Four Means of Grace (Acts 2:42)

April 23, 2016

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42, NRSV. “Our greatest trouble now is, it seems to me, a vast unconverted membership. A very large percent of the church members among us seem to have very poor conception of what a Christian ought […]

“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 […]

Jonah 2:6-9 – Jonah’s Prayer, Part II: Did Jonah Repent?

November 18, 2015

The first half of Jonah’s prayer (Jonah 2:2-6a) recalled Jonah’s plight in the sea—thrown into the water, engulfed in the waves, and sinking deep into Sheol—and his prayerful response, a cry for help. The second half of the prayer expresses thanksgiving for Yahweh’s deliverance (Jonah 2:6b-9). The two halves represent a typical Thanksgiving Psalm where […]

Psalm 88

February 15, 2015

Perhaps originally an individual lament by Heman, the Psalm became part of the repertoire of Israel’s communal worship at the temple. The faithful community sang and prayed these words. These words were not hidden in a corner, but heralded in the temple courts as the congregation of Israel worshiped God. Though they may have begun […]

Psalm 19

February 10, 2015

Words. Some are voiceless, some form a narrative, and others offer a response. Psalm 19 is a meditative response to words that make no sound and words that shape the life of Israel. The Psalmist offers a meditation on how God encounters Israel through creation and Torah and how believers respond to such gracious revelation. […]

Lament Prayer

January 20, 2015

God, take your hands out of your pockets and do something! Psalm 74:11a A Lament Prayer.

On Reading Lamentations

September 3, 2014

There is always reason to weep. We don’t have to look too far into our world—whether through social media, television, or newsprint—to find reason to weep. Yet, too often we—especially the church—ignore, hide our eyes, or look past the pain in order to escape into fantasy, denial, or hope. We rarely sit in our grief […]

Two Chapel Speeches on Lament

April 28, 2014

Below are links to two chapel speeches this year—my only chapel speeches this academic year. The first was delivered to the whole Lipscomb student body after the loss of Isaac Philips who was found dead in his dorm room in late September 2013. You may view the chapel speech at this link. The second was […]

Joel 2:12-17 — Assemble and Pray

April 17, 2014

Sometimes assembly is more important than a wedding night. That doesn’t sound right, does it? But it is the message of Joel 2:12-17. The impending disaster, the day of the Lord, created an urgency within Israel that prioritized the gathering of God’s people over wedding celebrations. A penitent people, according to Joel, should assemble to […]

A Lament Prayer: I Hate Death

October 1, 2013

You, God, who made the heavens and the earth and have promised to remake them, hear my voice. I plea for a hearing because you often seem so distant to me and sometimes I fear that you do not listen. Awake, O God, and hear my prayer for I struggle once again with death. Death […]