A Pastor’s Restoration Process: Journey to Healing Through the Eyes of Those Closest, Part 3 – Greg

“True restoration focuses on destroying the sin, not destroying the person.” Ed: Greg, why is restoration so hard? Greg: I think restoration is hard because there initially is the shock of the exposure of sin. There is shame in the pastor, the leaders, and the church. The process of repentance is long and the wounds to the church are deep. Ed: What did you say to Darrin in the process? Greg: Early in the process we talked about who was affected, who was hurt by Darrin’s choices... Read More

How Palestine Divides Messianic Jews

The complexity of the situation even presents a challenge to Jewish Christian unity. Among Christians in America, Israel can be viewed as a fulfillment of prophecy, a democratic ally in a region of chaos, or an occupier oppressing stateless Palestinians. How to choose? Given that 2 out of 3 US evangelicals have a positive perception of Israel, according to LifeWay Research, perhaps a better question is: How should evangelicals identify with the issues Israel faces? Fortunately, there is a... Read More

The Risk of Inviting Jesus into Your Summer

Can this season be one where I grow with God and with my neighbor? Summer, wrote A. W. Tozer, is “the period of full power when life multiplies, and it is hard to believe that it can ever end.” But summer’s lease truly hath all too short a date. So here at the beginning of the season, it’s worth asking: What do I really want this summer to be like? How can this season be one where I grow with God and with my neighbor? That’s an invitation, not an imposition.... Read More

A Pastor’s Restoration Process: Journey to Healing Through the Eyes of Those Closest, Part 2 – Amie

“I’ve learned that pastors’ wives and children usually end up as overlooked collateral damage in these scenarios.” Ed: What was your initial response when Darrin's sin was revealed? Amie: In short, I was completely shocked, furious, and absolutely devastated. It's difficult to describe the trauma that occurs when life as you know it instantly ceases to exist in a very public way. I sobbed, yelled, prayed desperate prayers, and asked Darrin many painful questions. I... Read More

Jesus Gave Me What Boozing and Brawling Couldn’t

My journey from the criminal underworld to the foot of the cross. Six years ago—lost, broken, alone, and suicidal—I was the empty shell of a once-promising rugby player, shuffling around an exercise yard in a London prison. I was a man of extreme violence who had done seven stretches behind bars. One morning around that time, I watched a flock of birds take off from a ledge outside my cell. Right then, I knew God was real—and that he had reached down to rescue me from the... Read More

We Want Straightforward Answers. God Gives Us Mysteries.

Jen Pollock Michel traces the paradoxical shape of Christian truth. One Sunday not long ago, I was leading children’s worship in our church. During the weekly prayer time, we sat in a circle with the kids taking turns holding a cross that designates their moment to pray, either silently or out loud. I couldn’t help but smile at the “prayer face” some kids made when their turn arrived. Upon receiving the cross, they would scrunch up their closed eyes and assume a very... Read More

Waging a Smarter War on Porn

It’s a serious problem among evangelicals. But fixating on it might be missing the bigger picture. Porn appears to be overrunning Christian cultures. Some have quietly capitulated. Evangelicalism, however, has not. But conservative Christians are no longer on the offensive against “obscenity,” as they were in the 1970s and ’80s. Today, they’re in survival mode. That’s one lesson we learn from Addicted to Lust: Pornography in the Lives of Conservative... Read More

Interview: How J. P. Moreland Presented His Anxious Mind to God

The apologist opens up about his battles with mental illness. In public, J.P. Moreland is best known for battling in the arena of Christian apologetics. But privately, he has waged a personal struggle against occasionally debilitating mental illness. The longtime Biola University philosophy professor opens up about this side of his life in Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and the Practices that Brought Peace. Eric L. Johnson, director of the Gideon Institute of Christian... Read More

Oil Is a Gift from God. Are We Squandering It?

What the church can do when the world’s had too much of a good thing. By August 27, 1859, New England railroad conductor Edwin L. Drake had been spending borrowed money for months, and it was running out. His steam-powered drill had bored 69 feet into the rock near Titusville, Pennsylvania, at the rate of three feet a day, and he had yet to strike oil. His employer, America’s first petroleum exploration company, had given up on him. When Drake and his crew went home for the night,... Read More

Small Groups Anonymous

Why the best church small groups might take their cues from the Twelve Steps. I used to tell my wife and friends that I needed a “non-small-group small group.” Then I began to wonder if I just needed an AA group. I am not an alcoholic. Alcohol just doesn’t do it for me. But Alcoholics Anonymous does. I attended an AA group while writing a book called Addiction and Virtue, and I’ve missed it ever since. I am a Christian, or at least I am trying to be. I want to be a... Read More