Strengthen What is About to Die

You must become alert!  And you must strengthen the ones who remain, who are waiting to die, for I have not found your works to be fulfilled before your God. (Revelation 3:2) The seven letters of Revelation contain some devastating rebukes for those in the churches of Asia. Out of the seven churches, two receive… Read More

Ego Custodiam

The fourth of the relational statements that the early church fathers made reflected God’s relationship to the church. “I will guard them,” says God of his people. At first, we might be inclined to think that this statement could be fuller or more involved. We might expect God to say Ego Redimam (“I will redeem”)… Read More

Ego Eripiam

The third of our statements deals with the relationship of Satan toward believers—“I will snatch them” or “I will steal them away.” While we would affirm in our theology that the believer is held by Christ and can never be separated from his hand (John 6:37; 10:28; Romans 8:37-39), the reality of Satan’s eventual failure… Read More

Ego Decipiam

While the pastor must confess that he will fail his flock, the world makes a different profession. The world says, “I will deceive them” or “I will ensnare them.” How much more sinister is this response than the one that went before, yet how often has this been our experience. The world promises us wealth… Read More

Ego Deficiam

“I will fail them.” The early church fathers reflected on the relationships between pastors, the world, satan, and the church flock and developed a series of statements that described each relationship. The first of these statements was that of the pastor with regard to his people: Ego Deficiam (I will fail). At first, our response… Read More

Blankets as a Sign of God’s Grace

One of the ways in that my wife and I are different has to do with blankets. My wife is almost always warm when she sleeps, so typically a comforter is all she wants to sleep with. I, on the other hand, am perpetually cold when I sleep, so to me, the more blankets the… Read More

The Gospel and Brushing Your Teeth

I publicly confess that I am not overly fond of brushing my teeth. I do brush my teeth, mind you, but it is not a part of the day that I look forward to. In fact, after I got married, one of the great sacrifices that I made to please my new bride was that… Read More

Do We Need a Polygraph in Church?

  I suppose that all of us have seen the movies or read the pulp stories where the evil villain captures the hero and forces him to reveal some sort of important information by strapping him into a chair and hooking him up to a lie-detector machine of some sort. How the hero would sweat… Read More

Polished But Worn

Recently, I was reading about the criminal investigation that took place around the shooting of President Kennedy. One of the investigators made note of something that I found quite striking: the shoes that President Kennedy was wearing looked as if they had been re-soled at least 10 times. To us, in our modern “throw-away” society,… Read More

Ignorance and Vague Generalities

Of the tools at the devil’s disposal, it would seem that ignorance and vague generalities are most commonly in his hands in the landscape of the American church. Here is not simply an indictment of the unbelieving culture at large, for who should expect them to know all of the details of our Christian faith… Read More

Safety Inside Our Bondage

A strange thing sometimes happens when people have been held captive for a period of several days or longer. In certain instances, the captive begins to associate with his or her captors, and in some cases, not only resists rescue, but serves to help their captors in their criminal activities. This is typically called “Stockholm… Read More

Christmas

It seems that Christmas decorations are being put up earlier and earlier every year. More and more our community retailers want us to be in the “Christmas Spirit,” which usually translates out as the “Spirit to Spend Money.” I can almost hear the words of the Carol being sung: Fill the Mall with lots of… Read More

Identity & Identity Theft

One of the threats within our culture is that of what we call “Identity Theft.” What we mean by that phrase is that someone has discovered enough personal information on you that they can charge things in your name, on your credit card accounts, or by withdrawing from your savings account. But surely our identity… Read More

Rockets Downrange for Jesus

Last week I saw this statement on a window sticker. Now, I live and work in a military community, so, it is not unusual to see slogans like this on bumpers and windows, but this one struck me as curious. At first, my “hawkish” gut reaction was to say, “Yes! Do all things for the… Read More

Stressed or Desserts

It was pointed out to me recently that if you take the word “stressed” and spell it backwards, you get, “desserts.” At first, I did not dwell too much on the idea beyond the idea that  isn’t it interesting that one of the ways we humans deal with stress is with what we sometimes call,… Read More

Virtual Church

In the 1970s, George Harrison sang about “Living in the Material World.” In the 1980s, Madonna proclaimed to the world that she was a “Material Girl.” While those songs seemed to describe the culture of their day, it seems that we have transitioned from living in a material world to living in an immaterial—a virtual… Read More

Building Museums or Kingdoms

Museums can be a lot of fun to visit. They contain relics and artifacts from which we can learn a lot about our past. They are monuments and testimonies to where we have been as a culture and from where God has brought us as a civilization. They serve a very important role in our… Read More

Stuff

Thus, where your treasure is, there also your heart will be. (Matthew 6:21) Stuff, stuff, and more stuff…  We fill our lives with stuff, we fill our homes with more stuff, and we fill the homes of others with even more stuff.  In and of itself, stuff is not bad—we need stuff to survive.  We… Read More

An Urgency of the Reforms of Church and Society: Calvin 500

This year marked the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, the theologian of the Reformation.  While Luther’s preaching sparked the fires of reform, it was Calvin that God had raised up to articulate the theology of those who protested against the Roman Catholic Church.  To commemorate what God did through Calvin, there are… Read More

Defending Job’s Wife

Recently, I read an article that really came down hard on Job’s wife because of the statement that she makes to her husband, to “curse God and die.”  The author went as far as to suggest that this was a woman who clearly had no faith and was a blasphemer because of the statement that… Read More

Education Versus Programming

(the following is excerpted from my essay, “Teaching Image Bearers, not just Warm Bodies,” which is part of the compilation: Docens Coram Deo: Teaching Before the Face of God.  This book is written as a festschrift in honor of Bob Grete and Harold Thomas, the founders of Rocky Bayou Christian School, on the school’s 35th anniversary.… Read More

Thoughts on Structuring a Discipleship Program

Recently, I was asked for some input on how I would structure a discipleship program if I were to have about 6 months of fairly intensive time to work with a small group of men.  I thought that I would share my initial thoughts here.   When I began doing homeless ministry, I spent some… Read More

What does Church Architecture Point Toward?

            With the coming of the reformation, particularly with the coming of Calvin’s reformation in Geneva, came a shift in the architecture of the Church building.  In the architecture of the medieval Roman Catholic church, the central item in the front of the church—the area that everything in the church pointed,… Read More

Samson or Sampson

            Growing up I remember being corrected on the spelling of Samson.  “No ‘p’ in his name!” I would be told over and over.  The interesting thing is not in that I was spelling the name incorrectly, but that so many people spell the name incorrectly.  In addition, there are many… Read More

Does Sin Crouch? (Genesis 4:7)

Genesis 4:7 Can Sin Crouch and can sin Desire?   Genesis 4:7 (ESV) “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”   Literal Translation:  “Will not, if you do good,… Read More