New York vs. Mount Zion

The Book of Revelation is a behind the scenes look at what happens in worship. The Bible teaches that all true worship happens in heaven. We have been raised into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus by the Spirit, and when we gather together, when we say Lift up your hearts/we lift them up to…

The Sin of Cynicism

Luke XLII: Lk. 11:29-36 Introduction We live in an age of skeptics. Often this is presented as a thoughtful, intelligent position to take, but Jesus addresses the skeptics of his ministry as cynics and sloths. Jesus condemns those “who were seeking a sign” (Lk. 11:16) as evil and full of darkness. Therefore, it’s very important…

Facing the Future like a Christian

1 Sam. 2:1-10, Heb. 11:32-12:2, Jn. 14:1-17 Introduction Fall is a busy time of new beginnings: new school years, new seasons of life, new living situations. Add to this the regular (but significant) transitions of new marriages, welcoming new children into your home, sending children off to college, or various goodbyes, and then of course…

My Country: What’s Left of Thee?

I mean it as an honest question. What’s left? Of course, only God knows. The Creator, the Sustainer, the Lord our Governor, He knows what remains, how many sands are still up in the hourglass of our story. And if we have learned anything at all it is that nations rise and fall, civilizations are…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #3: The Politics of Sex

Ps. 19:1-14, Rev. 21:1-8, John 4:5-26 Introduction One periodic objection leveled at Christians when it comes to the topics of sex and marriage is that we are unnecessarily politicizing private preferences. The implication is that the Christian impulse to care about the way our culture speaks about and enacts our sexuality is like turning food…

I Saw Satan Fall

Luke XXXVII: Lk. 10:1-24 Introduction One of the most important lessons of the Bible is that things are not always what they seem. Here, we have the relatively unassuming record of Jesus sending out the seventy to proclaim peace, heal the sick, and announce the arrival of the kingdom of God, but in this event,…

Far Better

Ascension Day 2016 Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” (Jn. 16:7) The ascension of Jesus is one of the harder things to understand as Christians. From our perspective, it seems like Jesus leaving made everything a…

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 Tale of Two Storms

Luke XXXI: Lk. 8:22-39 Introduction Luke has presented the advent of Jesus as the arrival of God’s Word. People respond to that word in various ways, but fundamentally they either believe and obey and are set free or they don’t and they aren’t (e.g. Mary, Zechariah, the shepherds, Pharisees, the centurion, the sinful woman). Despite…

Twelve Foundation Stones

Luke XXIII: Luke 6:12-19 Introduction Here, Jesus chooses twelve ordinary men to become the foundation of the new Israel, the Christian Church, in order to work His powerful grace through them. Prayer When Jesus chose the twelve disciples, He prayed all night (Lk. 6:12). Like Moses, Jesus goes up a mountain to choose twelve new…