Is God Disciplining Me?

One time my wife Ema and I were spending the night as guests at someone else’s house. After we woke up from a restful sleep, Ema asked if I could go downstairs and make her a cup of coffee. I went down and made the coffee just the way she liked and carefully brought it…

Man and His Contradictory Desires

“You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” As I think about last Sunday’s sermon, I come back to this well-known phrase. The idea in the saying is simple enough: you cannot enjoy the prospect of having cake around to eat whenever you want at the same time as you enjoy actually eating the…

God Knows His Vine

Listening to Pastor Joe’s sermon on Sunday, I was struck by the richness of the pruning metaphor Jesus uses in John 15:2, especially in how the metaphor implies God’s great knowledge in pruning. Though I’m no expert grower, one basic truth I’ve learned about gardening is that not all plants can be cared for the…

Why You Should Have Strong Convictions

Some of you may remember the Emerging/Emergent church movement in America in the 1990s and 2000s. This movement, which continues but with less popularity today, sought to integrate elements of postmodernism with Christianity. The movement questioned the traditional ways of doing church and instead stressed humility, sincerity, and dialogue. Some Emerging/Emergent leaders went so far…

It’s Tradition!

As you continue to think through and apply the Sunday sermon, you may have noticed that many of the convictions we have on Christian liberty issues today—convictions over which we are tempted to judge others—come from one source: tradition, that is, from customs passed down to us from our familial, religious, or cultural heritage. To be clear,…

Praying the Psalms

As part of the pastoral prayer on Sunday, I prayed through Psalm 133. Though a short psalm, the words were actually given by God through his inspired Scripture writers to be used by the people of Israel in prayer and in worship. Those two original purposes still extend to today; as Christians, we should be using the…

Inactivity and the Depression Cycle

In our recent look at 1 Kings 19:1-21, I mentioned that escaping hopelessness often requires, by faith, going against what you feel like doing. One of the strongest impulses for the depressed person is the impulse to do nothing. The person feels unable to face life and so retreats into sorrow or indulgent activities. But…

Book Recommendation: Finally Free by Heath Lambert

We looked earlier this week at 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and the importance of fleeing immorality and glorifying God with our bodies. As a follow-up, I wanted to share about a book that has proved useful to me in counseling. Though temptations to immorality appear in various forms in our society, no sexual temptation is probably…

King Saul and Worry

As this week’s follow-up to the recent sermon, let’s consider how King Saul is a negative example of what Jesus describes in Matthew 6:25-34. King Saul was certainly a man filled with worry. Saul became anxious about approaching Philistine hordes when his own army was scattering (1 Samuel 13:8, 11); Saul worried about his people’s displeasure…