Grace for Ungracious Brothers

Minor Prophets VIII: Obadiah Introduction Obadiah is the smallest book of the Old Testament. Obadiah is a book dedicated to the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s older twin brother. Obadiah is a little book, but it has an important message for brothers. Background Amos mentions Edom in his litany of judgments at the beginning of his prophecy…

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)….

Scandalous Grace

One of the greatest scandals of the gospel is the free grace of forgiveness. But we say this, and I do not think we often let it sink in. The scandal of free grace is God’s love of sinners, God’s love of His enemies, His love of the worst kinds of evil people. We like…

The End of the Barrel We Are Demanding

Naysayers of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, like Darrin Belousek, often begin their objections to the doctrine by describing it as something like this: [God] cannot tolerate sin and so must judge sin by punishing sinners with death… [source] The trouble is that this is a rhetorical setup, skewing the question to present the doctrine as a…

A Love Story

Minor Prophets III: Hosea 1-3 Introduction While many scholars do not believe that Hosea is the first minor prophet chronologically, this underlines the intentionality of putting it first as an introduction to the Book of the Twelve. The theme of the first three chapters of Hosea is the determined love of God for His people,…

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…

Discipline that Saves

Men’s Breakfast Study: Proverbs 3:11-12 Introduction In the first speech (Prov. 3:1-10), the father extols the virtues and value of remembering and obeying the law of God given by the parents. Here, however, the father warns the son that this wisdom and obedience does not come automatically, but it comes God’s fatherly correction and instruction….

Our Name is Forgiven

A few other thoughts have been rattling around in my head related to my previous post on sex offenders in the church. It touches on several other topics related to counseling in these kinds of difficult situations. And it has to do with the potency of naming. We know that naming is powerful because in…

The Spirit of Forgiveness

Fourth Sunday in Easter: Jn. 21:15-25 Introduction Here, as the close to the breakfast episode, John zooms in on the restoration and forgiveness of Peter. This is not the first time John has highlighted forgiveness as proof of the resurrection (Jn. 20:23), and this comes immediately to the fore in his epistle (1 Jn. 1:5-10)….

A Toast for Mother’s Day

A toast I gave at the TRC Easter Festival last night: This is Easter Season, a celebration first and foremost of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But it’s entirely fitting that our culture’s celebration of Mother’s Day falls during this Easter Season. It’s fitting to honor mothers who picture for us the gift…