Discipleship

Sunday, November 18, 2018: How Jesus Cares for His Flock

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul… (Psalm 23:1–3a) Mark 6:30-44 tells the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. After sending out His disciples two by two to preach the Kingdom (6:7), they returned to Him, reporting all they had experienced (6:30). Jesus understood that an intense time of ministry ought to be followed by a period of rest, so He wisely invited His disciples to retreat with Him. They sailed out to a desolate place on the other side of the sea in order that they (Read More)

November 14, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sunday, November 04, 2018: To Jesus, You Are Something Better Than Useful

And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. (Mark 2:14) The world assesses a man’s value based on his apparent usefulness to its causes. It asks of the individual, “What can you do to advance such-and-such agenda?” Whether in politics, business, or sometimes even churches, people are too often treated as if they are cogs in some vast machine—there to “get stuff done” until they burn out in a fit of frustration and resentment. But Jesus shows us a different way. (Read More)

October 30, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sunday, October 21, 2018: The Tempter Still Flees from His Presence

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) According to Henri Nouwen, “…the true quality of our spiritual life can only be recognized in our temptations.” If that’s the case, we must understand the nature of the spiritual life (i.e. our new life in Christ). Moreover, we must expect that we will be tempted and tried as we learn what it means to walk in the fullness of the spiritual blessings we’ve received in Jesus (see Eph. 1:3). If you’ll remember, I wrote about Christ’s baptism a (Read More)

October 17, 2018 // 1 Comment

Sunday, October 07, 2018: To Pray for the Church is to Love the Church

“…without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers” (Romans 1:9-10) The purpose of the Christian life is to know and make known the love of God in Christ, beginning with how we relate to the church. Jesus told His disciples, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). And Paul said, “…do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). As Christ-followers, it seems like one of our most basic instincts should be to love our church family. At (Read More)

October 3, 2018 // 1 Comment

Sunday, September 30, 2018: Two Life-Changing Blessings You’ve Received in Christ

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16–17) God’s nature was revealed at Christ’s baptism. Jesus rose up from the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and a Voice bellowed from heaven, referring to the baptized as His own beloved Son. What was once shrouded in divine mystery is made manifest; now, at (Read More)

September 26, 2018 // 1 Comment

Sunday, September 02, 2018: Coming to Church With a Sword to Your Neck

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12–13) How we approach God’s Word is the difference between growing and remaining stagnant in the Christian life. I doubt that anyone taking time to read this post has trouble affirming that the Bible plays a vital role in the life of a believer. Yet I (Read More)

August 29, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sunday, August 26, 2018: What Is Your Heart’s Desire?

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3) John’s words provide important insight into the nature of Christian obedience. As missionary and martyr Jim Elliot once wrote, “Commandment-keeping is terribly laborious when it doesn’t spring from an eager . . . heart.” From where does this eagerness of heart come? It comes from God alone. To be eager to obey Him, we must love Him, which means that we first need new hearts, for the human heart, in its natural state, cannot possibly love God (Ez. 36:26). Thus (Read More)

August 22, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sunday, August 12, 2018: God Still Shows Up in the Nazareths of This World

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16) In John 1:45, Philip tells Nathaniel, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote: Jesus of Nazareth.” For an Israelite at the time, this would’ve come as a surprise—”the world’s Messiah is from where now? Nazareth? Of all places?” You see, Nazareth wasn’t exactly a desirable place to live. It was about as podunk as you could get, hence Nathaniel’s snobbish response: “Can anything good come (Read More)

August 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sunday, June 10, 2018: Where God’s Greatest Blessing Awaits

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) As fallen people, we all experience the brokenness that sin has brought to bear upon the world. It manifests itself in countless ways. Some people sense it in an unspoken resentment that has strained their relationship with their spouse. Others in the remembrance of a painful childhood experience. Still, others in a constant search for approval and validation from those around them. However brokenness might show itself, it is our tendency to want to avoid the places in our lives where we most need healing. We (Read More)

June 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sunday, May 20, 2018: The Source of Most of Our Problems in Life

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) We often forget how loved we are. This is the source of most of our problems in life. When we fail to realize God’s love for us, we become frantic, sin entangles us, our worries prevail, our hearts grow cold. As a result, there’s little to no room for Jesus in our noisy, crowded lives. What can be done about this? If we’ll simply pause here for a moment, God can speak into our situation. Over every competing voice in our lives, He’ll tell us exactly what we need to hear—that in Christ we are loved with an (Read More)

May 16, 2018 // 0 Comments