Showing posts from December, 2014

The Laughter of Children

Last night, as my family headed home from touring "Christmas Card Lane" here in San Diego, there was spontaneous laughter coming from the back seats. Mommy was making faces at Ewen, the two-year-old, and he found her hilarious. It was the  type of laughter that is contagious and Iona, five, soon joined in. I can't even begin to describe the complete joy that washed over me in that moment. The beauty of my children laughing. There are few sounds that bring a smile to my face and heart as these two laughing. Sure, I smile when kids in general laugh. There is innocence and pure joy in children laughing, but there is something different when it is my kids. Recently, Steve Brown suggested that at the incarnation, the coming of Christ in flesh and blood, that God laughed. "God laughed—not with the laughter of cynicism, judgment, derision, or sarcasm—but with the free, infectious, joyful laughter of the sovereign Ruler of the universe...We didn’t expect God to laugh that wa

The Fullness of Time

The waiting leads us here. Centuries of anticipation. Generations of promise. In a manger… a stable yard… God himself enters the realm of man. Taking on flesh. Breathing the air, filling his lungs for crying. Angels have declared his arrival. Men have declared his greatness. And in that moment of arrival we find hope. That babe will become a man. A sinless, obedient man. Calling all manner of people to believe in him. The One eagerly awaited speaks a radical embrace of brokenness and provides himself as a substitute in our place. Taking on death when we deserve the dying. And in that moment of substitution we find salvation. The King of kings breathes again. From a tomb to the room of his disciples, preaching the grace of his death and the coming gift that will seal them and call others to himself. Then ascending to the throne in Heaven where he looks upon repentant and faithful men and women, boys and girls, and claims them as his own. And in that moment of belonging we find identity

Poo on the Patio

Today I cleaned up the back yard. What else do you do on a Saturday? Blow some leaves around. Put the kids' toys where they belong. And when you have dogs (we have two), you clean up poop. It's a weekly experience. Scooping up what these companions leave behind. It never ends. They keeping living, eating, and pooping. And today there was even some poo on the patio (I think the yard is too dark at night for our little lady...) A fascinating fact of life, at least when you have dogs. Very regular... I mean they are, making my work regular too. Even though they are claimed and loved dearly by me, their master, they still make a mess. You can see the gospel analogy coming... I am just like the dogs. My broken fleshy heart is just as active as the dogs' back ends. No matter how often I clean up my mess, my sin, it seems there is more about and it stinks just as much. And even when I don't think I am producing waste, when I am doing good, my best is just like the poo on the p

The Elders' Rest

"The gospel is the story of The wonderful Lord Jesus Christ, His person and His work; it is the story of God's love and grace to undeserving sinners; it is the message of forgiveness, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life. The elders must rest in this living, supernatural message and continue to learn of its infinite riches and depths." - Alexander Strauch Biblical Eldership. Yes. This rest. Lord I need it.

To Whom Christ Comes

"God did not and does not come to the self-sufficient. Christianity wrongly understood gives some an illusive sense of personal spiritual adequacy. Even the born again can wrongly turn spiritual advance into prideful self-sufficiency - a sense that one has arrived. We must continually guard against this within ourselves. Our only adequacy is in Christ!" - R. Kent Hughes

Preach Peace

"And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near... So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." Ephesians 2:17 & 19 Oh the richness of Ephesians 2. You were wretched, no, dead, and God in love send Christ and saves you. Jared Wilson has awe-inspiring insight into the truth of verses 1-10 here . Paul keeps going after the announcement of so great a love and salvation. Paul explains that there is no longer a wall of hostility separate God and man, and Jews and Gentiles, because of the blood of Christ. He, Jesus, is now our peace and has reconciled the religious and irreligious through the cross. It was Jesus that "preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near." Peace, the resolution of separation from God, a way of forgiveness of sins, salvation. This is what Jesus preached calling all people to repentance and bel

Saved For Evermore

“The name Jesus means “Saviour.” It is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament. It is given to our Lord because “He saves his people from their sins.” This is His special office. He saves them from the guilt of sin, by washing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin, by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day. Blessed and holy are Christ’s people! From sorrow, cross, and conflict they are not saved; but they are “saved from sin” for evermore. They are cleansed from guilt by Christ’s blood. They are made meet for heaven by Christ’s Spirit. This is salvation!” - J.C. Ryle on Matthew 1:21

For Building Up

As I am working through 1 Corinthians devotionally, 14:26b jumped off the page. "Let all things be done for building up." The immediate context of Paul's imperative is the use of spiritual gifts in the gathering of the church. The church is to ensure all of these things; hymns, lessons, revelations, tongues, interpretations; are done for building up the church because "God is not a God of confusion but of peace." It is an important reminder for me, as I lead a church that believes these gifts continue today, but the broader context of order in the church has implications for all of us that declare to be Bible-believing Christians. "Let all things be done for building up." Essentially, whatever you do in the gathering, let it be about building up the church. Instead of creating division, or criticizing others (even in the seemingly innocuous ways we do), our purpose is to be building each other up. Building each other up through care, gospel reminder, w

New Morning Mercies

Among the first things I do most mornings is look for the gospel trifecta of tweets from Paul Tripp. There is not much twitter activity to the former pastor, author, counselor, marriage seminar guru, but each day there are three quick reminders of the goodness of grace that is Jesus. Tripp has gone beyond the tweets and provided a wonderful devotional resource in his latest book New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional . Crossway offered a free copy to give it a test drive so I gladly took it. It has probably been a few months now that I have been opening the day with Tripp's devotional and it is rich in the gracious goodness of the gospel and is such a timely reminder of the truth. Each daily entry (they are all by date) is easy to read and brief but not lacking in gospel goodness. Some days there is some poetry but most give a short narrative about how the gospel impacts our lives each day. In addition, each day has a biblical text as a suggested place to continue study. He