Excellence in Preaching

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Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers (IVP, 2011) presents the composite of a good preacher. Simon Vibert of Wycliffe Hall in Oxford has written this book profiling some of the most gifted preachers in the Western Hemisphere. The preachers profiled in the book illustrate 12 things good preachers do well.   Tim [Read More...]

Practices of the Church 4, Spiritual Gifting, the Fullness of Christ

The fourth practice of the church in John Howard Yoder’s book Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before a Watching World he calls the “Fullness of Christ”. Based on Ephesians 4:11-13 and 1 Corinthians 12, Yoder defines the fullness of Christ as A new mode of group relationships, in which every member of [Read More...]

A Christmas Prayer

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  Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin: Grant that I, who have been born again and made your child by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through my Lord Jesus Messiah, to [Read More...]

Celebrating Advent with a Young Family

In this fourth and final week of Advent we lit the candle of Hope. The devotion we followed labeled the four candles: Promise, Light, Love and Hope. Each week we’ve been anticipating the coming of Jesus. We’ve meditated on God’s promise to send his Son to be the light of the world, the very embodiment [Read More...]

The Kind of Pastor You Want to Be

The Pastor Eugene Peterson

Most pastors in ministry I know had a vision of what they wanted to be as a pastor before entering the ministry. Many still do. But a good many of those pastors are now frustrated, or unsatisfied or angst-filled because they are not being the pastor they want to be. Recently I was having coffee [Read More...]

Prayer for the Final Week of Advent

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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...]

My Christmas Sermon: The Nativity According to Stephen King

It’s Christmas. So put up your nativity sets. Polish up your star of Bethlehem. Feed the donkeys. Put your plastic baby Jesus in the manger. I guess we should dress up as shepherds, wise men, and angels. Let’s do the nativity all over again as we do every year. Get some cute little girl to [Read More...]

An Atheist Christmas Address … that is Actually Good!

Now I’m no atheist. I think atheism is very “retro,” very 1950s and 60s, back in the hey day of logical positivism, but it is not a serious intellectual option for me. Even the new atheists tend to be cranky, snide, and hate-filled old men who do for the good of humanity what Hannibal Lecter [Read More...]

Christmas and the Priesthood

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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...]

Michael Licona’s new ministry “Risen Jesus”

Watch this clip about Michael Licona’s new ministry initiative called Risen Jesus. If you have a church, college, school, or ministry that is interested in guest lecturers in apologetics, then I heartily commend Michael Licona to you. [Read more...]

Christmas in a Nutshell

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The Myth of Tolerant Paganism

My former post December 25th Means the Triumph of Christianity over Paganism caused a bit of an uproar in pagan circles. Just read the comments. My wife reads my blog so I won’t repeat the content of some of those comments. Across the street at the Patheos Portal, Star Foster responds in a post When [Read More...]

Stanley Hauerwas on Christmas

Over at ABC Religion and Ethics are some reflections on Christmas by American theologian Stanley Hauerwas entitled: Facing God in the Face of Nothingness. Christian humanism is not based on the presumption that our humanity is self-justifying. Rather Christians are humanists because God showed up in Mary’s belly. We are not an evolutionary accident. We [Read More...]

Jewish Context of the New Testament Story

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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...]

A thought for Christmas!

“No other God have I but thee, born in a manger, died on a tree” – Martin Luther. [Read more...]


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