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“Greater Love Than This …” (February 2020 Update) 

Even though it is very different from the original, we have enjoyed watching the new “Lost in Space” series on Netflix. The storylines have been riveting and full of action. But what we have liked the most was a focus on family relationships and the fact that love changes people (we won’t give you any specific examples – no spoilers!). 

There are many theories about the Atonement of Jesus in the history of the church. Most of them have elements of truth to them. The Substitutionary Atonement theory reminds us that Jesus died in our place. He became our substitute! This concept is seen throughout the Bible where a lamb is substituted as a temporary payment for sins. Jesus became one of us so that he could die in our place by being our substitute. “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”  Continue Reading »

One of the things I love about college football is the Bowl Season. It is unique in sports to college football. It allows many teams, even some with 6-6 records to finish their year with an opportunity for a special “championship” moment. Other sports have a playoff system that ultimately has many losers and only one winner. But, in college football, many teams will end the year with a special moment in a College Bowl Game.  

But I also love that, every year, every team starts the new year with the same record – 0 wins and 0 losses. Even an undefeated National Champion starts the year in the fall with the same record as a team that didn’t win even one game the previous year. And coaches of National Championships often have the hardest time. They have to constantly remind their players that this is a new season and they need to forget the past and win again this season if they want to be champions again. Teams that “rest on their laurels” will have a hard time making it back to the playoffs again. In college football, teams have to start each new season by “forgetting what lies behind.”  Continue Reading »

God Sent Forth His Son… (December 2019 Update)

In Galatians 4:4-6, Paul gives us a summary of the Christmas story: “In the fulness of time, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His son into your hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father.’” When we think of Christmas, we often turn to familiar stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. But here, Paul reminds us that Christmas is more than just a “babe in a manger.” Continue Reading »

Thankfulness … (November 2019 Update)  

We listen to a lot of old songs in our family. One of our favorites is the soundtrack from “Fiddler on the Roof” (which is actually based on stories Called “Tevye the Milkman” by a Jewish Ukrainian author, Sholem Aleichem). We love all the songs but especially “To Life” (L’Chaim). One verse sums up the biblical attitude toward thankfulness: “God would like us to be joyful even though our hearts lie panting on the floor; How much more can we be joyful, when there’s really something to be joyful for.” 

As believers, we have so much to be thankful for – even when things are not going well. In his book, The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil, Thomas Watson says, “Praise and thanksgiving is the work of heaven and he [the godly man] begins that work here which he will always be doing in heaven. The Jews have a saying – the world subsists by three things: the law, the worship of God and thankfulness. As if where thankfulness was missing, one of the pillars of the world had been taken away and it was ready to fall.” The psalmist says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2) and “it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” (Psalm 92:1). As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in America, it is good for us to think biblically about our thankfulness. Here are some thoughts from Thomas Watson about godliness and thankfulness.  Continue Reading »

People Need the Lord … (October 2019 Update) 

Evangelism is the life blood of Christianity. Every generation is responsible for sharing the gospel. As Dr. E. Stanley Jones once said, “God doesn’t have grandchildren.”  Because spiritual life is not passed on when God’s spiritual children have physical children. Each person must hear the gospel and respond. No one is saved by being in a good Christian family. That’s why it is important that we share the gospel with people. For “how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) 

Evangelism is our responsibility. But evangelism today is often done wrongly. In our class, we talked examined the methods Jesus used and Paul’s theology of the gospel to better understand evangelism. But we also looked at some wrong approaches to evangelism. Here are a few.  Continue Reading »

Public Worship  (September 2019 Update)

“Private worship is more important than Public Worship.” Until a few weeks ago, this is what I have always said and believed. But in preparing for teaching a class on Worship, I read an article by Don Whitney on “Private Worship.”i In his introduction, he wrote about a sermon by David Clarkson, Public Worship to be Preferred Before Private” which changed his mind. After reading Don’s comments about the sermon, I then read the sermon itself. I was convinced!  Clarkson has 12 lengthy major points followed by 9 explanations and another 11 exhortations or applications! Here are a few reasons that I have summarized from this excellent sermon with a couple more of my own observations.  Continue Reading »

Public Worship Preferred Before Private 

David Clarkson 

The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 

– PSALM 88:2. 

SO THAT we may apprehend the meaning of these words, and so thereupon raise some edifying observation, we must inquire into the reason why the Lord is said to love the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. This being manifest, the words will be clear. 

Now the reason we may find assigned by the Lord himself, Deut. 8:5, 6, 11. The gates of Zion was the place which the Lord had chosen to cause his name to dwell there, i.e. as the following words explain, the place of his worship. For the temple was built upon, or near to, the hill of Zion. And this, you know, was in peculiar the settled place of his worship. It was the Lord’s delight in affection to his worship, for which he is said to love the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob.  Continue Reading »