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…

As Sara Obeyed Abraham

There may be any number of startling moments in a Christian wedding, but perhaps the bride’s vow of obedience to her husband ranks among the most startling. So we should take care to explain what we mean by it and why we believe it is an important part of a Christian wedding ceremony. The origin…

Sons of the Light

Second Sunday in Advent: 1 Thess. 5:1-11 Introduction Have you ever stumbled through a dark house at night? Ever tried to change a flat tire in the dark? Then you understand the importance of light, the necessity of light. You need light to see. You need light to find your way. Frequently, when hardships come,…

Grace at Hand

Condemnation is the inexorable result of a guilty conscience. A sinner in the grip of guilt knows and feels the vast, impossible Grand Canyon between himself and the goodness of God and the goodness he was made for. In other words, condemnation underlines one reality — the reality of sinners before a just and holy…

The Long Game

Minor Prophets XVII: Zechariah 7-14 Introduction We saw last week that God was calling Israel to see the work of rebuilding the temple as a cosmic reality – that as they put God and His worship first, God would be remaking the world, scattering their enemies, and exalting His people. The rest of Zechariah is…

Loving Little Disciples

As you know, it is our practice to worship together with our little ones. And so I want to say a few words to you parents who are busy training your children to worship with us. First, I want you to know that training your children is one of the hardest jobs in the whole…

The Day of Joy & Judgment

Minor Prophets XIV: Zephaniah 1-3 Introduction Zephaniah is a prophecy of God’s coming in judgment on Jerusalem, but Zephaniah gives us a glimpse of the joy that drives the judgment. The Text: Zephaniah ministers during the reign of King Josiah, probably around 639-629 B.C., before the fall of Nineveh (1:1, cf. 2:13) and probably before…

Battle Feast

One of the things we do that is different from many Presbyterian and Reformed congregations is how we serve and partake of this meal. The minister eats first and then the elders and deacons, and then you all serve one another with the assistance of ushers in the aisles. And I frequently receive questions about…

The Provoking Mercy of God

Minor Prophets IX: Jonah Introduction Jonah is the most famous minor prophet. Jonah ministered during the same era as Hosea and Joel, during the days of Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25) – probably early 8th century B.C. 50-70 years before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. In…

The Gospel in Wedding Clothes

Isaiah 61 is about a great restoration, a great release, a great renewal of Israel, and through Israel, the whole world. And this renewal is pictured in wedding garments: the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness are like a bridegroom that decks himself in ornaments, like a bride adorned with jewels (Is. 61:10)….