Don’t insult God and stop feeling guilty: A post-Thanksgiving meditation

November 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

…be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

What is it about being thankful that we don’t get that Paul finds it necessary to mention it three times in the span three verses?

Giving thanks is a simple proposition: God gives to us and we acknowledge from grateful hearts his generosity to us. « Read the rest of this entry »

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A crest on a stone

May 22, 2013 § 1 Comment

Yesterday, I had the privilege of presiding over a time of remembrance and prayer with family and friends at the dedication of a memorial marker for Michael Schroeder, who left this world for the face-to-face presence of God on March 12, 2012.  Michael’s wife Lisa commissioned a beautiful marker (below) to provide their sons, Kyle, Blake and Derek, a means of teaching, as God wills, their children of their grandfather’s faith in the promise of God.  Here is what I shared.

The practice of setting up memorials has strong biblical precedent.  At several important junctures in Israel’s history God directed his people to commemorate an event by the setting up of stones—stones that call the people to remember God’s faithfulness.

One such occasion is recorded in Joshua 4, when the Israelites at last cross the Jordan River into the land promised to Abraham.  The crossing was by God’s power, because the river, which was at flood stage, was halted in its course so that Israel could cross on dry land.  After the crossing one man from each of the 12 tribes was to take a stone from the dry bed of the Jordan for setting up of memorial at Gilgal, east of the Jordan. « Read the rest of this entry »

Powerful speakers or faithful preachers?

February 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

There seems to be no end of seminars, tape series or books that are guaranteed to make me a better preacher.  I regularly receive emails with enticing subject titles like “Preach sermons that will move your people!” “Preach with power” and “Is your preaching changing lives?”

No preacher wants to believe that his sermons are without power, and no congregation desires a preacher who does not trust that God will use his preaching in powerful ways.  People have a high expectation of their pastors when it comes to preaching, and rightly so.  They want to “show him off” when friends or family visit, they want him to make the Bible “come alive” when they bring unchurched friends; and, in between, they want him to hit “home runs” every week.  In short, they want him to be a dynamic, powerful speaker who makes sitting for half an hour worth it. « Read the rest of this entry »

Protestants and Lent

February 16, 2013 § 2 Comments

A few important points are necessary to make at the outset of this post.

First. I do not agree that it is never appropriate to question or criticize a person’s expression of devotion to God.  Biblically speaking, sometimes critique is necessary because one’s devotion may be misplaced or in error, as Paul did with the unbelieving Athenians (Acts 17:23).  Other times it is necessary because of ignorance, as Priscilla and Aquila did with Apollos (Acts 18:24-26) or as Paul did with the believers he met in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6).  In each case critique is matter of truth, love and, ultimately, honor to the Lord. « Read the rest of this entry »

A testimony of life

February 14, 2013 § 8 Comments

Every January, many evangelical churches use the “anniversary” of the tragic 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade to celebrate the sanctity of human life.  At least one Sunday that month is given to prayer, a special message and testimonies that touch on this critical moral issue.  Unfortunately, in most of these churches, when January ends, so does the pro-life emphasis until the next year. « Read the rest of this entry »

The end of the world

December 21, 2012 § 4 Comments

Well, we made it!  If you’re reading this then we are still here! Unless, of course, utter destruction awaits when the last time zone enters the 21st of December.  I could be wrong, but I don’t think that the Mayans built global time zones into their cosmology. « Read the rest of this entry »

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