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…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #2: Time & Resources

Dt. 5:12-15, Gal. 2:16-20, Mt. 6:19-34 Introduction The mission of Jesus is to baptize the nations and teach them everything He commanded. This is how you distinguish between God providing in what seems like scarcity and folly. If God commands it, then He promises to provide for it. Justification is God’s gracious gift of setting…

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…

Civil War, Culture War, and the Cross

Apart from the peace of the cross of Jesus, our attempts at dealing with the severe effects of the fall will only create more tension, resentment, and violence. “… through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross…” (Col. 1:20). Think about…

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…

6 Thoughts on Marriage & Remarriage in Babel

So one of the most challenging places the Church is called upon to exercise wisdom and judgment is in the matter of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. The stakes really are high here, and bone-headed laxity on the one hand or severe legalisms on the other do no one any favors and can only add to…

The Threat of Grace

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Jer. 1:1-10, 1 Cor. 13:1-13, Lk. 4:21-30 Introduction Epiphany is the season that celebrates God’s glory bursting out into this world through Jesus. This began at His birth, but it went public at His baptism, in His miracles, and through His preaching and teaching the Scriptures. In many ways, we can…

Screaming Goat Scandals

One of the important lessons that Christians must learn in the face of sin and failure is honest confession and repentance. This means naming sins biblically. Confession literally means to “agree with God.” This must be done simply, straightforwardly, and cheerfully. At the same time, one of the other lessons that must be remembered is…