Blog Posts

narrative: the ingeniously subversive tool in our scriptures

So the Lord sent Nathan to David. Nathan came to him and said, “’There were two men in a certain city. One was rich, and the other was poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cows, but the poor man had only one little female lamb that he had bought. He raised her, and…

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A Way to Pray (Part Five)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for the Relief of Suffering Churches and Persecuted Christians For the relief of suffering churches and the support, comfort, and deliverance of all who are persecuted for…

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A Way to Pray (Part Four)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for the Health, Purity, and Holiness of the Church For the amending of everything that is amiss in the church, the reviving of primitive Christianity and the…

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A Way to Pray (Part Three)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for the Universal Church For the universal church, wherever dispersed, and for all the interests of it. Our heart’s desire and prayer to God for the gospel-Israel…

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A Way to Pray (Part Two)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for Jewish Conversions, Churches Threatened by Islam, and Churches on the Mission Field For the conversion of the Jews. Let the branches which are broken off not…

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A Way to Pray (Part One)

There is a fallacy (Chronological Snobbery) that claims that an idea is better or worse because it is either older or more modern than the opposing idea. But, older is not necessarily better, nor is it true that “only what is recent is decent”. There is, however, something to be said for a book that…

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Grace Grows Best In Winter

Unless you have been walking about with eyes and ears closed all of your life, you are familiar with suffering. Of the 30 top stories on a major U.S. television network, the majority are stories of people facing war, disease, famine, displacement or natural disaster. This is the “stuff of life” in our broken world….

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The Everlasting God Does Not Change

I have written in other places [here] about the challenges of writing theology in simple English. Here is an example that will appear soon on the A Simple Word website (www.asimpleword.org). Take a look. The article uses limited grammatical structures and vocabulary options are limited to a word list of only 1600 words.   Q.10…

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6 Ways to Abuse the Sufficiency of Scripture

Twice in the last few months, I’ve encountered the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture touted as a remedy against using illustrations, humor or contextualization in sermons. I’ve also encountered using this doctrine as a support for the word-for-word ESV Bible, in Jon Nielson’s “How to Study the Bible” (which I heartily recommend otherwise). Now,…

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Why Must Paul Preach (Write) With Clarity?

“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:4 How can Paul say he “ought” to speak…

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Buy the book

If you have not read the book Knowing God, by J. I. Packer, you have missed one of the most influential books of the past 40 years. I have read it more often and given it away more frequently than any other book. Here is a quote to whet your appetite. Take 30 seconds to…

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Fragile. Resilient. Broken. Indestructible. Helpless. Indomitable.

In 2013, I was living in Vietnam and wrote a piece that I never published. Although now a bit dated, the subject matter speaks to some universal questions. Now, it is January 2017 and I am in Ho Chi Minh City once again. I remembered the article and decided that now was a good time to post it….

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Why a Second Edition? (PART 2)

What follows is part 2 of the answer. This post was written some time ago, so the language may reflect that perspective. As we approach the tenth anniversary (2016) of the publication of Simple Truths, we believe it is time to integrate these lessons into the text and create a second edition. This piece will…

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Why a second edition? (PART 1)

Over the past two years, we have worked hard to complete a second edition of our small evangelical catechism Simple Truths. This new version has now been translated into multiple languages (20+) and is in print in a number of countries. As I have travelled and talked about the “little book” over the past months, I…

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PART 3 How to get started

The third installment of the “What the big deal about the “little book” posts. The featured image for this blog is a page from the Chinese translation of Simple Truths. How to get started? The first reading If you have never read a book like this before, the best place to begin may be to…

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PART 2 Why was it written?

Here is the second installment of the Introduction to Simple Truths. The featured image is the cover of the Poqomchi translation being used in Guatemala.  Why was it written? Books like this have been around for many, many years. This one was first put together to help new Christians in Asia learn about what the…

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What’s the big deal about this “little book”? PART 1

One of the most significant bits of ministry that we do at Clear and Simple Media is the translation and distribution of our small evangelical catechism, Simple Truths. The “little book” is now in 30 languages and over 200,000 have been distributed and are in use in Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe, and…

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“Eight things cancer is teaching me”

Dave Hall is a friend of mine. He is now a pastor at Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, California, where he oversees the church’s efforts in global ministry. When we first met, we were students together more than forty years ago. Dave and his wife, Joni, have been married 40 years. They have three adult children and…

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Learn Smarter

Not long ago, I joined a new(ish) communication platform called Ideapod. It is a quirky sort of virtual gathering place for people with ideas ~ ideas of all sorts. One of the unique features of the site is that the articles that share these ideas may only be 1000 characters in length. It is a…

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God’s Glory Requires Skill

Today, Nicholas McDonald is our guest blogger. I first came across Nick’s writing a few years back. Through our occasional correspondence, I have come to appreciate Nick’s work – so much so, that I have become a Patreon. Tom ********************** God’s Glory Requires Skill “The power of the pulpit is not in the skill of…

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Theology for Persecuted Christians

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way…

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Simple English Toolbox

One of our goals at Clear and Simple Media is to recruit and develop writers who can write with clarity on a biblical or theological topic while using simple English to do so. This is a skill that takes discipline and practice. Here are a few places to find help to develop the art and…

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In everything give thanks?

I spent part of the month of April in Haiti. I was there as a part of a StoryRunners “advance team” to make preparations for an International School of Storying to take place there several weeks following. Our final day in Haiti had us getting up early so that we could pack our bags to…

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Happy Birthday J. I. Packer (a fan letter)

Today, July 22, 2016, is J. I. Packer’s 90th birthday. Next to my grandfather, I can think of no other person to whom I am more deeply indebted for what I have come to believe theologically than James Innell Packer. My first exposure to his writing came in my first year at Bible college. In…

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Missions is Messy

Helping people is hard. This is true, not only for the obvious reasons, but for a few unexpected ones as well. When I help someone, I have certain expectations that come with my investment. For example, I expect people to appreciate my efforts. I also count on the people I have helped to use the…

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