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Category: Scripture

You and I Are Barabbas

When it comes to reading ourselves into the great stories of Scripture, many of us would like to think that we’re David—the unlikely underdog who was victorious at conquering the giant in his life—or perhaps Job who went through immense trials but due to his continual clinging to God came out with great blessing and restoration. We often read Scripture in this way as a means of encouragement that although the Christian life is hard, the Bible has good news for us ‘weary Christian soldiers’ that the blessing is worth the battle and God is indeed for us. In his 2018 book Kiss the Wave Dave Furman points out that you and I are in fact a character in the central story of Jesus Christ…

For Whom is God “Father”?

God is the Creator of everything. So, logically this makes him the father of all people, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. Recently in my Christian Classics reading group, we’ve been taking a look at Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, found inside his book Discipleship (Fortress Press, 2015). In Matthew 6, Jesus gives his companions a great gift in the form of a prayer; a prayer which contains many great and wonderful lessons that earnest disciples can find regarding how they are to pray, to whom they pray, and what this prayer reveals about who they truly are. Jesus begins his prayer in Matthew 6:9 with the words “Our Father”. Bonhoeffer observes that by the Holy Spirit, the disciples have been…

Know Christ’s Love

Last night I checked out Hope Centre Church’s Worship Together event. In many ways, it was everything I expected it to be (and that’s all I’m going to say about that) but I was deeply encouraged by the short sermon delivered by Pastor Nathan, and I want to share my brief – albeit slightly unrefined – notes in the hope that you too might be spurred on to pursue Christ more fervently. Preaching on Ephesians 3:14-19, Pastor Nathan captured the thrust of this section of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus this way: [Paul speaking] “I’m not going to pray for your specific life issue. Rather, I’m going to pray that you encounter more of God’s love.” Why Does Paul Pray That? Because he knows where…

More to Follow

Sometimes loving others is hard. Our own sinfulness means that we’re naturally inclined to be selfish, and our fallen bodies and minds are prone to weariness. When we persevere with those who are harder to love we often find ourselves getting tired, losing patience, or sometimes simply walking away and assigning him or her to the ‘too hard’ basket. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for us because it reminds us that it is because of God’s unconditional love for us that we can offer unconditional love for others. In his book Being There, Dave Furman writes I read a story of an artist who once submitted a painting of Niagara Falls to an art show but forgot to give it a title. The…

The Man behind the Miracle

Our church is currently walking through the Gospel of Mark, and I had the privilege of sharing from Mark 6:30-44. What follows is a slightly edited manuscript of my sermon on that day. (listen online here)

There are many miracles recorded in all four gospel accounts but only two miracles (the resurrection and this), that are recorded in all four Gospel accounts. We see it in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6. And it’s little wonder that that’s the case; it’s certainly the grandest-scale miracle that Jesus ever performed. I know a lot of people might be tempted to say “yes, we know. Jesus feeds the 5,000 right? He heals a few sick, teaches them a little, then provides fish and bread for everyone. It’s an amazing miracle, yes, but we already know the story”. But Mark’s motivation behind writing his gospel account wasn’t to point to the miracles, but to answer the question “WHO IS THIS MAN?”. So in these few minutes we’re going to seek to answer that question. We’re going to look at three ways in this passage in which Jesus revealed his divine identity, and how every story Mark told was to dramatically direct people’s focus to Jesus.

To Judge or Not to Judge

Scripture is filled with tensions; seemingly irreconcilable truths that taken at face value can’t seem to coexist while still holding that the Bible is entirely consistent, and totally infallible in its wholeness. One such example of this is the question of judging others. How do we reconcile Jesus’ oft-quoted words in Matthew 7 (“Don’t judge others, and you won’t be judged yourself”) with instructions from, say, Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5 (“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear”)? There is a mystery here that deserves exploration.