Introduction When my wife and I were married in 1988, we embarked on a honeymoon that was a bit different than most folks. We decided to go on a student trip to Europe, visiting and studying in England, Western Europe, Scandinavia, Poland, East Germany (as it was known then), and the Soviet Union (back …
Evangelism Part 1 When I was a member of the CMA Danvers, MA chapter, New Life Riders, our chaplain was a special guy. Pastor Dick May was the kind of guy you wanted to hand around if you were a Christian. He had a deep love for those who did not know Jesus, and he …
Reddit Questions #1 – Prayer, beginner Bible reading, and imaginary friends I have recently joined the throngs at Reddit (look for greggpj333), and one of the subreddits I am a member of is a place where non-believers can ask honest questions of believers. I have been active in this subreddit and wanted to publish some …
The devotional I gave at my mother's wedding.
The Kingdom of God has not come to its full reality. Revelation 20-21 describes the Kingdom of God in its fullness. Jesus returns and sets everything to rights. There is new Creation with a new Heaven (where God’s presence dwells eternally) and a new Earth (His very good creation). The sin of our first parents damaged the connection between God’s presence and His creation. In those two chapters, God finishes the reclamation project started in Genesis and reclaims His people as His own. His people are then put in charge of this New Creation to enjoy His works eternally and steward His New Creation. But that is the “not yet.”
The great British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge once said that "The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact." The human condition of war is evidence of that. War involves pain. War involves sacrifice. War involves death. While war is identifiable, the pain, sacrifice, and death are the results of the kingdom of the enemy. That is what is resisted.
I have a presence on social media, but I am careful with what I consume in that arena. One of the elements of social media that annoy me in particular is MEMEs. If you don’t know, a MEME is a picture or a graphic that has a short saying to make a point. Sometimes they are funny, but most times, they are profoundly annoying and terribly incorrect. Fallacies abound, and false information is ubiquitous. Therefore, I thought I would start a series breaking down some MEMEs that especially irk me. With that, let’s get to this edition’s disaster.
So far, in this series, we have looked at the Kingdom of God from many different angles. In this edition, I want to take a look at a steam of Parables in Matthew 13 that speaks directly to the nature of the Kingdom of God
My kids are grown now. Both have moved out of the house and are living lives that are independent of their parents. I am exceedingly proud of my kids and what they have accomplished in their lives. But in that pride is a bit of sorrow. I miss picking up my daughter and her beeping my nose, saying, with a laugh, “Boopies, I got you first!” I miss having deep conversations with my then four-year-old son. “Daddy, what ‘cuz the world to go in circles around the sun?” Yes, they had their times of disobedience, and they needed to be corrected from time to time. However, those memories have faded into the past. Mostly what remains are memories of happy, joyous times with my children.
Until recently, I had never read any of Henri Nouwen’s work. I have a feeling that my choice of starting with The Return of the Prodigal Son was an excellent place to start. Nouwen’s reflections on not just the parable Jesus told in Luke 15, but also reflections on the famous painting by Rembrandt. Tying in these two elements, I was deeply challenged by Nouwen to reflect on the three main characters in the story: the younger son, the elder son, and the father.
For this series on the Kingdom of God, we have seen how the Kingdom of God is something that is both now and future, that we live in the Kingdom by following Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes, that the gospel is not just when we die we go to Heaven but is centered on the work of Jesus, and that we can approach the throne of the King in prayer. This installment, I want to focus on the fact that there is only one King
In John 20, Jesus does something entirely unexpected. The resurrection itself was quite surprising, but now, in the upper room, Jesus breaths on the disciples and states, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:22 (CSB). This essay will review the background understanding of the Holy Spirit for the Jewish disciples, exegesis of John 20:21-23 with observations and interpretations, and conclude with an application.
We are amid some extraordinary days. We rolled into 2020 with high hopes and dreams. For me, I was looking forward to Memorial Day Holiday and NASCAR in Charlotte. I was also looking forward to seeing one of my favorite bands, the Doobie Brothers, on their 50th-anniversary tour. I love gathering with my CMA chapter and with the bodies of two different churches. But now, many of those things are gone, and others have been drastically altered.
Now that we have established these facts about the Kingdom, we need to talk about something important. That is approaching the King (God) in the Kingdom of God. For this, we need to start in Genesis 1 and 2. For a lot of my writing, I tend to go back to Genesis 1 and 2 to establish a baseline. This is humanity’s intended purpose and place in God’s Kingdom. It is who we are meant to be.
Let me ask you a question. What do you understand the gospel to be? Some might answer like this: "Accept Jesus as your Savior, and when you die, you will go to Heaven." Or "Put your faith in Jesus, and your sins will be forgiven." Or "Follow Jesus, and you will find meaning and purpose for your life." All of these answers are right – but they are only partially correct. These statements are parts of the gospel, but they are not the entirety of the gospel.
In the first installment, I discussed what the Kingdom of God (KoG) is. The KoG is something we look forward to in full in the future. It is also something we live in now in the present. We wait for the fulfillment, but we live in the present Kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit. The question then becomes, how do we live in the KoG.
Here is the fourth and final in a series of devotional videos I am providing to my church during Holy Week.
Here is the third in a series of devotional videos I am providing to my church during Holy Week.
Here is the second in a series of devotional videos I am providing to my church during Holy Week.
Here is the first in a series of devotional videos I am providing to my church during Holy Week.
The passage we are going to look at today is Colossians 3:1-7. Before we get into the passage, I want to start with an illustration. One of my favorite stories is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. My favorite character in that tale is Sam Gamgee.
Tonight, we are going to look at a passage of scripture that, to be frank, is difficult. For those of you who come from a Roman Catholic background, you will know about the Stations of the Cross and you will recognize this scripture as one of those stations. While most of the stations reflect on the actions of Jesus, this station, the fourth station, reflects upon the actions of Peter and his denial of Jesus.
Welcome to the first in a series looking at the Kingdom of God (KoG). Through this series, I will be writing about how the KoG impacts our lives now as well as how we have something spectacular to look forward to in the future. To start this series, I want to look at how Jesus and the Bible talk about the KoG.
Today I want to speak to you about being lost and being found. Who among us has been out there, on the road, and completely baffled as to where we are? Maybe heading up to the Dragon in Tennessee you took a wrong turn and ended up who knows where? Well, today I can’t be your road GPS, but I want to speak on how God’s revelation to us is our spiritual GPS.
That is what teachers do. They fall in love with the material they are teaching, and they lead others to understand and love it as well. The Teacher is one of the fivefold ministries.