Blog Posts

21 (of 50) Preachers to Revive Your Soul

Although I have seminary training, I still find it immensely helpful to hear someone exposit God’s word to me each morning. In addition to my wonderful pastor’s sermons on Sunday, I take time each morning to listen to one of my favorite preachers before I delve into God’s word on my own. With the current…

Read More »

More helpful hints for writing in Simple English

While I have written before on the artsy science of writing in Simple English, I did not give a specific set of guidelines that a writer would find helpful. Here is my attempt to correct that oversight. Thirteen Helpful Hints (read GUIDELINES) for Writing with Simplicity and Clarity Write sentences that are brief and concise….

Read More »

10 Ways for Avoiding “Shriveled Soul Syndrome”

10 Ways for Avoiding “Shriveled Soul Syndrome” When a younger man, I heard someone say that life is the accumulation of one’s choices.  Now I believe it.  I see in myself good things and bad that is the result of repeated choices over the days, weeks, months, and years of my life.  I am indeed…

Read More »

How to Live as a Global Citizen Without Leaving the Country

As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that we’re supposed to be interested in the world beyond ourselves.  But the world is vast (well over 7 billion souls), and the needs are immense.  How can we stay current with the world we live in and God’s work in it? How about a global prayer plan? …

Read More »

Six Steps for Preaching to the Next Generation

I have had the privilege of preaching to high-school and college-aged students for a decade. I find it both challenging and rewarding, and perhaps, to some, overly mystical. Young people need to hear the Bible. I’ve found myself gradually leaning on the Bible more – not less – as I’ve breached the college campus. One…

Read More »

Why use a catechism?

For the past 10 years, our most widely used publication has been the little catechism, Simple Truths. As of this writing, the book has been translated into 37 languages and more than 400,000 are in print distribution in over 30 countries. Few evangelicals use a catechism today. But some Christian leaders are hoping to fuel a…

Read More »

What are your best daily practices?

This week I’m answering something of a practical nature: “What are your best daily practices?” I’m not sure if this question refers to spiritual disciplines, but I’m going to take it broadly. Here are 7 things I’ve picked up over the years. I find them almost universally in people I admire, Christian and non: 1….

Read More »

Make Me A Footnote

More than a half dozen years ago, a friend called me with some exciting news.  He wanted me to know that I was cited in a book listed on the New York Times best-seller list!  I pretended to act suave and unaffected, but after his call, I immediately went looking for the book at the…

Read More »

Seven Myths about Bible Translation

Bible translation can be a tricky business. Because we believe that the text of scripture is the very Word of God, we want to be especially carefull as we work to translate it from one language to another. Clear and Simple Media has now been involved in the translation of our “little book”, Simple Truths,…

Read More »

Missions and Social Media: A Personal Journey

I must admit that I am not an avid social media guy. Some years ago, when moving to Vietnam, I was encouraged to start a blog – which I did. The title, The Reluctant Blogger, wasn’t just selected to be cute. It expressed a sentiment. Through the years, I have overcome that attitude to a…

Read More »

Thomas Edison and “the failure phase”

One of the goals (and challenges) of the work we are doing is to produce writing that is accurate to the teaching of Scripture, and simple to read at the same time – targeting an audience of new English readers with little previous exposure to the Bible. That, it turns out, is much harder than…

Read More »

Adding a tool to the global English toolbox

For a number of years, I have been trying to find ways to write for a global English audience. My target has been people who are new English speakers/readers and people who have little or no previous exposure to the Bible. As I have stumbled along in the writing and rewriting process, I have come…

Read More »

Sometimes you just have to stop

Every year in Winnipeg, several dozen authors descend on the city for The International Writer’s Festival. For two weekends and the week between, they do workshops, public readings, and sessions in schools, bookstores, coffee shops, and performance venues all about town. (This year, the festival, for years now called Thin Air, is Sept 22 –…

Read More »

Blind, Deaf, Dead: Taking the Metaphor Too Far?

Here are two recent direct quotes I’ve read from otherwise wonderful, gospel-centered, reformed resources:  “It doesn’t make any sense to get mad at somebody who is lost. It doesn’t make any sense to make it a matter of personal offense against you. It doesn’t make any sense to condemn a lost person with words or…

Read More »

What does it mean to say that the Bible is God’s word?

This article is an excerpt from the CSM book, “A Travel Guide to the Bible”. The book is in pre-press proofs and should be in distribution by July 1, 2017. The full text of the book can be found at www.asimpleword.org. THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD The Bible is like other books in…

Read More »

What is the Bible?

This article is an excerpt from the CSM book, “A Travel Guide to the Bible”. The book is in pre-press proofs and should be in distribution by July 1, 2017. The full text of the book can be found at www.asimpleword.org. WHAT IS THE BIBLE? What is the Bible?  The Bible is a book. In…

Read More »

Prepositions Revisited

In the last post, I shared a few thoughts on prepositions as words to hang a prayer life on. Turns out, asking three questions is working well for me in keeping my prayer life on track (albeit, still not all I wish it were). “What do I want God to do THROUGH me?” What do I…

Read More »

7 Ways to do a Bad Word Study

This week has been a fascinating walk through the world of “Word-Studies”. My guess is, you’ve encountered some sort of word story in the last couple of months: a Bible study, a sermon, a commentary, a quip about agape love or a defense of a biblical viewpoint you’re not sure of. But sometimes it’s hard…

Read More »

Prepositions of Prayer

It’s been a long time, but somewhere in those first few years of my education, I came across – prepositions. Prepositions, I was told, are the “hardware” of a language. Like fasteners and hinges and door knobs, sentences wouldn’t hang together without them. Good literature just doesn’t happen without prepositions. As a student, they were…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »