everything we need, nothing we don’t

When we pray, as Jesus taught us to, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11), we are trusting that the Lord will provide for our daily needs. Most clearly, Jesus has our physical and material needs in view. He wants his disciples to walk in daily dependence on the Lord for the material things we truly need in this life. God is the sovereign ruler of the world, and therefore, in his perfect love and wisdom, he provides his children with all that we need.

This abundant provision is not limited to material needs, however. (more…)

it was fitting to celebrate and be glad

The joy in Luke 15 is striking.

A man loses his sheep, only one of one hundred. But he goes searching for it. “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (15:5). Then he calls to all his friends: “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost” (15:6). Then they celebrate, and Jesus says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (15:7). A sheep is lost and then found. The shepherd parties. Sinners are lost and then, through the gospel, found. All the angels party. (more…)

the journey to jerusalem

Jesus never wavered.

I know that some take his prayer from the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:39) as a sign that he desired some outcome other than the cross, but the idea doesn’t pass muster. In Gethsemane Jesus revealed the deep anguish to his soul that the cross represented, however he was relentless in his perfect obedience and submission to the Father: “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done” (Matt 26:42). Jesus was utterly committed to going to the cross. He never wavered.

The Gospel of Luke makes this beautifully clear, beginning in Luke 9:51-53: (more…)

five things my kids (and yours) need to know about gender, sex, and marriage

Our culture is shaping my children. At least, it is trying to. Actively. Nowhere is that effort more evident than it is in the area of sexual ethics. The vision of gender, sexuality, and marriage the world hopes to form in my kids is formidable. Certainly it departs from the biblical vision for those things in profound and irreconcilable ways.

As parents, my wife and I are chiefly responsible (on the human level) for shaping a biblical view of these realities in our kids. What does that look like? How does that work? Well, there are countless ways this plays out in our everyday lives. However, we intentionally look for ways to speak to these five truths in our day-to-day rhythms and routines. (more…)

the blessing of reproof

At Capitol City on Sunday morning, we considered the ways God uses both encouragement and rebuke, within the context of his covenant community, to grow his people. Before departing from the topic completely, I wanted to sprinkle in the wisdom of Proverbs as we consider the profound (though unpopular) blessing of receiving rebuke from a Christian brother or sister.

Consider how Proverbs connects wisdom and prosperity to reproof and rebuke: (more…)

more on preaching to yourself

We’ve discussed preaching to yourself here on the blog before. But since the topic was an emphasis on Sunday morning at Capitol City, I wanted to circle back to the idea. If, as Luther says, we need to beat the gospel into our own heads continually, what are some specific truths we can cling to, believe, meditate upon, and preach to ourselves?

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but its a start. Remember, believing that “a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal 2:16) means believing that through faith alone in Christ alone, we are both innocent (because our sin is credited to Christ) and favored (because Christ’s righteousness is credited to us) in the mind and heart of God. I’ve broken these texts into these two categories, to help focus our minds on the specific truths of justification by faith. (more…)

putting the ball in the corner pocket on immigration

I don’t play much pool. I’m not opposed to the game in principle, just averse to recreational endeavors that rely so heavily upon geometry. (I had my fill of that in 9th grade. Mrs. Faglie was my teacher. When I was in her class, her son happened to be in the music class my mother taught at a school down the street. For the entire year it felt like we were caught in some bizarre, parent swap movie on the Disney channel. Good times.)

Despite these qualms, the image of a pool table has been in my mind all week, following the conversation we had on Sunday at Capitol City about immigration. As we discussed, thinking biblically about immigration seems quite challenging at the moment, as respected Christian leaders sit on both sides of the issue. How are Christians to know how to think and how to live when those charged with teaching and leading them cannot agree? (more…)