Not Everyone

Jesus was very direct. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your …

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Like attracts like

People enjoy being with their own kind. Beautiful people gravitate to beautiful people. Bright people like to be with bright people. The wealthy find others with wealth. Artists enjoy other artists. Like attracts like: it’s a fact of life. But it not always a good fact of life. Especially if elitism forms and only the …

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Reconstructing God

Bible reading has remarkable power for some. But for most people it’s a serious put-off. On the positive side of things I met with a new Bible reading partner yesterday. Even after just one week of reading he was gushing—honestly delighted with the venture. His wife has also picked up on it and now shares …

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Winnowing

Isaiah 40:3, as cited in Matthew 3, was fulfilled by the ministry of John the Baptist. Isaiah promised a bulldozer of a man to build a proper road for the Messiah, “crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” In John’s day the imagery of carving a proper road …

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Sam’s Baton

I met Sam fifty years ago. My home church recruited us—a couple of newly minted high school graduates—to help with a church plant in Sechelt, British Columbia. Sam, the pastor, was a retired missionary; a Scotsman by birth who had served for much of his life in Africa. Yet he was still up to planting …

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Don’t be troubled

Only hours before his crucifixion Jesus was still reassuring his followers about the future. Twice over dinner he repeated his call, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1&27). This even as he knew Judas Iscariot was arranging for his immanent arrest. So, was Jesus having a Pollyanna moment? Or was he the ultimate promoter …

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A Journey of the Heart

I’m revisiting Peter Sanlon’s helpful study, Augustine’s Theology of Preaching. One sentence caught me: “Augustine describes this life as a journey traveled by the affections” (p. 84). This link of outward journey and inner affections is what Pete offers as Augustine’s “interiority”—the realm of the soul’s longings and desires—that shapes “temporality.” This statement reverses what …

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Moral Movements

The main mistake of the moralist impulse—what many people call legalism—is an instinct to focus on sins in place of Sin. To fixate on specific behaviors while missing the motives and trajectories that explain those behaviors. But first let’s give the moralists their due. What makes them so sure of themselves is their high success …

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Hide and Seek

Last week I heard an endearing story. Our speaker’s grandchildren wanted to play hide-and-seek. So after Perry, the speaker, finished counting to ten with eyes covered he moved to the game’s key feature: “Ready or not, here I come!” We all laughed when he told the rest of the story: in an instant he heard …

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Words That Carry Love

Last night I was in a dinner conversation with some good friends. We came to a topic I’ve been chasing for years. After a thoughtful early exchange I soon took over with a history and Bible-waving rant. And only after my friends lassoed me and wrestled me to the ground did I realize I had …

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