“Ignorance is bliss”—or is it? This pseudo-proverb first appeared in an eighteenth century poem by Thomas Gray, “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” In his ode, Gray lamented the reality that all men must one day face: life in the grown-up world. Instead, the author fantasized about an alternative; maintaining a perpetual state of youthful ignorance. He supposed that if such a state were possible, life would be bliss. At times we have all wished this was true; but unfortunately, unless your name is Peter Pan, we know that it is not. We all have to grow … Continue reading Is Ignorance Really Bliss?
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 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
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
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)
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 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?
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?
Here is a recent message preached at http://refugelongbeach.com/. Discussed here are some of the objections to grace (for justification and sanctification) that the early church was forced to deal with, and that still exist today. Give it a listen. I would love to interact with your comments. http://www.sermoncloud.com/impact/grace-under-fire/ Continue reading Grace Under Fire
Is a gospel that says God deals with sinners in salvation and with Christians in daily life, purely on the basis of grace, too good to be true? Won’t it lead people to live in open sin with no regard for God’s law? Pastor, professor, author and radio host Steve Brown answers this question. I’ll paraphrase, ‘The fact that some people take advantage of the free grace provided for by the gospel is not evidence that the gospel we preached was too good to be true, it’s that it was not good enough.’ We must preach the whole gospel in … Continue reading Too Good to be True?