Modern Reformation Anyone?

On October 31, 1517, Luther famously nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. Luther’s pen unleashed cultural ramifications that today’s bloggers could only dream of. He nailed his theses to the door, a few people read it, translated it from Latin into German and thanks to the technological wonder of a relatively new piece of technology called the Gutenberg Press – his 95 theses went 16th century viral. After 4 years of debate on justification by grace & faith alone, Luther was brought before the church assembly… Read More

Everybody Hurts

I am embarrassed to say this, but for many years in pastoral ministry, I sat across from people in real suffering, but because of my own discomfort with suffering, I sought to fix those who weeped instead of weeping with those who weeped. A number of years back, Susan and I were out with some close friends and they had some people in their lives going through some really hard times. They asked, ‘what’s your theology on suffering?’ I fumbled around. The truth is, my understanding of the bible  at that time in my life was formed by… Read More

John 1: a mic drop on grace

Our family loves going to the theatre. We love movies. You know that feeling when there’s a film you’ve been looking forward to for a while and it finally hits the theatres?  You’re sitting there and the moment the production house logo comes up accompanied by an epic score, you get this “here we go!” feeling. For me, the 20th century Fox score is a thing of legend. Probably because the first film I ever saw in theatres was Return of the Jedi when I was 10. John 1 reads like the… Read More

How Baptizing Children is Grace on Display

Infant baptism is a controversial topic of discussion. While we have historical evidence that the 1st century church practiced infant baptism and they referred to this as the “tradition of the apostles”, [1] the church has been divided on infant baptism since 1608 when Anabaptist leader Menno Simons, Baptist leader John Smyth and others asserted that baptism should be delayed until after the children of believers professed their faith. Before I continue, I want to be clear that even though I have come to embrace infant baptism and see God’s grace on display in it, my aim isn’t… Read More

Good News For Those who Face-plant

Every Christian face-plants. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been saved by grace, we still face-plant. It doesn’t matter if we have a diligent prayer life and are faithful in our scripture meditation, we still face-plant. Our mind wanders in some illicit direction. We lose our temper in a moment of unjust anger. Our selfishness comes out and hurts those around us that we love. Our heart, which acts more like a stomach, draws us in one direction or another and we find ourselves dumpster diving to feed on something we aren’t… Read More

Promise or Performance?

Looking at our dining room table most days, you might think we were running a cartoon factory out of our house. Drawings. Everywhere. When a small child presents you with some artwork, it’s heart warming. They love you, they thought of you, it provoked them to create, and then they present you with their work. All their effort is because they love you, not because they need to leverage you. Imagine though, if a cruel teacher went into your child’s classroom and began teaching the class that their artwork was actually securing… Read More

Toxic Cocktail: mixing law & gospel

In the same way that putting arsenic into a drink turns a cocktail from being refreshing to toxic, the false teachers in Galatia mixed God’s law with God’s gospel in a misguided effort to ‘balance’ out the grace Paul was preaching. Paul was preaching that salvation was by grace and faith in Christ alone, so the religious leaders came in and changed the message to “one part grace, one part law.“ When Paul heard about the toxic, glawspel cocktail being served to the church in Galatia, his love for them provoked a passionate, fiery response. The tone… Read More

Exile, Homecoming & Grace

No doubt you are navigating many conversations around your dinner table regarding the refugee crisis in light of recent executive orders by Mr. Trump and the far reaching ramifications of those decisions. As I scroll through the headlines in my newsfeed, I find myself increasingly thankful that the gospel invites me to rest in a world that is at great unrest. If Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension are true, then the gospel offers us an eternal perspective that informs how we relate to the issues of the world around us. Christ has saved… Read More

The Blessed Life

When Susan’s younger sister was a little girl, she wanted her parents to change her name to “Pookie”. Needless to say, as an adult she is very thankful her dad didn’t grant the request of her younger self. For most of my life, I’ve seen prayer as a tool or a means of getting things from God. Like Susan’s sister, I’ve prayed lots of Pookie prayers that, from my point of view, went unanswered. We can come to God in prayer with great confidence – but not for the reasons I once thought. I’m not confident… Read More

Here we are now. Entertain us.

Do you remember way back in May 2007, Charlie and his brother Harry were sitting on a chair when Charlie bit Harry’s finger? The little guys broke the internet. Do you remember the double rainbow of 2010? Here we are now – entertain us. ~ Kurt Cobain Like myself, you probably laughed at Charlie, the double rainbow and the innumerable amount of funny videos that went viral since. Needless to say, these two videos are old news and the next big thing is being uploaded as I type this. We love the next… Read More

Grace from A-Z

Susan and I were at a function a few months ago and introductions were happening around the table. Getting asked what I do for a living is always an interesting conversation starter. So when the question came to me, I told everyone I was a presbyterian minister and the guy sitting next to me got really excited. He said, “Oh good!” and then he proceeded to share, with refreshing honesty, his disgust and frustrations with the church. It was really interesting to hear his thoughts and the experiences he had that caused him to… Read More

The Clumping Church

Imagine you walk into a room and a conversation has been going for some time. You listen to a sentence, maybe two, and then you interject your thoughts on the matter. The odds of you saying something out of context is extremely high. It’s not that hard for me to imagine because I have this nasty habit of making assumptions and I’ve done that more often than I’d care to admit. For much of my Christian life, Ephesians 5:1 was a verse gave rise to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Reading the words “Therefore be imitators of… Read More

The Anatomy of the Prosperity ‘gospel’

We need the grace of God to deal with the life & death stuff. The heartbreak of broken relationships, the devastation of disease, the anxiety of economic hardship, the pain of abuse, the sorrow of death … thank God, the hope of the gospel in Christ is big enough for the life and death stuff. Though this world is broken because we are sinful, God will restore it because He is gracious. We live life in between the “already” of what Christ accomplished at the cross and the “not yet” of what He will accomplish with His return. We… Read More

Ruined.

I was in Ethiopia a few years back and I had the incredible privilege of preaching in some churches. After one of the services, I was asked if I wanted some coffee. I looked down and saw a small, badly stained pot and some tools I didn’t recognize, sitting next to a tiny fire. I agreed to have a cup, so one of the ladies went and picked some coffee beans off of one of the plants growing beside the church and began to roast them. Soon I was holding a small cup… Read More

The terrible search

This past week at the Golden Globes, Jim Carrey took to the stage to present the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Though his short, humorous speech got a lot of people laughing, I don’t doubt that the poignancy of his words also got a lot of people thinking… “I’m two time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey …and when I dream, I don’t just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream about being three time Golden Globe winner, Jim Carrey … because then I would be enough. It would… Read More