The Victory of Jesus

Luke XVI: Lk. 4:1-14 Introduction Last week we looked at what temptation is, and why the Spirit led Jesus and sometimes leads us into the wilderness to be tested. This week, we look more closely at the three particular temptations the devil presents to Jesus and why it should be encouraging to know this part…

The Great Avenger

Luke XIII: Lk. 3:10-20 Introduction One way to understand John’s announcement about “preparing the way of the Lord” is like the herald of a wedding. Just as God came like a hero to Israel in Egypt and married her, just as He had come for them in exile and redeemed His people, so John is…

Why Does the Resurrection of Jesus Give People Joy?

Easter Sunday 2015 [Note: The audio for this sermon is available here.] Introduction Before His death, Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving briefly and they would be sorrowful, but then He would return and they would receive a joy that no one would ever be able to take from them (Jn. 16:2-24). And…

The Joy Command

This is a slightly edited outline of an exhortation I gave at our Elder/Deacon Retreat this last weekend:  Introduction As we consider the year before us and all the real challenges we face, it can be easy to feel tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And it’s pretty striking that there really aren’t that many passages in…

CRF: Evangelism for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Introduction Because all people are made in the image of God, all people have an innate hunger and desire for God, for the transcendent, for meaning, for the real. And because we are made in the image of the Triune God, we instinctively know that somehow this pursuit is a shared pursuit, and this knowledge…

Scandalous Grace

One of the greatest scandals of the gospel is the free grace of forgiveness. But we say this, and I do not think we often let it sink in. The scandal of free grace is God’s love of sinners, God’s love of His enemies, His love of the worst kinds of evil people. We like…

Beauty on a Bloody Ground

Santiago & Kate, Psalm 145 is a song about the kingdom of God, about the majesty of God’s reign, and we know from our vantage even more fully what the psalmist is talking about because Jesus is God with us. Jesus is the perfect image of the invisible God. And He came proclaiming the Kingdom of…

Our Name is Forgiven

A few other thoughts have been rattling around in my head related to my previous post on sex offenders in the church. It touches on several other topics related to counseling in these kinds of difficult situations. And it has to do with the potency of naming. We know that naming is powerful because in…

All About Love

Morning Prayer: Prov. 4:1-27, 1 Jn. 4:7-21 Wisdom and love. Get wisdom. Love God and everyone around you. In fact, Solomon says, love wisdom, embrace her, keep her in your heart, and keep your eyes fixed on her. So really when you get right down to it, it’s all about love. Love God, love your…

The Bomb Shelter of Self-Deception

Self-deception is terrifyingly easy. Sin is the great deceiver: “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Rom. 7:11). The reason people sin is because they are deceived. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, people believe lies. But in order to believe the big lies, we have to…