Does God Love {Insert Your Name}?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn 3.16) I once read a cartoon Scripture memorization pamphlet to my youngest daughter.  It was a story written to help her memorize John 3.16.  The pamphlet was nicely done and broke the verse down into helpful, digestible parts. As we worked on the first part of […]

Is Today the Day the Lord Has Made? (What Children’s Choir Didn’t Teach Us)

“This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps 118.24) Many a church kid memorized Psalm 118.24 in children’s choir.  It was a catchy tune that still causes foot-tapping.  God be praised for those children’s workers who helped seal Scripture in our minds and hearts (even if I scowled my way through it).  As we get older we cannot help but wake […]

How Can a Sinless God Sympathize with Guilty People?

As part of God’s sanctifying providence Christians must endure difficult seasons of frustration. Some will be brief and others lengthy, but they will all test our affections and whittle away our worldliness. Our questions will not always be about God’s power or authority but about his care. Will he indeed mend the wounds he is right to cause? Answers will be few for most of them or at least selfishly […]

The Taming of Shamu and Jesus

You parents know what it’s like to traipse through Sea World thinking, “So this is what my parents went through!” As a kid, I strolled through Sea World without a care in the world as if the whole park were mine to explore.  All the while my parents counted pennies, peeled eyes, shared drinks and hauled souvenirs.  Now I was the one doing it for our children.  “Stay with us!”  “Don’t […]

Message in a Bottle

Every so often “the man on the island” gently stirs the waters about the necessity of evangelism in light of God’s sovereignty.  He sends out a message in a bottle that reads, “What must I do to be saved?”  Hopefully someone sends a message back to him saying, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!” The church has long debated his question.  The bottle can easily wander adrift in a […]

Christians and Organ Donation

If navigating the DMV wasn’t stressful enough, they force us to decide whether or not we will be organ donors.  Of course, the DMV would not wish a fatal vehicular demise on anyone.  But, in such an unfortunate event time is of the essence. If there are organs to be donated they need to be preserved and transported quickly.  What better vehicle for that information than our driver’s license. I […]

Did Jesus Disobey His Parents?

Luke records the only adolescent account we have about Jesus between his birth and public ministry (Lk 2.41-51). Joseph and Mary were faithful Jews (cf. Lk 2.21-24, 39) who loved Torah and “went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover” (Lk 2.41). The year Jesus turned twelve was no different, at least for Joseph and Mary. Jewish tradition dictated a boy became personally responsible to Torah when […]

God’s Kingdom is Christ

What exactly is the “kingdom of God”?  It was the substance of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Lk 4.43).  It was a staple of Messianic expectations.  What Jesus taught about God’s kingdom, however, was much different than what most thought to be true of that kingdom. When we think of “kingdom” we think king with a capitol, army, law, borders, flags, subjects and authority.  When Jesus preached about God’s kingdom, he did […]

A Woman, a Wonk and a Wench: Case Studies in Evangelism

Evangelism is the declaration of good news.  “Evangel” was not originally a Christian word but there is certainly no better word to describe what Christians have to declare.  A fleet-footed messenger would return from the battle lines to declare the good news of victory.  Christians declare the triumph of Jesus over sin, death and hell. Evangelism has become quite an industry.  There are resources, tools, tracts, books, pamphlets and bracelets […]

Yom Kippur and Graceland

Every Saturday The Commercial Appeal in Memphis publishes a “Faith in Memphis” section with a “Faith in Memphis Panel.”  The editor asks local religious leaders to respond to a current issue in the news.  That issue is usually about atonement when Yom Kippur rolls around each year.  Yom Kippur is the Jewish “day of atonement” and the holiest day of the Jewish year (Lev 23.27-28).  Since the holy day began […]