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 […]

Wingless Bones, Not Boneless Wings

“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mk 12.25). The Sadducees were the 1st-century version of the 21st-century liberals.  They denied all things supernatural, especially any notion of bodily resurrection from the dead (cf. Mt 3.7; 16.1, 11-12; 22.23, 34; Lk 20.27; Acts 4.1-2; 5.17; 23.6-8).  Sola Torah (Torah alone) was their creed.  They didn’t believe anything […]

The Crimeless Victim

“We live in a culture that has replaced soul with self.  This reduction turns people into either problems or consumers.  Insofar as we acquiesce in that replacement, we gradually but surely regress in our identity, for we end up thinking of ourselves and dealing with others in marketplace terms: everyone we meet is either a potential recruit to join our enterprise or a potential consumer for what we are selling; […]

Confessions of a Smooth Talker

You recognize smooth talk when you hear it.  Sometimes it’s too late, though, after you’ve set your heart on what you’ve heard.  By then you’ve likely given away something you never thought you would. Smooth talk is a grifter.  Thievery’s chiseled but sinister cousin.  Always cutting the corner as he pickpockets his way out of town.  He was good. Too good.  He said just enough but never quite enough.  He […]

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 […]

A Father’s Day Tribute to the Men of Adult 7

“Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding” (Job 12.12). Father’s Day in 2013 meant church with Dad.  Church with Dad meant a morning spent with the men of Adult 7.  (For all you hipster pub types, that’s how churches named Sunday School classes before there were small groups, cell groups, community  groups, life groups, and missional communities).  I thought I was doing Dad a solid by flanking him in […]

In Him Was Life (Why We’re Not Martians)

“In him was life” (Jn 1.4). “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative”  (Jn 10.18). “It is finished” (Jn 19.30). In Jesus was life. We might say something similar, ironically, at a funeral.  Our friend lived vibrantly, spontaneously, infectiously.  Our relative had such “life” about them.  They lived life to its fullest. But not really. They did not live necessarily. […]

From Ghoul to Yule (We’re Just Not Halloween People)

In the 21st century the holiday season begins when summer ends. Stores capitalize on the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s Eve sales boon.  The summer landscape transforms into a graveyard that quickchanges into the North Pole.  Spider webs give way to icicles.  Zombies concede the lawn to reindeer.  Strobe lights dim into candles.  Tombstones become nativities.  Ghostly shrills quiet into carols.  Candy corn is replaced by walnuts and cheap suckers by candy canes.  The slide from ghoul […]

The Women of Easter Sabbath

Sabbath

“It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.  Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.  Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.  And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Lk 23.54-56). Luke loved the underdog, especially if the underdog was a woman.  Between Luke-Acts, he used γυνή 60 times […]

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 […]