The Worst and Best Words in the World

They crucified Him (Mark 15:24).

Three words full of hell and full of heaven.

Three words full of horror and full of hope.

Three words full of damnation and full of salvation.

Three words full of sin and full of pardon.

Three words full of darkness and full of light.

Three words full of death and full of life.

Three words full of hate and full of love.

Three words to ponder.

Ponder the “”they.”

Ponder the “Him.”

Ponder what “they” did to “him.”


The three worst words ever written.

The three best words ever written.

Why Study Shadows When We Have the Son

Why study shadows when we have the Son? That’s a question I’m often asked when I’m trying to promote more reading of the Old Testament. The question is usually focused specifically upon typology. Why study the types when we have the anti-type? It’s a valid question and if there is no satisfactory answer then the Old Testament, or large parts of it, are going to continue to gather dust. But I believe there is a satisfactory answer, six answers in fact.

You can read my full answer over at The Christward Collective, but here are the main points:

1. We need and use the types more than we realize

2. The OT type sometimes gives more detail than the antitype.

3. We can learn more from pictures than instructions. 

4. The all-wise God chose to teach through stories, events, and objects that He packed with symbolic meaning.

5. Jesus used Old Testament types to explain His person and work. 

6. God especially blesses teaching and preaching on neglected parts of His Word. 

Check out

Michael Bloomberg: “I’ve earned my place in heaven”
Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Neither Fully Widow Nor Fully Wife
Alzheimer’s puts caregivers in painful in-betweens.

No, All Christian Content Shouldn’t Be Free
Dan Darling: “I understand the desire to get resources into the hands of those who can’t afford them. The impulse to break down financial barriers so  people can hear the gospel and so God’s people can grow is good. I’m thankful for all of the free content, readily available online and elsewhere. But there point we must understand is that good content always has a cost.”

Preach Theology Meets Practice
After reading the previous post , can you really buy such an excellent book for only 99 cents?

The Multifaceted Diamond of Christ’s Atoning Work
I could spend a lot of time meditating on each of these beautiful one-line descriptions of Christ’s work.

How Can We Increase Ethnic Diversity in Our Churches?
Russell Moore answers.

New Socialnomics Video

10 Reasons Why Men Have So Much Difficulty Making Friends

“Will you be my friend?”

When was the last time you said this or were asked this?

If you’re male, probably aged eight or thereabouts.

Could you even begin to imagine asking it as an adult? What would you do if another man asked you this? Start running?

Over at Salon, Mark Greene asks why men are so bad at making friends with one another. Most of Mark’s answers are based on sociology but here are some of my own answers.

We’re too busy: Deep friendships take time, lots of time, lots of time doing nothing terribly productive but just being together, talking, and listening. Who’s got time for that in today’s busy world?

We’re too selfish: Male friendships are too often based upon what we can sell to someone or what we can get from someone. “What’s in it for me?” is too often the primary or only criteria for whether we build a relationship with someone.

We’re too functional: The Salon article made the point that male friendship usually grows out of organizations – work, sports, clubs. Problem is that when our participation ends, so do our friendships. They were more functional than emotional.

We’re too proud: “Friends are for wimps!” OK, we might not say it, but we often think it. “I’m strong, independent, self-sufficient. I can manage life on my own. I don’t need friends.”

We’re too fearful: I’ll put this bluntly. We don’t want anyone to think we’re gay. I know, it’s crazy, but I know others that have the same fear. If I come across as too emotional, too “touchy-feely,” too close, will he think I’m making a pass?

We’re too safe: We’re not prepared to risk rejection. Better stay in the safety zone of arms-length acquaintance than try to get closer and risk seeing someone back off or push off.

We’re too superficial: Friendships can only thrive where there is real authenticity, where both parties are prepared to let down their guard and show their real emotions and feelings. That requires going beyond the superficial self-images we build up of ourselves.

We’re too brainwashed: I agree with the Salon article that most of us have taken our view of masculinity from TV and Hollywood

A real man is strong and stoic. He doesn’t show emotions other than anger and excitement. He is a breadwinner. He is heterosexual. He is able-bodied. He plays or watches sports. He is the dominant participant in every exchange. He is a firefighter, a lawyer, a CEO. He is a man’s man. This “real man”, as defined by the Man Box, represents what is supposedly normative and acceptable within the tightly controlled performance of American male masculinity.

We’re too competitive: Who wants to be friends with someone who is always the best at everything, wants everyone to know that, and who never encourages or praises anyone else?

We’re too un-Christlike: Think of Jesus Christ, the friend of sinners in general, but also a man who built twelve strong male friendships in just a few short years. These friendships were motivated by a desire to serve and do these friends eternal and spiritual good. He showed endless patience,  practiced constant forgiveness, and even ended up with one lying upon his chest while they socialized together (John 13:23).

Any other reasons you can think of? And any suggestions to help us change our ways?

Top 10 Books on Depression

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my Top 10 books in various categories. Previous lists include Top 10 Books on Christ in the Old Testament, and Top 10 Books on Preaching.  Now here are my Top 10 Books on Depression.

After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”

1. I’m Not Supposed to Feel Like This by Chris Williams (and others).

Accurately sub-titled “A Christian Self-Help Approach to Depression and Anxiety.” This was the most helpful book my wife and I used when she was going through a lengthy period of pregnancy-related depression. Especially good on teaching you how to do some basic CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy).

2. Dealing with Depression by Sarah Collins and Jayne Haynes.

Smallest book of the bunch but one of the best for a balanced introduction to depression.

3. A Practical Workbook for the Depressed Christian by Dr John Lockley.

Biggest of the bunch, but very readable and practical. Takes on the “Depression is always caused by sin” myth but also provides lots of practical advice. Totally disagree with pages 267-270.

4. Overcoming Spiritual Depression by Arie Elshout.

Very short and partly biographical book. Although it says “Spiritual Depression” in the title, unlike Lloyd-Jones’s book it covers a lot more than that with some fine practical chapters on sleep, nourishment, and self-esteem.

5. Depression: Looking Up From The Stubborn Darkness by Ed Welch.

A sympathetic and sensitive book, especially good on helping sufferers discern whether their depression has a spiritual cause and how to respond to that. Sometimes seems to revert to the “medicine only alleviates symptoms” dogma, but this is still a good book for a pastor or counselor to guide someone through.

6. D Is For Depression by Michael Lawson.

An accessible look at spiritual, psychological, and medical resources for healing depression. Looks at depression caused by burnout, painful memories, identity issues, discouragement, and suffering.

7. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes And Cure by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Although this is an extremely good book for those whose depression has primarily spiritual causes, it’s not a book I would give to everyone suffering with depression as there are often other factors that may be far more significant.

8. Broken Minds by Steve and Robyn Bloem.

A harrowing biographical look at depression by a pastor and his wife. If you want to feel the pain of depression with being depressed, this is the closest you’ll get. Perhaps over-balanced into the “physical-only” approach, but gives a deep insight into the struggles of depression and what the church can do to help.

9. Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission by Amy Simpson.

Actually deals more with schizophrenia than depression, but so many of Amy’s points apply to how the church responds to depression as well. Amy weaves her own family’s painful sufferings throughout her challenges to the church to increase in compassion and care towards the suffering.

10. Christians Get Depressed Too: Hope and Help for The Depressed by David Murray.

A kind of Depression 101 (or 911) (or 999 in the UK)!

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable Mentions

When The Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper. A sensitive and balanced book from “The Apostle of Joy” with solid and do-able biblical advice for those who struggle in the darkness (and those who care for them).

Grace for the Afflicted by Matthew Stanford. Comes from both a biblical and clinical perspective and deals with a much broader range of mental health issues than depression. A well-rounded perspective on the physical, spiritual, social, and providential contributors to depression.

A couple of booklets on depression. “Help, I’m depressed!” by Carol Trahan and Depression: The Sun Always Rises by Margaret Ashmore. Both useful brief introductions especially to the spiritual side of depression.

Check Out

If You Hate The New York Times And Hannity
I thought I was the only one! Rod Dreher highlights a thoughtful news website that is journalistic, rigorous, and accurate but is also asking questions that resonate with ordinary family life.

44 Photos of Loveable Huggable Babies
Who said Presbyterians are hard and unfeeling?

A Month From My Wedding Day
If your wedding fell through, would you blog about it? Lore Ferguson does just that in her usual transparent and moving style.

Saved From Hate
An interview with Mark Phelps, son of the late Fred Phelps Sr.

How Does a Church Minister to a Converted Sex Offender
Good to answer this before it happens. And may it often happen.

One-Legged Soccer Star Is Your Ultimate Inspiration