They Reverently Took Off Their Hats

I was on break, sitting in the corner of the restaurant I work at eating my dinner. The dining room was pretty empty – quiet, calm. I looked up to see a family walking in. Dad, Mom, and three boys. I chuckled to myself because they reminded me of ducks, all in height order. Dad, the tallest. Mom next, then the three others. All in a straight line.

They ordered their food, and sat down a few booths away from me, across the aisle. Two boys on one side, mom and another son on the other. Dad at the head of the table.

I saw another family glance at them, chuckling among themselves. I wasn’t. I was carefully watching what they did next. All of them reverently took off their hats, closed their eyes, and thanked God for their food. The other family starting whispering again. I was simply convicted.

I totally forgot to thank God for my food! I thought to myself. Okay, well…I guess I just flat out didn’t do it because I just didn’t feel like it.

The family concluded their prayer, returned their hats to their heads, and began eating. I really wanted to walk over and thank them right then and there for their example to me and to others in the restaurant. People may think it’s old and cliche to talk about being a witness by praying in public. I don’t think it is at all. Something was working in my heart right there. The Holy Spirit was working through this family.


Fast forward to the night after. I’m driving home. The sun is setting, a faint moon can be made out in the blue sky. Music plays quietly the background with the faint sound of tires on the road. I was thinking about that family again. What exactly was God trying to tell me? It couldn’t simply be “Tim, you didn’t ask a blessing over your food.” I knew it was much, much deeper than that.

It became pretty obvious to me as I saw that sunset in front of me and I drove towards home — there was a heart issue. I was ungrateful for what God had given me – I wasn’t thankful to God that I was driving a car I own, I wasn’t thankful for my job, my family, a home to return to, a church family, life, salvation, or the cross. I had been moping around worrying about finishing school, whining about having to work, and complaining about the situations I found myself in. The praying family stopped me dead in my tracks.

Thank goodness God is “kind to ungrateful and evil men.” I was acting just like those evil men described in 2 Timothy 3:2, the men who are “lovers of self…arrogant…ungrateful, unholy…[and] holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.” Paul tells us to “avoid such men as these.”

I should not act like these sinful men, but instead should give thanks to God for his infinite mercy to me first of all through the gospel. The truth of the cross does not allow for ungratefulness. I must also thank God for his grace through the Holy Spirit, which is shown to me daily. In addition, I must thank God for common grace – life, sun, rain, oxygen, etc. With these things in mind I should never stop giving thanks to God.

So, it’s not that I broke some rule about praying before my meal. The issue is much deeper than that – things like that can quickly show us a much deeper problem in our lives. My prayer is that none of us will allow ourselves to overlook that truth. Let’s check our hearts.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.

Latest Article: Dear Jason

My latest article is up at the Veritas Network, a fantastic resource that I’m humbled to have written for:

Dear Jason…

March 26, 2012— I was walking by the bridge the other night. Actually, I got engaged there just a few months ago. My fiancée sat on the same bench and looked out over the dark river and the city beyond – and I couldn’t help but think about you Jason and that terrible night.

For me, it was dark and a perfect night for a walk. I guess you and your fiancée and friend though the same. It’s what 20 year olds do. That train bridge would have given you a spectacular and stunning view of the city, for sure. Little did you know that this evening stroll would change my life.

I’ll be honest Jason, I haven’t quite been the same person since that night. When I saw Ginny running on the bridge, I didn’t know what I was seeing. I’d never seen a human being on a massive train bridge. The dam below was empty that night, so it was quieter than usual – but when I heard her weeping, I knew something was wrong.

Read the rest here.

Review: The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams

I have about three articles in the latest issue of Towers Magazine, including an interview with Heath Lambert, author of The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams. Below is the book review I penned as well:


The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams is not about counseling. It’s about ministry.

Heath Lambert, professor of biblical counseling at Boyce College, takes on the intimidating task of evaluating Jay Adams, the father of biblical counseling, and tracing the development of the biblical counseling movement into the second generation who have worked to develop the foundation laid by Adams. 

Lambert begins the analysis by carefully defining counseling as careful, theologically-informed ministry. Many have rejected this way of thinking and have pushed the personal ministry of the Word aside, claiming that God and his people have little or no role to play in counseling. Their cures, argues Lambert, are merely man-centered attempts that fall short of providing lasting change for the deepest problems of the human soul. 

Others fail to grasp that counseling is essential to ministry, and believe that they are called to be pastors, not counselors. This is fundamentally wrong as well. Being a faithful pastor and preacher means being a faithful counselor. 

Adams realized the importance of these truths. He believed that these psychologists had hijacked counseling from Christians, to whom it rightfully belonged. He denied the existence of inorganic mental illness (he did not deny organic or physical problems and diseases in the brain), and argued that “psychiatrists as counseling practitioners are illegitimate,” identifying them as “secular priests.” 

Lambert is quick to note that Jay Adams was not only a critic, but also a creator. From the start, he argued that people’s foundational problem is sin. However, although this is essential and necessary to understand and build as a foundation for biblical counseling, the second generation of biblical counselors (e.g., David Powlison), continued to build on this foundation. 

They began paying attention to the suffering experienced by the individuals they were counseling. The second generation also began advancing in the areas concerning human motivation. Adams believed that “sinful habits formed over the course of a life lived apart from God…are the controlling factor in explaining why people sin” (67). The second generation of biblical counselors critiqued Adams view and articulated a more biblical understanding of motivation, and built a new understanding of the “idols of the heart.”

Lambert argues that even Adams agreed that his understanding of counseling and counseling methodology needed to be developed, and would encourage these developments as much needed developments.

The book concludes by affirming that although changes are being made in the movement, biblical counselors are not divided. They are united in the task of grounding the counseling ministry in the sufficient Word of the Scripture. They have much to be grateful for in the leadership of Jay Adams, and much to look forward to as the biblical counseling movement continues to develop.