mean-spirited, dogmatic, absolute-certainty-possessing, Fundamentalists.

3 Words To Aid in Forgiveness

If anyone here who is a Christian finds a difficulty in forgiveness, I am going to give him three words which will help him wonderfully. I would put them into the good man’s mouth. I gave them to you just now, and prayed you to get the sweetness of them; here they are again!

“For Christ’s sake.”

Cannot you forgive an offender on that ground? Ah, the girl has acted very shamefully, and you, her father, have said some strong things, but I beg you to forgive her for Christ’s sake. Cannot you do it with that motive? It is true your son has behaved very wrongly, and nothing hurts a father’s heart more than the wicked conduct of a son. You did in a fit of anger say a very stern thing, and deny him your house for ever. I entreat you to eat your words up for Christ’s sake.

Sometimes when I have been pleading a case like that, the person I have been persuading has kindly said, “I will do it for you, sir.” I have said, “I will thank you if you will do it at all, but I would rather you would have said you would do it for my Master, for what a blessed Master he has been to you! Do it for his sake.” I may be speaking very plainly home to some of you. I hope I am. If there be any of you who have got into a bad state of heart and have said you never will forgive a rebellious son, do not say so again till you have looked at the matter, for Christ’s sake. Not for the boy’s sake, not for your neighbour’s sake who has offended you, not for any other reason do I urge you to mercy, but for Christ’s sake. Come, you two brothers, who have fallen out, love each other for Christ’s sake; come, you two sisters, come you two friends who have been alienated, get together directly, and end all your ill feeling for Christ’s sake. You must not keep a drop of malice in your soul, for Christ’s sake. Oh charming word, how it melts us, and as it melts it seems to leave no trace of anger behind it: for Christ’s sake our love suffers long and never fails.

Adapted from “Forgiveness Made Easy,” as published in The Sermons of Charles Spurgeon: Sermons 201-400 (Vol 2 of 4) (Kindle Edition)