Having recently finished preaching 25 sermons through Peter’s first epistle in a series entitled “Exiles on Mission,” I have chronicled some of the most important lessons learned. I chose this book because I found it to be particularly relevant to our church’s situation: a new church plant in one of the most secular, unchurched, post-Christian parts of our country. Peter’s letter is like a roadmap for our journey or an instruction manual for our life that contains our marching orders. I tailored the application and implications of his letter specifically to my congregation as we are breaking into new, hard soil and establishing our culture from the ground up. The advice of Diane Chambers (from the show Cheers) to a belligerent Yankees fan in Boston is particularly relevant to our situation: “Please bear in mind, you are in an alien camp. Tact is perhaps your wisest recourse.” My simple hope is that these ordinary, timeless principles are an encouragement from one fellow, weary exile on mission to another as we find ourselves in an increasing hostile, alien camp.Continue reading
The Fall and the Greatest Commandment
In 1954, as the connection between smoking and lung cancer was becoming more discernible through research, the tobacco companies provided “A Frank Statement” to counterattack the bad publicity they were receiving. Siddhartha Mukherjee, in his book The Emperor of All Maladies, points out that this statement was anything but frank: “By half revealing and half concealing the actual disagreements among scientists, the advertisement performed a complex dance of veils. Obfuscation of facts and the reflection of self-doubt—the proverbial combination of smoke and mirrors—would have sufficed for any ordinary public relations campaign. But the final ploy was unrivaled in its genius” . . . they proposed more research and even offered aid and assistance.
8 Reasons Why I Am A Foster Parent
My family of five has had the privilege of being involved in foster care for the past year and a half. We have had the joy of having three different girls in our home and currently have one of them with us. Whether it’s the fact that we have a lot of kids or that one doesn’t look like us . . . people notice and people ask questions. Whether it is from a stranger at the park or a fellow member at church, the question I receive the most is, “Why?” or “What made you want to do this?” Here are my personal reasons for being a foster parent . . .
The Image of God and The Greatest Commandment, Part 2
The Shema, from which Jesus appropriated the greatest commandment, is found in the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a restatement of the Mosaic covenant, which was grounded in Israel’s redemption from Egypt (Ex 2:2). This redemption was grounded in God’s covenant with Abraham (Ex 3:15). This covenant was the result of God’s gracious choice (Gen 12:1) and his plan to redeem for himself people from all nations through Abraham’s seed (Gen 12:3). Further, this covenant was rooted in God’s promise in the garden to defeat Satan with the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). In this unfolding of redemptive history, God is actively restoring creation to its original design—a world filled with image-bearers who reflect the glory of their Creator. This is precisely what Jesus came to do.
The Image of God and The Greatest Commandment, Part 1
What does it meant to be human? To err is human—yes, but even though the darkness pervades every corner of our being, sin is not essential to our humanity. Sin is a welcomed contaminant—something that has successfully baited us with high hopes of self-actualization and autonomy, but has in the end betrayed us and left us with self-afflicted adversity. Continue reading
The Essence of the Greatest Commandment
The greatest commandment is a call to love. But what is love? Where do we look for an accurate and full understanding? Should we look to what the secular culture teaches about man or what the sacred Scriptures teach about God?
Understanding the Greatest Commandment: An Introduction
What’s so great about the greatest commandment? Was Jesus’ answer really that profound? Of all the commandments in the Old Testament, why did Jesus point to that one? What role does this command have in helping us understand the whole story of the Bible?