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

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A Vision for Worship – Jakob Lillvik

The songs that we sing on Sunday mornings at Whitton Avenue are not whimsical. We don’t sing for singing’s sake, and the songs we choose aren’t randomly picked based on the worship leader’s preference. In fact, hours of careful deliberation go into the song choice each week before practice has

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Displaying God in a Changing Culture

“You know, he didn’t like black people.” This is what one of my neighbors said about another neighbor who was moving. I have no idea whether this is accurate or not–he seemed friendly enough to our African-American neighbors and my African-American children. The deeper concern I had was that this

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Living Like There Is Hell To Pay

While most media outlets remain abuzz concerning radiation leaks in Japan and a no-fly zone in Lybia, the Evangelical online world has been teeming with discussion over Love Wins, a new book by influential pastor Rob Bell. I have not read the book and will not pretend to grasp his

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Famished for Justice

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). Hunger, thirst, and satisfaction are some of the most elemental experiences of human existence. Newborns go through the cycle every few hours, and most adults do three times a day. What is it about

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Let the Word Do the Work

I know very little about golf, but the one piece of golfing advice I remember is, “Let the club do the work.” The idea is that if your swing is correct, the club will get the ball where it needs to go without muscling it as if you were cutting

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2011 Annual Business Meeting Message

On Sunday, God willing, I will be preaching from Isaiah 46, where God gives the following command to his people: “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and

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