Easter Morning: From Joshua’s Grave to Joyous Assembly

March 27, 2016

This Easter, before assembling with other believers, I visited Joshua’s grave. For me visiting graves has rarely been comforting. In fact, it is the opposite. The graveyard seemed too permanent. It contained too many granite stones which testified to both the pervasiveness and intransigence of death. I have found in recent years visiting graves is good […]


Holy Saturday–Sitting By the Grave

March 26, 2016

Good Friday, and then Easter. But a day is missing in that story. To move from Friday to Sunday we must walk through Saturday. Saturday, however, is a lonely day. Death has won. Hope is lost. Jesus of Nazareth lies in a tomb. His disciples are afraid, hiding, and deeply depressed. Everything in which they […]


“I Thirst” (John 19:38)

March 26, 2016

Brief words often speak volumes. They say so much, and no other words are needed. “I thirst” is exactly that. While, at first, we may think this is primarily about physical thirst—and we should not discount that dimension, the words are more about the situation in which Jesus finds himself. “I thirst” is the cry […]


The Real Political Struggle

March 14, 2016

To which polis do you belong? I’m not asking in which geographical cities do we live, nor am I asking which nation-state do we inhabit? I am asking which polis shapes our identity, drives life, and defines our telos (the end toward which we live life)? Which polis gives our lives meaning and purpose? Paul […]


In Defense of “I’ll Fly Away”

February 24, 2016

This past weekend, on February 20, I was honored to participate in the memorial service of a godly woman in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Rose Marie Paden–the beloved mother of the Paden boys and girls, and the second mother of the Hicks boys and girl–passed from this life on February 12, 2016. In 1953, Rose Marie […]


Visibly Practicing the Unity of the Spirit: What Shall We Do?

February 23, 2016

Many have heard about the “five steps of salvation,” but here are  my “five steps” toward visibly embodying the unity the Spirit has already created. Confession – we confess Jesus is Lord by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). Transformation – we are sanctified by the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). Liturgy – we worship in the […]


Jesus Wept (John 11:35)

February 8, 2016

[Hear this sermon at here.] When Jesus saw Mary wailing in grief and saw the others with her—both men and women—visibly sobbing, a deep anger welled up within his spirit, and he roused himself and asked them, “Where have you laid him?” They responded, “Come and see.” Then Jesus burst into tears. As a result, […]


Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace

February 1, 2016

Review of Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace, by Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.  This review first appeared in Restoration Quarterly 56 (2014): 258-259. This book is long overdue. While the shelves are filled with scholarly summaries of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley, this is the first book-length […]


Jonah 4:5-11 — Jonah Learns a Lesson, or Did He?

January 14, 2016

Jonah thought Yahweh’s mercy to Nineveh was unjust and “evil.” Consequently, Jonah prayed–he lamented, complained, and essentially petitioned Yahweh to reverse the decision, to relent from mercy and apply wrath. Yahweh’s response did not reject or dismiss the prayer. The prayer was heard. In fact, Yahweh responded: “Is it right (good) for you to be […]


Jonah 4:1-4 — Jonah’s Angry Resentment

January 7, 2016

This is the peak moment in the story of Jonah. God commissioned Jonah, but Jonah fled. God pursued Jonah, and Jonah relented and accepted the commission (after almost drowning). Jonah proclaimed hope/warning to Nineveh, and Nineveh repented. God “repented,” and Jonah… One might expect Jonah to rejoice, but this is not what Jonah does. Instead, […]