What is the greatest commandment? Jesus answers, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’” and “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Matthew 22:37 & 39). Although the Pharisees tried to box him into a situational answer, to set him up for failure,  Jesus both corrects and dodges them pointing out the foundational reason for every commandment: devotion to the Lord.
Jesus answer addresses the true reason for every commandment: worship. The use of ‘love’ in this text, conveys the idea of worship and devotion. To live is Christ.… Continue reading
Life can be straight up overwhelming at times. Can I get an “Amen”? If you’ve lived more than 15 minutes in this world, you surely know what I’m talking about. Though I’ve heard it said, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” and though the words themselves sound very similar to the words of Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:13), whoever first used those words to suggest that the Lord is too nice to allow too much pain into your life – was dead wrong. Overwhelming situations are like storms. And Jesus has been known to lead his people through storms. … Continue reading
Theology is life, or so it says on the t-shirts. But the real truth is that theology must impact life, any theology, no matter how orthodox, that doesn’t shape the way life is lived is worthless. R.C. Sproul put it this way in his helpful basic systematic theology, Everyone’s A Theologian:
The purpose of theology is not to tickle our intellects, but to instruct us in the ways of God, so that we can grow up into maturity and fullness of obedience to Him. That is why we engage in theology.
Perhaps no passage in the New Testament has so tickled intellects and been the subject of more idol theological curiosity than Philippians 2:5-8, often called the Kenosis of Christ.… Continue reading
Every time I preach I make sure to include one thing, an express presentation of the gospel. When I say I include an express presentation of the gospel what I mean is that I succinctly describe the incarnation, perfect life, sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ, and the implications of His birth, life, death and resurrection for both believers and unbelievers (often quoting Rom 10:9). I often use the exact same (or at least very similar) words. No one has ever complained to me, and even if they did, I wouldn’t change what I do. That every sermon contains a succinct presentation of the gospel is a nonnegotiable for me.… Continue reading
For many Christians, a church’s success is a matter of simple mathematics. The more people, the better. If attendance and giving numbers are going up, God must be pleased. And if those numbers are going down, well…you get the picture.
I wish I could say that I’ve never played the numbers game myself, but I can’t, because I have and I do.
However, various circumstances in my life and in our church have led me to some deeper reflection over the issue of church numbers in recent years. This post is my attempt to summarize most of the big things that I have learned and continue to learn (as I need frequent reminding), hanging my thoughts on some of the larger principles I see in Scripture. … Continue reading