Engine or Indicators

Everyone hates car trouble. There’s that moment of dread when a red light comes on or a needle moves from the green side to the red side of the dial on the dashboard. Those indicators are there to let us know something has gone wrong. The car is not operating like it should, and it needs to be fixed. However, the first step in the repair is not to tear into the dashboard and start replacing the indicators; the dials and lights – at least it shouldn’t be. While indicators do need to be replaced from time to time, they are there to point … Continue reading Engine or Indicators

Big God Theology

Big Country was a typical one-hit-wonder of the 1980s. Their self-named song, “In a Big Country” hit 17 on the Billboard charts and was a regular on MTV; when they actually played music videos. As much as I would like to dwell on the sweet mullets, rolled-up baggy pants, and fluorescent tank tops that were pop culture in the 1980s, the reason I bring this up is for something bigger than a top 40 song or Sun-In bleached hair. It’s the subject of theology; specifically what to call my theological position these days. What I have settled on is not … Continue reading Big God Theology

Confessions of a Church Planter, On Doing it Again.

Anyone who has driven many nails in their life, has likely hit their thumb with a hammer. It hurts. It throbs, gets black and blue and sometimes it even costs you a thumb nail. At the moment the hammer strikes, after you have bit your lip so you don’t curse and have fought the urge to chuck that hammer as far as you can throw it, you are left with a decision. You are in pain but the project is not done. The dog house still needs to be built. The roof or the fence still needs repair. There are … Continue reading Confessions of a Church Planter, On Doing it Again.

Keep My Commandments

The meaning of life is something that every person ponders at some point. “Why am I here” is a question that every human heart longs to know whether their mouths ever verbalize the query. Recently I have rediscovered Ephesians chapter 1, specifically verses 5 – 6. If we think about the implications of what Paul is saying, it is gripping. He tells us that we were created to be a trophy in God’s trophy case. But what kind of trophy? According to these verses, we were not created to be trophies of perfection, or even of God’s power; creation around … Continue reading Keep My Commandments

A Faith that Works (And the Danger of Getting it Wrong)

This morning I had a sweet time reading the opening chapters of Romans. This is Paul’s masterpiece. The apostle builds precept upon precept; from our condemnation under sin to our justification by God’s free grace through faith. The one thing that stuck out to me this time was the faith of Abraham in chapter 4. I had read this chapter dozens of times before and even preached on it. However, today, something looked really different. It was how I understood the faith of Abraham; really how I had misunderstood it in the past. I realized that I had inadvertently treated faith like … Continue reading A Faith that Works (And the Danger of Getting it Wrong)

Bible Study – Don’t Leave Out the Gospel

https://vimeo.com/58918331 Great Stuff. Many of us were taught to study and teach the Bible using the inductive study method. 1. Observe the text (what does it say?) 2. Interpret the text (what does it mean?) 3. Apply the text (how do I live that out?) It sounds great, and it is a helpful formula. The only problem is, it skips the gospel. Often we jump right over our own brokenness and Christ work and get right into what we’re supposed to be doing. My performance then becomes the point of the scripture – instead of Christ performance for me – … Continue reading Bible Study – Don’t Leave Out the Gospel

Good Fences?

“Good fences make good neighbors” is a line written by the American poet Robert Frost in 1914, and is credited by Oxford dictionary as a 17th century proverb. Regardless of its cultured origins, I think we all get the idea; we enjoy some people more when they are on their side of the fence. Many of us have had a neighbor that would fit that description. But what I want to talk about isn’t irritating neighbors, but what makes a good fence; or a bad one. In his amazing book, Transforming Grace, author Jerry Bridges describes how we often build spiritual fences to protect … Continue reading Good Fences?

Grace and the Gridiron

NFL football is this country’s most popular sport. If you happen to be one of the minority that does not appreciate 300lb men colliding at 30 MPH, don’t worry, this post is not really about football; though I will use a football analogy to make my point. The Chicago Bears recently acquired receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall has well documented off the field issues and has had a hard time getting along with his coaches at times. However, Marshall seems to really appreciate the approach of his new head coach Lovie Smith. Marshal had this to say about the leader of … Continue reading Grace and the Gridiron

Obedience that Purifies?

It has been a while since I have posted anything. The reasons are too many to list here, and would end up sounding like excuses anyway. So I will sum them up with a single word: “busyness.” For that same reason, I will try to keep the next few posts brief. My goal for this series is to look at passages of scripture and discover how they inform our understanding of God’s amazing grace. Let’s start with this one from 1st Peter. 1Pe 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth (through the Spirit) [i] for a … Continue reading Obedience that Purifies?