I wrote this a few years ago and had it published on two websites, Dropping Keys and Key Life. It’s a weird little tale and the style I wrote it in was the best way I knew how to… More
There is a tendency for those of us who’ve been burned-or flat out abused-by a church experience to almost violently reject any kind of encouragement to do something or change anything and then label it legalism or a kind of pharisaical religiosity. I get it, I truly do. But when the light of the Gospel of Grace opens your eyes and the shackles of trying to prove yourself worthy of that falls off, the bible still contains words that encourage us. Some of the “do’s” are still there. They are still there, but they’re now divorced from any worry of meeting the high standard set by them, or trying to hold up your “obedience” as a trophy to prove your worth to God, or as the key that grants you entrance to His kingdom. In other words, sometimes, even as we relish our freedom under the banner of God’s Grace, we are encouraged to do things. Continue reading “Grace Encourages…”
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5
What does it mean to know nothing but Christ and him crucified? The “bare-bones” of all of Scripture is summed up in Christ’s person and work, which rescues us from sin and death. To preach Christ and him crucified is to keep the message simple and accessible.
Continue reading “Simply Christ and Him Crucified”
Simul Justus et Peccator.
I don’t exactly remember the first time I heard that phrase, but it was probably, give or take, three years ago. God has used it to change my thinking on many issues regarding both my spiritual and physical life.
Continue reading “I am Simul”
As I continue to see where God is leading me, here is a sermon I gave, yes me, this past Sunday. Hopefully I conveyed the idea that Jesus overcame those temptations, not just as an example, but as righteousness applied to us.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” -John 1:43-46
I know it’s hard for some people to put aside old ideas and notions about Christianity, Christians, and church in general. It’s a dug-in skepticism that’s born from a life of bad experiences, and even worse Christian jargon and teachings. It’s pushing back against all of it.
This is less a memoir and more an event, but it fits with the theme. Along with so many new things I’ve learned about church, church planting, God and how he might encourage me towards serving in different areas, this was a bold and scary step for me.
This was my first sermon ever.
Come and see…
New Year Devotional –
For all life’s difficulties, there’s something about January 1 that renews people’s hope. It symbolizes a fresh start, a new beginning. In the time it takes for the ball to drop, people have already formed in their mind that this day and the new year represents a clean slate. Whether a learned response or some aspect of our nature, we all grab hold of this in some way. Continue reading “Christ: Our Perfect Resolution Keeper”
With the new year fast approaching, I wanted to give you one more article from the church plant memoirs. This is less an article, and more a plea. A month ago, my pastor encouraged me to take the pulpit from him one Sunday evening this coming January. I’m reluctantly agreeing, with the caveat that he have a sermon prepared just in case. Though I’ve spoken briefly at men’s ministry events, this will be the first time I’ll be preparing and preaching a sermon on a Sunday. Everyone has their first time, and at 48 years old, this will be mine. When I started helping with this church plant, preaching was the furthest from my mind. Of course, I never thought I’d be driving into the city on a weekly(sometimes more than weekly) basis to help out with a church plant. The plans of man versus the plans of God and all that jazz. Right? Continue reading “Church Plant Memoirs: A Plea for Prayer”
Just some old thought on from a Christmas past
(Originally written in 2015 – and sadly still relevant for me too)
As I began this post, It’s the Saturday morning before Christmas and I’m tucked away in a corner booth in a local diner all by myself. While I wait for my eggs, I go for the comfort food of choice, Rice Krispies. It doesn’t have quite the same “snap, crackle, pop” I remember, but it’s a wonderful connection to memories past. Something about hearing those sounds and feeling the airy crunch makes me long for no responsibility except waking up early enough for Saturday morning cartoons.
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Consider This Christmas Eve…
Before the festivities start tonight, consider:
Consider your failings. Consider your doubts and struggles to be good parents, spouses and even adult children. Consider how you feel in those moments when you wonder if you haven’t screwed it up beyond repair. Continue reading “Consider This Christmas Eve…”
As of this writing, New York City has once again become the target of a terrorist attack. By God’s great mercy, no one was hurt severely. With that thought in mind, New Yorkers, in a kind of defiance to those who would seek to strike fear into this great metropolitan city, got back to being about their business rather quickly. This attack, unlike others, will end up as nothing more than a historical footnote, but we also know this probably won’t be the last attack. Still, we move on, living our lives, going to work, shopping, etc… Continue reading “Church Plant Memoirs: Terror and Vulnerability”
I’m about to write something that will be probably be unpopular. Amid a great cloud of witnesses that get the grace of God that I am fortunate to count myself lucky to be a part of, I’ve decided to write a little about works. In fact, a specific work. Yes, I said it. I’m going to write about law, the “imperatives”, the “do” in light of the “done”. If I’m lucky, I’ll annoy people on both sides of the argument in regards to doing the law vs resting in grace. Take it for what it is.
I wish I was better at seeing the bigger picture. Or maybe, I wish I was simply better at seeing the larger scope of its beauty.
My wife took a trip with her sister to San Francisco, and while there, she had the opportunity to visit Muir Woods. She was amazed at the size and age of the trees there. She showed me pictures of it all, and they were majestic, but all I could see were trees. Maybe my wife has a child-like wonder about these things that I don’t have. I don’t know. My default mode is to see a picture, but it’s not very often that I see the grander scale of what that picture represents. I’m guilty of that in many areas, including what I see and read in scripture.