Learning to Say, “My Gospel”

[Here are my notes for the talk I gave at the TRC Evangelism Conference 2016, recordings coming soon.] Introduction I don’t remember a time when I did not love Jesus. One of my earliest memories is being interviewed for membership in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church by a couple of elders when I was four years…

The Challenge of Christian Community

Luke XXXVIII: Lk. 10:25-42 Introduction Christian community is hard. It’s hard because of sin. It’s hard because of different personalities and gifts. It’s hard because the stakes are high. Christian community aims to be and claims to be a sharing in the fellowship of God Himself (1 Jn. 1:3). So the choices we make in…

Safe in the Circle

Jer. 4:1-10, Gal. 3:10-14 Jeremiah says that if Israel returns to the Lord, they can be saved. This returning to the Lord is described as breaking up fallow ground and circumcising the foreskin of their hearts. But if they don’t do this, the wrath of God will come like fire that cannot be quenched. God…

One Body With An Immune System

“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Cor. 12:13-14). Paul immediately goes on to explain that this is why we need one another. The…

Loving Brothers in Error

One of the realities that Christians face with some regularity and difficulty is the challenge of loving brothers in error. All three of those words are important: loving. brothers. error. Given the harsh world around us full of violence and terror and murder, the Church is called to be a massively different kind of place….

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #1: Abundance & Scarcity

Gen. 3:14-24, 1 Jn. 4:7-21, Lk. 9:12-17 Introduction The Bible opens in mission (Gen. 1:27-28), and the mission is predicated on abundance not scarcity (Gen. 1:29, 2:8-15). The mission of the Church rests on an even greater abundance in the inheritance and authority of Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 8:32). Sin is the assumption of scarcity…

The Economics of Marriage

Marriage is an economic reality. Every wedding is an economic transaction and creation. The word “economy” itself comes from the Greek word that meant “household management.” An economy literally is the establishment and norms of a household. So every wedding is the establishment of a new household, and therefore a new economy. But we are…

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,…

The Experience of Trauma & the Healing of Jesus

In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, child psychiatrist Bruce Perry recounts lessons he’s learned over the years from working with children who have experienced severe trauma in their lives. In the first chapter, he describes an early experience with a young girl who had been sexually abused over a long period of…

Love for the Shamed

In Luke 9:51, Jesus sets His face toward Jerusalem. The rest of the book of Luke records this journey to accomplish His “exodus” (9:31). But much of the surrounding discussion with the disciples is taken up with whether they will follow Him (cf. 9:23ff, 9:48ff, 9:57ff). In other words, the faces of the disciples are…