Have you ever been in some much trouble with your parents that they called you by your full name? How many of you have been in so much trouble you were accidentally called by one of your sibling’s names? What about the dog’s name? You know you’re in real trouble when the dog’s name gets thrown into the mix.
The “end times” are rarely thought of in close connection to preaching. Preaching, one might imagine, concerns the announcement of what has already occurred in the narrative of salvation. At its best, preaching is the application of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross to sinners in the present day, especially as His work is set forth or illuminated in a particular passage of Holy Scripture.
On the afternoon of December 10, 1520, a number of faculty from the University of Wittenberg and a batch of students gathered outside the Elster gate on the east end of the city. A notice that had been posted in a nearby chapel inviting anyone who thought the Roman church’s teaching stank to join to together at the city’s rankest spot: the town carrion pit.
This blog is a part of our Advent series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.
In Catalonia, children usher in the Christmas season, with all its trimmings, lights, packages and treats, by celebrating with the poop log which defecates candy in front of the fire. Yes. The poop log might not be the grandest of traditions or held in the same esteem as say, a midnight mass or the care given to making Christmas dinner, but the poop log, or Tio de Nadal, is a tradition nonetheless.
As one who has served with (and benefited from) evangelical institutions for over thirty years, it is becoming increasingly clear that Luther’s Reformation has unique gifts to share with the world (though the other branches of Protestantism also have gifts to give). What are these gifts? How might they be a boon to Christ’s Church? The following is a partial list of six gifts, with a brief description of each.
The season of Advent is absurd when we pause to think about it. Advent declares to a world hell-bent on bookkeeping that God's salvation comes with no price tag. Advent declares to people who are arrogant, materialistic, and short-sighted that eternal salvation comes as a free gift.
As we enter into another Advent Season, it is good to be reminded that doing the unlikely and unreasonable is standard procedure for our God when He dramatically advances His redemptive plan. Perhaps, however, that description is too weak. When poised to accomplish work central to His plan of salvation, the Lord God usually chooses methods that border on the outlandish and impossible.
As we enter into this year’s Advent season, this blog is a part of our series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ, Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.
Who doesn't want to take a shortcut? Who isn't looking for a new life hack? Who wouldn't want directions that help to navigate the hard path? Who doesn't want to be the best possible version of themselves? Who doesn't want someone to show them how to reach the goal, develop good qualities, achieve true happiness, and avoid getting on God's bad side?
It's the trap we fall into when we try to make God comprehensible to us. A god who is comprehensible to us panders to our desires and soon becomes a god that has to entertain in order to command our attention or meet our most immediate needs in order to maintain our devotion. Worship of such a god ultimately leaves us empty because our felt needs are rarely anything more than distractions from the ultimate realities of sin, death and the devil that plague our existence.
One of my favorite bands is Band of Horses. They are not a Christian band. I don’t think they’re Christian at all. To be honest, it doesn’t determine whether I appreciate their music or not. Non-Christians can write some great music. Christians have produced some duds. The opposite is also true. There’s one song from Band of Horses that especially sticks out to me—well, there’s more than one, but this one came to mind most recently. It’s called “Compliments.”
The following is an excerpt from Handing Over the Goods: Determined to Proclaim Nothing But Christ Jesus & Him Crucified - (A Festschrift in Honor of Dr. James A. Nestingen), edited by Steven Paulson and Scott Keith (1517 Publishing, 2018). Edited and used with permission.
Around this time of year, we’ll hear the all-too-familiar words. In church. On the radio. Over the speakers as we stroll through the gift-laden aisles. The words are these: “For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us…And his name will Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” (Is. 9:6). But the words slip through our fingers. We don’t get them. Not fully, not even close.
My office sits a few dozen paces away from our campus photo studio. Our photography professor is a friend and fellow raconteur. He needed a project for his students to tackle and since I needed a birthday gift for my wife, I suggested a portrait of yours truly. To make things interesting, we decided to have the students stage a reproduction of the famous photo “Grace.”
We live in a world full of fear and anxiety. When we turn on the news, we are greeted by suffering, tragedy, and disaster. Our politicians are determined to destroy one another’s reputations, and so they take turns dragging each other through the mud and making more and more outrageous accusations against one another all for the sake of being elected or keeping their position.
How do we deal with death? How do we find a way to deal with each death? How do we wrap our heart around death each time it happens? Is there a coping method that relieves our grief? Is there a remembering that eases our sorrow? Do some take death harder than others? Do some seek therapy?
Galatia was a region, not a city. Paul knew the congregations there well. Galatians is one of the earliest epistles, or letters. It shows something, then, that already in this, one of the earliest epistles, Paul begins with a furious defense of the Gospel.
As we approach the Advent season, we are happy to introduce a special blog series on the hope we find in, through and given by Christ. Each week’s installment will look at hope from a different perspective with special emphasis on corresponding passages of Scripture.