Top 10 YouTubes of 2018

It’s time for my annual posting of the Top 10 YouTube Videos of the Year (see last year’s list here). The videos below are actually not all YouTubes. There are some Twitter and Facebook videos in there too. Nevertheless, I’m gonna keep the title “Top 10 YouTubes” because most of them are in fact YouTubes and because I want to keep continuity with previous annual lists.

This ranking is totally unscientific. Only one person was polled to compile this list—yours truly. This year’s slate of videos has both humor and humanity with some other odds and ends thrown in. If you think I’ve left something out, let me know on Twitter or Facebook. I’ll think about adding it to the “Honorable Mention” category at the bottom.

If you’re interested, here are links to lists from previous years:

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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God sent his son into the world…

I confess that I have been—for my entire life—an unabashed reveler in schmaltzy Christmas traditions. The music, the food, the movies, the anticipation of the season. I’ve always loved it. Nevertheless, it is also true that every year I find myself less and less satisfied by the pablum of the season and more and more desirous of something more. I identify with Charlie Brown’s consternation at the end of that TV special, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

I’m not writing this to dump on Christmas traditions—even the schmaltzy ones. My family has them, and we will continue to keep them. I simply want to make much of what those traditions are supposed to be about. It is about God sending his Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world through him. And if you miss that, then you have missed everything that matters.

That was the message I delivered to our church yesterday, and it is the message I am sharing with you now. You can download it here or listen below.


“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”
John 3:17

Merry Christmas!

Let every heart prepare him room!

How could there possibly be anything more mysterious and wonderful than the incarnation of Jesus Christ? God became a man. God took on mortal human flesh and became subject to all the things that every other mortal is subject to. He sneezed. He coughed. He got headaches and an upset stomach. Every morning he got up, shook the dust out of His hair, and put his hand to the plow in his Father’s field.

Jesus Christ was not only subject to sickness, but also to death. The eternal Son of God was die-able. In fact, he did die. And three days later, what was mortal became swallowed up by immortality in the resurrection.

Even now, the resurrected Christ sits at the right hand of God in glory. As I type these words, the incarnate God intercedes in the flesh for His people before the Father (Romans 8:34). And it all began in a manger 2,000 years ago. No, actually, we have to go nine months before that—when Jesus Christ was first conceived by the Holy Spirit within the virgin Mary, when the God-Man was an embryo. “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. . . The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:30, 35).

How can it be that God has come in the flesh? How can it be that he is in the flesh now? Yet this is precisely what the Bible teaches. “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

As we ponder the imponderables of God, let us never cease to be amazed at the manifold mercies of God that have come to us through the incarnation of King Jesus. Let every heart prepare Him room.

Merry Christmas!

A persecuted pastor in China has issued a “Declaration of Faithful Disobedience”

You may have read the news last week that the Communist government in China has cracked down on a church in the city of Chengdu. A couple weeks ago, Chinese authorities arrested pastor Wang Yi, his wife, and over 100 Christians who attend Early Rain Covenant Church. The Communists regard religion as a threat to the regime, and so authorities charged them with “inciting subversion of state power.” Wang Yi and his wife have not been heard from in over a week.

Foreseeing his arrest, Pastor Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours. The declaration “explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out.” This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on December 12, 2018, and is replicated here with permission. Thanks are due to Brent Pinkall and the China Partnership translation team for their work.

We had a portion of this letter read from our pulpit yesterday. I think every Christian would do well do read the entire thing. Pastor Yi is teaching us how to bear faithful witness, and we need to pray for him, his wife, their children, and their entire church as they are suffering persecution. Continue Reading →

Chaplain Bill. RIP.

I only have happy feelings when I think about my days as a student at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). It was such a formative time, and I remain grateful to professors who poured their lives and teaching into me during those years.

A big part of life on campus in those days was chapel. I don’t know if it’s still this way today, but we had chapel meetings four times a week (Tue-Fri). The personality who filled that space was our chaplain, Bill Bryan—known affectionately to everyone as “Chaplain Bill.” He had a big heart, a big voice, and booming trumpet, all of which he lifted up in praise to the most High God. Continue Reading →

The history of slavery and racism at SBTS

In late 2017, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. appointed a committee of six persons to prepare a report on the legacy of slavery and racism in the history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Today, that report was released.

We all know the sad history of slavery and racism in the SBC, and we know that SBTS has been part of that story going back to 1859. Still, it is heart-breaking to read the particulars, and this report has those. I am grateful for my colleagues who worked for the last year to produce this report—Curtis Woods, John Wilsey, Kevin Jones, Jarvis Williams, Matt Hall, and Greg Wills. Well done.

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A drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge has a startling conversation with the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley. Jacob is damned in death for his misdeeds in life, and he appears to warn Scrooge that he is headed for the same fate. Scrooge resists the suggestion that Jacob’s life was damnable. Scrooge understands that if Jacob’s life is damnable, then so is his own. So this exchange ensues:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing his hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Well done, Mr. Dickens. Well done. Lord, help us to understand what is the comprehensive ocean of our business.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Sex and the false gods of the marketplace

Peter Jensen has a wonderful review of Glynn Harrison’s new book A Better Story: God, Sex and Human Flourishing (Intervarsity, 2017). I haven’t read the book yet, but I want to point out two paragraphs from the review that are important. Jensen writes:

We frequently hear from Christians who sigh about our apparent obsession with sex and advise us simply to get on preaching the gospel. This superficially attractive advice is, in fact, untenable. The world we live in is sex-saturated. We can hardly avoid addressing the subject if we wish to apply the gospel, challenge people to live in a godly way, and protect the faithful. At a deeper level, when we consult the Scriptures themselves, we see that the whole business of sexual relations is very much connected to our humanness. At any period of human history, it would be right to give attention to this subject if we wish to understand who we are and how we are to please the Lord. Since there is a close biblical connection between the abuse of sexuality and idolatry, if we wish to analyse the false religions of humanity, we will need to talk about sex. Continue Reading →

Faithful biblical typology or unbiblical Marian devotion?

Earlier this week, Joe Carter tweeted his skepticism about a popular image depicting Eve and Mary (see above). That one tweet led to spirited debate on social media about the proper meaning and interpretation of this picture. One side argues that the image depicts an unbiblical form of Marian devotion. The other side argues that the image represents a biblical view of Mary’s place in the gospel story—one that is completely friendly to the Protestant tradition of scriptural interpretation. Continue Reading →

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