Reasons to Call into Question Alan Hirsch’s APEST Paradigm for Churches

So, I was going through my Facebook feed and came across a post on April 12 from Brad Briscoe, the director of strategic development for Forge America (the organization that Alan Hirsch founded when he first came over from Australia) that stated, "I am convinced that if a person denies or discounts the importance of #APEST in Eph 4:1-16, they simply haven't dealt with the topic in a serious manner." I was astonished at that bold statement, so I had to comment: "That would be a poor … [Read more...]

Good Friday and Easter Accomplished a Whole Lot More Than We Think

We have been led to believe that the only thing that the shed blood of Christ accomplished is our personal justification.Perhaps, like the churches and seminary I attended, the focus of your church was very much on the Book of Romans.I had come to the conclusion that all I need to know about the shed blood of Christ on the cross is found in Romans. Romans is, after all, the primary document of the New Testament, spelling out what is really important.The Book of Romans is clear … [Read more...]

The Mission of God is Not Limited to Humanity, But Humanity is the Key to It All

What is the Mission of God? And what do we humans have to do with it?I agree with Christopher Wright in his book The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission, that the missio Dei is “The story of how God in his sovereign love has purposed to bring the sinful world of his fallen creation to the redeemed world of his new creation…It is a vast, comprehensive project of cosmic salvation.” The mission of God is to redeem the entirety of his created cosmos. The evangel … [Read more...]

Jesus is More (But Not Less) than a Carpenter

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3).Tom Nelson writes, "As I slowly pondered these words, I began to reflect on the significance of Jesus spending so much of his time on earth working with his hands in a carpentry shop. Here was the Son of God sent to earth on a redemptive mission of seeking and saving the lost, of proclaiming the gospel, yet he spent th … [Read more...]

Are There Two Kinds of Grace?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As God created everything in the cosmos in an orderly way, we read in Genesis 1 that "God saw that it was good."  After God made it all, we read, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Think about it. It was very good! How dare we think that our sin can nullify that which God has made!But that is exactly the implication we get from many of our churches - that the creation is so evil that there is nothing … [Read more...]

Four Ideas for Handling a Bad Boss

Oh, Mondays! As you get ready for work, you realized, "Ugh! I have to work with that boss again today!"Perhaps your boss yells at you or your boss demeans you with passive-aggressive behavior.I've had both kinds of bosses. One guy acted like his team was in the military and he was a drill sergeant – he actually thought he could motivate us by yelling at us. It just made me shrink up into the fetal position in my emotions, no longer even capable of doing a good job, let alone a better one. … [Read more...]

The Good Creation Remains

A careful reading of the Bible will see that the original creation is corrupted but not unredeemable. We've all heard well-intended people say that this earth is "not our home." The presumption is that this creation is so corrupted by sin that it is irreparable. The goal for Christians, in this view, is to escape this evil creation and go somewhere else. We call that place "Heaven."But here's the Bible's true teaching: Sin does not abolish God’s love for his creation.Christopher Wright s … [Read more...]

Your Identity Doesn’t Come from Your Work

So, you’re at a gathering and you meet someone for the first time. He asks you a key question so that he knows who you are: “What do you do?”What we do is so inextricably linked to who we are. It just is. Why? Because, in the beginning, God made humans this way!In Genesis, God says,“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule...” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blesse … [Read more...]

Why So Stressed Out?

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days, When our momma sang us to sleep, but now we're stressed out. — Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out”There was a time when pop musicians simply went by their given name, like Frank Sinatra or Duke Ellington. But then came the Beatles and the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Iron Butterfly. There are exceptions along the way, but now we expect musicians to name themselves U2, the Smashing Pumpkins, or maybe even Twenty One Pilots, who just w … [Read more...]

Shalom is Broken (The Fall)

The four-part story of the Gospel isCREATION FALL REDEMPTION RESTORATIONSadly, in this post, I am still covering the tragedy of the Fall.No longer does everyone work together for the attainment of shalom. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. defines shalom as “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight.” According to Plantinga, shalom is the way things are supposed to be. This is the premise of his excellent book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin.Mike Wittmer, in hi … [Read more...]