Posts by Joe Thorn

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Rightly administering the Lord's Supper is one of the marks of a true church. It occupies a critically important place in the life of God's people as a memorial of Christ, a preaching of the gospel, and a means of his grace. Yet, even among those who share this perspective there remain...
Christians have long understood that we exist for the glory of God. That our purpose in life is found in our Maker and Redeemer. The well known Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way: Q: What is the chief end of man? A: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (WSC Q...
In nearly 20 years of pastoral ministry I have seen two kinds of people who struggle with the concept of God’s love. On the one hand we have those who simply assume God loves them and give it very little thought. On the other hand many doubt God’s love for them as they tend to evaluate...
Over the past 10 years I have watched a number of leaders suspend corporate worship on the Lord’s Day in order to do something “missional.” They have said things like, “This Sunday don’t go to church, be the church!” This not only creates a false dichotomy...
Corporate worship on the Lord’s day is precious to the people of God. We are invited to gather together for fellowship with God and one another through both word and sacrament, prayer and song. This gathering is perhaps the most beautiful, earthly picture we have of the church as we, of...
Every pastor needs “coaching.” Though they have gone by different names over the years (mentors, teachers, etc.) the ideas of mature men helping others mature in leadership has always been around. Pastors need seasoned leaders that can speak into their lives to help them think and work...
This past weekend in Chicago and the surrounding area we were blessed with almost 2 feet of snow. A number of churches suspended worship gatherings on Sunday due to the dangerous roads. Sometimes God's providence makes it difficult, and even impossible to gather for worship. But every year, on...
Pastors sometimes say stupid things. Sometimes those stupid things are catchy and wind up being repeated by many other pastors. One of the more preposterous pithy statements I have heard many preachers say is, “Sheep are dumb.” They say this as shepherds and are referring to the sheep...
I have always been drawn to those who can speak with creativity and with conviction. This was true before my conversion, and is especially true today. Since my conversion, I find myself hungering to hear the word preached. When it comes to preaching, there are two basic things that I want to hear...
When I was a freshman student in Bible college I had a conversation with a senior who was excited to graduate and plug into pastoral ministry. One day he said to me, "I don't need this theology crap. I just need my degree so I can get to work." I was shocked when I heard that then,...
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!...
I have several Latin phrases, popular during the Protestant Reformation, tattooed on my body, including “sola gratia” and “sola fide.” These permanent marks are not mere decorations for me. They are reminders of the hope that I have in Jesus. My acceptability before God...
If the gospel you believe does not include obedience as a fruit of faith then it is short-sighted and you will end up spiritually crashing into a wall. Certainly, we need to be exceedingly careful to make clear that our hope and confidence before God, and His righteous judgment, is singularly on...
Are you the worst sinner you know? How you answer that question says a lot about your theology as well as the condition of your soul. Some Christians find this questions to be difficult, if not inappropriate. So let me tell you up front that I am convinced the answer to this question, when posed to...