21 October 2017

Pray for Jess

There is a young woman—a wife, a mother, a daughter—whose time on this earth may be cut short, from our human perspective. She, like far too many, is fighting cancer. It has been a long battle. She grows worse each day.

I cannot imagine.

Such a schedule would weary the strongest of men, but one can nary imagine what this young woman experiences physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Not only is she fighting a physical battle for her own life, she is fighting that same fight for her two young boys. What mother could endure the thought of leaving her children behind, especially at a young age? What woman would be content to bid her husband goodbye, destined to never live out the Golden Years beside one another?

I cannot imagine.

To God's great glory, this woman is saved. She knows her Savior; she serves her Lord, Jesus Christ. She and her husband both love the Lord and trust in—no doubt lean on—His sovereignty, even in tragedy. They have a loving church family and friends. God has provided richly, yet the physical trial remains.

Still, I cannot imagine.

The purpose of this post is simple. It is to ask you to pray. Pray for Jess. Pray for her husband, Chuck. Pray for her children. I am not asking that you pray for her healing in this life, though of course such a miracle would be welcome. Rather, I ask you to pray for comfort and peace for this woman, her husband, and her children. I ask that you pray that the great gospel of grace of salvation in Jesus Christ alone would be made evident in their lives, and that this same gospel would perhaps bring salvation to others who are watching. I ask you to praise God for the testimony of this woman's life and to pray for His continued glory in even the darkest circumstances.

Jess is not the first young mother to be stricken with cancer and she certainly will not be the last. But she is a name we now know, a sister for whom we can specifically pray, and friends, that is a blessed privilege.

You should know that I do not know Jess personally. She, even in her illness, has ministered to members of my family. I have seen a mutual friendship, care, and love; the testimony of her life, then, has even ministered to me from afar. So I join you in praying from a distance, but I do ask you to pray. We serve a mighty and magnificent God. May the Good Shepherd of Jess' soul bring her a comfort beyond comprehension.

*This post was cross-blogged at Equipping Eve.

20 October 2017

This 'n' That

It's Friday. Again. Is it just me, or are the weeks going by faster lately? In some ways, that's good, because most of us prefer the weekend to weekdays anyway. In other ways, it's not preferable, because we feel as though there is never enough time to get everything done.

Work or school (or both), church, family, extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, errands (do we really need to eat a meal or is popcorn sufficient?), chores, eating, sleeping...all of these things take time. Some of them undoubtedly involve too much of our time and others are no doubt neglected.

I often think of the story of Mary and Martha. I am no hostess, but I can identify with Martha wanting to get everything done as she did. I think most of us can, even if we step outside the context of hostessing and hospitality. Which is why, of course, I love Mary's role in this story.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
We can be doing well; we can be serving, whether in our local church or by serving our family or even by striving to reflect Christ as a good employee, and we can still miss the good part. No, we cannot spend our entire day in Bible study and prayer, but we can be careful about our priorities. We can be deliberate about spending time with the Lord. Above all else, then, let's be mindful that we are choosing the good part.

And while I certainly consider this weekly post to be something good, don't let it distract you from what is truly good. If you do have a few extra minutes, though, I hope you spend them enjoying your week in review (kind of):

18 October 2017

Equipping Eve: Reformation Reversal, Part 2

A recent Pew survey reveals that many professing protestants do not actually know or understand what they believe. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, but is it possible that there has been a steady reversal of the reformation over the years? In this episode, we’ll continue our discussion from last time, emphasizing the need for Christians to know what they believe by knowing what God has said in His Word.

Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve.

To access the Pew research survey referenced in this episode, click here.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Reformation Reversal, Part 1
Equipping Eve: Choice or Chance?
Equipping Eve: The Cross of Christ

Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Impatience

The clock’s ticking…we’re waiting!

Impatience. It is unbecoming in the tamest of circumstances, but, when allowed to fester as an ongoing pattern of life, it can take a far more dangerous turn.

A spirit of impatience in daily life is ultimately a spirit of impatience demonstrated toward God, His timing, and His sovereign purposes. If we are honest, we come to realize that our impatience is a result of our desire to be in control of our circumstances. If we are even more honest, we admit that, at times, our impatience can lead not only to a lack of trust, but to unfounded irritability and even anger.

Annoyed that the commute is taking so long? Perhaps God has a purpose for you being in your car for an extra 10 minutes. Wondering why you are still waiting on that promotion or new job? God likely has His reasons.
The more clear your view of the sovereign purpose of God and His control in your life, the more patience you will have. Patience is the virtue that comes to those who don’t try to control everything in their lives.[1] 
And yet, even we who proclaim belief in the sovereignty of God often find our patience wearing thin in the face of everyday adversity. Even minor roadblocks may result in frustration and complaint.

13 October 2017

This 'n' That

There are times when I am just not very good at masking my frustration. Worse, there are times when I take to social media, particularly Twitter, to vent. I did it just this past week as I stood in the Post Office frustrated with and by...the Post Office. Now, to be clear, my mailman is fantastic. It's only when he takes a day off that things go awry. Also, for broader context, my grandfather spent his entire career working for the Post Office after he was finished serving in World War 2. So I have a great appreciation for mail workers who actually do their job. It's everybody else who is the problem. But then, I suppose that problem isn't exclusive to Post Office.

Long story short, everything worked out, but not without difficulty. In the process, I saw the bowels of my local post office. It was terrifying. It kind of made me want to wash my mail when it arrives. I felt a little bit like Buddy the Elf in the midst of a not-so-shiny mailroom.

Back to the matter at hand, though. I was reminded of the uselessness of tweeting or venting in any manner out of frustration. It helps no one, it reveals our pettiness (and our need to mortify such a sin), and it does not bring honor or glory to Christ. Twitter and other social media offer a great temptation in times of frustration, but we must think before we tweet/post/snapchat or whatever. What is the purpose of my post? Does it honor Christ? We all have frustrations we encounter daily, but we do not need to share them with the world. After all, if I'm already dealing with my own, why do I want to know about yours?

So, now that I've used this blog to offer up another true confession, why not give your Twitter feed a quick scan, clean it up if necessary, and then come back here to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

10 October 2017

Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Gossip

In his sinfulness, man cannot help but defame others. It is intrinsic in his fallen nature. His pride, self-love, and disregard for God, God's law, and his fellow man all result in a mindset of self-preservation that is often exercised through defamation and slander.

Defamation and slander. These are two words that make most men shudder, for no one wants to be on the receiving end of such activity. But what about gossip? That isn't quite as bad, is it?

06 October 2017

This 'n' That

My life is filled with acronyms. Industry acronyms, company acronyms, department acronyms. For those of you who are drawing a blank as to what an acronym is, here is a definition:
An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word.
So, ASAP isn't a word in itself, but actually stands for As Soon As Possible. That is an acronym.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps many of you remember a rather popular "Christian" acronym from the early 90s: WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do? Yep, the memories are flooding back, aren't they?

Raise your hand if you wore a WWJD bracelet! I admit it, I wore one. I mean, I went to church (sometimes), so I was a Christian, and Christians have to be up on the latest Christian trends. Right? Um...yeah, maybe not.

Oh well, we all have our moments. And, in my defense, I was only a kid...and I wasn't actually a Christian.

For some reason, remembering those WWJD bracelets makes me want to go find my slap bracelets, which were popular a couple years earlier. While I go search the closet for those, why don't you take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 October 2017

The Lie of 'Acceptable' Sins

Take heed of secret sins. They will undo thee if loved and maintained: one moth may spoil the garment; one leak drown the ship; a penknife stab and kill a man as well as a sword; so one sin may damn the soul; nay, there is more danger of a secret sin causing the miscarrying of the soul than open profaneness, because not so obvious to the reproofs of the world; therefore take heed that secret sinnings eat not out good beginnings.
— Jeremiah Burroughs
Secret sins are hidden, concealed from our family, friends, and church. They are nurtured in the quiet moments of our life, and the darkest corners of our heart. We often consider such covert transgressions to be pursuits of lust, such as pornography; however, it is far easier to conceal and cultivate more “minor” sins, such as envy, anxiety, pride, or selfishness.

This is because we often fail to even recognize these sins as sins. Says Jerry Bridges,
God has not given us the authority to establish values for different sins…All sin is serious because all sin is a breaking of God’s law.[1]
Just because we are tolerant of a particular “respectable” sin does not mean that it is not a serious breach of the law of God. So while we mourn over our visible, flagrant sins, we must also mourn over those sins that, though perhaps acceptable in a fallen world, are not acceptable before God.

01 October 2017

Equipping Eve: Reformation Reversal, Part 1

A recent Pew survey reveals that many professing protestants do not actually know or understand what they believe. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, but but is it possible that there has been a steady reversal of the reformation over the years?

Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve.

To access the Pew research survey referenced in this episode, click here.

Additional Resources
A Brief Reformation Day History
The Reformer You Need to Meet: William Farel
Equipping Eve: The Importance of Context

Sunday Morning Praise

How Great Thou Art

29 September 2017

This 'n' That

Things I think about while sitting at the airport, waiting for a two hour delay:

Why does that man keep riding the moving walkway and turning around when he reaches the end? He knows he's not exercising if he's just standing there while it moves him forward, doesn't he?

I hope that child stops screaming before that family boards the plane.

Has it been two hours yet?

Why are there so many dogs here?

It's nice that they're offering us free drinks and snacks while we wait, but does it have to be Dasani water? Does anybody else suspect that Dasani is really just tap water from Detroit?

Why are the bathroom stalls so small? Did the person who designed these not grasp the concept of an airport, and not realize that most people would be squeezing into these with one or two carry-on bags?

Has it been two hours yet?

I hope that guy finishes his smelly sandwich before he gets on the plane.

I wonder where that family is returning from. Oh wait, their their matching T-shirts are announcing it: Florida.

Surely by now it has been two hours!

Sigh. When are leggings going to go out of style? Those aren't pants. They are tights, and tights were meant to be worn underneath other clothing.

I hope I remembered to pack shampoo. I hate hotel shampoo. It always smells like fake flowers or cedar.

Yes, we are boarding! I wonder why we were really delayed? 

Now that you have some not-so-exciting insight into my brain, why not get ready for the weekend by enjoying your week in review (kind of):

22 September 2017

This 'n' That

Well, it's the first day of fall. If the weather where you are is anything like it is here, the humidity is making it feel like the middle of July. In spite of my huge, frizzy hair, though, I am not complaining. The warm weather has been welcome following a week or two of cold, damp, gloomy, pre-fall days.

I suppose now that autumn is officially here, it is acceptable to begin adding pumpkin or pumpkin flavor to everything. Admittedly, I cheated, and picked up a couple of pumpkin-flavored donuts on Wednesday. If you could taste these donuts, you would've eaten them before fall officially began, too. Though while I am a huge fan of most things pumpkin-flavored, this trend definitely can be overdone. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms? No thank you. Pumpkin Spice Oreos? I'm not sure how I feel about those. Now, true, homemade pumpkin pie? Oh yes, that is where it's at. If you've made one and want to share a piece, I'd be happy to help you be a giving person.

I think what I love most about this season, though, is the reminders it brings of God's sovereignty and creativity. With every change of seasons, we are reminded of God's power and control over His creation. The sights, sounds, smells, and beautiful colors of autumn ought to evoke words of praise to our God for the beauty and artistry of that same creation.

These reminders are some of the reasons I prefer to live in a place that does experience the change of seasons. The shift from winter to spring especially brings to mind the picture of being dead in sin and born again in Christ. Though this is a fallen world filled with sin, death, sickness, dirt, and general unpleasantness, it nevertheless is still filled with good gifts from a loving God. And if these common graces are so beautiful, imagine what awaits His own in Heaven!

For now, though, we remain on this earth. So while you sip on your Pumpkin Spice Latte, why not take the opportunity to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

20 September 2017

Unshakeable Joy Because of What Is to Come

The devotional that follows, as well as subsequent posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

In the shadow of His looming crucifixion and unthinkable circumstances, Jesus told His disciples in John 16:22 that “no one will take your joy away from you.” The incalculable hope in His words offered a promise that the transient troubles of this world would one day pass, and they would be with Him for eternity (John 14:1-3).

17 September 2017

16 September 2017

Equipping Eve: Bell's Broken Bible

This episode actually aired back in August, but I failed to share it here. Remember, Equipping Eve is a podcast for ladies only!

The Bible is God’s Word, and when we don’t treat it as such, we naturally end up with a low, skewed view of God and Christ. In this episode, we’ll discuss the latest from author and teacher Rob Bell, a prominent “Scripture twister,” and see how his views of God’s Word align with the views of its Author.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Here is a link to the article referenced in this episode.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Have We Left Our First Love?
Equipping Eve: What Is Sanctification?
Equipping Eve: Crayolas and Quiet Time

15 September 2017

This 'n' That

Yesterday was gloomy and damp around these parts. The morning air was still moist with the overnight rain, and the drizzle scarcely stopped all day. It seemed an appropriate day, then, to travel a few miles south to the Ark Encounter.

I knew that Answers in Genesis had used some artistic license and extra-biblical sources to construct their story of Noah, so I went prepared to be a good Berean, but nevertheless was eager to visit the structure.

Believe it or not, I'm actually in this photo.
So, after spending a few hours at the Ark, what are my thoughts? Well done.

Yes, it's a little frustrating to see various plaques naming the names of the wives of Noah and his sons. After all, these details are not contained in Scripture and are not necessary to construct a complete narrative. I also chuckled at the plaque that described how Noah might have "traveled to a small port city where he became an apprentice shipwright. He learned blacksmithing and shipbuilding and eventually married the daughter of his employer." It's important to note, though, that the entrance of this particular exhibit was clear in noting that "artistic license" was used to tell the story of how Noah might have come to possess the necessary skills to build the ark. At the end of the day, we do not know how God equipped Noah to construct such a massive ship, and at the end of that same day, it does not matter.

Still, though these additions would not have been necessary, they do not detract from the message. The gospel was clear and prevalent throughout, and for that I was very thankful. Further, the sheer size of the structure insists that one stand in awe. What did Noah think when God commanded him to build this behemoth? And there, in the ark, God chose to preserve eight people. Just eight.
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:14)
Now, do we need a "Christian-themed attraction" in order to proclaim the gospel? No, we do not. But if it is going to exist, then it may behoove us to pray that God would use it to glorify Himself in whatever way He chooses.

Right now, though, none of us are on the ark, which means we should have plenty of time to enjoy the week in review (kind of):

13 September 2017

Unshakeable Joy Because of Who God Is

The devotional that follows, as well as other posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

The sovereignty of God over all things is a crucial part of the foundation of the Christian’s unshakeable joy. That God has ordained everything that comes to pass, and that He is working all things together according to His perfect will and for the good of His own children (Rom 8:28) offers the greatest element of comfort for the believer.

Yet the character and nature of God run deeper than even His unfathomable sovereignty. It is the culmination of the entirety of His magnificent attributes that provides the full foundation of our trust and hope in Him.

09 September 2017

Equipping Eve: Exposition for Women and Productive Boredom

Can boredom be productive? Are being bored and being idle the same thing? Also: Erin discusses how the Bible is filled with women who were students of the Word. What does this mean for us today as women of the Word living in the world?

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Canon Conversations
Equipping Eve: On Choosing the Good Part
Equipping Eve: How Healthy is the Women's Ministry in Your Church?

08 September 2017

This 'n' That

Some people hate going to the dentist. Me? I hate going to the eye doctor. Why? Well, for some reason, when people start to talk about eyes or, even worse, show me the pictures of my eye as taken by the OptiMap machine, I pretty much nearly pass out (yep, it's embarrassing confession time). I'm not exaggerating. Just show me an enlarged picture of an eyeball and start talking about it and you will lose me. I'll break into a cold sweat, my ears will start ringing, and anything you say to me better not be important, because I can most certainly assure you that I am not listening. Yes, I know I'm an adult. Don't judge me.

Honestly, I don't know what my problem is, but I've dealt with it for many years, so I'm guessing I'll probably deal with it for many more. Needless to say, I dread going for my annual eye exam.

Guess what I did yesterday? Yes, I went for my annual eye exam. Guess what I didn't do? I didn't pass out (yay)! I didn't even nearly pass out (double yay)! Why didn't I? Because I warned them ahead of time not to show me pictures of my eye or talk in too much detail (unless of course something was seriously wrong, then I suppose I'd have to listen). Warnings are good and can be to our great benefit.

Think about it. This is why we feel pain. When we feel pain, we are warned that something bad is happening and we know to stop what we are doing. There are those with medical conditions that prevent them from feeling pain and, well, you can imagine how dangerous that would be!

Even more serious are the warnings issued to us in Scripture. Warnings against false teachers and the deceptions of Satan and the world are prevalent in the Bible. So too are warnings regarding the wrath of God, and these are indeed the most important! It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31), which is precisely why we, as Christians, must be busy doing the Lord's work. Namely, we must be determined and deliberate in our evangelism to the lost. And when we evangelize, we ought not hand that lost soul a CD with a 60-minute sermon on it and tell them to listen. Rest assured that they will not. Instead, simply give them the gospel. Call them to repent of their sins. Plead with them to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Such a gospel proclamation only takes a few minutes and cuts to the heart of the issue. Sound too simple? That is the beauty of it. We are called to sow the seed of the gospel. Only God can cause it to grow. Let us be faithful, then, to sow.

And as you prepare for the weekend and the many opportunities you may have to share the gospel, why not also pause for a few minutes to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

06 September 2017

Unshakeable Joy in Times of Trial

The devotional that follows, as well as subsequent posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

We delight when life brings ease, comfort, and good news, and we thank God for restful times of joy. Yet, Scripture promises that our earthly lives may not always be defined by favorable circumstances. Instead, Jesus promised that, “in this world [we] will have tribulation.” Note, too, how He ends His sentence: “But, take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

01 September 2017

This 'n' That

Well, Hurricane Harvey has wreaked some massive destruction this week. In times like this, it seems trite and, to some, perhaps even inappropriate, to remind of God's power and sovereignty over even the storms, wind, and waves.

I get that. Disaster is not the time to exercise our flowery Christianese skills. It's a time to pray and offer whatever help we can. For those of us who have not been devastatingly impacted by Harvey, we must keep this in mind.

At the same time, when events like this happen, we must still remember that God is omnipotent and sovereign. Yes, even over the storms. Not one drop of rain falls without Him ordaining it. Such truth doesn't make dealing with these situations easier, but it does help us keep a right perspective. Yes, I know that's easy for me to say so disconnected from the devastation, but in keeping that perspective, we remember that, while today's tragedy is Hurricane Harvey, tomorrow's could be a tornado in the Midwest, or an earthquake in California, or a cancer diagnosis in our family.

The comfort that comes from a right understanding of God's sovereignty cannot be overstated or over-emphasized.

Will you join me in praying for our brothers and sisters who have been affected by Harvey? Say a prayer for them now, then come back to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

30 August 2017

Unshakeable Joy

The devotional that follows, as well as subsequent posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

As our Lord instructed His disciples just hours before His death, He taught them doctrine and He shared with them warnings, but above all, He offered them joy and hope (John 16:20-22).

Christians are commanded to rejoice, and not just occasionally or when circumstances are favorable; no, Christians are to rejoice always.

25 August 2017

This 'n' That

So peaceful!
The past few weeks have been a dichotomous rollercoaster of stress and delight, uncertainty and hesitancy, doubt and determination. My faithfulness has ranged from unwavering gratefulness to unbecoming grumbling. It has all culminated in a great display of God's care and provision. To His glory, and to my constant awe, I have seen clearly how He has woven together events and people over a period of years as a means of caring for one of His undeserving children.

And perhaps the most stunning realization is that this God who so clearly demonstrated His care, mercy, and provision for me, is the God who created the universe. He is the God who, in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has provided a way of salvation and a way to obtain eternal life. The God who has been so wonderfully generous to us here on earth is preparing for His own a far greater future reality.
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)
Amen and amen. With that, I hope you take some time today to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

18 August 2017

This 'n' That

Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” (Luke 7:19)
Standing on this side of the cross, most of us of Gentile origin, we may easily overlook this bold question set forth by the disciples of John the Baptist.

"Are You the Expected One?"

The Expected One. What a name! Those Jews who knew and trusted their Scriptures (known to us as the Old Testament) were confident that there was a Messiah coming, because the LORD had declared this in no uncertain terms in His holy Word. Sadly, today there are still many who are waiting for the Expected One, for they are too blind to see that He has already come and is indeed coming again (Hebrews 9:28).

The Expected One. How could anyone miss it? How could anyone not see that Jesus was the Messiah? How good of our Lord to explain to the disciples on the road to Emmaus everything within the Scriptures concerning Himself (Luke 24:27)!

The Expected One. So many waited expectantly for His first coming. Today, we wait expectantly for His second coming, when justice will prevail and His children will be with Him forever. Are you eagerly awaiting His return?

Well, it would be fantastic if Christ would return right now, wouldn't it? Since that may not happen, why not wait while enjoying your week in review (kind of):

11 August 2017

This 'n' That

Use it as a vase today,
serve lemonade in it tomorrow!
I remember a pre-Pinterest world. I remember when people had opinions, likes, and dislikes, and decorated their homes accordingly. Sure, there were trends and fads, but if you didn't like chickens, then you didn't decorate your kitchen with chickens. It was that simple. No one judged you; no one cared. But now, if you don't decorate according to the latest Pinterest fad, well, clearly there must be something wrong with you. Don't like burlap and mason jars? Too bad. It's popular and it's on Pinterest, ergo, you must conform. (For the record, I have nothing against mason jars. It's just...they are everywhere.)

Well, this may help date your pictures to precisely the month and year they were taken, and your  home may always be up to date with the latest kitschy trinkets, but is it an enjoyable place to live? Some of my fondest memories are stirred when I sift through old treasures and find something that I remember sitting on our coffee table, or in our curio cabinet, not just for months until the next trendy wave came through, but for years. And it remained there so long because it meant something. It had sentimental value. It belonged to my mother, or my grandmother, or to my mother's grandmother. Those decorative items had a story behind them—stories I loved to hear and stories I still remember.

I often wonder if children today will be able to enjoy similar memories, or will their thoughts of their childhood home be empty and Pinterest-ified? To each his own, I guess, but I am thankful to have grown up in a Pinterest-free world.

It's easy to get caught up in the latest fads, whether it is clothing, furniture, cars, or decorating ideas. How many of us will find in a year or two that our "distressed" furniture now just looks, well, old and outdated?

Perhaps the saddest fad of all, though, is the fad of evangelicalism. There is no doubt that, in many parts of America, it is trendy to call yourself a Christian. It's cool to be #blessed and many eagerly hop on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, the bandwagon they are boarding is one of a false faith. It's supported by wobbly, damning doctrine and will not withstand the fires of persecution, which will indeed come. So how does the true Church respond? With the gospel. With the message of mercy and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ alone. We respond with the truth and let God take it from there.

Speaking of home decorating fads, I'm thinking about bringing back wall stenciling (just kidding). Now before you go de-Pinterest your home, why not first take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 August 2017

This 'n' That

One of my worst nightmares has always been that I will be that person who holds up a line boarding a plane. That my boarding pass will cause the scanner to screech and flash red. That I will be left standing in a strange and obnoxious city watching my ride home literally fly away.

Well, a few weeks ago, it happened....most of it, anyway. Everything except the plane leaving without me. There's still no explanation as to the "ticketing error" that caused me to be the last one running to her seat. No one can explain why my boarding pass could get me through security but not through the gate. Suffice it to say I am exceedingly grateful for the Delta employee who worked quickly to fix it so I could board and we could leave as scheduled ("as scheduled" meaning the usual 30 minutes late, of course).

Traveling is always stressful, but this particular trip was a doozy. I am so thankful to the Lord for His protection and kindness throughout it. Little things like travel hiccups make you realize how wonderful the doctrine of God's sovereignty truly is. Almost late for that important meeting because the hotel goofed up? God wasn't surprised. Last minute flight change because crazy traffic won't get you there in time for your initial flight? God had that planned too. Very last minute panic when your boarding pass fails you? Yeah, God totally knew that was coming. If He promises to care for His children, then we know that what He's ordained is good and according to His perfect plan, even if it throws a massive wrench into ours.

With that, let's all breathe a sigh of relief that it is Friday and sit back while we enjoy the week in review (kind of):

01 August 2017

"Crammed Full of the Gospel"

I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers. Let your sermons be full of Christ, from beginning to end crammed full of the gospel. As for myself, brethren, I cannot preach anything else but Christ and His cross, for I know nothing else, and long ago, like the apostle Paul, I determined not to know anything else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. People have often asked me, "What is the secret of your success?" I always answer that I have no other secret but this, that I have preached the gospel,—not about the gospel, but the gospel,—the full, free, glorious gospel of the living Christ who is the incarnation of the good news.[...]There ought to be enough of the gospel in every sermon to save a soul.

Spurgeon, Charles H. The Soul-Winner: or How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour. Kindle Edition, 42-43.

Further Reading
On the Dangers of Distorting God's Grace
When We Forget the Meaning of Grace
The Dividing Doctrines of Grace

28 July 2017

This 'n' That

I'm concluding listening through a study of the book of Genesis and, I have to say, I think I am going to miss these people! I have throughly enjoyed getting to know the men and women whose lives are shared with us in this book. Yes, I've read Genesis before, many times. Yet for some reason, through this read-through and the sermons with which I was following along, the book—and its characters—truly came alive.

In Genesis we have the story of creation, perfect and unblemished in its execution. We quickly see man fall, and just as quickly see God offer the promise of a Savior, a promise and plan that was determined before the foundation of the world.

We see God's power in the waters of the flood. We see God's sovereignty on full display throughout the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We see His provision and protection in the story of Joseph. We see the sins of men, and the grace, mercy, and faithfulness of God. In Genesis, we first meet our Maker, and we see that He is powerful, just, and holy, but He is also good, faithful, and true.

The exaltation of God that is seen in Genesis is truly immense, and to think that it is only the beginning of the book! This is why we love God's Word, isn't it? It reveals to us our great and glorious King and Savior. It reminds us of our fallibility and fallenness, yes, but it also reminds us of the goodness of our God. And it proclaims for us the way to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. How gracious was God to give us this book? How dare we ever imply it is insufficient! How dare we question its authority! How dare we question its inerrancy and authenticity! May we instead thank our Lord for giving us such a clear proclamation of His ways, His will, and His wonders.

Well, the links below won't be nearly as edifying as an excursion through Genesis, but I hope you still enjoy your week in review (kind of):

24 July 2017

On the Dangers of Distorting God's Grace

The unrighteousness of men cannot nullify the grace of God.

This is a paraphrase from a sermon I recently heard, and I was struck by the importance of this simple truth. And yet, even in its simplicity, it is a truth far too often ignored in some Christian circles. It seems that, in our sweeping attempts to avoid the dangerous error of a "seeker-sensitive" mindset, we find ourselves swinging the proverbial pendulum too far in the other direction. As a consequence, we find ourselves stressing holiness and righteousness—and rightly so—but we find these being stressed at the expense of God's grace.

The Apostle Paul, in discussing this topic, posed the typical argument that one might hear when preaching the gospel of grace:
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? (Romans 5:18-6:1)
And we, with Paul, heartily exclaim, "May it never be!" (Romans 6:2). Still, it behooves us to remember that the gospel is indeed a gospel of grace, and without that glorious, divine grace, no man would be saved.

21 July 2017

This 'n' That

I bought a power washer.

That thing is amazing.

My concrete has never looked so clean, and I have never enjoyed cleaning concrete or siding more.

The only question is—why did I wait so long to purchase one of these fantastic contraptions?

All of that cleaning makes me think of a terrifying passage of Scripture, though.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28)
There's more to this passage, but I suspect you are familiar with it and, even if you are not, you get the idea. It's a pretty intense condemnation spoken by Jesus about those who are religious hypocrites.

We might clean up really nice on the outside, but have we taken a 2000 psi power washer to the inside?

Only Christ can perform such a powerful cleansing on us. Have we been cleansed by Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit? If so, then we are new creations in Him.

Still, in this world, and in our fallen flesh, we will inevitably find ourselves dirtied daily. But Christ offers cleansing even then.
Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” (John 13:5-10)
This is grace. Amazing grace. He saves us. He cleanses us. He graciously forgives us of our sin (1 John 1:9).

In response, we desire to serve Him. We desire to have our hearts and minds aligned with His and with His will. We pursue righteousness. We will all have our hypocritical moments, but may we, with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, seek to mortify those with a mighty blow. May God forgive us for our unfaithfulness when He is so steadfastly faithful.

Well, it is Friday (hooray!), so please enjoy your week in review (kind of):

15 July 2017

Equipping Eve: The Discipline of Grace (Part 2)

In this episode, we continue our discussion of God’s disciplining by grace, and examining the distinction between law and gospel. The Law is good, but salvation is by grace.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.
Click here to listen to Part 1.

Additional Resources
Equipping Eve: Have We Left Our First Love?
When We Forget the Meaning of Grace
"It Is Finished"

14 July 2017

This 'n' That

Sometimes I use talk-to-text to compose these introductions during my Thursday evening commute. What follows are my observations from last night.

Why is this person riding his brake? There's no reason to and yet there he is braking all the way down the street. Why is he driving in the middle of the road? Doesn't he know that there are two lanes? How did I end up behind this person? More importantly, how can I get around him?

Oh look, the Catholic Church wants me to call them if I have questions about the Catholic faith. I bet their phones are ringing off the hook.

Looks like the Methodist church is hosting this year's Global Leadership Summit… Again. Sigh. That is profoundly unsurprising.

Why is the stoplight lasting so long, especially when there's no one coming from the other direction?

Ooh, Wendy's has 50¢ Frosties! I can't have dairy, but those of you who can should take advantage of that deal!

Well, there you have it, a little insight into my life. I apologize that there's no spiritual application today, but I'd have to do some pretty intense stretching to make that happen. There is this, though: God, in His sovereign providence, knew that I'd be lacking for material this week, and so, just to test my readers' loyalty, He (thankfully) allowed me to have an uneventful commute so that I could share these unremarkable and un-motivating observations. Yes, God is sovereign even over the mundane!

Now that you've seen how utterly un-interesting my real life is, why not take some time to immerse yourself in something a bit more intriguing as you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

07 July 2017

This 'n' That

During the warmer months, I like to go for a walk in the evening. Nothing strenuous, just a peaceful walk around the neighborhood after being cooped up in an office all day. Last night, though, required a bit of maneuvering. It had rained most of the day and was still sprinkling when I stepped outside. With the sky still bright, however, and the sun striving to peek through, it was only a few minutes before the sprinkles ceased and the evening's walk could commence.

The humidity was a bit unpleasant (I always get "Texas hair" in the humidity [no offense intended toward my Texas friends]), but still, there are few things more enjoyable than enjoying the fresh air an evening stroll affords you...except when that stroll is interrupted by bugs. Lots of bugs. Not mosquitos necessarily (I've surrendered to all mosquitos; avoiding or repelling them is hopeless. My flesh is yours to dine upon), these were simply ambiguous flying bugs. Too large to be called gnats, they nevertheless swarmed and dive-bombed, essentially eliminating any sort of relaxation or pleasure one could gain from the evening. And so it was a brief walk last night. A brief, buggy walk.

To be clear, I'm not actually complaining, but am simply describing the circumstances. Seeing all those insects, though, and being attacked by them, caused me to think of can instance that involved a great deal more swarming flies:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.’” They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 
Now the LORD said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they dwell. But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land. I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur.'” Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of flies in all the land of Egypt.
(Exodus 8:16-24) 
Can you even imagine? Then, consider a future time, when far larger creatures will do more than simply swarm when the fifth trumpet is sounded during the period of the Tribulation, as described in Revelation 9:1-12.

Do you see now why I wasn't actually complaining about last night's bugs? I think I'll take my rainy day flies to these plagues rendered upon mankind as judgment from a holy, just, and omnipotent God! It is so magnificent to consider and ponder, though, that this same God is also a merciful and gracious God. He is long-suffering toward us ,who are great sinners, and His mercies are new each morning. Yes, He judges and does so rightly and righteously, but for those who call upon the name of Christ, He freely grants forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life. He indeed is worthy of our praise!

Okay, swat that fly off of your iPad, because it is time for your week in review (kind of):

06 July 2017

Relieved by the Thought of Jesus

If we compare our best performances with the demands of the law, the majesty of God, and the unspeakable obligations we are under; if we consider our innumerable sins of omission, and that the little we can do is polluted and defiled by the mixture of evil thoughts and the working of selfish principles, aims, and motives, which, though we disapprove, we are unable to suppress; we have great reason to confess: "To us belong shame and confusion of face."

But we are relieved by the thought that Jesus, the High Priest, bears the iniquity of our holy things, perfumes our prayers with the incense of his mediation, and washes our tears in his own blood. This inspires a confidence, that though we are unworthy of the least of his mercies, we may humbly hope for a share in the greatest blessings he bestowed, because we are heard and accepted, not on the account of our own prayers and services, but in the beloved Son of God, who maketh intercession for us. Thus the wisdom and love of God have provided a wonderful expedient, which, so far as it is rightly understood, and cordially embraced, while it lays the sinner low as the dust in point of humiliation and self-abasement, fills him at the same time with a hope full of glory, which, with respect to its object, can be satisfied with nothing less than all the fullness of God.

There are favored seasons in which the believer, having a lively impression of the authority and love of the Intercessor, can address the great Jehovah as his Father, with no less confidence than if he was holy and spotless as the angels before the throne, at the very moment that he has abundant cause to say, "Behold, I am vile! I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!"

– John Newton

Further Reading 
When We Forget the Meaning of Grace
Consequences of the Cross: Redemption
Consequences of the Cross: Reconciliation

05 July 2017

Equipping Eve: The Discipline of Grace (Part 1)

In his book, "The Discipline of Grace," author Jerry Bridges has noted that God disciplines by grace, not law. Yet, is this how we perceive our Christian walk? Might we be trapped unknowingly in a subtle cycle of dangerous legalism? How does it help us to “preach the gospel to ourselves everyday?”

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Additional Resources
Equipping Eve: Have We Left Our First Love?
When We Forget the Meaning of Grace
"It Is Finished"

30 June 2017

This 'n' That

Have you ever felt absolutely parched? Sure you have. We've all been dehydrated to some extent, even if we feel that we have been drinking our fair share of fluids. For instance, today I have consumed ridiculous amounts of water, tea, and coffee and yet, I still can't get enough to drink. I am still drinking water like, well...like someone who is really thirsty. Whether it's due to too much salty food or some other reason, my body is telling me that, in spite of the quantity of liquid I've consumed, it still isn't enough.

A similar thing can happen to us spiritually, too, can't it? We can consume mass quantities of theology: sermons, books, blogs, journals, and yet we can still feel spiritually parched. Interestingly, God, in His goodness, alerts us to this parched state the same way that He's designed our bodies to tell us we are thirsty when we need to drink more water. We might find ourselves in a "spiritual funk," feeling a bit lifeless and uncertain why. "I listen to four sermons a day, what's wrong with me?!" Well, what's in those sermons? Is it true biblical exposition, opening the Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work? Or is it man's ideas, lists, and principles?

"I read only the best, most doctrinally-sound blogs!" Well, good for you. Blogs are good; I like blogs. You should keep reading blogs (especially this one), but blogs should not be a primary source of your spiritual nourishment. Nor should podcasts (said the podcaster) or journals.

These are all good things and are helpful resources to help us grow in our understanding of God and His Word. Yet, at the end of the day, the only thing that will quench our spiritual thirst is to drink deeply from that Word. Beyond that, we must act on that Word, by desiring and seeking to live in pursuit of Christ's righteousness, yes, but also by using the gifts He has given us to serve His body. This is where the analogy breaks down, because if we are seeking to quench our spiritual thirst, doing so requires more than just consumption.

Are we busy in the Word and about His work? I know I certainly am not as busy with these things as I should be or want to be. Life gets in the way quickly (work, family, work, home maintenance,  work, oh my!), but without quenching our thirst with the Word, we find we are walking through that life too spiritually dehydrated to do much of anything well.

Remember, though, I did say you should still read blogs. So if it fits appropriately into your list of priorities, why not settle in to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

23 June 2017

This 'n' That

I am about to venture into dangerous territory. I am about to go where some of you may think I shouldn't. I am about to comment on parenting...even though I am not a parent.

It's true, I do not have children; however, I do have common sense. I do have a Bible, which tells me basic principles. And, let's face it, I also have an opinion.

Photo by Sebastian Molinares on Unsplash
Climbing. Climbing can be fun! We all loved climbing trees in our yard when we were young, didn't we? I know I did! That fun did not come without an element of required oversight for safety, though, and it was fun that took place on my parents' property.

Climbing can also be dangerous. When you climb someone else's property, it can be a liability. When you climb anything, safety must be strictly considered.

Yet, some parents today do not seem to understand this. Their kids can be seen climbing anything and everything, from their own counters, refrigerators, and walls, to store shelves and street lights. Yep, street lights.

I ran an errand the other day, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw two children taking turns climbing the base and pole of one of the lights in the parking lot. These kids weren't unattended, however; no, the mother was right there...helping and encouraging them. She gave them a boost when they needed a boost, and lifted them off when she decided it was time to go. It seemed careless and unwise, to say the least.

So there I sat, mouth agape, wondering just what would have happened if she had dropped one of those children in helping them down or if one of those kids had fallen on their own. Would the store have been sued for being so careless as to have lights in their parking lot? Chances are that such an accident would have been seen as anybody's fault except the parent.

It's the way of the world, isn't it? Parents are so busy being "cool" and being friends with their kids that they fail to perform their actual job—a most important job—parenting. It may be difficult to believe, but it is possible to be a fun parent while still being a parent. It is possible to show love to your children, even when telling them no, and even when disciplining them.
My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD
Or loathe His reproof,
For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. 
(Proverbs 3:11-12; cf. Hebrews 12:7-11)
Parents, don't neglect the incredible duty and honor of being a parent. Someday, your children will be grown and, by God's grace, they will then be your friend. While you are responsible for their growth, nurturing, and well-being, though, you need to be their parent, watching out for their physical needs and protection. This might mean not allowing them to climb lampposts in parking lots, and telling them "no" might lead to a tantrum. That's okay, because, in case you forgot...you're the parent. If you cannot be trusted with their physical protection, how can you hope to cultivate their spiritual growth?

Okay, I'm done speaking out of turn now. If you're still reading, I hope you'll enjoy your week in review (kind of):

17 June 2017

Equipping Eve: The Importance of Context

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Context, context, context!”? Context is always important, especially when we are studying the Bible. In this episode, we’ll take a look at some errors that may result when context is ignored, and demonstrate why context is not only important, but interesting!

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

See also
Bible Backgrounds: Why You Need Them and Where to Find Them

Further Listening 
Equipping Eve: Canon Conversations
Equipping Eve: On Choosing the Good Part
Equipping Eve: How Healthy Is the Women's Ministry in Your Church?

16 June 2017

This 'n' That

Sometimes, circumstances happen in life that are simply...poetic. You're going through life, taking it one day at a time, and suddenly, in the midst of confusion or life-altering moments, everything providentially falls into place. You rejoice in God's goodness and give Him all the glory.

Then there are times when everything is a mess. There is confusion or chaos, and it seems as though every decision is a life-altering one. Yet, far from everything sweetly working itself out, things become tied in bigger knots and you end up feeling more disoriented than ever. Still, you rest in God's sovereignty and give Him all the glory, knowing that His timing will be perfect.

And then there are all of those times in-between. Things are status quo, not much exciting is happening, and you're a wee bit thankful for the break from life's nonsense. And then, just to remind you that there is still sin in the world...a bird goes potty on you.

Yep, you read that correctly, and no, it's not meant to be a euphemism. This happened to me the other day. It was a beautiful evening, albeit a bit heavy outside. I was out for a walk to enjoy the fresh air when suddenly, I felt something on my leg. I reached down to brush it aside, assuming it was a mosquito and wanting to end its dinner early. But instead of lifting my hand to find a smashed bug, I found...well, I discovered that a bird had actually gone potty on my leg. It was a less-than-poetic moment.

Disgusting is not a strong enough word to describe this moment. Suffice it to say that after scrubbing my hand and leg with antibacterial soap, Clorox wipes, and alcohol, I still didn't feel like it was clean. The only next reasonable step was to douse it with acid and burn off my flesh, but that seemed a bit extreme, so I just tried not to use my hand for several hours.

I know, I know. "After last week, why are you telling us more disgusting things, Erin?" you ask. Well, I share this because some things just need to be shared. When things seem to be going well and life seems tame, just remember this: a bird still might potty on you. However, please also remember this: even in your most disgusting bird dropping-covered moments, God ought still to be praised, if for no other reason than to acknowledge His obvious sense of humor.

Well, now that I've relived that moment, I think I need more Clorox wipes. While I go look for some, why don't you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

12 June 2017

Christ the Redeemer

There is no name of Messiah more significant, comprehensive, or endearing, than the name 'Redeemer.' The name of Savior expresses what he does for sinners. He saves them with an everlasting salvation. But the word 'Redeemer' intimates likewise the manner in which he saves them. For it is not merely by the word of his power as he saved his disciples when in jeopardy upon the lake, by saying to the winds and the seas, "Peace, be still: and there was a great calm;" but by price, by paying a ransom for them, and pouring out the blood of his heart, as an atonement for their sins.

The Hebrew word for Redeemer, Goel, primarily signifies a near kinsman, or the next of kin. He with whom the right of redemption lay, and who, by virtue of his nearness of relation, was the legal avenger of blood. Thus Messiah took upon him our nature and, by assuming our flesh and blood, blame nearly related to us, that he might redeem our forfeited inheritance, restore us to liberty, and avenge our cause against Satan, the enemy and murderer of our souls. But thus he made himself also responsible for us, to pay our debts, and to answer the demands of justice and the law of God on our behalf. He fulfilled his engagement. He suffered and he died on this account. But our Redeemer, "who was once dead is now alive, and liveth forevermore, and has the keys of death and of Hades."...He is the living One, having life in himself, "the same yesterday, today, and forever." Such was his own language to the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I am." Therefore the Redeemer is mighty, and his redemption is sure. He is able to save to the uttermost. His power is unlimited, and his official authority as Mediator is founded in a covenant, ratified by his own blood, and by the oath of the unchangeable God (Psalm 110:4).

—John Newton

09 June 2017

This 'n' That

Have you ever watched people in their cars? They are disgusting. Don't believe me? Pay close attention next time you are sitting at a red light. You'll see everything from women putting on makeup, to men and women ridding themselves of pimples, to excavation of the nasal cavity. It's true. Would I lie about something so important?

This is the primary reason I stay away from purchasing a used vehicle. Yes, I know sometimes circumstances necessitate it, but after you take these things into consideration, you start to wonder if it's really worth the money you are allegedly saving. It's also why I cringe in rental cars. I mean, if people are that disgusting in their own vehicle, what must they be doing to something they don't even own?

Yesterday, I decided to run an errand at lunch. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a man sitting in his car, examining himself in the visor mirror. Yes, examining himself. And picking things on his face. And combing, and possibly trimming, his sideburns. Yes, by the time he finally turned off his car and stepped out, he was ready for anything. He was as cleaned up and coiffed as he could be.

All of the casualties of his endeavors, whether they are skin, hair, or something else, are now in his car. Think about that the next time you get into a used car or a rental car, or even your own car. Yes, let's use this opportunity to exhort ourselves to be less disgusting in our vehicles. If you need to trim your eyebrows, do it before you leave the house. After all, you never know who is watching.

And if we are that disgusting with our physical selves, how much more disgusting are our spiritual selves! Sin dirties the whole person! The problem is, while we may be able to clean up the outside facade, only God can cleanse us from within and make us new creatures in Christ...and how gracious He is to regenerate such vile wretches! Indeed, His perfect righteousness and merciful grace are why we love Him and desire to serve Him, isn't it?

Well, now that you are completely grossed out, why not take some time in between clipping your nails to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 June 2017

02 June 2017

This 'n' That

Well, another week is coming to an end, but that certainly doesn't mean the end of the busyness, does it? Real life doesn't take a break; it doesn't stop for weekends. Sure, in the white picket fence world of the 1950s sitcom, when Dad came home from work on Friday, all the cares of the week slipped away while the family enjoyed two days of carefree fun and fellowship. In the real world? Parents open their laptops at the breakfast table, email from their phones at their child's soccer game, and open their laptop again late into the night.

It's as if we walk around with the glowing halo of electronics surrounding us, and yet, ultimately, the electronics are not the problem. It's our unwillingness to unplug, our narcissistic belief that our "sphere of influence" cannot function without us for even an hour, let alone for a whole weekend. Our twisted view of our own self-importance has led to a warped and wiped out generation. Our children do not know what it is to spend device-free time with Mom and Dad, and we do not know how to look at our children except through the lens of our camera phone, as we seek to capture every moment we do have with them to share with 500 of our closest social media friends.

One cannot help but consider how the age of electronics and social media have affected our view of ourselves.

"I must check Twitter, someone might be saying something that requires my opinion!"

"I must share this photo, no one else has ever made this for dinner!"

"I must check my work email, even on vacation, because nobody else knows as much about this project as I do!"

Seriously? How twisted are we that we think the broader world cannot function without us? You know who should not have to function without us? Our family. Our church. Our actual friends (not your Facebook friends that you knew in high school and haven't spoken to in 20 years).

Do we serve the Lord by serving our family? Do we serve Him by serving in our church? Or do we serve another god?

My apologies for the rant, and rest assured that I am not excluding myself from the above analysis. But as the weather warms and the days grow long, let us use our time wisely, as the Lord has commanded. Let us serve and seek to glorify Him. Perhaps that does mean sitting at a computer and typing a blog post (see what I did there?), but it may also mean turning off that iPad and playing a game of catch with your son or daughter. It might mean taking a walk with your best friend, discussing the ways the Lord has been working in your lives. Even more, it might mean setting that smartphone aside, falling on your knees, and drawing closer to the Lord who has been good and gracious to save you.

Okay, now that we're all feeling guilty about spending time on the computer (sorry about that), why not dive in and enjoy the week in review (kind of):

29 May 2017

"We Are the Dead"

It is Memorial Day. You might not even notice. In fact, you may not even read this post until Tuesday or Wednesday, or later, this week. You may be too busy swimming, or gardening, grilling hot dogs, or just plain enjoying a Monday off of work to realize that men and women had to die for you to enjoy a free vacation day.

I'm not trying to lecture you or make you feel guilty. I have been longing and looking forward to this three-day weekend as much as anybody! It is not wrong to enjoy the time with friends and family, but we ought not forget why we celebrate Memorial Day in the first place.

27 May 2017

Equipping Eve: Without the Shedding of Blood (Part 2)

Is the plan of redemption too violent? Is it really just a horrific tale of “cosmic child abuse”? Believe it or not, there are those who profess to be Christians who would say that it is. As always, let’s go back to the Bible and see what God has to say about the penal substitutionary atonement.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.
Click here to listen to Part 1.

Additional Resources
Christ—Our Substitute (Charles Spurgeon)
The Scriptural Necessity of Christ's Penal Substitution
Penal Substitution in Church History
Penal Substitution in the Old Testament
Replacing the 'Violent' Cross