Posts from December 2013

Posts from December 2013

Our Relatives and Friends Without Christ

I once heard a professor say, “Tragedy is anything that happens to an unbeliever.” Believers have it better. In fact, all that happens to believers works out for good (Rom 8:28). The unbeliever’s supposed good times, the mercies that he receives which ought to lead him to repentance, will bring him pain. Mercies that are sinned against, augment future punishment. They are temporary mercies, but eternal loss. Among those who have mercy now are some in our own families without Christ.…

An Empty Chair at Christmas

Sometimes the hope of Christmas is, “Next year all our troubles will be miles away.” That’s what the song says anyway, but many will not have a merry Christmas just because of that. They know it is not true. Many start with and cannot get past the empty chair—where their husband used to sit, where their daughter used to climb, where grandma used to stand to reach up high. Sure, the stores have been visited, and the goodies consumed, but…

It’s All About Christ

When the forlorn disciples met up with Jesus following His resurrection, it made the short trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus much more pleasant. Before revealing who He was and that indeed the Christ was alive from the dead, Jesus talked with them as a fellow pilgrim in life—but one who had extensive knowledge about the Scriptures. We find this story in Luke 24. He rebukes them, but more as a human like them who is confounded that these men do…

Heaven to Earth

(For reading aloud) What did it mean for the eternal Son to descend and enter into the history of men? The human brain cannot completely conceive the nature of His humility. Glory to dust, eternal to earth, all the while retaining His worth. Infinitely valuable, beauty beyond words, bowed down to be cursed, leaving heaven for dirt. A Savior for all without capability, crying out of dark futility to the One with all ability to tread down their impossible with grace…

Jerusalem Update: December 2013

We walked to church last night, with plastic bags over our shoes. When we arrived, we found something missing from the picture. People. Well, there were two people. They also had plastic bags over their shoes. Aside from these two, pretty much all that we could see was the 15 inches of snow blanketing Jerusalem. Clearly church was cancelled. As we slogged back home, nodding to the few other pedestrians on the road, our hearts were filled with grim solidarity…

Giving Up Liberty

Consider the formula: Giving up rights = Gospel advancement Paul’s main method of evangelistic ministry included giving up his rights. He did not fight for his liberty, but purposed to live and speak so as to give no offense to anyone. He sacrificed what was rightfully his for the interests of others because he did not think of himself more highly than he should have. The gospel he preached was wildly offensive, but his conduct was not. Oh, and he…

From Fear to Trust

When I first heard the account of George Muller’s life a few years ago, I was intrigued and frightened. By faith and through prayer Muller declared to a watching world and thousands of orphan children how God could provide for his own. Muller did not take a salary or ask for money to feed the orphans in his care, but trusted God to provide all their needs through prayer. My intrigue with Muller’s life of trust was compounded when I…

My Best Books List for 2014

It’s always difficult to choose what books will receive my attention in a big way for the year ahead. There are dozens to choose from. Here is my list. I plan to read these books multiple times throughout the year until I know them well: Hebrews—this book is unparalleled for its ability to grasp ancient Jewish religious practice and make it relevant for today. It not only is interpretive of the past, but shows us unparalleled descriptions of the future,…

Church Going Downhill?

Was your church meeting disappointing this week? Do you find that there seems to be little life in the church? Are there troubles stirring? Are there way too many parking lot conversations? What can you do as a member to make things better? Here are a few suggestions: 1. Have you considered what prayer might do? Divide up the church names and pray for some of the members each day. Pray diligently, begging God for the needs that you can…

Interview: Is it Possible for Homosexuals to go to Heaven?

S______, I believe that former homosexuals may go to heaven following repentance and faith in Christ. This is made clear in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but…

My Preferred Way to Read the Bible

It’s presumptuous for a man to suggest that he knows the best method for everyone to read the Bible. But I’m going to tell you the way that I best read the Bible . . . and why it works so well for me. I’ve been a Bible reader for many years and the plans I’ve followed are certainly varied. At times I’ve read the Bible through every seven weeks. I believe I even read it in a month a…

Teaching the Bible Well Even if You Only Have 5 Minutes to Speak

My church meets in multiple “home congregations” throughout Kansas City. Most weeks in our church gatherings, we have an “open sharing time.” During this portion of our meeting, people are free to communicate with the group in various ways, such as by sharing a testimony, telling about an evangelistic experience they recently had, confessing sin, and asking for prayer. During this time, the men of the church are free to teach something briefly from Scripture (usually for 5 to 10…