Resource Library

Resources from 2018

December

Wonderful Counselor. Wonderful is a word we use a lot at Christmas time. “It’s A Wonderful Life” will doubtless air for the thousandth time. “The most wonderful time of the year” will play in every cafe in the land. On the radio this week I heard a hardware store that has, “A wonder-inducing array of Christmas trees for sale.” Wonder. And then there’s the word, Counselor. Wonderful Counselor...

So what's in a name? A whole lot as it turns out. Names actually get me in trouble around here all the time. Let me give you an example. A few Sundays ago, I was preaching and I wanted to emphasize the fact that a previous generation here in our church has left a legacy for a new generation to follow. And so I spoke about the passing...

November

If you were with us this morning you remember we began to think about the subject of revival. We have a Sunday between stewardship season and Thanksgiving and Advent, which begins next week, and so I thought we'd take time, morning and evening, to think about this important subject that's been a growing conviction of mine that true revival is the great and pressing need of the church...

You may know that Ezekiel 37 is written to the people of God in exile in Babylon. They’ve been in exile at least around twelve years or so and they are incredibly discouraged. Indeed, they feel hopeless. Everything seems to be lost; cut off is the expression used in our passage. And God, through the prophet in our text, is sending a word of hope and a promise...

Now, with that in mind, go back and look at the heading of Psalm 88. And I want you to notice two things. In Psalm 88 and in Psalm 89, the heading tells us that these are psalms of Ezrahites. These are people who are part of the Ezrahite guild. And the one in Psalm 88 is Heman the Ezrahite and the one who is the author of...

Let me get you to turn to Luke chapter 17. We want to look at verses 11 to 19 - the exchange and the healing of the ten lepers. Let me offer a couple of words of introduction first before I pray and we read. Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem; He's on His way to Jerusalem for His crucifixion. This is Luke's travel narrative and it...

If you would turn with me tonight in your Bibles to Psalm 96; Psalm 96. If you’re reading along in the pew Bible you’ll find this on page 499. As we open to Psalm 96, let’s ask the Lord for His help as we read and study His Word together.

Heavenly Father, Your Word teaches us that our hearts are desperately wicked and they...

We began considering these two verses last week and we saw there are four themes. The first two we looked at last time were the divine priority - that is to say, for Paul, God is first. He wants God to be first in the lives of the Ephesian Christians and he wants God to be first in our lives. So he's writing, "to Him, to Him be...

If you’ll look at the passage you’ll notice in verses 14 through 19, just prior to our text, Paul prays an extraordinary prayer; a prayer of such extravagant audacity that it really ought to take our breath away. Look at it with me for a moment. He prays that the Ephesians would be given strength and power through the Spirit that Christ may dwell in their hearts through...

Coming to a text like this in God's Word makes one aware that they are approaching something very sacred. It's almost as though we can hear the echo of God's voice to Moses from the burning bush too, "Take off your sandals, for you are on holy ground." This is one of those texts in Scripture where we see the Son of God in a position in His...

October

Rooted

Do let me direct your attention to verses 8 through 10. One of the things you’ll notice immediately if you cast your eye over these three verses is that Paul is setting up a contrast. On the one hand, there’s what he calls the philosophy of certain teachers who have been introducing their message into the Colossian church, their philosophy. And that’s in contrast to Paul’s message focused...

The Beginnings of Abraham

There are lots of examples in the Bible, across both Old Testament and New Testament, of God, of God coming down, of God showing up, of God coming to a person, an individual, saying, “Get up,” and “go” and “get out” and “take risks” and “I’m going to make you great.” There’s a ton of examples. And that’s what we are talking about when we say, “the call,”...

The Beginnings of Abraham

We’re doing a three-week series right now called The Beginnings of Abraham. And we’re looking at the Babel narrative again. We did it two weeks ago if you were here, and this time we’re looking at the Tower of Babel story in context, in a bigger context, in the context it’s set in. And that means we’re looking at the Babel story again in the context of genealogies. And...

Rooted

Peter O’Brien, one of the commentators on this letter, says that these two verses “are the heart of the letter.” They form sort of a hinge. The first part leading up to this point, Paul uses many of the same phrases, much of the vocabulary that has been at the very heart of his message thus far is used in these two verses so there’s sort of a...

Rooted

You may remember, if you were with us last time, that Paul at the end of chapter 1 has begun to defend his ministry. There were false teachers at Colossae undermining his message, but also assaulting and undermining his ministry. He’s defending himself; he’s continuing to defend his ministry in these first five verses of chapter 2 as well, only now he really seems to bear his heart...

The Beginnings of Abraham

We start a new mini-series tonight in the month of October called, “The Beginnings of Abraham.” And our first story in the series is from Genesis chapter 11, verses 1 to 9, which is the tower of Babel, which actually tells the story of the beginning of Abraham’s family. But we’re not going to talk about that this week; we’re going to spend two weeks on the tower...

Rooted

There were false teachers troubling the church at Colossae and they were actually pretty skilled politicians. They realized that if they were to be effective in poaching the Colossians from Paul, stealing them from Paul and making them followers of their new teaching, they had to do more than simply attack his message; they also had to attack his ministry. "If we can make the Colossian Christians question...

September

In 2 Corinthians 3, verse 18, Paul says that, “we all with unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” Okay, so you see what he’s saying? Beholding the glory of God and being transformed into His likeness go together. To the degree that you behold His glory, to that same degree you are...

Rooted

As we continue to consider Paul’s message in this letter, we have come to chapter 1 at the twenty-first verse. Chapter 1:21-23  will be our focus this morning. In verses 15 through 20, we considered these verses when last we were together, we saw Paul probably quoting a hymn to Christ that was known amongst the churches with which Paul was associated in order to turn the diamond...

How People Change

Titus chapter 3. We’ve been in a series for the last three weeks on how people change. How does God actually change us? And what’s our role in that process? And David Felker has done a really beautiful job looking at a series in the life of David that showed how, in a variety of different ways, the Lord works to change His people. I’d like to add...

Being lost is not fun. It leaves us confused, maybe even scared. On this particular account, the disciples are out in the sea and they’re not exactly lost - they know the sea - but they are definitely off course. But they’re not just physically off course, as we’ll look at in the passage this morning, they are spiritually off course. But what we’re going to look at...

How People Change

Just before we jump in and read, something to consider. Just a few years ago, there were two sports stories that were separated by only five months and they became really some of the biggest human interest stories in that stretch of time where two college football coaches, Joe Paterno and Bobby Petrino, were fired - Paterno on November 9, 2011, and Petrino five months later on April...

Rooted

And that means verses 15 through 20 are not a detour or a diversion from the main point of the letter. Instead, they are, if you like, the molten core of Paul’s message for the Colossian Christians and for us. Christ is preeminent. He is supreme. He is everything that your heart needs. Look no further for fullness than to Jesus Christ. All fullness, he will say, resides...

How People Change

A number of years ago I heard a preacher tell the story of a seminary student and this student was from Africa. And the student had these three deep cuts on each side of his face, on each cheek, and they were tribal markings. And the story goes that in his tribe, a man when he reached a certain age, had to go out, to earn the right...

Rooted

And then Paul tells us four things that characterize and marks this emerging family likeness, a life that is pleasing to God, in verses 19 through 12. Do you remember the four things? A life that is fully pleasing to God is a life that is first "bearing fruit in every good work." Secondly, it is "increasing in the knowledge of God." Thirdly, it is "being strengthened with...

How People Change

There is a scene that takes place toward the end, the very end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, towards the very end of the third book, The Return of the King. And it’s during this great battle and there is this unlikely warrior, a girl named Eowyn, who sneaks onto the battlefield. And as she is there, she finds her king, the King of Rohan, and he’s wounded on...

Rooted

I picture myself almost as though we were walking past Paul's room and his door is slightly ajar and you can hear him on his knees pleading for the Colossians in chapter 1 verses 9 through 12. We're eavesdropping on the apostle Paul at prayer. And we get a real sense, don't we, of the heart of this man for these Christians whom he has never met personally...

August

Psalm 51, as you may know, is the great penitential psalm, a psalm of confession, crying to God for cleansing and pardon. The historical context is provided for us in the superscription at the head of the passage which reads, "To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him after he had gone into Bathsheba." So you remember the situation. David has committed...

Rooted

 Paul has learned of the Christians at Colossae that their faith was being shaken, undermined, assaulted by some false teaching that had begun to infect the church. There were teachers claiming real “fullness” - that was their word; Paul is going to use it repeatedly in this letter as a way to counter their error - real “fullness,” power, spiritual dynamism in the Christian life was to be...

Rooted

One of the ways we are going to do that on Sunday mornings is by considering together the message of the apostle Paul as he wrote to the Colossians; the short letter of Paul to the Colossians. So we’ll be pausing in our on-going studies in Mark’s gospel. We’ll come back to it again, God willing, in the new year, and we’ll be focusing beginning today on Colossians...

And I want to direct your attention to the words of verses 28 and 29 of John 19 because they seem to me eminently suited for the occasion before us. We are, as you can see, preparing to come and sit together around the Lord's Table where the bread and the wine speak to us about the self-giving love of Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners. Here we come...

The first thing we’ll see in this passage is God’s providence. Now if I could summarize the message of the book of Genesis in just a few words it would be – life, death, and the sheer promises of God. The Bible begins, as Cory told us just a little while ago, that God created the world out of nothing, that He brought all life into being by...

The Gospel of Mark

Before we read it, let me remind you a little bit about the portrait of Jesus’ ministry Mark has been painting for us so far. It’s surprising ministry, actually, because the people we expect will respond to Christ don’t seem to want to know Him at all. And the people we have every reason to believe will have nothing to do with Jesus are flocking to His ministry...

The Gospel of Mark

and we’ve come to the third chapter, Mark chapter 3, and to a pair of passages – really they’re connected passages – that teach us about Jesus’ family; show us something of the inner family life that was our Savior’s during years of His earthly ministry. We began looking at some of this material last time. We were introduced to Jesus’ family in verses 20 and 21. They’ve...

I want us to think about something tonight, and that is this – that the Word of God is sufficient for every purpose for which God has sent it. In fact, let me read, even though I’m not preaching this passage, let me read from Isaiah 55 where the prophet makes it so plain and so beautiful as the Word of the Lord. “For as the rain and the...

July

The Gospel of Mark

In verse 20, if you’ll look at it, you’ll see Jesus has gone home. So in the passage prior to this, He was on retreat with His friends, His disciples, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. And then, He was up on the mountainside calling twelve to Himself whom He appointed as apostles. Now He returns home. He has a base, we might say, in the...

Before we pray and read that passage, let me just say a little bit about Lamentations. It’s not a book we really delve into much. It seems somewhat dark and foreboding and troublesome. It is a collection of five lament poems, all built around the events of the Babylonian conquest and destruction of Jerusalem. Now there’s a happy subject! Why would we not want to learn more about...

Affliction in Verse

And so now tonight, we’ve come to the last ten verses of the book where we see what follows in the wake of Job’s repentance. It’s become something of a trend, if you’ve been at the movies lately, to see an epilogue right at the end of all the credits. You know, if you manage to stay in your seat and you don’t rush off to your car...

The Gospel of Mark

Let me list the three themes that we will be considering together in these verses this morning so that as we read it in a few moments you’ll have a sense of where we are going. First of all, I want you to notice in verses 7 through 12 how Mark sets up a contrast with the passage we considered last week in verses 1 to 6. There...

Affliction in Verse

This evening, and again God willing next week, we are returning for two weekends only to the book of Job. We still have a couple of chapters outstanding that we haven’t yet properly addressed and so we’re tying up the loose ends, we’re completing the story, importantly because if we left it where we left it we would have left Job in his misery and without the resolution...

The Gospel of Mark

We are dealing this morning with the last two in a series of five stories that Mark has gathered together to account for the growing tension and conflict that is taking place between Jesus and the religious establishment, the Pharisees, as Jesus began His ministry. You will remember how we saw, three, four weeks ago, the Pharisees were offended when Jesus pronounced forgiveness of a man who had...

We’re in a series right now on Romans chapter 8 and this is the very end of the series on Romans chapter 8. It has been a detailed argument, so far, that Paul is making and it has lots of nooks and crannies and there are a lot in this passage and we can’t get to them all. But the main idea in Romans 8 is this –...

The Gospel of Mark

We are continuing to work through Mark’s gospel; we are at the eighteenth verse. This is now the third, fourth, of five episodes that Mark recounts together like this to explain the escalating friction, conflict, between Jesus and the religious establishment of His day – the scribes and the Pharisees. Back in chapter 2:1-12, Jesus has healed a paralyzed man and in the course of His engagement with...

The Gospel of Mark

If you were with us a few Sundays ago when last we looked together at Mark’s gospel, you will remember how with the healing of the paralyzed man, which is the story in the opening twelve verses of Mark chapter 2, a controversy begins between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Lord Jesus pronounced a word of forgiveness over the paralyzed man and the Pharisees were deeply offended. They...

I told Billy after he preached last week on the previous section, that I went back and I underlined a few phrases in my Bible because they stuck out to me, they stood out to me as he explained that passage. And the phrase is the phrase that we see in verse 23, “wait eagerly.” That’s actually one word in the Greek. And it’s the same word that...

June

Before we do so, just a moment to remember together where we’ve been. The apostle Paul has introduced us to some marvelous concepts, some beautiful truth, and we have enjoyed together some soaring preaching and teaching on this portion of God’s Word. That’s not Acts chapter 8; Romans chapter 8. I’ll get there eventually! I mean, I don’t even know how we got off verse 1 – “There...

So Psalm 120 to 134 is a section in the Psalter, in the Psalms, that’s often called “The Song of Ascents.” Each one of the psalms has the little title at the beginning that says, “A Song of Ascents,” and there’s fifteen of them in total. We’re just going to look at one of them today; Psalm 121. And there’s three lessons that we’re going to learn from...

And before we jump in and read, just something to consider. I want especially the children that are in the room, this is especially for you and also for the youth, if you’re in high school. I’m going to give you a list of names and I want you to think about the common thread. What do these people have in common? Here are the names...

The Gospel of Mark

We are going to examine the passage under three headings. First, in verses 1 through 5, I want you to notice the reach of grace. The reach of grace. Just how far, how deeply does it penetrate? How far does it go? What is the reach of grace as we see the paralyzed man lowered down in front of Jesus? The reach of grace. Then secondly, 6 through...

This is one of the great New Testament passages on the nature of the Christian ministry, especially the work of preaching. If you scan over the text before us you’ll see the different synonyms that Paul uses for preaching. Verse 2, look at the passage with me; 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 2. “We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God.” Verse...

The Gospel of Mark

This is a passage that is honestly quite hard for us to understand in our relatively clean, relatively healthy, relatively affluent time and place. We have no sense of the horror that an infectious skin disease like leprosy evoked in the days when Jesus ministered in Galilee. And so one of the great dangers, as we read this passage, is to read these six verses and to see...

The thesis for our study this evening, just before I read our verses, you’ll hear me repeat this over and over again and if you remember nothing else here’s the phrase to remember – the only way to live as a follower of Jesus, the only way to live as a true follower of Jesus, is to become a practicing Trinitarian and to consciously live every day as...

The Gospel of Mark

You might say that this part of the chapter reads a bit like a sort of a journalistic documentary, you know, as the camera follows Jesus across the course of one whole day; one twenty-four-hour period. If you trace back to verse 21 for a moment you will see that the passage we considered last week begins on the Sabbath morning. And then, verse 29, He went directly...

May

The Gospel of Mark

Mark, in this opening chapter, you will remember, is introducing us to the ministry of the Lord Jesus that was beginning in the region of Galilee. In verses 14 and 15, we saw a marvelous little summary of the content of His preaching. He told all who heard Him that “the kingdom is at hand.” The King has come. The kingdom was breaking into the world, invading the...

And I’m sure many of us could speak of the ways in which Romans chapter 8 has been a blessing and a help to us in our own lives and in our walk in faith. I think we could say that these verses, these truths here, were significant in Paul’s life as well. I think we can say that because in Romans chapter 7, what came just before...

Affliction in Verse

But in this penultimate section of the book, all of that is about to change. Now the whirlwind has begun to blow. This is no longer a discussion, you see, about God; now, suddenly, God Himself begins to speak. And Job has at least something of an answer. You will remember that Job has been longing for this moment. He has been lamenting and complaining that God would...

The Gospel of Mark

And in some ways, you could say that the remainder of chapter 1 is an explanation of how that works out, what it looks like, what are the implications of this Gospel that has broken onto the scene of history good news in the person of Jesus. What will it mean for our lives? And so in verses 16 through 20, we see what it looks like, what...

Affliction in Verse

Alright, so you see his position. “A pox on both your houses. You’re all wrong.” He adopts that tertium quid, that third way. He has an alternative perspective for us. And in chapters 33 through 37, he outlines that third way in answer to Job’s sufferings. Essentially, he sets out to deal with three complaints that Job himself has articulated over the course of his debate with his...

The Gospel of Mark

Today, however, we begin to consider Jesus’ ministry itself in a more direct fashion. And it’s fascinating, I think, I wonder if you’ll agree, that when Mark sets out to describe Jesus’ public ministry, the first thing he does is give us a summary of his preaching. Here’s why I think that’s important. As we read through Mark’s gospel and we ask the question, “Why did Jesus come...

Preparing for Adolescents: A Parents' Forum

Notice: The first part of this audio recording was not recorded.

The Gospel of Mark

This morning, we turn to another part of the beginnings of Mark’s gospel as he sets the stage for the work that Jesus will perform. We’ll be thinking about His baptism and His temptation. These five verses are characteristic of the way Mark likes to write. They’re very terse and direct in the way they retell the story. If you look at Matthew’s account or Luke’s account you’ll...

Affliction in Verse

One of my favorite Presbyterian stories that I often use when we celebrate one of our children reciting the catechism was told by B.B. Warfield, the great 19th  century Princeton theologian. You’ve heard it from me now more than once, but I needed an illustration, and since I couldn’t think of any except this one, you’re going to hear it from me again. Warfield tells the story of...

April

The Gospel of Mark

According to the ancient traditions of the church, John Mark, the author of Mark’s gospel, served the church in Rome with the apostle Peter. And Mark wrote down, after Peter died, the substance of his catechesis, his teaching. And that became the first of the gospels. So when Mark wrote Mark’s gospel, he was writing something entirely novel and new. No one had ever written a gospel before...

Affliction in Verse

Now if you would take a Bible and turn with me to the book of Job as we continue our overview of the teaching of the book of Job. You remember the situation. Job is suffering terribly and his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, have showed up and after seven days of sitting in silence, they've begun to offer their point of view, their perspective, to try...

I want to tell you where we’re going to end our study. We’re going to end by singing together, “Amazing love, how can it be that You, my God, would die for me?” That’s where we’ll finish. Let me tell you the thesis from our whole study. If you remember nothing else, you can remember this and you’ll be in good shape. The core of what we’re going...

One of the more memorable graduation speeches from recent years was given by David McCullough Jr. to the Wellesley High School graduating class of 2012. Wellesley is a prestigious high school in New England. But McCullough told the graduating class that day these words. He said, "Contrary to what your U-9 soccer trophies suggest, what your glowing seventh-grade report card said, despite every assurance of Barney the dinosaur...

Affliction in Verse

Last Sunday evening, we began the second cycle of speeches that comprise the large, central section of the book of Job. This is round two, if you like. And so last time in chapter 15, remember, Eliphaz had his second swing at Job. And tonight, we’re going to hear a second time from Bildad and again from Zophar; Bildad in chapter 18, Zophar in chapter 20. And our...

Rewire

And so as we think together about chapter 16, we’re thinking about living out the Christian faith in the real world, and in particular, in the fellowship of the local church. We’re going to see four themes. The first, if you’re taking notes and you’re looking for an outline, here it is. The first theme, verses 1 through 4, Paul teaches us about money and the church of...

Rewire

And in verses 50 through 58, which is our passage this morning, as Paul draws his argument about the resurrection to a conclusion, we’re going to watch him transition. There are three types of argument that he makes here. That is, a word of explanation in verses 50 through 53 where he urges the Corinthians to comprehend the truth at last. Then, there’s a word of celebration in...

Affliction in Verse

As we have read through the book of Job together, we have been confronted with the nature of Job's trials, his loss, and his grief. We need to keep those in our minds, especially as the book unfolds. We ought never to overlook his physical pains – his illness, his acute suffering in his body. But the major attention of the book, as we get into these central...

Affliction in Verse

And you remember the situation. Job has become the object of Satan’s attacks under the mysterious permission of the sovereign Lord. His children are dead, his wife has deserted him, his home and his business lie in ruins, his health has collapsed; he’s left sitting in the ashes of his former life, mourning and pouring out his confusion before God as he scrapes the sores on his skin...

Rewire

There were those, you may remember, at Corinth who had begun to teach that actually there is no such thing as a resurrection. For them, the very idea of resurrection was, we might say, one giant April Fools. Paul quotes them in verse 12. You can see it if you look in verse 12. Here’s their perspective. “Some of you are saying, ‘There is no resurrection from the...

March

Entering the Crucible of Unbelief

And so first, what is happening here? What is the story of John chapter 20? Let’s look together at the text; a couple of things. Beginning in chapter 20, Jesus, we see this, He’s been crucified, buried. We see at the beginning of chapter 20, resurrected. We see then that He’s appeared to His disciples and His friends. And sometime in the week following Jesus’ resurrection, this conversation...

But about a month and a half ago I looked and I noticed, (A) It was falling on Palm Sunday – and it’s always hard to decide what to preach on a one-off message. You know it’s a lot easier when you’re preaching through a Bible book you know you’ve got to preach the next passage. But when you’re coming in one-off, what are you going to do...

Rewire

Now, this morning, beginning in verse 12, we’re going to see him engage more directly with their mistake. And as we read verses 12 through 34 together, I want you to be on the lookout for three themes. Three themes to see here. First, in verses 12 through 19, the pitiable consequences of a dead Christ. If there’s no resurrection, well then, so what? What difference does it...

Entering the Crucible of Unbelief

A few months ago I finished a Wendell Berry novel that split me open. The book is entitled, Remembering, and in it, Berry chronicles the life of a farmer named Andy Catlett. Andy Catlett lives and farms in Port William, Kentucky with his wife and his children and his parents. And one October at daybreak, as harvest was almost over, the field was almost finished, Andy was trying to...

Rewire

The apostle Paul tells us that he has delivered the Gospel to the Corinthians, but as we’re going to see, as the communication of the Gospel has passed from ear to ear and heart to heart, it has gotten rather garbled along the way. Actually, not with hilarious consequences but with disastrous consequences. If you’ll look for a moment at verse 12 – we’re not going to think...

Entering the Crucible of Unbelief

C. S. Lewis, in his book, The Great Divorce, tells the story of a group of people who are standing between heaven and hell. And towards the end of the book, Lewis describes a man who is limping and he has a lizard on his shoulder. And the lizard’s words captivate the man, and yet they also leave him weak, chained to a life he hates. And the lizard...

Well, we are looking at the Scriptures and Matthew chapter 16. Please take your Bibles and turn there with me. We'll spend a few moments looking at one verse. We're going to study verse 18. There's so much in it, we don't have enough time this morning even to study that verse, but we're going to give it our best shot. But we want to read the context...

David, thank you again. And once again, thanks to you and Sheena for your warm hospitality and to this church and the missions committee. If you’ve treated your missionaries the way you’ve treated me this weekend, I know they can’t wait for next year to get back to First Presbyterian Jackson! I mean, I got to my hotel room last night and you had these cookies and all...

February

Before we read the text, I’d like to follow up on what Wiley said earlier at the beginning of the service. That is, our Mission Conference starts this next Sunday. Actually, we have three conferences back to back. What I mean by that is, we have a pre-conference on Friday and Saturday, which is called Gospel Renewal Dynamics for Leaders. But really, we’re all in a sphere of...

I need to set just a little bit of a stage here as we’re looking into this thought-provoking, relatively familiar passage for many of us. It’s a somewhat amusing section of Scripture in some ways as well. This comes in the last days of our Lord’s ministry on earth. You see in verse 1, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of the world and...

I think Psalm 40 shows us something. Psalm 40 shows us David reflecting on God’s past deliverance and drawing conclusions that help him trust God in his present troubles. I think the psalm breaks that way. Around verse 11, David begins to talk about the present. Up until that time, he’s talking about the past. Let’s remember, with David, God’s past deliverance.

I was listening to a podcast a few weeks ago and it was about a car dealership in Long Island in New York. And the story was about how the staff and the salespeople were trying to meet their sales goals by the end of the month. And one of the salesmen that was featured in this story was named, Manny. Manny asked the interviewer if he had...

Affliction in Verse

We have been working through the book of Job on Sunday evenings together and you will remember that Job is sitting with his three friends in the ashes, in the ruins of his life, amidst great grief and terrible loss. And the large, central section of the book of Job that runs from chapter 3 all the way through chapter 37, is taken up with a series of...

Rewire

 Paul is wrapping up his engagement with a series of problems, divisions, that were erupting in the Corinthian congregations, primarily in the context of public worship. He’s wrapping up a discussion of all of that which he began all the way back in chapter 11. You will remember in chapter 11 that he dealt with the breakdown of Biblical role relationships between men and women. He’s going to...

January

Affliction in Verse

The book of Job. We have been introduced to Job in the opening chapters of the book as a remarkable man of God who has been terribly afflicted in the mysterious, sovereign purposes of the Lord. God has given permission to Satan to assail Job and all his riches have been stripped away, his ten children killed, his wife holds him in contempt. And his so-called friends, when...

Rewire

Paul, you may recall, has been writing to combat a prideful, divisive spirit at Corinth, especially when it came to the way that spiritual gifts were functioning in the life of the church. And in chapters 12 and 13, he has tackled that problem at the level of general principles. You will remember in chapter 12 he spoke about celebrating our unity and cherishing our diversity. We are...

Maybe some of you are coupon clippers; you’re bargain shoppers. You like a good deal! But then you hear those dreaded words, “Some exclusions apply.” It’s not going to be as good of a deal as you once thought. I came across a department store coupon the other day that was $10 off for every $25 you spend; sounds like a pretty good deal, but “Some exclusions apply.” And...

As I said, we’re parachuting into a narrative here. Let’s back up. Let’s back up and find ourselves; let’s start with a familiar place first of all. Let’s start with the stoning of Stephen; the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts chapter 7. In the beginning of Acts chapter 8, there is the first general persecution against the church beginning in Jerusalem. And that persecution is engineered in part...

Affliction in Verse

You may recall last time we considered the opening five verses of Job 1 and we were introduced to Job and his family. We saw them living in contentment and joy together and we noticed there were a number of convictions and habits that were operating in Job’s life that built in some resilience and some strength of character that enabled him, and that will enable him as...

Rewire

You will remember that Paul has been dealing with the problem of divisions at Corinth and in the second half of chapter 12 he is particularly concerned about the kind of divisions that have developed over spiritual gifts. Some at Corinth, tongue-speakers and others, consider themselves, because of the gifts they had, to be super-spiritual and they were looking down on others. Which led to some at Corinth saying, “Because...

Affliction in Verse

So why should we study the book of Job? Answer: We should study the book of Job because if yours is nothing more than a fair-weather faith, a Christianity that lives only in the constant sunshine, what will happen when the storm hits and the shadows obscure the light? Is your fear of God resilient and enduring even in those seasons when you are made to walk through...

Rewire

Paul, you will remember, has been dealing with the problem of division in Corinth and it’s a problem that has reared its ugly head in different ways as we’ve worked through the book together. There’ve been divisions over leadership. Some were boasting in their favorite preacher and others in a different preacher. There were divisions over economics and lawsuits among believers. There was even division over which foods...

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