The Twelves

Luke XXXIII: Lk. 9:1-17 Introduction The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of the Risen King of Israel. In this Kingdom, God fills empty hands with plenty to share; He makes the weak His means of power. The New Twelve Notice that Luke has organized this section with a high concentration of “twelves” (8:42, 8:43,…

A Plea & A Sketch of an Argument on Icons

There are many reasons people find themselves attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but one of them is the presence and veneration of icons. Entering a sanctuary full of religious art can seem visually stunning and feel refreshingly spiritual compared to kitschy banners or television screens or hospital-blank walls. For the westerner, icons suggest a certain “eastern”…

A Staircase of Grace

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, and who…

Paul & Pastoral Jui Jitsu

The longer I pastor the more the New Testament becomes meaningful to me, and in particular, the more Paul’s letters and his pastoral jiu jitsu comfort and encourage me. Perhaps what’s so surprising is beginning to notice just how often Paul is talking about himself, his ministry, his life, his past and so on. But…

A Statement of Thanksgiving

[Below is a letter we sent out to our congregation a couple of days ago regarding some of the recent questions that have been raised about our pastoral care of a family in our church. This is not intended to be a reply to any particular individual or quarter, but rather, as the statement itself…

We Do Not Lose Heart

Just a few quick follow up thoughts on grace and justice in difficult pastoral situations. First, I linked a post from Tim Bayly this morning that is a great example of gracious, thoughtful disagreement with the way another session of elders has handled a difficult situation. It is helpful not only because of its tone…

Faith For Life

The sixth, seventh, and eighth videos are now out on Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby parts. If you have not yet watched them or shared them, I’d encourage you to do so. As many of us transition from the end of summertime into the school year, it might be easy to feel a slight tug to…

Joy With a Clenched Fist: A 4th of July Meditation

Part of what we are up against in living full and faithful Christian lives is trying to hold what often feel like opposite extremes together. This is what Christianity has been all about since the beginning. It was always the heretics that were trying to cut us slack. The Bible clearly taught that Jesus was…

White is for War

In the book of Revelation white robes are the garb of warriors. Jesus tells the Church in Sardis that if they stay pure, their garments will be white, and he who overcomes will be clothed in white. When the fifth seal is opened, John sees the souls of those who have been slain for the…

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…