The All-Sufficient Savior: He is risen!
What an awesome way to end the brief look at the concept of mediation, and a great reflection for an Easter morning. Doesn't hurt that my local church has been in John 5-6 for the last month, seeing Jesus proclaim his all-sufficiency in salvation, fleshing out the glory given him by the Father.
In The Mail – First Books of 2022
My church is soon to begin a residency program with a pretty awesome reading list. While I may have had a hand in selecting titles, that doesn’t mean I have read and/or possess all of said titles. Never one to shirk from book-acquisition, these came in the mail today: Looking forward to getting into “Only a Prayer Meeting” first!
You are a new creation: avoiding help that is no help at all
If you treasure Jesus and long to follow him better, then can I make a blunt request? Avoid the teaching of Steven Furtick and Elevation Church. Why so direct, today? This was in my feed over lunch break: Besides the preaching of the local body of Christ, there are a lot of great resources out there for building our faith, extending our understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and disciple one another towards Jesus. There are simply too many good resources to take in even a snack-diet of Furtick’s brand of false teaching. Maybe these words are just unfortunate. But I can’t wrap my head…
Sabbatical Progress – Week 1
So, today was the first Sunday of my September sabbatical. It’s been a restful time so far, and that time has also been put to some good use! Thought I’d stop a moment each Sunday and consider the week. Primarily, this is a help to me, helping me remember what God is doing. So, for starters, there has been a bunch of prayer. Prayer for my local church, prayer for my wife and kids, prayer for direction. Especially, I’ve been in prayer asking God to raise up leaders and servants, and to provide opportunities for purposeful discipleship. I actually jump-started my sabbatical finishing one of my first reading goals. The…
Old Testament Wanderings: Worship, Personal Choice, and Vanity
In my last class, I picked up 6 Ways The Old Testament Speaks Today by Alec Motyer. It was meant as a book the student could read and review for extra credit. I fully intended, though I had no need ultimately, to do the extra credit. But, my failure to plan my time then means I have a great book now that I can use devotionally for a much more leisurely paced venture. Each of the main chapters addresses a particular “voice” in the Old Testament. They begin with a summary of the idea, then 6 days of bible readings and discussion, plus more readings in the back of the…
How Flawed and Insufficient Your Love Is
I’ve now started into my next book, as I had mentioned in the last post. Chapter 2 of Discipling is titled “Oriented Towards Others”. A number of passages are addressed as Dever talks about the biblical pattern we experience in Jesus through the gospels, as well as the example Paul provides. But the one that stood out for me was Colossians 1:28-29. He looks at it through the lens of two different word pairs. The first pair is “toil” and “struggling”, reflecting on the need to engage, to work hard to see the gospel take root. Discipleship doesn’t just happen. It takes conscious effort, fueled by the work God is…
How Membership Is The Same Everywhere
In the final chapter of “Church Membership”, Leeman discusses how locale and context affects church membership. In light of all that is going on in Afghanistan of late, but also the experience of churches in China and some parts of Africa, and increasingly here, this chapter reflecting on what membership looks like under different societal and political forces is helpful. It bears out the flexibility and wisdom Leeman brings, rather than a rigid set of rules. And as discussions of viruses and vaccines continue to dominate our lives, this section hits home: Now, Satan uses different devices in different locations to undermine Christ’s kingdom. A favorite device in the West…
On Submitting to the Local Church
I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of Jonathan Leeman over the last few days, and I’m definitely benefiting from his skill in teaching. I’ve read him writing in a more academic tone, and loved it. Pleasant to find he can write equally well in a style that is more down-to-earth. I’m almost done with Church Membership, in the 9Marks series, and I would definitely recommend it for every Christian. This is a quick and easy read to situate the believer as a citizen of a kingdom and a member of a body, striking at both the structural and the organic nature of the church in the life of…
The Conscience, As Illustrated by Ezra and Nehemiah
I’m currently reading Nehemiah: A Pastoral and Exegetical Commentary, as part of Introduction to Old Testament I (SBTS). Really enjoying it so far. It strikes a good balance between textual matters and application in the life of the church. In Chapter 2, in the section concerning 2:7-8a, I ran upon this section, that made me stop and think: Nehemiah basically makes two requests. The first request is for letters ensuring his safe passage to Judah. As noted in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Judeans faced stiff resistance and oppression from their enemies (see Ezra 4-6; Neh 4). Obviously, Nehemiah knows of the dangers and asks the king for help.…
Dropping The Book For A Moment
So, this morning, I just need to put the textbook down for a moment and write. My hope is to give you a brief, inside look into what it feels like to be in non-vocational pastoral ministry. And I’d say vocational pastoral ministry, too, though I don’t have that exact experience. I don’t often write like this, because often it is hard to know what I should share. Other times, it is a chore to determine whether sharing something will be received as a targeted rebuke, rather than a general encouragement, etc. The thing I most want to say is that, in my experience, if you are a member of…