December 11, 2014

To believe our covenant children should be baptized apart from a personal, living, repenting, faith is to completely miss the entire reason for baptism. It’s to belittle the significance of faith and it’s centrality in the New Covenant. Romans 6:3 tells us baptism is a kind of participation in Christ’s death, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death”  Read more

December 8, 2014

Being a pastor is one of those jobs everyone thinks he understands, but few really do. I had no idea what it was going to be like myself. So after 20 years of experience, here are 11 things some of us wish you knew. Read more

December 6, 2014

There’s only one character in the new film All Is Lost. If this character were an unknown actor, or even a known actor you didn’t care about, it would be opening in two theaters or going straight to DVD. The fact that it’s Robert Redford, who at 77 years old a living legend who may not be around much longer, makes this movie feel important. At an hour and forty-five minutes and with much less dialogue and music than its predecessor Castaway, there aren’t many actors who could hold our attention until the end. Redford does, and makes us feel every moment. Read more

December 2, 2014

Regardless of where you fall on the issues surrounding Ferguson, you watched and listened because you desired to see good prevail (in whatever that means to you) and justice upheld. The problem is that “justice” may mean something different to you than it does to me, or the rioters. Therein lies the big problem. Sin has a way of skewing our perception of reality. It warps it. Our natural desire for justice becomes distorted, mixed with pride; it becomes an ugly, self-justifying, animal. Read more

December 1, 2014

I don’t know what happened to M. Night Shyamalan the director, but I’ve always enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan the writer.  So, even though I’m not a fan of horror films, I was interested to see what story M. Night would tell about the devil in a film written by him and directed by John Eric Dowdle.  Devil (2010) is not very profound or very scary (although my 12-year old might not sleep for a week if she saw it).  But what it is is entertaining and decidedly moral.  Sure, there’s a good amount of folk religion here (a suicide paves the way for the devil to become incarnate), but the story hinges on the reality of 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” which the movie quotes at its opening. Read more

November 20, 2014

There are many things in this world that can discourage us. Every single day we hear something in the news that makes us frustrated and often times even causes us to feel exasperated because the sad and negative never seem to lighten up. So, let me ask, are you discouraged by this week’s headlines? Sometimes what can help us is to fast-forward to the end in order to remind ourselves of what is in store for us in the future. Here we go: Read more

November 17, 2014

It is no secret that Calvinists love books. As a new believer I remember seeing a picture on a friends desk that said, “When I get a little money I buy books; if any is left over I buy food and clothes”. Given the topic of the blog, this quotes source (Desiderius Erasmus) lends itself to some irony. Don’t worry. He doesn’t have any books on this list. However, there is some amount of truth in this mindset. Reformed thinkers love to read and collect books.  Read more

November 10, 2014

Personally, as an American, I am grateful for the Thanksgiving Holiday. In the busy (yet cushy) American lifestyle, I think it is all too easy to forget to be grateful to the Giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). That’s why I’m glad for October 3, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln set aside the fourth Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”[1]. I think we need to be reminded of our need to be grateful for all the Father has lavishly bestowed on us, especially as Americans. In Romans 1, Paul is speaking about the sinful patterns of the world and he is careful to add “neither were they thankful”. Ungratefulness is a natural inclination… for the Romans… for the Israelites in the wilderness… and for us. Thankfulness, then, must be taught. It is a habit we must develop, both in ourselves and in our families…. Read more

November 7, 2014

Woody Allen has been making movies for almost 50 years, and will be 80 years old this year.  He is the classic ‘auteur,’ a creative artist who is responsible for a film’s content, as he writes and directs (and often stars in) all of his movies.  It is standard critical opinion that, even though he pumps out a picture a year, he goes long stretches without making a really great movie.  He seems ok with this fact, hoping that quantity will make up for lapses in quality.  I wonder, though, if he hasn’t given up (at least a little) hoping to please audiences today.  A film he made in 2011, Midnight in Paris, is all about the struggle between living in the past and living in the disappointing present.  As always, with Allen, you wonder how much is autobiographical. Read more

November 5, 2014

When Christ spoke in saying that they render unto Caesar that which was his, He did so without qualms. Why is this? Was He not concerned with responsible stewardship? Was He not concerned with money used to fund blatant sin? When Paul and Peter wrote that the church ought to be submissive to governing authorities that would sooner have them dipped in tar and lit aflame to be torches for dinner parties then give them equal rights – did they not have concern for the wickedness of such men and for the well being of the church? Read more

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