Joel 2:28-32 — I Will Pour Out My Spirit On All Flesh

May 7, 2014

Joel’s lament liturgy in the first half of the book envisioned the devastation of Israel by a locust plague (or perhaps an invading army). That impending disaster also represented a future apocalyptic disaster. Joel is working at two levels–the immediate moment but also a future cataclysm. Israel’s response to such news, as with all other […]


Yet Will I Trust Him: Trusting God in the Storms of Life

April 19, 2014

The College Hills Church of Christ in Lebanon, TN, invited me to teach a class on “Yet Will I Trust Him: Trusting God in the Storms of Life” throughout January and February 2014.  It was a good experience for me, though whether it was for everyone else is something I cannot judge. I am grateful […]


Revelation 1:9-20 — An Imperial Christophany

May 28, 2013

The Christophany–the appearance of Jesus to John–sets the tone for the letters to the churches (Revelation 2 & 3) and provides the ground for patient endurance through the dramatic conflict that the Apocalypse will unfold in the second and third visions (Revelation 4-16 and Revelation 17-21). It is, therefore, important to pay close attention to […]


A Different Kind of Easter Morning

April 2, 2013

This Easter, before assembling with other believers, I did something that I had never done before. I visited Joshua’s grave. For me visiting graves has rarely been comforting. In fact, it was the opposite. The graveyard seemed too permanent. It contained too many granite stones which testified to both the pervasiveness and intransigence of death. I […]


Can These Bones Live? Ezekiel 37:1-14

January 22, 2013

The twentieth century is too familiar with valleys of dry bones. The images of stacked bodies from Nazi concentration camps, churches filled with the bones of those who sought sanctuary in Rwanda, or the killing fields of Cambodia. Unfortunately, with the help of media and the horrific inhumanity of recent times, we can all too […]


Mark 16:1-8 — The Ministry of Jesus Begins Anew

August 20, 2012

The ending of Mark has long been a controversial subject among scholars even though the present general consensus is that the long ending (Mark 16:9-20) is not original to the Gospel. I will not rehearse that evidence here except to say that 9-20 is absent from the earliest manuscripts, patristic evidence is scanty and confirms […]


Mark 12:18-27: Who is Your God?

May 10, 2012

In this story Jesus confronts the limiting rationality of Sadducees who think it impossible that God should raise the dead. Their theology is limited by their own experience and rational argumentation. I dare say that is not too uncommon in our present moment as well. For example, it is not unusual to hear, “If God is like […]


Mark 9:2-13 — The Son of Man Glorified

February 13, 2012

The Son of Man, Jesus announced (Mark 8:31), must suffer, die on a cross and then be raised from the dead. The Son of Man must lose his life before it can be saved. The path of suffering (losing his life) leads to glory (saving his life). The Son of Man will appear in the […]


Handel’s Messiah: A Missional Reading Part IV

December 23, 2011

Part III, the shortest, is humanity’s response to God’s redemptive act and is focused on the hope of resurrection which leads to a final praise of the Lamb. Handel ends his Messiah with the praise of the reigning King, a slain Lamb. Handel weaves together texts from Job, 1 Corinthians and Revelation. He uses the […]


Hungering for Easter (Lenten Reflections)

March 31, 2010

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:19-28 Death is an enemy. On occasion death can be a relative good. When the quality of life, for example, is significantly diminished and there is unbearable pain, we might think dying is better than living—but only in a relative sense. Life is better than death since God created life but not […]