• Signs of “The End” in Mark 13? No.

    Signs of “The End” in Mark 13? No.

    Mark 13 is often called the “Little Apocalypse” and in many English translations it is given the title “Signs of the End Times.” But there are good reasons to doubt the claim that Mark 13 contains “Signs of the End Times.” The chapter begins with Jesus’ disciples marveling at the grandeur of the temple and […]

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  • Ten questions (and answers) about the Nativity

    Ten questions (and answers) about the Nativity

    My twelve-year-old son has the honor of being one of the “kings” in the church Christmas pageant this year.  I had the exact same role at the exact same age when I was a child attending the Lutheran church with my Aunt Joann. That was the year I learned the lyrics to “We Three Kings” […]

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  • A Vineyard Approach to Ferguson, Garner, & Racial Tension

    A Vineyard Approach to Ferguson, Garner, & Racial Tension

    As a Vineyard pastor in a Vineyard church who spends time with people who self-identify with the Vineyard movement, I often think on subjects through a “kingdom” lens. This is because our identity, both theologically and practically, are rooted in a commitment to the proclamation and demonstration of the kingdom of God. As people of […]

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  • A Few of My Thoughts on Ferguson:

    A Few of My Thoughts on Ferguson:

    I don’t usually say much (at least publicly/on social media) at the epicenter of these events, although there is usually plenty to say. I’ve had a half dozen or so serious conversations recently, mostly with a few of my white brothers, regarding the latest no-indictment decision and the reactions from the black community. These were […]

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  • Context: the Game-Changer

    Context: the Game-Changer

    I have recently been revisiting a classic book that Wendy & I both read back in our early college days at Prov: Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart’s excellent How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. To be honest, both of us recall feeling like we “had to” read the book, back in the […]

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  • So… What is the Gospel?

    So… What is the Gospel?

    “Jesus died for your sins, and that’s good news!” So ended the form-letter that my friend wrote, emailed to me, and asked me to read (and edit) for him. My friend wrote the letter so that he could cut and paste the names of various family members and friends onto the top of it as a […]

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Biblical, theological, & practical reflections from the trenches.

Biblical Studies

Ten questions (and answers) about the Nativity

Ten questions (and answers) about the Nativity

My twelve-year-old son has the honor of being one of the “kings” in the church Christmas pageant this year.  I had the exact same role at the exact same age when I was a child attending the Lutheran church with my Aunt Joann. That was the year I learned the lyrics to “We Three Kings” […]

The Complete Neglect of the Role of the Holy Spirit in Biblical Interpretation (Part 10 of 10 ways we must read the Bible differently)

The Complete Neglect of the Role of the Holy Spirit in Biblical Interpretation (Part 10 of 10 ways we must read the Bible differently)

10.  Recapture a rigorous commitment to the critical role of the Holy Spirit in exegesis and hermeneutics. As I stated in last week’s post, I spent 10 years in Seminary having Grammatico-Historical exegesis pounded into my head as the only legitimate way to interpret scripture. Not once in that ten year period do I ever […]

What About Christological Interpretation? (Part 9 of 10 Ways we Must Read the Bible Differently)

What About Christological Interpretation? (Part 9 of 10 Ways we Must Read the Bible Differently)

#9.  Christological interpretation is an important key. Whereas many Biblicists seem to border on being guilty of Bibliolatry. After almost 10 years in Seminary I took a course from Tremper Longman on Proverbs/Wisdom Literature. After years of having Grammatico-Historical exegesis pounded into my head as the only legitimate way to interpret scripture, Dr. Longman was […]

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Quotables

Every man is naturally an idolater…pleasure, profit, and honor are the natural man’s trinity…thus we are naturally our own idols…This is the reason why affliction so frequently concurs in the work of conversion. — Richard Baxter

Theological Studies

Signs of “The End” in Mark 13? No.

Signs of “The End” in Mark 13? No.

Mark 13 is often called the “Little Apocalypse” and in many English translations it is given the title “Signs of the End Times.” But there are good reasons to doubt the claim that Mark 13 contains “Signs of the End Times.” The chapter begins with Jesus’ disciples marveling at the grandeur of the temple and […]

So… What is the Gospel?

So… What is the Gospel?

“Jesus died for your sins, and that’s good news!” So ended the form-letter that my friend wrote, emailed to me, and asked me to read (and edit) for him. My friend wrote the letter so that he could cut and paste the names of various family members and friends onto the top of it as a […]

Soteriology: Smooth & Easy or a Deep Struggle?

Soteriology: Smooth & Easy or a Deep Struggle?

Soteriology, the theological category related to “salvation,” is one that theologians still dispute over. Actually, pastors and lots of other Christians debate about it too. In addition to the ordo salutis (order of salvation) and nature of salvation (Calvinism vs. Arminianism), many of the discussions I have are related to a shift that has happened […]

Reviews

Hope for Miscarriage (a review)

Hope for Miscarriage (a review)

Shortly after my wife and I were married we were expecting our first child… which we quickly learned was actually two children, twins! The excitement of expecting children was pretty incredible and almost impossible to explain. Sadly, we lost that first pregnancy and our twins to a miscarriage. Nothing has been more difficult for us in the […]

Citizens of the Kingdom: Mount Up!

Citizens of the Kingdom: Mount Up!

In 1989, David Bebbington wrote of four qualities that defined Evangelicalism and one of them was “activism.” Evangelicals were, according to Bebbington, committed to expressing the gospel through their efforts in society. Unfortunately, Evangelicalism has received (earned?) a reputation of not doing much beyond talking about the gospel. Those who want to revitalize evangelical identity certainly need to […]

Reviewing a book on Mentoring Women

Reviewing a book on Mentoring Women

This review, to be honest, is a bit awkward feeling. How can a man review a book on women mentoring women? On one hand, I have a great mother, five sisters, three daughters, and a fantastic wife who is involved in mentoring women. On the other hand, I’m a dude. Nothing I write will change […]

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Practical Theology

It’s About Mission, Stupid!

It’s About Mission, Stupid!

Zechariah 14:16  Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.  (ESV) Well, its pretty obvious. We see this come up again and again in the Old Testament (OT). Its […]

“What begins in love will probably end there”.

“What begins in love will probably end there”.

1 John 4:10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sin.

4 Powerful Prepositions on the Incarnation

4 Powerful Prepositions on the Incarnation

What is “#UglyChristmas”? If you are a Christian and you love the Christmas story you might be asking what is “ugly” about the birth of Jesus! You might also be wondering I am suggesting that we deeply celebrate #UglyChristmas. So what’s the intention behind #UglyChristmas? Why are we doing this series? Those are all great […]

General

Should pastors endorse candidates from the pulpit?

Should pastors endorse candidates from the pulpit?

It’s the day before a mid-term election, so we can’t let the day go by without some theological, biblical, and practical reflection on Christian engagement in the political process. I wasn’t in church yesterday, but even if I had been, I’m sure our congregation would not have participated in the so-called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” happening […]

Remembering My Dad and the Spirit of Adoption

Remembering My Dad and the Spirit of Adoption

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15  (NIV) This will be a very personal post with some important reflection on the biblical idea that God himself […]

“A God to call Father” – A Father’s Day Reflection

“A God to call Father” – A Father’s Day Reflection

Have you ever heard someone refer to God as “The Man Upstairs,” or perhaps more piously, “The Lord?” Certainly, the Bible is full of titles and descriptions of God, which are appropriate to use when we refer to Him. But there is one sense in which God reveals himself which truly shows the depth of […]