3 John: When Love is Abused

December 18, 2013

This small letter is the tale of two house-church leaders, Gaius and Diotrephes. One demonstrates love for God’s family while the other seeks a preeminent place in the family. One supports those who are traveling “for the sake of the name” while the other refuses to welcome them. “The elder”—the same one who authored 1 […]

2 John: Discerning Love

December 11, 2013

“The elder” writes to the “elect lady” about “truth and love.” The brief three-verse salutation of the letter (1-3)—a feature that 1 John did not have—uses the term “truth” four times and “love” twice. This signals the theme of the letter as the two major sections in the body of the letter exhort the church […]

Malachi 1:2-5 — Lord, How Have You Loved Us?

July 3, 2012

The opening line is simple, direct and profound: “I have loved you, says Yahweh.” That should be good news, but there are times when it may be heard with a bit of skepticism or even bitterness. It is a difficult word to hear when someone has just told you in the previous breath that your […]

Mark 12:28-34 — Kingdom Priorities

May 14, 2012

As Jesus teaches in the temple courts, his opponents confront him with a series of questions. Jesus had enraged the temple authorities when he cleansed the Court of the Gentiles from merchandizers. They questioned his authority, his allegiances, and his theology. These hostile questions intended to subvert his popularity and/or endanger his life. Now, however, […]

Zechariah 8:1-17 – God Remembers Jerusalem

March 16, 2012

In December 518 representatives from Bethel came to Judah and asked the leaders whether they should continue their lament fasts over the fall of Jerusalem (Zechariah 7:1-3). Zechariah responded with four distinct oracles (identified by the phrase the “word of the Lord came to me/Zechariah” in7:4, 8; 8:1, 18). He first questioned their motives for […]

When We Assemble….(Small Group Resources)

October 14, 2010

This weekend I am conducting a retreat on the topic of my previous three blogs (When We Assemble…). It will involve three presentations, one on each blog topic. I am also providing resources for small group discussion of the presentations, though the first is a private meditation. These are simple and basic, but hopefully helpful. […]

When We Assemble (3)…God Loves Us

October 13, 2010

When we assemble,  God loves us. I sense an immediate danger in that statement. It could potentially mean that God loves us only when we assemble or that God loves us because we assemble. I mean neither. Rather, I mean that when we assemble, God is actively engaged with us during the assembly by loving on […]

When We Assemble (2)….We Love God

October 12, 2010

When we assemble, we love God. Or, more to the point I want to make, when we assemble, we love on God.  There are many ways to make this point. We could look at the Psalms where we have example after example of expressed love for God through prayer, praise and assembly. For example, Psalm […]

When We Assemble (1)…We Love Each Other

October 11, 2010

I am increasingly convinced that all theological and ethical thought must be organically rooted–not simply tangentially connected–and illuminated by what Scot McKnight calls the “Jesus Creed,” that is, the first and second greatest commandments: Love God and love your neighbor. As a step in that direction, I offer three blogs on the nature and purpose […]

Sad But Unafraid

August 25, 2009

As I have spoken on The Shack in recent months–this past weekend, for example, at the Central Church of Christ in Benton, KY–the title of this post has become increasingly clarified for me: “Sad But Unafraid.”  [Those who fear the Lord] will have no fear of bad news;              their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. […]