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David Powlison (1949-2019)

David Powlison died around 11am on Friday, June 7th, 2019.

I wrote this about him a couple of years ago:

He taught some of my counseling classes at WTS and is the Executive Director of CCEF. His ability to pastor the human heart and his relentless pursuit of the glory of Christ was on display in the classes he taught. We would often begin classes by singing a hymn together and Dr. Powlison would pull a nugget of truth from the hymn and riff for a few minutes. It was always encouraging to our faith. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Powlison and his wife Nan for how kind they were to me and my young family.

He has left a treasure for us in what he has published. Without reservation, I recommend everything below:

The Journal of Biblical Counseling. You can subscribe to the digital copy or a hard copy. He was the editor and past copies are available.

Seeing with New Eyes. This is a "vision shaping book" that makes the case that the Bible is sufficient for all we experience.

How Do…

Suffering--Book Brief

Paul Tripp is a faithful counselor and has served me and many of you through his conferences, books, video series, newsletters and booklets. He has written on the transition to middle age, love, sex, and money, raising teens and many other subjects.  If you are not familiar with him or his writing, I highly recommend him.
His latest book, Suffering, is the best thing he has written.
There are multiple contact points any reader will have with this book because suffering is universal. We all experience it. We can’t escape it. Tripp, through his decade's long association with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) has counseled hundreds of sufferers. You will hear many of their stories in this book. More importantly, you will hear how a skilled biblical counselor helps the sufferer frame her experience in such a way that the truths of the Bible connect to the experience of the sufferer.
The chapters “The Awareness Trap”, The Fear Trap”, “The Envy Trap”, “The Denial T…

Departing in Peace--Book Brief

She received her diagnosis in August of 2010. Lung cancer. Now what? She was presented with a number of treatment options with varying degrees of side effects. None of the treatment options would cure her, the cancer was too advanced. But each would extend her life. Whether it would be weeks or months, even a year or two, nobody knew.
We know our birth date.
Only God knows our death date.
My mom chose “none of the above” when it came to treating her for lung cancer. She was determined to live her final days, weeks, months or years to their fullest, as much as she was able. She died within two months of her diagnosis. But those final two months, with the exception of the last few days, she lived fully. She worked in retail, kept her house clean, prepared her meals, read and, most importantly for her participated in worship at her local church. This was how she defined “quality of life”.

Bill Davis is a philosophy professor at our denominational college, Covenant College.  He teaches …

My Teachers, Part II

I wrote a blog post a few days back out of gratitude for those who taught me at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. What prompted me to write the first post were the recent deaths of pastors/teachers/theologians and reading those who wrote tributes to them. And then a former student from WTS wrote a nasty, "victimy" blog post about the culture, faculty and student body of WTS when he was there.
If you want, take a look at the previous post on what I wrote there.

Below are five more professors God gave me to help prepare me for pastoral ministry. I continue to be grateful for them.

As in the last post, I've linked to a book they've written. Some of these men have written many books and I encourage you to take a look at all of them.


Winston Smith--I had the opportunity to worship in the same church as Winston and his wife Kim and their then small children. He led our small group. Winston's passion for equipping future pastors in the counseling classes…

My Teachers

Ephesians 4:11-14

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (ESV)

In the last couple of months, I've heard of the death of a couple of influential professors. The tributes I read reminded me of how God has blessed His church with these men. I began to think about the teachers and professors who have influenced me.

And then I read a post recently from someone who graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS). What he wrote about WTS was foreign to me. He admitted it was based on "his experience" but it was full of char…

Children, Pray for your Parents

Uber-blogger Tim Challies recently posted a very helpful piece on teaching our children to pray. Please check it out and note the helpful resources he provides.

This week I post brief thoughts on how we can encourage children to pray for their parents.




Ask them to pray that you would be wise and gracious in raising them. Ask them to pray that you would have a spirit of humility when raising and loving them. Ask them to pray that you would be quick to confess and quick to seek forgiveness when you sin against them. Ask them to pray that your discipline of them would not be primarily punitive, but a gracious and restorative corrective. Ask them to pray that you would model repentance for them. Ask them to pray that you would not forget that you are one of God's means of sanctification in their lives, so you want to encourage their obedience with the aim of growing Christlikeness in them. I hope this is a complimenting post to what Tim has offered.
I do know I wish I had done this wit…

Rhythm and Rest

I was captivated by the election returns in November.

When I got home Tuesday night, November 8, I predicted to my family that the election would be over by 10pm, with the winner declared and a concession speech given no later than 11:00. I assumed Mrs. Clinton had it in the bag.

Ha!  I'm an idiot.

By 11:00pm my wife was in bed, my 17 year old daughter was fast asleep and my 14 year old daughter had fallen asleep on the couch (trying to stay up with me).  I couldn't peel myself away from the coverage.

As the night eased into the early morning hours, the rhythm of the night was favoring Donald Trump. I was captured. I had to see how it ended.

After watching Donald Trump give his first speech as President-elect I climbed into bed around 2:40 early that Wednesday morning. I'm 54 years old. I haven't seen 2:40am (on purpose) in years!

The day of work on Wednesday wouldn't wait.
I was up at 6:30.

I tackled the day in a fairly sluggish way.

The wacked out rhythm of elec…