The Glory of Christ at Christmas

December 22, 2014:

Some years ago now when the “Christmas” debate first began, I preached a sermon series around the holidays called “Making the holidays holy-days.” The point I was making, which seemed intrinsically ironic to me, was that those who passionately advocated for renaming the season “holidays” were not really accomplishing what they hoped they were accomplishing. The word “holiday” has a particular historical etymology. It is rooted in the Medieval European habit of naming certain days as “high days and holy days.” They were days marked by particular saints, and on those days there were special religious ceremonies, and feasting as appropriate and particular to the occasion as it demanded. In other words, “holidays” is a distinctly Christian, religious term. When you say “happy holidays,” you are really saying “happy Christian religious season of feasting and merriment based upon these holy days that we are in right now.” I understand that…

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Introducing God Centered Life Ministries

December 10, 2014:

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Blues Brothers. Not because it is an especially erudite rendition of biblical Christianity (it isn’t). Not because the music is evocative and emotive (it is). Not because the morals are worth following (they aren’t). But because of some of the one-liners. “It’s 106 miles to go, we got a full tank of gas, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.”  Or, “We’re putting the band back together.” Even, “We’re on a mission from God” (as irreverent as that is). Why God Centered Life Ministries? We think there is a mission to be accomplished for the glory of God. Our vision is simply that of a generation living for God. We want to call people everywhere to realize that life lived for God is simply the best life there is. Too often Christianity is being presented today as what it is against. We want…

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Shedding Light on Gay Marriage

October 28, 2014:

The following article was written for Evangelicals Now and published in their news publication for November 2014. At time of writing the U.S. Supreme Court has just decided to not decide on gay marriage. As anticlimactic as a non-decision decision is, this was nonetheless of great significance. Effectively, the Supreme Court has legitimated the decisions of States to allow gay marriage by refusing to intervene (one way or another). Commentators have wondered whether this was motivated so as not to be tarnished with a Roe v. Wade like stigma which the Court has carried ever since its decision on abortion, at least in the eyes of the conservatives in the country. But whatever the motivations of the Court may or may not be, the result is the same. Gradual, increased, gay marriage. In this case what then should Christians do? The answer is far from obvious. On the one hand,…

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Holy Internet Debate

October 20, 2014:

The following article was written for Evangelicals Now and published in their news publication for July 2014. The text, ‘be holy as I am holy’, is perhaps one of the most old-fashioned sounding in the Bible. But it is newly alive with interpretative complexities. How are we to be holy? Can Christians be called to be holy? What is the most effective means by which Christians are urged towards holiness? Is it legalism to urge the use of the law in Christian discipleship? Are Christians supposed to put effort into their holiness? Particularly amusing has been a minor debate taking place in the nether world of the internet as to whether Christians are actually sinners. Given that most would recognise that Christians are also regenerate and justified, it seems unlikely that any can deny seriously that Christians are nonetheless still liable to sin. If any do doubt it, they only need to observe…

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Preparation for Worship

October 15, 2014:

Worship is active. It takes effort. To come ready to hear God’s Word, to encounter Christ, prepared to receive and give and pray for each other, to minister together – all that does not happen by happenstance. One person in a meeting who has come with his heart fine-tuned for the voice of Christ through His Word, that expectancy can spread throughout the rest of the gathering, fueling a sense of what will happen next. What will God do? Whose lives will be changed? Which hurts will be healed? Which sins will the Holy Spirit convict us of and then lead us to the cross to find forgiveness? In short, a “worship service” is something to get ready for. Tenderize your heart by asking God to speak to you. Arrive ten minutes before the meeting begins. Look around. See who else is there. Who needs your prayers? Who needs your…

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Telling the Truth about ISIS

October 09, 2014:

The following article was written for Evangelicals Now and published in their news publication for October 2014. Observing the conversation regarding the abhorrent evil that is ISIS, I have come to two conclusions. One, worldview matters. Two, some, even when their worldview is patently failing, will continue to stick their head in the sand. ISIS is such an obvious evil that is hard to find sufficient adjectives to describe its horror. None of rational turn of mind will deny that evil. The challenge is to interpret it within a framework that makes sense. Whence this evil? Who are these people? Why do they act this way? Out of the answers to such questions will be formed a practical policy to defeat the evil itself. It appears that the secular worldview with relation to ISIS is that these are not the true representatives of Islam, and that the motivations for their actions are largely…

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Radical Muslims Strive to Expel the Mideast’s Christian Remnant

September 12, 2014:

The following is a guest post from Harry Genet.  Radical Muslims Strive to Expel the Mideast’s Christian Remnant So how will the church survive and thrive? July was an ominous month for Christians in the Middle East. Fighters of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, had swept across central Iraq from Syria the previous month, conquering even Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city. Now the roughly 30,000 Christians there (down from 60,000 a decade ago) were told that they had until July 18 to convert to Islam and pay a special tax, or leave. Then the Jihadists changed their mind. Over loudspeakers they announced that all Christians must leave by the next day—or be killed. The Christians—often with only the clothes on their backs—fled to already overcrowded Christian villages nearby. They continued on to the Kurdish-controlled northern sector of Iraq—semi-autonomous and more tolerant of Christians. As the Christians departed…

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Sermon Video: The Righteousness of God

June 10, 2014:

The video from this weekend’s sermon, “The Righteousness of God,” from Romans 3:21 in “The Gospel of God” series is now online. Romans 3:21 is one of the great texts in the Bible, and my prayer is that the confidence and hope of this passage will permeate through us all to God’s great glory. You can watch the sermon here. Discussion questions about the sermon are available by clicking here.

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