Meaningless Habits

“The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.” (Isaiah 1:11-13) If you were…

Top 10 Books of 2021

For the last few years, I’ve always meant to write my personal Top 10 Books of the year, but never managed to get around to it. Today all that changes (at last). In no particular order, here are the top 10 books I read in 2021. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (ed. John McNeill). In the interest of honesty, I should mention that I started this the year before, but it was well…

Who Is Your Mephibosheth?

David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1) After David becomes king over Israel according to the promise of God, and establishes his rule against pretenders to the throne, he remembers his beloved friend Jonathan. Jonathan, you may remember, was Saul’s son, and thus should have been David’s enemy. But Jonathan loved David and believed God’s promises to him.…

Increasingly Stupid

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. . . . The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:1, 15) If these proverbs are true (as they are, of course), then we are living in an increasingly stupid culture. (I apologize for the bluntness of the language, but I am simply quoting God’s Word here. Those of you with small children in the home likely…

Gleanings

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:22) If you’ll permit me, I’d like to offer one more thought about evangelism before we press on to other topics. And while Leviticus may be a strange place to go for outreach advice, it’s where I am in my yearly Bible-reading plan. Leviticus is never an…

The Evangelism Deficit

I wrote about evangelism in my last post, and I want to continue the discussion today. At this point in history, living as we do in a post-Christian culture, we must understand that we enter into most evangelistic conversations with a deficit. Certainly most people will not have a positive view of Christianity (and even less so of Christians), but fewer and fewer will even have a neutral view. We are starting in a hole, I…

All Things to All People

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became…

A Call to Prayer

The shocking scenes from the Capitol yesterday served as an implicit call to prayer. Rather than offer what would undoubtedly be imperfect words in a moment that requires precision, I will simply invite you to join in praying for the nation. Pray for healing and reconciliation. We know that true reconciliation cannot be found apart from Christ, so pray for revival to sweep the nation. Looking to humanism and mere kindness has not stemmed the…

Give Him No Rest

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7) The final chapters of Isaiah crescendo to the climax of history, detailing the perfection, wonder, and joy of the coming kingdom. In the midst of this crescendo, the Anointed One—Jesus, our coming King—appoints a group…

The Danger of Forgetting

The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; 10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. 11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. (Psalm 78:9-11) The men of Ephraim—that is, the tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel—fall into grave idolatry. So completely do they abandon God’s covenant (verse 10) that God delivers them into the hands of Assyria. In contrast to the…