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)….

How to Bless America (when you don’t want to)

On the occasion of our nation’s 238th birthday, let me add a few cents to the general mayhem. First off, I think I understand the general millennial cringe when it comes to Bible-belt patriotism. I grew up with George Bush Sr. doing his thing, and even though we were always generally in favor of pro-life…

Come and See

So little is said to Abram in the beginning. There is no introduction to monotheistic theology, no comparative religion class, no worldview comparison chart. There is no context. There is apparently not even any relationship. There was no courtship, no period of getting to know each other, no personality tests, no compatibility worksheets or workshops….

Beginning After the End

Minor Prophets II: Pentecost Introduction Today we continue our study of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Last week we asked, “What is a Prophet?” And we said that a prophet is fundamentally a “friend of God.” The friends of God know God, speak to God, and God speaks to them. God wants to…

Where Jesus Promises to Be

Baptism is entry to the people of God. When an individual is baptized, he or she formally joins the Church, the Body of Christ. But when parents bring their little ones to be baptized, this can be somewhat scary. The obligations to bring up children to love and serve Jesus are daunting. How can we…

Barbed-Wire Love: What to do with Sex Offenders

A number of recent posts have been circulating regarding pedophiles and sex offenders in the Church, specifically claiming that because of the extreme clinical nature of this sin/crime, known child sex offenders ought not be ever allowed to attend worship services where children are present. A few thoughts: 1. First, as a Bible believing Christian,…

Real Grace: The Difference between Trust and Forgiveness

One of the Christian duties I have found myself explaining more and more frequently is the difference between forgiveness and trust. The two are related, but they are not identical, and serious confusions creep into situations when they are thought of as being roughly the same thing. There might be a car mechanic in my…

The Parable of the Cross

The first half of the life of Jesus is a parable. It’s full of parables, but it is itself parabolic — it’s mysterious, enigmatic, and constantly pressing a question: Who is this? What does it does it mean? What does He mean? And perhaps most importantly, how will you respond, what will you do? And…

God Wants Your Heart

Sixth Sunday in Epiphany Lessons: Dt. 30:15-20, 1 Cor. 3:1-9, Mt. 5:1-37 Introduction As we noted last week, the commandments of God have always been meant to offer God’s people life with Him. And those who looked to God in faith tasted some of that fellowship (e.g. Moses, David, etc.). But the law simultaneously displayed…