There is an important word that sums up what Christmas is most fundamentally about, and it’s not “Santa,” “gifts,” or “eggnog.” It’s not even “peace” or “goodwill.” The word is “incarnation.” Christmas is the celebration of the truth that God has become incarnate, meaning that the eternal, immortal and invisible God has taken on flesh (a human body) and entered our world in the person of Jesus Christ. There are at least three reasons why this is a vital and fundamentally essential doctrine for the Christian faith:
As we close in on the beginning of another new year, it’s time to start putting together a plan for reading through the entire Bible in 2015. This is a very worthy but daunting task. It’s easy to have high aspirations in January, but before long, as our schedules get busy and as we wade through more difficult portions of the Bible, we get tempted to give up.
My musical tastes tend to be peculiar, probably not what you would expect from a Presbyterian pastor. It probably all started when I was brought up as a kid listening to Bach, the Kingston Trio and the Beatles, all roughly at the same time. Adventure, eclecticism, and unpredictability are held in high esteem for me when it comes to music. Theologically speaking, this is perfectly consistent with the presentation in the Bible of a God who is creative, brimming with ideas, and definitely unpredictable.
Originally this was intended to be posted last week, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, but the Ferguson situation was so prominent that I chose to comment on it instead. So, with the holiday past but still fresh in our minds, the following are things, truths and people for which I am very thankful (in no particular order):
Jonathan Rauch shares an anecdote in an article that appears inthe July/August 2014 issue of The Atlantic. He writes of a Christian acquaintance of his who commented on the sweeping cultural changes that are taking place with regard to gay marriage. “I say half jokingly to my wife,” the Christian says, “ ‘Where do we move?’ “
Last week I preached a sermon on the importance of being generous to our local churches, based on 1 Tim. 6:18. The passage does not mention tithing specifically, but certainly one way to be generous to our churches is in committing ourselves to tithing. This undoubtedly created some questions in people’s minds about this practice, which I will try to anticipate here. What are some common questions or objections that Christians often mention about tithing?
While most people are celebrating Halloween today, Protestant Christians should be reminded that today is also Reformation Day. It was on Oct. 31 of the year 1517 that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, setting forth a string of events that have birthed monumental changes in the church and western culture.
It’s hard to imagine why anyone would be interested, but just in case, below are my 10 favorite movies. Note that I didn’t say, “10 most important movies,” or “10 most influential movies,” or even “10 most Gospel-centered movies.” These are simply 10 movies that had a striking and memorable impact on me personally, and in most cases are movies I have watched multiple times and found to be equally rewarding on repeated viewings.
The end of August marked my 10-year anniversary of serving as pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Yorktown. As I reflect on the mistakes I’ve made and the fruit that has been borne from my ministry, I offer five things that I’ve learned about pastoral ministry during the time God has graciously given to me to serve as shepherd of God’s people. This of course is not all there is to be said about pastoral ministry; these are simply things that stand out as lessons that are easy to overlook:
It is very common for evangelical Christians to believe in the doctrine of inerrancy when it comes to their view of Scripture. In fact, some might say that you must believe in inerrancy to be a full-blown evangelical. But evangelicals are very divided when it comes to the doctrines of Calvinism. There are many evangelicals who strongly object to the high view of sovereignty contained in the system of doctrine called Calvinism. My contention is that you basically are a Calvinist if you believe in inerrancy.