Hang In There Because Jesus Hung There

“[Job] was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil”(Job 1.1) . . . “the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the LORD” (1.21) . . . “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (2.10) Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (1.22). “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am […]

Juneteenth in Graceland

Today is Juneteenth (a.k.a. June 19th). Texas introduced me to Juneteenth during a pastoral stretch in the Republic.  I am thankful to reflect on its significance today especially living in one of the more racist regions of the country.  A region that has done its fair share of infecting my own heart as well. Abraham Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.  He ordered the freedom of all […]

The Masculine Gospel: All Girls Allowed

“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal 4.7). The gospel of Jesus Christ is decidedly masculine but it is neither discriminatory nor chauvinist.  In fact, the glory of the gospel is wrapped up in its masculinity rightly understood.  Given the context of Scripture and the people among which the gospel spread, we want a masculine gospel. God […]

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting a Heavenly Mansion

mansion in heaven

Did Jesus promise to build each of his followers a mansion for their eternal enjoyment?  After all, Jesus is God and was a carpenter.  Our God also builds houses?  He must be able to build us the best mansions the universe has ever seen.  We all have our dream home.  What could be better than having God design a city whose golden streets are lined with dream homes Jesus built […]

God Declared Forgiveness Before He Declared War

Zacharias was an old man (Lk 1.7).  A really old man (Lk 1.18).  His wife was also, shall he say, “advanced in years.”  (That’s a good lesson for godly husbands.  We may get old but our wives only “advance in years.”) Having a child at their age was biologically impossible.  We could excuse Zacharias for being skeptical.  But, God didn’t.  Gabriel muted him for nine-plus months (Lk 1.20). Zacharias had […]

Violent Night, Holy Night: The War on Christmas is Already Won

“. . . and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne” (Rev 12.4-5). For nearly 200 years we have loved the […]

Jesus is Not Color Blind

  White cops, Dead black men. Black snipers, Dead white cops.   White, black, brown, or olive, Cain by any other name is still Cain (Gen 4.1-8).  A spear.  Brother-killer.  The antithesis of God’s son (1 Jn 3.11-12).  The spirit of antichrist that is already in the world (1 Jn 4.3). Most white cops don’t shoot black men.  Most black men don’t snipe cops. Nevertheless, we exchanged God’s world of […]

The Faith That Saves (Part 2)

(Re)read Part 1. Imagine walking on railroad tracks with a friend. You see a faint light growing larger and conclude a train barrels toward you.  You and your friend begin to argue about what sort of train it is.  You’re sure it’s a coal train from Pittsburgh.  Your friend insists its a passenger train from Chicago.  You argue your experiences with trains makes you a better trainspotter.  He argues he has read everything about […]

The Faith That Saves (Part 1)

Calvinists and nonCalvinists have fought about the origin of saving faith for centuries.  Calvinists insist God grants saving faith to the elect at the moment of conversion.  NonCalvinists insist God has granted everyone the ability to believe the gospel and must be rightly persuaded.  No one has any ability or everyone has some ability.  Important distinctions, to be sure. But have we missed the forest for the trees?  While we skirmish on the periphery the enemy […]

Evangelizing Louisa Payson (and Our Children, Too)

In A Pastor’s Daughter, Louisa Payson Hopkins (a.k.a. Maria) recounted how her father, Edward Payson, taught her gospel truth.  She recorded this riveting exchange with her father (pp129-130): “Suppose you had been guilty of a crime for which you were tried; and of which, if you were convicted, the punishment would be death. While you are lying in prison, trembling, and fearing the result of the trial, there comes a man to you and […]