How The Risen Jesus Overcomes Shame

Sermon for Easter Sunday 2014: Jn. 20:1-18 Introduction One of the striking elements of all the gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus is the fact that women were the first witnesses. There are different details, different aspects of focus, but all four gospel accounts agree that women were the first to find the empty…

Our Jesus Holds the Keys: Good Friday 2014

Note: The audio recording for this message is available here. One of the most unusual elements of the Christian gospel is the fact that we celebrate the death of our leader. For most movements, for most religions, for most kingdoms or empires, the death of the leader is a moment of instability, chaos, disillusionment. But…

Coming Like Kids

So why do we worship the way we do? We noted last week that the overall structure of our worship service is called Covenant Renewal. We are following the thematic structure of the three main sacrifices of the Old Covenant: first we confess our sins, then we ascend into heaven in songs of praise to…

From Dust to Light

Ash Wednesday Homily Mk. 8:27-38 We’ve said before, and it’s no trouble to be reminded, that we think of the church calendar like a devotional guide. Over the course of the Christian Year, we are reminded of the most crucial, most important parts of our life in Christ: what it means to know Jesus and…

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…

Single Guy Syndrome & the Fear of Death

Carl Trueman once noted that “to lead is to choose” (Fools Rush In, 35). In other words, it is the task of leaders to make choices for which they will bear responsibility. Followers can “like” and “retweet” and “share” all day long. They can choose to go along with various opinions, various leaders, but if/when…

Wrath, Love, and Christmas

First Sunday after Christmas Lessons: Is. 63:7-9, Heb. 2:10-18, Mt. 2:13-23 Christmas is not always an easy time of the year. Of course children love it. They give us some of the best facial expressions, some of the best responses to the gifts, to the lights, to the candy. Their intensity, their joy, their delight…

Frozen & The Great Spring to Come

Saw Frozen last night with the family, and it struck me that the climax of the movie is actually a fairly good picture of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus — not perfect, but pretty good. If you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want to spoil it, you’d probably want to stop reading this post…

You Don’t Love Stuff Enough

One of the responses I’ve gotten from my recent grenade launch against foodolatry and healtholatry is that I don’t like people liking stuff very much. Of course if you read the posts, you’ll find that such sentiment is entirely absent from my argument. But just to make it crystal clear, I would actually take the…

God Invades Flesh

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Is. 7:10-16, Rom. 1:1-7, Mt. 1:18-25 Introduction Christmas means that God invades the ordinary. God invades our unlikeliness. God invades the details. What did Salmon think, marrying the recently converted harlot from Jericho? What did Boaz think, marrying the Moabite widow? Ask A Sign When Isaiah instructs Ahaz to ask for…