Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Open Letters to a Son 1: The Bible Part 1
‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall run from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.’ (Amos 8:11f.)
To my Son:
If you were to ask me, my son, what is one of the most deceptive, destructive, dangerous ideas that has ever intruded upon mankind, I would have to say it was an idea that was encapsulated in a question. It is the first recorded question asked right at the dawn of humanity. You can find the first words of this question in Genesis 3:1, where we read of the Serpent, who had entered the Garden and all that was good and all that was of God, and simply began by saying, “Did God actually say…?”
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Episode 99 - Watch Your Mouth
I know a few people who claim Christianity but don't seem to have any problem using profanity or making an inappropriate joke from time to time. I don't often confront those who aren't as careful with their mouths and I've often had to explain why I don't use bad words. I'm not standing in any sort of judgment here: I've had a strong personal stance on profanity my whole life (even before I was dedicated to following Jesus, I believed it was wrong), but forsaking slightly off-color or inappropriate jokes has been a much slower process. All I want to do here is offer a Biblical perspective on this area of the Christian life. I would like to do that with four points, all from Paul's letter to the Ephesians.
Saturday, July 29, 2023
[Cheap grace is] the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship;
as quoted in Kevin DeYoung's book: What does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Unity in the church, amongst believers, was an essential thing for Paul the Apostle. On multiple occasions, he either wrote about the need for unity directly or it was implied through one of the many "one another" passages. Many a church leader has pondered this need for unity, have taught extensively on its practicalities, and worked tirelessly with members of their churches to promote it -- all to be met with tension in the church, relational strains with their members, and sometimes disunity that leads to division.
Well, I want to offer some hope to church leaders everywhere. Right in the middle of my own unity prepping, studying, teaching, and training, I accidentally found that there are some people who have already solved the unity problem. They were right around us and were probably there all along but went unnoticed by us pastors and teachers. There are at least five types of unity I've discovered with these unity triumphant people who have made themselves manifest to their own unity. Here are those five types, in no particular order.
Disclaimer: any resemblance to actual people is mostly coincidental. This is meant to represent conglomerations of people, not any one person in particular. I've met multiple people in each of these categories... and most likely, so have you - that is what makes it funny.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Thursday, July 13, 2023
I've started reading my next public domain book. This time it is a children's book. It is called At The Back of the North Wind and it is written by George MacDonald. You can listen to the first chapter here:
Saturday, July 8, 2023
Friday, June 30, 2023
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
While others shelve the Scriptures to become entertainers of goats rather than feeders of sheep, we must declare with William Still, "Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goat-land"! A pastor must feed his flock with "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) as one who knows that the Bible, as is the Christ it reveals, is true food and drink (cf. John 6:55), both for his people and also for himself. Show me a pastor for whom the Bible is the song of his heart and the source of his deepest convictions, and I will show you a pastor who speaks with the power of heave behind his words, yet who walks in a spirit of humility and in utter dependence on God.
William R. Edwards, Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice