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)
The grace of God is a mine whose treasures can never be exhausted and whose depths can never be reached. As a pastor of 10+ years, a Christian of 20+ years and a soon to be seminary grad I must admit that I often struggle with the idea of grace. It seems too good to be true. But the more I study the Scriptures, the more I find that all of it is one single story; a story of a holy God who loves sinners enough to do something about it. That something is called the gospel and it was … Continue reading What I Learned About Grace from a 1st Grader. (Alternate Title: Some Christians Have Big Buts!)
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?
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
“The Law of unintended consequences holds that almost all human actions have at least one unintended consequence. Unintended consequences are a common phenomenon, due to the complexity of the world and human over-confidence.” – Author Unknown The Law of Unintended Consequences, as defined above, is not a divine mandate, but more in line with proverbial wisdom, and is typically applied in sociology or economics. Inflation is an unintended consequence of economic prosperity, for instance. We will save discussions about the economy for another day. I actually want to talk about theology. Specifically, I want to talk about anthropology – the … Continue reading The Law of Unintended Consequences
I had the privilege of serving with Navy Seal Team 1 from 1989 to 1994, during Operation Desert Storm. I was a technician attached to the Communications/Electronics Department. I was not a SEAL. I say that because, understandably, the SEALs take exception to people claiming to be part of the most renowned fighting force in the world; and very publicly out people who do. I don’t want to be one of them. Having said that, those of us who were up for it had the opportunity to work out side by side with these guys, join in training exercises, and … Continue reading What the Navy Seals Taught me about Making Disciples
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