Idol-Crushing Imagination

This week I had the unfortunate experience of searching for a particular magazine at four different stores, all to no avail.  The process reminded me that there is perhaps no more concentrated collection of our culture’s idols than the magazine rack.  You know as well as I do what these

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Moving Toward our Neighbors in Love

On Sunday we knelt together as a church family to seek God’s direction regarding how we might move toward our neighbors in love in the way Christ moved toward us in the gospel.  Here are three immediate, concrete answers to those prayers that I hope will only be the beginning

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Uncle Lewis and Immigration

As I have read articles on our state’s new immigration law and thought through the church’s response, by far the most helpful thing I have encountered was written 60 years ago by an Oxford professor.  C.S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters as a fictional correspondence between an older, experienced demon

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Acorn Bodies, Oak Pleasures, and the Place of Pain

On Sunday we caught a glimmer of Paul’s resurrection hope-based on Christ’s own resurrection-that our bodies will be transformed to a greater glory when Jesus returns.  These acorn-like bodies will be changed into oak-like resurrection bodies (NOTE: I’m switching from “sycamore” to “oak,” after being informed that sycamore trees do

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The Gospel According to Joshua

The gospel is the message of what God has done for us to redeem us for himself.  For us this finds its fullest expression in what God accomplished for us in his Son’s death and resurrection, namely, forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  Yet this gospel grace existed before Jesus. 

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Where We Labor for More Gospel Fruit

Baptismal services are some of my favorite church experiences, so I am still riding high from the four baptisms we celebrated on Resurrection Sunday.  In fact, I am praying that the testimonies we heard would have an addictive effect on us, creating in us a deeper craving for more sinners

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The Glory of the Cross

Where do you see glory?  What stands out to you as weighty, magnificent, brilliant, and notable? If we take our cues from the magazine covers at the check-out line, we find our culture searching for glory through agile athletes, shapely models, charismatic leaders, and popular musicians.  To be fair, at

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HOLY WEEK

If you have ever attended a Catholic Mass or a liturgical Protestant service, you know that Whitton Avenue Bible Church is about the furthest thing from “liturgical,” whether it be in the ordering of our services or in what services even have.  While there are likely downsides to this way

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Storytelling in the Perfected Kingdom

“You can spend 2 hours of a film showing people falling in love or falling out of love, but you can only show 2 minutes of them being in love.” This is a paraphrased quote I heard someone share from a personal conversation with Sydney Pollack, the late film director

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The Stakes of Engaging in Jesus’ Mission

This week I received alarming e-mails from three dear missionary brothers serving in sensitive Muslim contexts.  These brothers minister in different capacities with different agencies in countries that are separated culturally and geographically.  Yet the updates they sent were startlingly uniform: the work of the gospel is being threatened by

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Gendercide Through Kingdom Eyes

The cover story of this week’s issue of The Economist is titled “Gendercide,” and highlights the massive gender gap in China, India, and other Asian and European countries due to gender-based abortions of female babies.  Consider this staggering projection: in 10 years, China will have as many unmarried male adults as

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Reclaiming the Sacred Hush

There is a sacred hush about the Old Testament faith that is refreshing when compared to the barrage of noisy information that characterizes our day.  Consider the awe-infused silence that the children of Abraham must have experienced as they saw Aaron and his sons consecrated as priests (Leviticus 8).  Moses

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Looking to the Year Ahead

Last night we conducted our annual business meeting, where the congregation overwhelmingly affirmed Peter Kinkel and reaffirmed Don Vander Giessen as elders.  I took some time to reflect on the year behind us, address some current issues, and look to the year ahead.  Here is what I shared about the

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The Significance of the Annual Business Meeting

Next Thursday, February 18th, we will have our annual business meeting in which we vote on issues such as the 2010 budget and confirm eldership for Peter Kinkel and Don Vander Giessen.  It may be tempting to understand these items as the centerpiece of our meeting.  Yet our desire is

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Learning Love’s Beauty From My Children

Sacrificial love in the family of God is a beautiful thing.  When one person uses his or her Spirit-enabled gifts “for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7), when the various members “have the same care for one another” (1 Cor 12:25), what emerges is the most attractive display of God’s

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Men: Devote 10 Weeks to Smashing Counterfeit Gods

In our Bible reading plan we recently witnessed the “gospel event” of the Old Testament, Israel’s exodus from Egypt.  One of the striking features leading up to the exodus is the cosmic nature of the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh.  Before the showdown began, God told Moses, “See, I have

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Should the Holy Spirit Make us Uncomfortable?

As we walk through 1 Corinthians 12-14 on Sunday mornings, one thing we have seen already and will see again this Sunday is the radical Christ-centeredness of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.  The Spirit’s initial work in our lives is to enable us to confess, “Jesus is Lord!” (12:3) as he

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New Elder Candidate: Peter Kinkel

Earlier this week I heard of an Arizona church in which the decisions and direction of the church were made by a board of directors.  One Sunday a board member made the announcement in church, “Some of our board members have decided to step down from their responsibilities, so we

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Why Do We Read The Bible? (Part 2)

Since many of us have begun reading through the Bible in 2010, I wrote last week about why we read the Bible, namely, to be shaped by God’s story more than the values we imbibe from our culture.  As crucial as this is, it stands next to an equally significant

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Why Do We Read The Bible?

God is writing a story.  Not in the sense that a novelist creates fictional characters and places, or even in the sense that a playwright or screenwriter develops a script that people actually act out.  The world we find ourselves in-nature, people, time, relationships-this is all part of the story

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