My 5 Top Reads of 2018

Over the last two years, I’ve taken some time on the last day of the year to recommend/report on the 5 books from the previous year that have left an imprint on me. These books range across various genres including children’s literature, and I usually don’t have a particular rhyme or reason as to why I read a certain book (unless it’s for a sermon series or other work purpose). Most often, I will read a book just because it’s of interest to me at the time. This past year, I didn’t read as many books as I had intended. I think I fell about 8 books short of my reading goal. Part of the reason is that I was a bit more distracted in 2018, and I also took my time reading through one book in particular.

Before I share my top 5 for 2018, let me encourage you to take up and read in 2019. You don’t have to read these, just read something. A couple of principles have helped me enjoy my reading as well as read more. Continue reading

Why I Didn’t Sign the Statement on Social Justice

Dear Grace,

A few weeks ago, a group of evangelical pastors led by the faithful Bible teacher, John MacArthur, produced the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. Pastors around the world were then invited to sign on in support of the statement.

While there was much in the statement that I agree with, there were some fundamental places that lacked clarity. Without going into an annotated line-by-line critique of the statement (we can have coffee if you want to talk more about that), I wanted you to know why I didn’t sign it.   Continue reading

When Floodwaters Rise (again)…

ec floodLast Sunday night, the sky opened like a faucet over my neighborhood, and my first thought was, “Oh no, Old Ellicott City (OEC).” That morning, I preached a message from James 4:13f. on the uncertainty of our lives and the caution of presuming on our plans. Watching the footage of the flooding, I felt the weightiness of God’s Word in a new light.

While certainly not claiming any sort of “prophetic” voice, the sheer power of nature and the unpredictability of life should make us consider how fragile our lives actually are. There are always things beyond our control no matter how much technology, how many policies and regulations, or how much money we put into something.

OEC’s second flooding in three years reminds me to submit my plans to the Lord and to remember that ultimately He orders my steps. With that short sermon reminder, let me also offer a few pastoral thoughts on how we can respond to the needs yet again.  Continue reading