Grace and peace to you today! It was good to talk to you last week and hear directly from you about the difficulties you are facing. As I told you then, if I could snap my fingers and end your suffering, I would, but as both of us know, this is not our world. It is not our will that reigns supreme. I know the temptation to doubt God and be angry with Him is very real, but do not listen to the lies of the evil one. Do not let his whispers go unchallenged. Take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17) and strike back. Fight the fight of faith by taking God’s Word and using it as the weapon it is. I have prayed that God would work that in you. I have prayed that God’s voice would ring louder than the voice of doubt and despair. I don’t simply want to pray for you though – as powerful as that is. I want to do my part to help you and to encourage you so that you are not hardened by sin’s lies (Heb. 3:13). I want to do my best to point you to parts of God’s Word that you can use to fight in the midst of your struggle.
Continue reading Letter (to a Fellow Jar of Clay)
Every Christian possesses abundant fuel to stoke the fires of worship in their heart. Paul reminds us of this throughout the first part of Ephesians 1. He is praising God, and he is reminding us of the reasons we have to do the same. If you are a Christian, God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in Christ. In Ephesians 1:4-6, Paul speaks about the blessing of election. Today, we will look at the next blessing Paul highlights: redemption. Not only did God choose us before the foundation of the world, He also set us free from our sins.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Ephesians 1:7-10)
Genesis 1 and 2 tell us how the world was created. Genesis 3 shows us how the world was corrupted. Genesis 4, then, shows us the beginning of the “new normal”. After Adam and Eve’s sin, the world is a broken and cursed place, and human beings are sinful and corrupt. At the same time, however, this broken, cursed world is the stage on which the mercy and grace of God are working redemption. We see all of this on display in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 4)
The Bible is God’s Word. He has spoken to us and revealed Himself, His ways, and His will. This is an incredible blessing. The infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator and Ruler of all things has seen fit to make Himself known to finite, weak, and sinful creatures. What a good gift!
That said, it is easy to recognize that parts of the Bible are difficult to understand. There are many things it says that have left people confused over the course of history, and there are many people who disagree about its teachings. Even Peter acknowledged that parts of Paul’s letters were “hard to understand” (2 Pet. 3:15). Does this mean we can never truly understand the Bible or that the “average” person needs an “expert” to interpret the Bible for them?
The clear answer to these questions is “no”.
Continue reading The Bible is Clear and Understandable (Scripture, Part 4)
Hey friends – I hope this letter finds you well. I was writing because I heard of your most recent struggles and difficulties. Friend, I am so sorry for all that is happening. God calls us to “weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15), and – believe me – we have wept with, and for, you. I cannot imagine the struggle this is. Please know that we pray for you regularly, and I know others are praying as well. Even when we cannot be present with you, our hearts are certainly with you. Please know you’re not forgotten.
Continue reading Letter (to a Suffering Saint)
In Ephesians 1:3, Paul praises God for the blessings He has poured out on His people. Beginning in 1:4, Paul describes those blessings for us. He wants to draw us into praise as well. He stirs our hearts with reminders of the glorious things God has done. And he begins with the spiritual blessing of election: Because of His love, God chose us in Christ before the world began so that we would praise Him and give Him glory.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Ephesians 1:4-6)
Genesis 1 and 2 give us a glimpse of the good world created in the beginning. Genesis 3, on the other hand, shows us the corruption of that good world. After the beauty and goodness of chapters 1 and 2, this chapter saddens us. It explains the many problems in our world and teaches us a number of lessons along the way.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 3)
Yesterday, we began a new sermon series through the book of Revelation by looking at Revelation 1:1-8. Before launching into the meat of the book and its glimpse into the future, John takes the time to look back and offer some good reminders.
Notes and audio are available here.
We also began a new Sunday School series through the book of Mark by looking at its author, its audience, and its objective. Notes and audio are available here.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.
The Bible is God’s Word. That means it is our authority. And it also means the Bible is inerrant – without error in anything and everything it says. Even though this has been the predominant view of the Church throughout its entire history, there are many today who question such a claim. Can we really say the Bible is completely and entirely true? Can we really affirm that every single Word of the Bible is trustworthy – including even its scientific and historical claims? Yes, we can.
Continue reading The Bible is Inerrant (Scripture, Part 3)
I hope this letter finds you well. I realized recently that it has been a while since we have talked, so I figured I would write you. First, I wanted to make sure you know that I still pray for you on a very regular basis. I am grateful for the growth I see in you and for the effort I see you making. It seems evident that God is working in you both to want what He wants and to do what He wants. I pray that God’s Spirit would continue to show you ways to grow as well as give you the desire to pursue that growth. I have no doubt that is what He will do. Second, I wanted to take the opportunity to encourage you in your faith by reminding you of some basic parts of the Christian life.
Continue reading Letter (on Living the Christian Life)