By His Wounds, We Are Healed

Happy Easter everyone (or Resurrection Sunday if you prefer). I had hoped to publish this yesterday, but it wasn’t quite ready yet. Yesterday we went to our respective churches and celebrated that Jesus is no longer dead and in the grave, but rose again to life (possibly after an annual ritual of candy for breakfast …).

Praise God! That resurrection is our hope and without it we would be hopeless as Paul indicated in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (ESV)

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Don’t Miss List: Hello, December Edition

ChristmasTreeI picked up our Christmas tree last night, so I’m in a Christmas-y mood. That might be obvious with some, but not all, of this Don’t Miss List:

Rev. Kevin DeYoung pleads with pastors: Don’t cancel Sunday services for Christmas!

I LOVE THIS! As someone who loves Christmas Eve service but usually has to miss it in order to see all my cousins at our family party, I often wish more churches still held Christmas Day services (yes — that used to be a thing). Since this year, Christmas falls on a Sunday I really want to find  a service to attend.

I greatly appreciated DeYoung’s letter here and the reasons he gives for not cancelling Christmas Sunday services at your church.

Here’s one of them: “It’s Christmas for crying out loud! It’s the day we celebrate the incarnation, the birth of the Messiah, the entrance into our world of the second Person of Trinity. Don’t we want to sing? Don’t we want to celebrate? Don’t we want to preach and praise and pray?”

I do want to sing and celebrate and hear the word. Pastors, please know that some of us really do want to be in your church this Christmas!

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The Word: Galatians 1:3-12

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Jesus Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. Continue reading

Don’t Miss List: “Favorite” Heresies, Don’t Trust Your Heart, How to Reach the Suffering and More

This list has been a long time coming. Quite a bit of ground to cover, since I haven’t done this for awhile. I’ll start with the most timely subjects:

“This is the last spastic breath from the Religious Right before its overdue death” – Collin Hansen

I generally avoid political issues like the plague around here. I believe the gospel and the truth contained in God’s word matter more than politics ever could. However, this opinion piece by Collin Hansen of TGC speaks directly to Christians about the latest Trump scandal and, is, in my view an essential read. Read it even if you don’t love the headline (I didn’t like the headline) – a better one would have been from the end “Woe to the hypocrites.”

The passage I found most pertinent:

To the older evangelicals planning to vote for Trump: You can try to explain the difference in electing a president and hiring a 23-year-old college graduate to evangelize students. You can say we’re electing a commander in chief and not a Sunday school teacher. You can say that God often raises up pagan leaders to deliver his people from their enemies. But no one is fooled by your arguments.

They can see you will apparently excuse anything in a Republican nominee so long as the alternative is a manifestly unqualified Clinton. And they will conclude that they don’t really need to listen to you when it comes to “traditional, biblical ethics.”

Keep reading at The Washington Post Continue reading

Acts 15 and Salvation by Grace Alone

It was so good to be back at my own little church today to sing, to pray and to study with my church family. It is always so sweet to return after time away from them.

My pastor was continuing our study through the book of Acts and today we were going through Acts 15:6-12 (saving the rest of this section for next week). It’s a historical passage but with pertinent information about the issue of salvation. This post stemmed from the message my pastor preached this morning. Continue reading

Don’t Miss List: On Unity, Gracious Disagreement, Racial Justice and Archaeology

Concerns about Together 2016 from the Reformed Nazarene blog

Together2016In less than a week, Together 2016 will happen in Washington, D.C. (where I live). Bringing together a wide range of speakers and musicians. Reformed Nazarene delves into who is speaking and performing and brings up some reasons to be wary. Which begs the question, when is unity right and when is it wrong?

Russell Moore on the shootings and racial justice

The news of the past week has been heartbreaking, both the news of black men being killed by cops and the news that police officers were targeted and murdered in Dallas. Evil continues to ravage our world. Since I do not know what to say in the wake of all this, I will share a piece by Russell Moore that definitely made me think.

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Is There Evidence That Christianity is True? (Video)

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 2.38.13 PMWhile we can’t go back in time and be eyewitnesses to the historical events, whether they be the creation of the world, the exodus from Egypt, or the resurrection of Christ, I do not believe that the Christian faith is a 100% blind faith. There is logic, rationality, historical evidence and more that supports our faith in Jesus Christ.  Continue reading

Tithing Myths and Disturbing Video

What is it about tithing that still has so many churches confused? The tithe was an Old Testament act that was a part of the nation of Israel (a theocracy). It is not a requirement for Christians today. Should we give money to our churches? Of course. But are we commanded to give one-tenth (a tithe). Absolutely not. If you need convincing of that this site might be useful, or you can listen to the second part of this podcast from Fighting for the Faith.

Christians are told to give cheerfully, out of love and as we purpose in our hearts.

1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” Continue reading