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Modern Expressions in the Ancient Book of Job

We have many phrases, colloquialisms, and expressions we use, sometimes not knowing where they come from. At the end of the day Over my dead body There is light at the end of the tunnel Lay an egg Behind the eight-ball Interestingly, several of our modern-day phrases, colloquialisms, expressions can be found in the ancient book of Job. Catch my breath When we are struck with trials one right after the other, we say: “I did not have time to…

Institutes and Idolatry

If I were to tally a survey of the five most influential Christian books of all time, undoubtedly, John Calvin’s, the Institutes of the Christian Religion would make it on many lists. In fact, this very day, marks the 483-year anniversary (March 22, 1536) of the first publication of the first edition of his book. Contrary to popular belief, the Institutes of the Christian Religion is not a dry, heartless book of theology. The book is warm and pious, intended…

Sausage Anyone?

Last year, as I was eating king cake with my colleagues on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), we discussed how Catholics relinquish meat during the Lenten season. Our newest colleague was asked: “Are you Catholic?” “I used to be,” he said, “but I loved meat too much!” Chuckles filled the lunch room. As light-hearted as his comment was, the Reformed Reformation (not the Lutheran Reformation), of which Grace Community Bible Church can generally trace its roots, started by…

The Gospel in a Verse

The God-man priest propitiates the Father’s wrath for his people’s sins. That’s the summary of the gospel in one verse in Hebrews: “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17). This verse unfolds with three attributes of Christ: the person of Christ; the office of Christ; the work of…

The Ministry of Every Christian

If you are a Christian, you are called to ministry. I don’t mean vocational ministry—few of God’s people are called to vocational ministry. But I do mean ministry. The question is, what is ministry supposed to do, and what is that ministry aiming to accomplish? Simply put, ministry is this: proclaim to present. This language comes from Col 1:28: “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete…

Meditation in a Distracting World

I remember a day when my print version Bible sat on my nightstand. I would read it before bed. Now, instead of my Bible on my nightstand, I have something “better”—my smart phone. With my smart phone, I have access not only to a Bible in multiple translations, but I also have access to blogs, calendar, email, to do lists, and my alarm. And, oh, did I mention, a notepad to draft a blog post about meditating in a distracting…

Love Life. Love God More.

I love life. I love the Sunday afternoon roar of the crowds at the Masters. I love four-wheel driving on the red rocks in Moab, Utah. I love the smile that dolphins perpetually wear. I love the smell of fresh-baked apple pie. I love life. God has given us so much to love! But . . . you knew there was a “but” coming. The danger is that we can love life more than we love God. Oh, it’s not…

Seven Ways to Love Your Church

Jesus loves the church (Eph 5:25). Jesus’ love enables our love for the church. But how do we love the church? Here are seven ways to love Christ’s local church. 1. Become a member (1 Cor 12:14-31). Becoming a member, rather than merely a regular attender, shows your loving commitment to one another. Attend the stated meetings of the church on a regular basis (Heb 10:25). At Grace Community Bible Church, we have designed each stated meeting (Sunday worship, C.E.…

I Love Jesus But Hate the Church

Susan, a professing Christian, began her Facebook comments with a curse on all pastors and churches. One of Susan’s friends on Facebook asked her in response: “Do you hate churches and pastors?” Susan responded, “Yep.” Her friend then asked a very insightful question: “Then I guess that means you hate Paul and Peter and Jesus too.” Susan proclaims: “Oh no not them, just all the ones around today,” Then she adds, “Jesus and I are doing great.” I remembered this…

The Gospel is Not a Way of Life

The Gospel is Not a Way of Life A recent Star Tribune article sadly reported that many Minnesota “mainline” churches are losing membership and closing their doors. In so doing, “a way of life” comes to an end. The problem is that years ago these churches reduced the gospel merely to “a way of life.” The truth is that the Christian faith is a historical faith. Without the historical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity does not exist. Pastor…

Three Common Misconceptions about Forgiveness

Because we are sinners, both sinning and being sinned against, we cannot live life without forgiveness. Forgiveness is part and parcel of life. Yet as much as forgiveness should be a part of everyday life, forgiveness often seems nebulous. We often misunderstand what forgiveness truly is. We have three common misconceptions about forgiveness. 1. Forgiveness is a feeling We often confuse forgiveness with feelings. “I don’t feel very forgiving.” Have you ever felt like you didn’t want to forgive someone…

Why Preach a Crucified Christ?

As we observe Good Friday, a good question to ask is why we preach and listen to sermons about a crucified Christ? For starters, we preach Christ crucified because this was the Apostle Paul’s model (1 Cor 1:23).  But why did Paul preach a crucified Christ? Surely Paul does not preach a crucified Christ solely because Christ was crucified.  Christ was crucified.  But why not preach a resurrected Christ?  The resurrection is absolutely essential for the gospel just as much as the crucifixion. Thankfully, we don’t have to speculate.  Paul tells us why he…