counting the apples in the seed

Every apple has five seed pockets – called carpals – containing one or more seeds. The exact number of seeds per apple depends on the variety of the apple and the health and vigor of the apple tree.1 Therefore, it is impossible to predict the exact number of seeds in any given apple – until you cut it open, of course. But once the apple is open, you can count – precisely and accurately – the number of seeds inside.

What can never be counted precisely nor predicted accurately is the number of apples in a seed. If an apple seed is planted in rich soil and receives the right nutrients in the right climate, allowing the plant to grow to be healthy and strong, over time that tree can produce an untold number of apples. From our perspective, it can seem like a limitless number of apples. Year after year, the tree will produce hundreds of apples – or more. Year after year, each of those apples will contain seeds, which can in turn be planted to grow more apple trees producing even more apples producing even more trees…You get the picture. (more…)

why we’ve switched to the esv

A few of you have said something. I am sure more of you have noticed but said nothing.

Since December, we’ve been preaching at Capitol City from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. For more than a decade, I’ve sat on the fence between two English Bible translations. I have read and studied personally from the ESV, while preaching from the New International Version. (A little over a year ago, I explained why I prefered to preach from the NIV.) But I sit on the fence no longer. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be preaching and teaching from the ESV at Capitol City. I wanted to share a few of the reasons why. But let me start with one reason that is not a reason we are switching… (more…)

fighting for humility, gentleness, and patience

On Sunday morning at Capitol City, we leaned into Paul’s command – to the Ephesians and to us – to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Eph 4:3). As we noted, Paul gives us three ways to pursue unity in the preceding verse: humility, gentleness, and patience. I offered some practical examples of how you and I can fight for unity. I was asked to re-share them here. (more…)

which bible should i use?

On Sunday morning at Capitol City, I spent a few minutes explaining the important reasons why we are no longer publishing or displaying on-screen the biblical text for each Sunday’s sermon. Here’s the short version: We encountered research that suggests that if we don’t encourage people to bring and open their own Bibles on Sunday morning, we are unintentionally but significantly discouraging them from opening their own Bibles Monday through Saturday. Therefore, if we want you to be engaging in God’s Word on your own – and we do! – then we need to compel you to bring and open your own Bible on Sunday morning.

In light of that announcement, a few people asked me, “Which Bible translation should I bring?” I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain why we have different Bible translations and which one(s) I recommend. (more…)

a surprising joy for god’s people

Last night I couldn’t get Hebrews 13:17 out of my mind. I spent the afternoon with a few dear people in my church who are struggling with a recent decision our elders have made. Though we did our best to explain the rationale behind that decision, ultimately I simply had to ask people to submit to the leaders of our church on this matter. For me, that’s a pretty harrowing proposition. I don’t casually call people to follow my leadership on anything…That’s where Hebrews 13:17 comes in. (more…)