Weekly Thoughts

The Reading of Scripture

This week’s post will explain why we read Scripture on Sunday morning, and why we intend to do more of it. From the earliest history of God’s people, the covenant community gathered to hear God’s Word (Deut. 31:10–13). And moving forward through the centuries, Scripture reading has been interspersed with the singing of Psalms, hymns,[…]

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Pope as Vicar of Christendom?

Is Christian unity dependent on a central Bishop of Rome, a unity to which Protestants should give their allegiance? The answer is surely yes, if we recognize the pontiff as the divinely appointed Vicar of Christ. But is he? With this question in view, Professor Kenneth J. Stewart’s new book In Search of Ancient Roots examines the[…]

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Surprised by Joy in the New Year

My phone bonged while driving to the office today. Evidently, when there is an important national news story, my phone departs from the normal vibrate mode and lets out a big bong. In this case, it was a new study showing that 2017 has created anxiety at alarming proportions for many Americans, such that they are entering[…]

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The Hope of Advent  

As a teenager working in the mall during Christmas, I was the guy who ran products from the warehouse to the store clerks. This cavernous stockroom was 6,000 square feet and filled wall-to-wall with boxes. On one occasion, I found myself at the rear side of the windowless warehouse opposite the door when someone turned[…]

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Sharing Christ with Loved Ones During Christmas

Many of us approach Christmas dinner brimming with fear. Such anxiety doesn’t come from Aunt Gertrude’s liver sausage pate or her sour-apple fruitcake so much as our sense of the challenge of trying to direct conversation toward the gospel. After all, last year’s attempt was a proverbial train wreck. How can this year be any different? If[…]

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Unexpected Joy of Advent

Joy emerges often when it’s least expected: When a soldier returns from active duty, surprising his children in the first light of morning; when an unexpected fragrance greets our senses, an aroma of happier years; or when we read Scripture and find a divine promise leaps from the page, exclaiming, “joy inexpressible, filled with glory.”[…]

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The Texture of Advent

It was among the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Following an exposition of Matthew 2 in which I explained the typological significance of Jesus’ flight to Egypt against the background of salvation history, an older member of the congregation put his arm around me and asked if he could offer some feedback. “Please,”[…]

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A God-Centered Thanksgiving

The 1965 film classic, Shenandoah, features a memorable and outlandish prayer. With his eight children seated for dinner, the father, played by James Stewart observes, “Now, your mother wanted all of you raised as good Christians. And I might not be able to do that thorny job as well as she could, but I can[…]

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How Christianity Conquered Rome

Famine and war had recently afflicted Caesarea, so when the plague hit in the early fourth century, the populace was already weakened and unable to withstand this additional blow. Men and women began fleeing the city, one of the larger ones of the Roman Empire, for safety in the countryside.1 However, in the midst of the[…]

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Faith: Living, Busy, Active, Mighty

In our day it is fashionable to portray Martin Luther as one who was strictly concerned with faith as a momentary event involving the transfer of one’s trust, apart from a subsequent lifetime of obedient works. I would like to suggest that this caricature is not only unfair; it is also inaccurate. This week’s post[…]

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