Archive | Christianity

Are policy-makers “encouraging mass civil disobedience”?

I noted on Saturday that the Mayor of Louisville has overstepped by threatening to take down the license plate numbers of cars in church parking lots—even if citizens never leave their cars! His action is a violation of religious liberty that erodes trust. Sadly, it also squanders the community spirit that has led to the vast majority of churches suspending their in-person gatherings.

A Wall Street Journal editorial today cites Louisville as an example of abuses going on around the country. An excerpt: Continue Reading →

If beer is “essential,” so is Easter.

We are having a genuine religious liberty imbroglio here in Louisville, Kentucky, and it is time for Christians to pay attention.

The Courier-Journal reports that late in the week, Governor Andy Beshear and Mayor Greg Fischer doubled-down on their ban on church gatherings. Gov. Beshear mainly focused on churches that are gathering together in person. Mayor Fischer took it a step further and forbade drive-thru services where congregants don’t even get out of their cars. Mayor Fischer says that police will record license plate numbers of anyone caught in a drive-thru service and would possibly subject them to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Continue Reading →

Why couldn’t God just forgive us? Did Jesus really have to die?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die in order for God to forgive us? Why couldn’t God just let us off the hook for our sin? Why did his very own Son have to die in our place?

These are the questions that I attempt to answer in my Good Friday message. And they are the questions that Romans 3:24-25 answers.

Sinners often ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This is not a question that ever crosses Paul’s mind because he knows there are no good people (Rom. 3:23). The question that drives Paul is this: “Why is God good to bad people?” Unless you’re asking that question, you won’t understand the cross and why it was necessary.

The Innermost Meaning of the Cross

man in orange top beside eyeglasses on brown book“But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”
-Isaiah 53:10

“God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation in His blood through faith, in order to demonstrate His righteousness.”
-Romans 3:25

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”
-Galatians 3:13 Continue Reading →

What is Maundy Thursday?

Church Window, Church, England, Image, ChristianityMaundy Thursday is the traditional English name for the Thursday preceding Easter. The name derives from the Latin version of Jesus’ words in John 13:34:

mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos ut et vos diligatis invicem,

“A new command I give you: love one another as I love you, you love one another.”

The “new command” is a “new mandate,” thus Maundy Thursday.

Jesus exemplifies this new command in his humble act of washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:5). Jesus issues the “new command” on the same day as the first Lord’s Supper. Thus Maundy Thursday has come to be a commemorative celebration of the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

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Source: F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1065.

 

“Hate Group” Report from SPLC Still Malignantly Flawed

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has released its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report that identifies “940 active hate groups across the United States in 2019.” Anyone familiar with this list knows how malignantly flawed it is. It designates a number of mainstream Christian organizations as “hate groups” simply because of their beliefs about homosexuality and transgenderism. Two groups highlighted in the report are the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC).

ADF’s senior counsel, Jeremy Tedesco, slammed the report and its timing in an interview with NBC News saying, Continue Reading →

Nashville Studio Singers Record “It Is Well” with Their Phones

Isn’t it astonishing that, the worse things get, the more Christians sing? The video above was released yesterday by a group of Nashville Studio musicians called the Ten Two Six Music Group. Incredibly, they recorded this on their phones!

I was delighted to see an old college friend of mine in this one. His name is Jason Barton, and among other things he sings with Amy Grant as well as his own band 33 Miles. So to Jason: Salute, brother!

Here’s the full story on the song as it was reported by the NBC affiliate in Nashville: Continue Reading →

Be Ye Glad

If life as God intended it is anything, it is a fight for joy. Especially in moments like the one we are in now. Praise God that Christianity is a singing religion. The Lord really does wish for us to have a deep and abiding joy in him, and he often sustains us in joy through our songs:

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” –Colossians 3:16 

In my sermon last Sunday, I told the story of a time in my own life when the Lord used a song to drive the clouds away when the darkness wouldn’t lift. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. And it’s why we need to find our psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs right now. We need to find them for each other.

Thanks be to God that Bob Kauflin found one for us. The lyrics and Bob’s words about the song are below. Take it all in, saints, and be ye glad. Continue Reading →

Comfort for the Afflicted: God’s People and the Coronavirus

Our church still isn’t gathering on Sunday morning, but we are gathering around our scattered screens to sing and to pray and to hear a message from God’s word. Yesterday, I delivered a message about finding comfort in the midst of affliction. The text is 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, and you can download it here or listen below. Below the audio is an excerpt:

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Many of you have been experiencing fear and dread at the possibility of contracting COVID-19, of being hospitalized, perhaps even of dying. Some of you are fearful about elderly family members or other loved ones with compromised immune systems.

But even if you aren’t afraid of the coronavirus for health reasons, many of you are certainly worried for financial reasons. As businesses close, jobs have been disappearing. Many in our church have already lost their jobs, and others have been cut back. People don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from, so they are understandably anxious.

And as if all that weren’t bad enough, the one place that we all go every week to get ourselves sorted out—the church—we can’t even go there because gathering would put too many people’s lives at risk. So the one thing that might offer us comfort—gathering with God’s people—has been taken away as well.

The pressing question that we are all facing this morning as we come to God’s word is this. How are we going to hold up under these tremendous burdens and uncertainties? Are we going to let a flood of fear and anxiety wash over us and carry us away into a really dark place? Or will we find Christ sufficient for us in our distress?

The difference between the former and the latter is the difference between faithfulness and sin. It’s the difference between comfort and affliction. It’s the difference between depression and hope. In other words, the difference between fear and faith is all the difference in the world. And the question before us is how do we lay hold of faith without being carried away by fear?

And the answer to that question is simply this. If you want to find the path of faith and hope and light and goodness and avoid the path of fear and depression and darkness, then you have to find your comfort in Christ. Jesus is offering you comfort this morning. And it is yours for the taking, if you’ll have it.

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