Sophisticated Fire

Jer. 7:30-34, Gal. 5:16-23 Jeremiah describes the wickedness of Judah as beginning in the sanctuary. When people turn from listening carefully to what God says to do, they necessarily begin to substitute their own ideas, their own inventions and innovations. And this inevitably results in imitating unbelief and idolatry. It seems like an extreme, unthinkable…

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…

International Resistance Movement

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). Every week we gather here because we believe this. We believe that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. The works of the devil are anything and everything that is not love, beginning with the…

Foundations for Mercy & Mission #6: Beauty Will Save the World

Ps. 90:1-17, 1 Jn. 2:15-17, 5:1-5, Jn. 15:12-17 Introduction The task of Christian mercy and mission is not complete without an eschatology: Where are we going? What are we aiming for? We are after unending goodness and beauty, and we are convinced that all goodness and beauty comes from God. Against the World, For the…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #5: Sin, Slavery, and the Gospel

Gen. 4:1-16, Rom. 7:1-6, Mk. 15:16-39 Introduction As we continue to lay a biblical foundation for carrying out the mission of Jesus in this world, the world around us continues to give us reason to ask the question: How should we carry out this mission? What are we to think and believe? And what are…

The Secular American Sweater: A Homily

Where is justice? Why can’t we get justice? These sentiments are common. The FBI declines to press charges against Hillary Clinton. Police officers shoot a man to death for selling CDs. Three thousand little babies are pulled out of their mothers’ wombs every day and thrown into the garbage. Women and children are neglected, abused,…

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 #4: Children, Treasure, and Productivity

Ps. 127, Eph. 4:25-32, Mt. 25:14-30 Introduction So far in this series, we have established that Christian mission flows from the assumption of God’s abundance. We ground our faith in that abundance by prioritizing the use of our time and resources in accordance with God’s word, specifically through obedience in Sabbath keeping and tithing. Last…

The Great Israelite Freakout

In Joshua 22, a rather tense scene unfolds when the children of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Mannasah return to their lands on the other side of the Jordan following the completion of the conquest of Canaan. The two and half tribes return to their land and build an altar on the border…

The Bond of Perfectness

1 Cor. 13 & Col. 3:14-20 In the reading from Colossians Paul says, “Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14). Paul has just finished telling the Colossians to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness. In some ways it might seem kind of redundant to…