Broken Love

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) offered some unique and helpful insights about the Holy Spirit in his “Treatise on Grace.” Right now I’m reading Robert W. Caldwell’s study, Communion in the Spirit: The Holy Spirit as the Bond of Union in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards, where he probes the “Treatise” in his second chapter. As Edwards …

Read More Broken Love

The Demonized Lady

I was in Ethiopia last month to observe and support a Christian “follow-up” ministry. The leader, Rich, was a Bible translator in Nigeria for many years. After translating the New Testament into a regional language he spotted a problem. Many new converts brought along their old ways of worship to their newfound Christianity. So for …

Read More The Demonized Lady

Three unions

Richard Sibbes, my favorite English puritan (1577-1635), treated human salvation very much as Martin Luther had done in Saxony a century before—mainly as a function of ontology. It shifted the focus away from the more judicial notion of salvation common in his day. In the judicial view Jesus took up the Father’s judgment against sin—death—on …

Read More Three unions

A hard question

What makes one person more successful than another? It’s a hard question. I can think of my high school classmates, for instance. Back then the school “annual” picked a pair of students as “the most likely to succeed.” So at a recent class reunion I asked about Steve, one of the select pair. Was he …

Read More A hard question

Murmurations

Most of us have seen TV documentaries that feature flocks of starlings whirling through the sky as a single dynamic body. It’s called a ‘murmuration.’ There are other examples, like a ball of sardines swimming together in tight formations to escape ocean predators. Herds of migratory animals—buffalo and Wildebeests—also display complex group movements on land. …

Read More Murmurations

The Great Adventure

Note: In this entry I’m repeating parts of an earlier entry (8 May 17) with a slightly different take that comes from a closer look at Exodus 17. Both are about ‘connecting dots’ … I hope it’s not a distraction! Which life adventure is the best of all options? Would you think of climbing Mount …

Read More The Great Adventure

Working Together

Russ, my stepfather, struggled with Parkinson’s related tremors in his last five years of life. Near the end he couldn’t eat without help, or handle his phone, or use a keyboard. He knew what he wanted his hands to accomplish, but his body betrayed him. His struggles were like many churches today. The ultimate head …

Read More Working Together

Connecting Dots

In Deuteronomy 8 Moses warned Israel against self-confidence. He reminded them of God’s manna for forty-years. The key benefit of manna was that it kept them alive. The drawback was that it was dull and predictable. So the ancient Israelites asked, why such a dull diet? God answered through Moses. It was “that he might …

Read More Connecting Dots

Proper Alignment

A few years ago, when Boeing was first building the B-787 Dreamliner, a magazine article caught my attention. Parts of the airplane were built separately all around the world and then gathered and assembled in Everett, Washington. So it was critical for every piece to fit perfectly once it reached the final factory floor. But …

Read More Proper Alignment

The City of God

Augustine, the lead pastor of the church in Hippo, North Africa, spent more than a decade writing the City of God—from 413 to 426. It was his response to news that Alaric, commander of the Goths, had sacked Rome in 410. So Christians in the Roman Empire were shaken. Christians throughout the Empire, including the …

Read More The City of God