Christmas Eve Meditation

This Christmas is special for our family because it is the first year that our children have been able to understand the story of Jesus’ birth.  We have been adding pieces to an Advent Calendar each evening after dinner, so that the animals in stable, the shepherds in the field,

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re: Arrange

Jesus never fits into our agenda. Even as a baby Jesus’ entrance into the world demanded that people rearrange their lives around him.  Joseph rearranged his understanding of the righteous thing to do with a pregnant fiance, based on the angel’s message that “that which is conceived in her is

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Attempted Abortion: Exposing the Chasm

A week ago the New York Times published an article about a crime featuring a familiar situation and a very unfamiliar phrase.  The situation: a wife learns that her husband has cheated on her and seeks to exact revenge on his mistress.  Her means of this revenge?  Enter the unfamiliar

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What I Learned from Shirley

The Christian’s relationship to this world is one of the great paradoxes of the faith.  On the one hand, this world was created by God and deemed to be “very good.”  Even after the fall, God continued his love for his creation, most poignantly displayed by entering into it as

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Thankful to God For…

As recipients of God’s mercy in Christ we all have countless blessings for which we will give thanks to God eternally.  Since my space here is finite, let me share three particular blessings for which I am deeply thankful this Thanksgiving season. 1. I am thankful to God for Aaron

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Reformatting for the Future

The most exciting thing in working with young people is that they are full of energy and full of potential. If you can steer their energies in the right direction, you not only affect their future life ahead, but also the lives that person will interact with as they go.

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God’s Purposes in Our Sufferings

Suffering is one of the prominent features in the landscape of the New Testament that our American sensibilities find repulsive.  Perhaps it is more a human than cultural problem, but the last year of economic disaster has unveiled the extreme to which we are addicted to comfort and stability.  Yet

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Portraying the Gospel of the Kingdom

What does it mean to “portray” the gospel of the kingdom?  This may not be a pressing question on your mind, but I hope it becomes one as we consider what it means to minister the gospel in our neighborhood, city, and world.  Portraying the gospel goes hand in hand

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Where the Water Is Not Reaching

Our back yard currently consists of two colors: green and brown.  The green is the lush winter rye that I planted a number of weeks ago, and the brown is the grassless dirt where the sprinkler does not reach.  Like Asaph seeking to understand why the wicked prosper, my perennial

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Gedaliah’s Murder and Radical Ministry

What does Gedaliah’s murder have to do with Mission and Mercy Month? If your first response is “Geda-who?” here is the quick background from Jeremiah 40-41.  After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and took all but the poor of the land into exile, they left Gedaliah to be the governor over

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The Blessings of Doing

After Jesus served his disciples by washing their feet, he commanded them to follow his example by serving one another.  Unlike some of his other teachings that would make little sense until after his resurrection, there was no mistaking the meaning of this command.  It was as understandable as the

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The Least You Can Do is the Most You Can Do

Of all the joys of Mission and Mercy Month each October, one of the potential frustrations is being overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness.  When we set our sights on the areas of God’s activity in our city and world, the tasks that remain are nothing short of daunting: the

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Mission and Mercy Month 2009

For three years now we have set aside October as Mission and Mercy Month to focus on our attention on what God is doing through his church to fulfill the Great Commission and to put the mercy of his kingdom on display in the world.  Each year God brings together

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A Call to Men: Seven Weeks for Fighting Sin

“Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m a redeemed sinner.” “Hi, Chris.” As unlikely as it sounds, this was an actual interchange I had during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  I was there to plug a Bible study I was leading at the recovery center, and heard man after man preface

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Stewarding Nice Stuff for the Kingdom

Preaching the gospel week-in and week-out should have many effects on us as a people.  We should become increasingly humble, increasingly generous, increasingly compassionate, increasingly evangelistic, and a hundred other things.  Near the top of that list for us as Americans is that the gospel should increasingly ween us off

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Small-Ball Christian Living

“Mama, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”   Rachael’s jaw slackened ground-ward as she heard this precious gospel truth emerge from our 3-year-old daughter’s mouth.  After a few moments of stun, she finally realized where Sophia learned this statement.  For the past few months we have been listening to

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Mourning and Celebrating Together This Weekend

God willing, we will celebrate the Lord’s supper this Sunday, which is a week earlier than our usual first Sunday of the month.  The reason owes to the text which we will address this week, which includes one of the New Testament’s most profound statements about communion: “The cup of

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Footstools and the Life of Faith

“We walk by faith, not by sight” Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7, and this is part of the challenge of the Christian life.  Walking by sight is easy.  It takes no effort to allow one’s life to be framed by the realities of grocery shopping, paying bills, working

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The Ill Logic of Idolatry

“After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir [that is, the Edomites] and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them. Therefore the LORD was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said

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