I spent most of this week with Christians I disagree with. It was great. The annual gathering of our denomination took place over the last few days, and as the new pastor of our church, I got to attend for the first time. I say "got to attend," not "had to attend." Because it really … Continue reading And in This I Rejoice
One of the challenges of old hymns is understanding what the words mean. I don't mean the old-fashioned words that we just don't use anymore, like "thou" or "surety" or "foe." Those we can recognize as not part of our regular vocabulary. So we take a moment to figure out or look up or learn … Continue reading How Do You Plead?
Nearly 500 years ago, a small-town professor accidentally ignited a controversy that would change Christianity forever. Martin Luther's academic critique of the sale of "indulgences" - the promise of forgiveness of sins in exchange for money - expanded to a wide-ranging disagreement about the authority of the Pope, the importance of ecclesiastical rituals, and the … Continue reading Three Kinds of Legalism
Update 2/5/2019 - I've also created a handy Bookmark that includes the reading plan for Lent and Eastertide as well as Advent and Christmastide. You can find it here On March 1st, many Christians around the world will begin observing the season of Lent, a period of forty days of preparation (not counting Sundays) leading … Continue reading Walking with Jesus: Devotional Readings for Lent and Eastertide
You need the Bible. If you're a parent, your children need the Bible too. I've written before about the importance of personal and family devotions. But let's be honest: the Bible can sometimes be hard to understand. I mean, if you stick to easier parts (most of the New Testament), it's not so bad. But … Continue reading Making Sense of the Bible (including the weird parts)
If you asked the average American on the street (or perhaps on the couch, the more natural habitat of the American) what God looks like, they would probably say a dude with a white robe, a white beard, and long white hair. It's the stock image of God found in every corner of our culture, … Continue reading Who is this “God” person, anyway?
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. No, I don't mean Cinco de Mayo, important as the Battle of Puebla was in North American history. Today, with people around the world, I am celebrating a far greater triumph. Today - forty days after Easter Sunday - is the Feast of the Ascension … Continue reading The Sight is Glorious
A few weeks ago, before the rolling yellow opening credits of the latest Star Wars movie appeared in theaters across the land, the crazy theories began to fill my Facebook newsfeed. I'm not just talking about theories about Episode VII. Before the movie came out, those were pretty much all just speculation, and could have … Continue reading Star Wars and Seeds of Doubt
Christians around the world are observing the season of Advent. This is not the same as Christmas, the celebration of the incarnation and birth of our Savior. Traditionally, Christmastide begins on December 25 and runs for 12 days (hence the song with the partridge) until Epiphany on January 6. Christmas is a time to celebrate … Continue reading The Coming of the Savior
The name of this blog comes from a declaration that jumps out of the last chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today - and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). There are lots of directions we could go with this statement. We could make it very personal, experiential, and subjective: … Continue reading Jesus Christ is the Same