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 […]

Ashes to Ashes: Dying on the Cheap (Part 3)

Along with parts 1 and 2, I offer five reasons why I’d rather be buried than cremated unless otherwise providentially hindered.  While not imposing my convictions on anyone else, I do hope my wife will remember them at them at the funeral home! 4.  Jesus was buried and I want be like Jesus.  This isn’t the same thing as saying Jesus wore sandals so I wear sandals, or Jesus grew […]

Ashes to Ashes: Dying on the Cheap (Part 2)

Read Part 1 to catch up but here are two more reasons why I intend to be buried rather than cremated unless providentially hindered. Cremation is no cardinal sin but we should allow Scripture to define how we live and die. 2.  In Scripture, the burning of the body was an expression of disgrace toward the person who died.  Though not without possible exception (see 1 Sam 31.12), the burning […]

Ashes to Ashes: Dying on the Cheap (Part 1)

  As a pastor I was often asked about cremation.  It’s a good question. We believe all Scripture is breathed out by God to adequately equip us for every good work (2 Tim 3.16-17).  How we care for the body at death falls within the realm of “every good work.” Therefore, Scripture adequately equips us to answer this question. What should Christians think about cremation?  Should we think about it? […]

God’s Love-Hate-Love Relationship With Us

If you’ve been in church for any length of time you’ve been admonished to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”  That is a helpful corrective to those of us who sin ourselves.  Every single person is an image-bearer of God and worthy of the dignity afforded the highest of God’s created beings (Gen 1.26f.).  To arrogate oneself as the arbiter of human life deserves the sternest of punishment (Gen 9.6).  […]

Salvation > “Getting Saved”

A popular Christian radio show recently debuted a new book.  It sounded like a beneficial book to help young girls mature in faith and love.  The author was most proud of her last chapter that presented “the plan of salvation” and “the sinner’s prayer.”  Her highest desire was that young girls would “read and repeat” (her words) and be saved. As sincere and humble as the author was surely God’s […]

I Saw Jesus at Dad’s “Place” and He Wept

Jesus wept (Jn 11.35). Dad has recently settled into an assisted living facility.  None of us is particularly glad about it but we’re seeing some benefits.  In three years he’s gone from 2,500 square feet to 700 to 120.  It’s metaphorical, really.  As we get older our world gets smaller and more temporary, more lonely.  Dad has yet to call it “home” and I’m not sure he should.  At best he […]

Jesus Makes Nothing out of Something (and That Means Everything)

Paul wrote Galatians to confront and combat the attempted Judaization of the church.  Such was arguably the backdrop behind many of the New Testament letters. Intoxicated by the air of religious supremacy, Jews sought to enslave (Paul’s word for it) Gentiles under the burdensome yoke of Torah (cf. 4.7, 25; 5.1). Anyone wanting to be part of Yahweh’s people (i.e. Abraham’s people) had to come under the authority of Torah.  And […]

Moonlight Graham & Christ’s Field of Dreams

Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham was a baseball player.  He was also a doctor.  He was immortalized in the classic American baseball film Field of Dreams.  And he can illustrate the glorious mystery of Christ’s incarnation. Moonlight Graham spent seven seasons in the minor leagues, even having a cup of coffee with the Memphis Egyptians in 1906.  His claim to fame, however, was not what he did in the minor leagues.  […]

Christmas: The End of a Family Feud

For many families Christmas is as much about family feuds as it is family feasts.  But there is no greater family feud than that on display at the first Christmas. As God slipped into town through the ghetto, Satan stirred in the palace. Herod the Great heard someone Greater had been born (Mt 2.2).  And in Bethlehem no less, which only added to the Messianic lore (Mt 2.5). There had been […]