“The Real Jesus’ Real Return”

John, “the beloved disciple,” opens his first letter by establishing how intimately he knew Jesus: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life…that which we have

Continue reading

Following Jesus in the 99% or 1%

Since the first of the year, we have shifted the focus of the 9:30 hour on Sunday mornings to a training time, addressing issues essential to following Jesus and leading others to follow him with us. Thus far we have walked through “The Gospel-Centered Life” and worked on our Bible

Continue reading

Rest, Merry Gentlemen. Rest!

The supreme irony of American Christmas is that the very themes we celebrate with Christ’s coming–love, joy, peace–are the virtues most egregiously compromised this season. Many families gather only to see old bitterness emerge rather than love. The pressure to find the right gifts yields misery rather than joy. And

Continue reading

This Baby Will Rule Your Life

For us who call Jesus Lord, the perennial challenge of Christmastime is to unearth the profound mystery of the incarnation–God become flesh–from the heap of plastic, lights, music, and events under which it is buried. This year God has introduced me to a new backhoe that can dig through the

Continue reading

The Oatmeal Challenge

Two Sundays ago we highlighted the vast hunger and malnutrition facing Somalia. In early September, the last time numbers were released, 29,000 people had already died from starvation and 750,000 more face death from lack of access to food. Regretfully Somalia is not the only place where food is scarce.

Continue reading

Why Mission and Mercy Month?

On Sunday we plan to address the famine in Somalia. The following Sunday Dan Julian will preach and share the plans Anna and he have for gospel work in Spain. Then following week we will discuss Missional Communities. Then Mending the Soul Ministries. Why this focus? Why the break from

Continue reading

Praying for Dear Life

In our recent study of Isaiah we heard a consistent call to “Keep justice and do righteousness” (56:1). For the prophet this applied to Israel’s leaders who devoured instead of served God’s people (56:9-12), field owners who oppressed their workers (58:3), those who perverted justice in the courts through bribes

Continue reading

Membership: Here and Now

I am a member of the Fry’s V.I.P. Club; I am also a member of the Davis family. The first came about because I scribbled my phone number on a piece of paper at the grocery store; the second came about because I was born into an existing family. My

Continue reading

Somalia and the Complexity of Injustice

The numbers coming out of the Horn of Africa are staggering. The worst drought in 60 years is affecting 11 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. In particular, half the population of Somalia–3.2 million people–is in need of immediate assistance. An estimated 20,000 children have died from starvation

Continue reading

God’s Wrath and Our Vengeance

One of the most significant cultural shifts I experienced when I came to pastor Whitton Avenue Bible Church six years ago regarded the use of violence in military conflict. I grew up in a church where each July 4th Sunday the pianist played through the hymns of all the military

Continue reading

Will He Find Faith… Here?

“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Jesus asks this provocative question after telling the parable of the badgering widow. She petitioned the godless judge over and over and over until he ruled in her favor, giving her justice against her adversary. In

Continue reading

A Puzzle of Seafaring Children and Grazing Wolves

As we venture into the final chapters of Isaiah on Sunday mornings, we will continue to encounter more glorious and strange prophecies: “rams of Nebaioth” coming to Jerusalem (Isaiah 60:7), ships from Tarshish bringing back Israel’s children (Isaiah 60:9), a visitor from Edom wearing red (Isaiah 62:1-2), the day when

Continue reading

Justice, Beauty, and Endurance

Beholding beauty releases us to share wealth. We saw this concept in Isaiah 60 on Sunday in the end-times vision of the nations seeing God’s glory reflected in his people and bringing their wealth to beautify God’s dwelling place. Of course, that day is still to come, but the principle

Continue reading

Doing Justice with Humble Expectancy

Isaiah 59, which we covered on Sunday morning, reveals a dynamic crucial for us to understand if we are to address issues of injustice biblically. Though it could have many names, we have called this dynamic “humble expectancy,” and see it expressed in four steps in Isaiah 59 regarding injustice.

Continue reading

The Death of bin Laden and the Victory of God

The reactions to Osama bin Laden’s death have been mixed, whether the media was mainstream or social, the responders Christian or non-Christian, or the political affiliation Bush or Obama. The nature of the ambivalence is the question of how we should respond to his death. Are partying in the streets

Continue reading

The Cross on the Offense

The crucifixion of Jesus that we commemorate today confronts us with powerful paradox. The Apostle Paul captured this in 1 Corinthians 1 by contrasting the foolishness and wisdom, the weakness and power that were simultaneously on display at the cross. We could add to that list that Jesus was both

Continue reading

The Cross on the Offense

The crucifixion of Jesus that we commemorate today confronts us with powerful paradox. The Apostle Paul captured this in 1 Corinthians 1 by contrasting the foolishness and wisdom, the weakness and power that were simultaneously on display at the cross. We could add to that list that Jesus was both

Continue reading

Gathering to Embrace and Encourage Love

This “Palm” Sunday begins Holy Week, in which we commemorate the events that form the bedrock of our faith: the suffering, death, and resurrection of the God-man Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul emphasized the utter indispensability of these events when he wrote, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith

Continue reading

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The commercialization of Christmas is a double-edged sword. Negatively, the season seems helplessly mired in consumerism and materialism, having little to do with Christ. Yet there is a certain good cheer about each December that is hard to miss, and we can co-opt this sentiment and focus it on our

Continue reading

Paranoia, Porn and Purity

“It’s only paranoia if they aren’t out to get you.” As a parent I feel something close to paranoia because of an even worse prospect: “It’s only paranoia if they aren’t out to get your children.” Recently I’ve been reading a few books about the way pornography is transforming our

Continue reading