Prayer for the Final Week of Advent

Purify my conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Messiah, at his coming, may find in me a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [Read more…]

Christmas and the Priesthood

An often overlooked aspect of the Christmas story of Luke’s Gospel is the emphasis on the priesthood. The first character introduced in the story is a priest (Zechariah) who is in the Temple preforming a priestly act (burning incense): Priest, Temple, priestly activity. What’s more, we are told that Mary is related to Elizabeth who [Read More…]

Jewish Context of the New Testament Story

This coming semester I’m teaching one of my favorite courses, Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. In preparation I’ve already begun reading up again on things ancient Jewish. The books on the Second Temple period that I’m having students read as background are two brief introductions: Lester Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism (T [Read More…]

Celebrating Advent with a Young Family

We’ve come to the beginning of the fourth week of Advent. We’ve been celebrating it with our two 4-year old twins, Zion and Mary. This week we hit about 4 of the 7 days, not too bad. The script for our Advent devotion is pretty simple: light the candles, read and talk about a Bible [Read More…]

Practices of the Church 3: Baptism

I’ve been reading John Howard Yoder’s book Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World. It was unintentional, however providential, that the book, which focuses on the mission and politics of the church, was chosen in close proximity to the engagement with Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert’s book What’s the Mission [Read More…]

The Pastor – My Favorite Book This Year

Eugene Peterson, the author of the Message, published this year a memoir of his 25 plus years of pastoral ministry titled The Pastor. It might very well be my favorite book I read this year. It is is one I’m recommending whenever I talk to pastor friends. I just had a friend text me this [Read More…]

Scripture & Theology Conference on Galatians at St. Andrews

If you’ve not already heard, there’s an exciting conference at the University of St. Andrews this summer, July 10-13 2012. Here’s the link to the School of Divinity’s website. Not only is St. Andrews one of the most beautiful places in the UK, but the line of scholars participating is impressive. I have plans to [Read More…]

How do we decide what our Student Ministry should teach?

On Friday of this past week, I spent the day with our Student Ministry team on a one-day retreat. In Student Ministry style we met for the day at Game Works, a Video Game Restaurant. We used a conference room there for the day. The SM team at our church are great guys: Eric Ferris, [Read More…]