The Pirates Curse

The 5th instalment in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean series hits the theatres May 26 and I’m sure the film will do well. Johnny Depp is a cool bloke who probably pulls off the whole pirate thing better than anyone. The film series started in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The plot, in short, is that the crew on the Black Pearl took the cursed treasure of Cortés from Isla de Muerta (the Isle of the Dead), in the hopes that the treasure would satisfy their wildest dreams. Ironically,… Read More

Paul to Galatia: Stop Kissing the Ring

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. The 1972 drama “The GodFather” is the quintessential mob story. I’m not just saying that because my father is Italian. You can’t talk about mob movies without someone pulling a Marlon Brando. He’s the OG kingpin of making offers you can’t refuse. “Going to the mattresses.” “Sleeping with the fishes.” Classic. The late AD40’s letter to the Galatians is considered by many to be the quintessential “law and gospel” epistle. “No one is justified by the law.” “Who bewitched you?” Classic. [1] Paul wrote his fiery letter against a backdrop… 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

Plato? Aristotle? Galatians? Morons.

  This iconic scene from The Princess Bride is one of my favourites. Plato? Aristotle? The Galatians? Morons. This past Sunday, I preached on Galatians 3 where Paul calls the Galatians morons. Yes, our english translations say “fools” but the Greek word “ἀνόητος”, also means “without logic, mindless and dense” so ‘morons’ also works. What provoked Paul’s response to be so strong? The church went from trusting in a Person to trusting in their practice for salvation. The false teachers erased the assurance of salvation based on what Christ did, and insisted… 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

SO VERY ANGRY.

After Paul went around preaching salvation by grace and through faith in Christ alone, some religious teachers began following behind him to ‘correct’ his incomplete message about God’s grace. Our english translations temper the tone of his letter to Galatia a little. For example, our versions read something like, “Oh foolish Galatians” which is far too soft. “You idiots” is closer to the tone in the original manuscripts. Our versions say, “Let him be accursed” when “they can go to hell” is closer to the level of intensity Paul was going for. Yes, I… Read More

Grace, Grace … Now Get to Work??

Paul wrote Ephesians from prison. Seems fitting when you consider the overarching tone of the letter… Chapters 1-3 read like chains falling off and prison doors swinging wide open by the power of scandalous, justifying grace. Chapters 4-6 read like they are describing how to enjoy your newfound freedom, glorifying the One who freed you by empowering, sanctifying grace. This letter is about how we are rescued, renewed and reformed by the Father’s grace in Christ, by the Spirit. The only way to understand the chapters and verses in this letter, is to read them… Read More

Will God shred your adoption papers?

Did God wait to see a glimpse of goodness or a silver lining in our sinful hearts before He rushed toward us with saving grace? No. Dead people can’t resurrect themselves. His grace came rushing toward us when we were at our absolute worst to save us and it continues to come toward us to sustain, reform and preserve us. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found… Read More

The power of love is a curious thing …

The power of love is a curious thing make a one man weep, make another man sing Change a hawk to a little white dove more than a feeling that’s the power of love Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream Stronger and harder than a bad girl’s dream make a bad one good make a wrong one right power of love that keeps you home at night You don’t need money, don’t take fame Don’t need no credit card to ride this train It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes… Read More

Yawning at Grace

Christ came at Christmas to save us from our sin. Yep. Pass the chocolate almonds. I hate to admit this, but I’ve yawned at grace more than I’d care to admit. When we’re convinced our sins are little, we tire of Jesus. We’ve been there, done that, bought the Sola Gratia T-shirt. Now there is a popular grace theology that interrupts at this point and says, “Hold on! There’s no condemnation. Stop talking about yourself like that. You’re not a sinner – you used to be a sinner.” According to Paul’s theology,… Read More