When God Interrupts, Something Great Is About to Happen

God has other plans

God has a way of interrupting our plans.

We set out upon one path and he sweeps us off on a different and more incredible journey than we ever anticipated. Some of the most influential Christians in history began their stories on the unlikeliest of paths. William Carey, lauded as the father of modern missions, started life as a humble shoe cobbler. Another young man dreamed of a wealthy life as a successful shoe salesman, then went on to found one of the most influential Christian schools in the world: Moody Bible Institute. That man was, of course, Dwight L. Moody.

Another man, born in Scotland at the turn of the nineteenth century, started his career as a doctor and an atheist. But God took him on a life-changing journey that would carry him across four continents and over thousands of miles of open ocean—and last 38 years.

His story is testimony to what can happen when we let go of our own plans, and entrust our future to God.

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How to Do Apologetics without Fear or Aggression

tools and weapons

When I was sixteen, I went to summer camp. But instead of mountains, sunrises, and songs around the campfire, this camp offered school desks, podiums, and hours of daily lectures. This was no ordinary summer retreat—this was a training ground for would-be apologists.

Led by experts on worldview, Christian leadership, and culture, this camp provided training for young Christians who wanted to know how to defend their faith—and I thrived in that environment. I was fascinated by the lectures and eagerly anticipated the next small group session, devotion, and worship session. At camp I was given tools to defend my faith, but as I tried to integrate them into my everyday life those tools eventually began to feel like weapons.

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How an Unlikely Friendship Transformed Protestant Art

unlikely-friendship

Friendship can overcome even the most intense disagreements.

Shaw and Chesterton flanking their mutual friend, the poet Hilaire Belloc.

Shaw and Chesterton flanking their mutual friend Hilaire Belloc.

Case in point: the Catholic apologist and satirist G.K. Chesterton found an unlikely friend in George Bernard Shaw, the modernist writer who famously balked at Christian mores.

The pair was a study in contrast, both physically and philosophically. On one occasion, Chesterton quipped to Shaw, “To look at you, anyone would think a famine had struck England.” Without missing a beat, Shaw returned, “To look at you, anyone would think you have caused it.”

Chesterton and Shaw often engaged in public debates (once on the tongue-in-cheek question of “Do we agree?”), but privately were close companions who held one another in great esteem.

But friendship can do more than bridge divides; sometimes, friendship changes minds.

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4 Things Francis Schaeffer Taught Me about Faith and Doubt

francis schaeffer birthday

Like all freshman at my little Bible college, I took a course called Philosophy and Christian Worldview. I learned a lot from the professor, but most of what I gleaned came from watching the flickering images of a goateed man wearing knickers, projected onto a ripped screen in the college auditorium.

A version of this story could be recounted by scores of Bible college and seminary students since the late seventies. The name of the film was How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. The man in knickers was Presbyterian pastor and apologist Francis Schaeffer.

Schaeffer died the year I was born, but like many Christians my age, his work has made an enormous impact on the way I think about the Christian faith, culture, and what it means to be a rational person.

To mark today, the great apologist’s birthday, here are four lessons Francis Schaeffer taught me about faith, doubt, art, and culture.

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5 Ways the Logos Pros Can Help with Your Bible Study

Bible study

The mission of Faithlife is to “use technology to equip the church to grow in the light of the Bible.” And we really mean it. I didn’t take the job until I asked the VP who interviewed me, “What is your company mission?,” and he said, “to serve the church.” I have also listened with two critical ears to all the public statements of CEO Bob Pritchett since I arrived. I wanted to know if he would articulate Faithlife’s mission carefully, and I wanted to know whether he really cared about that mission. He did. He does.

The team I’m on, the Logos Pros, serves the company mission in a pretty direct way. We serve our users—you—by providing free software training with a “missional” twist. Every time you watch one of the Logos Pros’ many videos, or read one of our many posts on the Logos blogs, you get exegetical or theological insight along with the software training.

But there are many more ways we can help you get more out of your Bible study and learn how to use Logos. Here are just a few—one from each member of our team.

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The Lie That Launched a Thriving Christian Ministry

TakeFlight-BlogHeader-LinfenChina Copy 2

The Christian story is full of dramatic conversions and calls to ministry. When a young, philosophical rabble-rouser heard the voice of a child singing “Pick it up and read it,” he felt compelled to reach for a Bible. When he randomly opened it to Romans 13:13–14, he was confronted by his life of sin and gave his life to Christ.

We know that young man as St. Augustine.

When a law student was nearly struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, he cried out in terror, “Save me St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!” That young man was Martin Luther, and he made good on his promise—then he went on to launch the Protestant Reformation.

And then there’s Xi Zixhi, a Chinese pastor little known to most Westerners—in spite of his profound impact on Christianity in China. The story of his calling is markedly different from most others.

Pastor Xi’s ministry began when he cheated on an essay contest.

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Tim Challies and Going All in with Ebooks

challies

An open letter to Tim Challies, in response to a recent blog post.

Dear Tim,

The people in my office at Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software, read your post “Going All-in With Ebooks” with excitement—and not just because we sell ebooks (including quite a few of them to you, and some of them by you). We read with interest because we are interested in reading. We like books, as do our users, and we like all kinds of books: biography, history, fiction, memoir, and, preeminently, theology and biblical commentary.

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How To Search Logos.com (or Any Website) in a Flash

search on logos.com

Calling all nerd wannabes. I, on behalf of the Logos Pros, am about to share with you one of the most useful computer tips you will ever get. I mean that. I’m going to apply the tip to a narrow question: “What’s the quickest and easiest way to search Logos.com for a particular book or resource?”  The answer will help you with all the important sites you search online, from Google to Wikipedia to Beaniebabies.com.

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How Good Are the Sermons You Preach to Yourself?

preach sermons
Even if you’ll never preach a single sermon in your entire life, you should still know what good preaching is. And not just so you can spot (and avoid) bad preaching; not even so you can seek out good preaching. You need to understand what makes a good sermon because every time you interpret the Bible, practically speaking, you’re preaching the Bible to yourself.

How good are your self-sermons?
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On Christian Trinkets and Bad Exegesis

Christian trinkets and bad exegesis

Internet meanderings recently landed me on the Amazon product page for the bookmark below. It’s the kind of bookmark you’re supposed to give to a friend or loved one, and it bears two Bible verses. Notice the citation from Genesis 31 in particular.

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