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Loving Messy People: Speaking Affirmation

Biblical affirmation isn’t what usually comes to mind when we think of speaking the truth in love. We tend to think of correction, teaching, exhortation, or rebuke. If someone is headed in the right direction, why would they need truth spoken to them? If they’re already on the right path, what is there to say? But Scripture models for us (and personal experience confirms) that affirmation is a powerful tool in helping others become more like Jesus. I believe one of the main reasons affirmation gets a bad rap is because our culture has come to affirm everything, whether it’s true or not. We tell every kid that they were great on the baseball field. We tell every employee that […]

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Anger and Bitterness

It is probably inevitable that parents of prodigals will struggle with anger over the endless impact of the destructive choices of their wayward son or daughter. Their manipulation, lies, and repeated efforts to use you to their advantage can provoke an anger you never thought a parent could have toward their child. If not checked, this anger will damage your other relationships, impair your ability to reach out in love to your prodigal, and jeopardize your spiritual health. A prodigal is accountable for the sinful choice provoking our anger, but we are accountable for our response to their choice. Their sinful action does not justify a sinful response on our behalf. We must never excuse our sin because it was […]

Now In Stock: Loving Messy People

We are pleased to announce that Scott Mehl’s new book Loving Messy People is now in stock! Life’s a mess. And nobody escapes it. Your life’s a mess. Your friends and family’s lives are a mess too. Thankfully God has a plan to deal with the mess. It involves you, and it involves me. Even with all of our messes, God wants to use every one of us in the lives of those around us to be part of his glorious rescue plan in their lives. But, if you don’t know exactly what to do or even where to start, Loving Messy People is for you. This book is a practical handbook designed to equip you for each of the […]

Loving Messy People: Speaking Hope

In speaking the truth, where do we begin? While every person’s mess is unique and there are no two situations you will come across that are the same, there is one common temptation I find in every situation I’ve come across: hopelessness. Whether the mess comes in the form of addiction, depression, guilt, marital struggles, discrimination, abuse, or fear, the temptation to hopelessness is always a part of the cocktail. This is why giving hope must always be a part of gospel care. I’ve yet to find an exception. People who have been in a mess for a long time need hope, and people who have just entered into a mess need hope. People who are making big decisions need […]

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Dealing with False Professions

Some parents of prodigals have walked the hard road of a false profession of faith by their son or daughter—only to be heartbroken, realizing it was a manipulative effort to gain some advantage. Having grown up in a Christian home, prodigals are well versed in what to say and do to give their parents hope that their profession may be real. Not wanting to thwart the work of the Spirit, and excited to think that their prayers have been answered, parents may take the profession at face value and welcome their prodigal home. Soon, the reality brings disappointment and the deep pain of betrayal. We should regard with realism any profession of faith. Proverbs 14:15 points out that “[t]he simple […]

Loving Messy People: Serving in Love

Somehow, somewhere along the way, personal ministry became primarily a “talking” ministry. When we think about ministering to others, we usually picture two people sitting in an office or over coffee talking about life, issues, Scripture, God, and the gospel. And, while gospel care must involve listening and talking, it must also involve more. In his first letter, Peter describes the ministries of service and of speaking as two sides of the same coin: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies— in order that in everything God […]

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Facing the Hard Reality

“Didn’t he ever make a profession of faith in Christ as a child?” This question came in response to a request to pray for our wayward son —in particular, asking God to show mercy and save his soul. Since our son grew up in the church, the questioner assumed he experienced many opportunities as a young boy to hear the gospel. Surely, they thought, he responded to an invitation at some point as a young child. Unfortunately, he gave no evidence of a relationship with Jesus in his teenage or adult life. I could not count the number of times we heard parents make statements about their children such as, “I take comfort from the fact that he made a […]

Loving Messy People: Knowing In Love

Gospel care is essentially a ministry of love. And love, if it truly seeks the best for the other person, is not applied arbitrarily but wisely and carefully. As David Powlison wrote, “Wise counseling [or any form of gospel care] is essentially a way of loving another person well. It is a way of speaking what is true and constructive into this person’s life right now. Good [personal ministry] is essentially wise love in action.” (David Powlison, Speaking the Truth in Love, 5-6). I love that phrase “wise love in action.” I’m not sure there’s a more concise or accurate description of gospel care. And as we see from these proverbs, wise love is love that seeks and acquires knowledge. […]

Back In Stock: The Gospel for Children

We are pleased to announce that, after a long hiatus, The Gospel for Children by John B. Leuzarder is back in stock. “This book is very special. It presents the Gospel in a straightforward, uncomplicated manner — explaining the truths of God, the Bible, sin, Jesus, the need for repentance and faith, and counting the costs of the Christian life, but in a way that both children and even adults will easily benefit from. I highly recommend it.” —Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Embracing Forgiveness

Parents of a prodigal wrestle with questions of how their own failures contributed to their child’s choice of a wayward path. It is natural to reflect on your parenting and identify things left undone, things you wish you did not do, or things you could have done better. Those who have a prodigal are especially prone to blame themselves, which inevitably harms other relationships in life. As a parent of a prodigal, how does one deal with these struggles? Acknowledge Your Imperfections No parent has always been exemplary in their actions towards their children. There were days when our words to them were wrong, perhaps even destructive. We missed teachable moments because we were preoccupied with lesser things. Does this […]