Church Elders Should be Willing to Serve in the Nursery

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by John Ellis

As the book of Hebrews concludes, the sobering claim rings loudly that elders, “are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Sadly, I think many of us think of that verse only in terms of the parts I left out – “Obey your leaders and submit to them” and, underlining that opening command, the verse’s ending declaration to, “Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” As news report after news report bearing the shameful details of pastors abusing their authority splashes across the screens of our devices, elders, by God’s grace, need to make sure that they’re orienting themselves around the middle of Hebrews 13:17.

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Christians Should Not Support President Trump in 2020

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

by John Ellis

Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, I had started to generate some noise as a #NeverTrump writer. Becoming increasingly engaged in politics was exhilarating, and I began to understand the allure of rubbing shoulders with those in power. My articles brought me attention and I enjoyed it (death threats and all). I was having fun and beginning to see “John Ellis, Political Writer” on my future business cards.

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Halloween Versus Reformation Day: To Trick-or-Treat or Not to Trick-or-Treat?

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by John Ellis

Tomorrow is October 31, generally called either Halloween or Reformation Day. And, sadly, it’s one of the more divisive days of the year among followers of Jesus. Many have entrenched positions about the day over which they are willing to do battle on social media. Guilt is heaped. Eyes are rolled. Minor fallacies are flung near and far. Egos are bruised. On both sides, self-righteousness threatens to raise its ugly, unfruitful, and divisive head.

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Parents, Broken Bones, and Sin’s Curse

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by John Ellis

There are moments that remind parents that our children aren’t really ours, not really. Moments that interrupt daily life, underscoring parents’ finiteness and the fragility of our children. Moments that stand still in pain and hopelessness while you implore, to no avail, for time to reset itself back into daily life.

Tuesday evening as I sat reading on our back-deck, the weak yet desperate cries of help coming from the front yard were the first signal that a chain of unwanted moments for my family had been set in motion.

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‘Desiring God’ Says that I Ruined My Life; Jesus Says Otherwise


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by John Ellis

(Edit: Shortly after I emailed him this evening, Jonathan Pokluda emailed me back, demonstrating humility and charity as he expressed concern for me over and above his article. As I contemplated his kind words to me, I thought, “Would I respond with this much humility and charity if someone challenged one of my articles?” I don’t know the answer to that, but I pray that I would/will, by God’s grace. 

Writing online is a tricky business. Rarely are you able to say all that you want and all that you believe on a given topic. I wrote this blog post under the assumption that Jonathan Pokluda did not intend to provoke the response I had while reading his article. But, I had my response and I was concerned that others might have a similar response. In His kindness, God has me in a place, spiritually and materially, where my existential navel-gazing is overcome by His mercy and kindness exhibited in my sanctification, by the power of His Spirit. However, before I began writing, I wondered how my response would’ve festered if I had read something similar as a new Believer. So, while I stand by what I’ve written below, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I believe that Jonathan Pokluda would counsel Christians who have “ruined” their lives that, in Christ, their life has not been ruined. If I never meet Pokluda in this life, I look forward to laughing with him about this in the new heavens and new earth.)

It’s not that I disagree with Jonathan Pokluda’s advice in his article “How to Ruin Your Life in Your Twenties.” It’s that in his article he allowed little to no room for me and others like me. You see, I ruined my life in my twenties. I violated every single one of his resolutions. And, yet, although I ruined my life, my life is not ruined. And that’s a paradox of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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The Prophetess Anna and the Ordinary Means of Grace

Reading the Bible

by John Ellis

As the first month of 2018 comes to its close, I’ve been prayerfully reflecting on my commitment this year, as well as the years to come, to submitting myself to the ordinary means of grace ordained by God for His glory and the sanctification of His children. When doing so, it’s easy to pat myself on the back because of what I’m doing (while ignoring what I’m not doing).

However, this morning, as I read the story of the prophetess Anna found in Luke 2:36-38, my conscience was pricked. On the tail end of Luke’s relating the birth of Christ, the reader is introduced to an 84-year-old widow who, “did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day.”

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Is God the Father of Everyone?

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by John Ellis

The claim of exclusivity is one of liberal “Christianity’s” biggest problems with Christianity. The thing is, the really scary thing is, the rejection of exclusivity in Christianity is a rejection of Christianity. Denying that Christianity is exclusive requires denying the words of Jesus.

Throughout his ministry, and more than any other person recorded in the Bible, Jesus spoke about the coming eternal judgment in hell of the unrighteous. Frequently, Jesus told his disciples and those listening that not everyone is/would be part of the Kingdom of God. In plain language that is impossible to misconstrue, Jesus told the Pharisees that their father was the devil. Having the devil as your father means that you are excluded from the Kingdom of God. Christianity is an exclusive religion.

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