Have you ever come to the end of a really great book and wished it never ended? I remember reading The Lord of the Rings—The Hobbit and the Trilogy—when I was 15 years old and I never wanted it to end. In fact, I tried to stretch out the last few chapters, just to make it last a little longer. I wish there was more.
The Gospel of John ends in a similar manner. John ends it as if to bait us that there is more to the story of Jesus: “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.” (John 20.30). Read more
The horrific events that occurred in Boston yesterday call out to us to wrestle with trust in the face of trauma. Coupled with life that is filled with times of loss, the issue of worship and trust in the face of tragedy is a difficult one at best. How do we worship in the face of loss? If God is powerful enough to stop tragedy, why doesn’t he? How do we cultivate trust amid traumatic times? Read more
I grew up revering my dad. He was a godly man who loved his family. He was an engineer by training, but more than that, he was the spiritual leader in our home and a wonderful dad. He loved to laugh, play with his three kids, was committed to his faith and church, and he loved his family. He was one of those good Midwestern boys who would do anything for anyone and was a man of his word.
To this day, I admire him (he is with his Lord now), and I want to become more like him. I have kids of my own, and I hope to model the kind of love he exhibited to my family and those around me. Read more
I started my day a few weeks ago driving my son to school in the usual manner. But this time I directed our minds to Psalm 51. I had him read it out loud to us.
Psalm 51 is a profoundly beautiful song that contains the words of David’s confession and repentance after Nathan challenged him about his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). David had seen her bathing on the rooftop below his palace while the men were off to war. He was overcome by her beauty and invited her to his palace and eventually slept with her. Driven by his lust, David then had her husband, Uriah (one of his military generals), put on the front lines in battle where he was soon killed.
David became an adulterer and murderer, but he responded with penitence and contrition. He was deeply moved by his sin, and his confession reveals something about the nature of sin: Read more
“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling” (Zechariah 2.13).
Zechariah was written to a people returning from exile. They had been living in Babylon, a foreign land, and now they were returning to rebuild and restore the hopes they once had of a peaceful and thriving life in the land God promised to them. One day they would rebuild the temple (515 B.C.), but now, Zechariah had called them to repent of their sins as they returned. Zechariah knew the real rebuilding effort had to do with what was lurking within each person and how it would affect them as a community. Read more
The tragic murders in Connecticut cause us to see evil in its most raw and horrific form. It forces us to pause and wonder what would drive a young man to such an evil state as to take the lives of innocent school children.
We might know on some level that our world contains evil. We watch the news and hear nightly reports of deaths and innocent lives taken, but it all seems so removed from our lives somehow. This Newtown tragedy seems closer to home. It happened in an elementary school in a sleepy town whose very name suggests an “everyman” kind of town. Everyday Americana. Read more
400 years. It’s such a long time to wait. These were the people of God. And yet, they were slaves. Passover remembers God’s deliverance from this bondage. We can never forget what God has done.
Yet we do. We forget. Read more
When a non-believing person encounters Jesus and hears the call to follow, wrapped up in that call is a call to faith. A person can only follow Christ when they agree in faith that Christ is worth following. The person repents (see Darrell’s wonderful post from last week) and they choose by faith to believe. That initial spark of faith is marked by obedience. They hear the call and they at once respond in faith.
If we are to become a people with a vibrant faith and sincere desire for spiritual growth, we have to come to terms with this issue of obedience. It is foundational to a life that seeks to become more like Christ. Read more
I have been thinking about salvation a lot lately. In my work as a pastor, I am becoming more and more convinced that how we view salvation shapes how (or if) we grow in Christ following salvation. I have experienced this personally, and I see it all the time as I seek to help others grow. Read more
When you read the Bible, you are not simply reading a book. Allow me to explain… Read more