I have often been asked about The Shack, the book and movie that portray God in fascinating but unbiblical ways. Another book, The Benedict Option, has resonated with many lately. Its author commends seceding from the culture, like Benedectine monks of the sixth century. Where the two books intersect reveals an inflection point for us. The Shack portrays a god that’...Keep Reading
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How can God justly forgive you? The theological answer: it’s not the relative badness of one’s sins that matters, but the worth of the sacrifice given by God, for the forgiveness of sins. Leave in place the badness of what Bundy, Duch and you have done. Do not minimize it for a moment. But Jesus, the perfect Son of God, God in flesh, was an even greater, infinitely more valuable sacrifice, more valuable than even the worth destroyed by all the murders of the whole world. ...
There are three common characteristics of Community or Discipleship Groups or friendships that are faithful and useful and healthy over the long-term: • Deliberately Gospeled • Attentive Friendship • Consistently Missional:...
What does “ministry” look like? “You’re asking me, pastor?!” Yes, you, because Scripture plainly places ministry at the feet of Joe and Joan Pewsitter: “And he gave apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints [Joe and Joan Pewsitter] for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of...Keep Reading
The most repeated phrase in Scripture is “the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever”. It’s no coincidence that Paul ends his great gospel “song” of Romans 1-8 by singing of God’s love: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor ...Keep Reading
Last week’s sermon said that Christians actively “fight sin in one another, and forgive constantly”. There is perhaps no better time than Good Friday to revisit what this means. It does not mean constantly criticizing one another; gossiping about one another; “right-sizing” one another; or judging one another by one moment, instead of the dir...Keep Reading
“What then shall we say to these things?”, to suffering and the gospel? Paul gives three answers in Romans 8. The first two answers are obvious: he gives proof that God loves us (31b-35), and then the future-facing promise of that proven love, that it will never fail (37-39). But in between, in verse 36, Paul quotes Psalm 44:22, which is a complaint to God, tha...Keep Reading
The fact of community, and the mode of community, are two different things in the church. This is different from the world, where we pursue a mode of community - could be Boy Scouts, Rotary, or just being neighborly - because we think that will create community. But God reverses that order in the church. We are already a community, created by Him, by uniting us by faith to...Keep Reading
All of life turns on what we think of God, in fleeting moments. Whether we are conscious of it or not, our actions start with a subtle two-step of trust and hope. A common example: A husband (OK, you got me - me) is feeling mildly resentful about something his wife said or did (which for the life of me I cannot remember now exactly what it was). Their normal practice is t...Keep Reading
Recently a conversation turned to the subject of abortion, and the question was asked, what did I think about going to a clinic, and talking to women as they walked in? Without giving specific guidance, some questions come to mind that I hope give you clarity about how you might engage in a particular issue like abortion: First, we should think about problems both systemi...Keep Reading
“. . . We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded [their] eyes . . .” (Paul, 2 Cor. 4:2b-3) I want you ...Keep Reading
“How can I be faithful in this season of life?” I suppose we ask it in every season of life; my wife and I ask it now. Volleyball . . . homework . . . potty training . . . playing catch . . . reading a book . . . running . . . so much to do. Yes - if the Lord gives years, I know I will wish for these times again. Even still - how to be faithful? How to be fait...Keep Reading