Top 10 YouTubes of 2019

It’s time for my annual posting of the Top 10 YouTube Videos of the Year (see last year’s list here). 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. 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:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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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. Even though he himself was unfallen, he subjected himself to the brokenness of this fallen world. 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.

The incarnate Son of God was obedient even to the point of death. 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!

Remember Your Chains

I was reading Ezekiel yesterday and came across a stunning statement about a positive place for shame in our lives. Ezekiel is prophesying about the future restoration of God’s people after a long period of judgment:

62 “Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63 in order that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord God declares. –Ezekiel 16:62-63

We often don’t think about shame as having a positive role in our lives. In fact, we are often told that feelings of shame undermine emotional health and well-being. And yet here we have the Lord saying that after these sinners have been forgiven, they must remember their former sins and be ashamed of them. Why? So that they will never be arrogant again. John Taylor explains the meaning well: Continue Reading →

The Cajun Night Before Christmas

If you have never heard of The Cajun Night before Christmas by Trosclair, well, you’re about to! It’s a mainstay where I am from, and my dad read it to us every year on Christmas Eve when I was growing up. Even now, he reads it to my children whenever the family is together for Christmas.

The video above is a great introduction to this Christmas classic. The only thing that would make it better is if we could get Coach Orgeron to record his own reading. That would be epic.

I have a good friend with an English accent who picked this book off the shelf in my home one time while he was visiting. He regaled my entire family with his own hilarious attempt at a cajun accent. I won’t embarrass him by revealing his name, but I will say that it rhymes with Cam Tallbarry.  ?:^)

Anyway, I love this rendition of the old story. For me, it’s all the feels. When I came across the video tonight, I just had to share it. I hope you like it too.

God’s Glory Revealed in Christ: Essays in Honor of Dr. Tom Schreiner

Jim Hamilton, Brian Vickers, and I recently co-edited a Festschrift for our Doktorvater Tom Schreiner. The book is titled God’s Glory Revealed in Christ: Essays in Honor of Tom Schreiner (B&H, 2019).

The week before Thanksgiving, the publisher was kind enough to host a banquet in San Diego where we were able to present this volume formally to Tom. It was a special moment for all of us who love Tom and who have been touched by his friendship, scholarship, and ministry.

I am really grateful for all of those who agreed to contribute. It really is an all-star line-up including D. A. Carson, John Piper, Albert Mohler, Simon Gathercole, and many others. The book is comprised of essays dealing with biblical theology, and it is now available from Amazon and other outlets. I hope you’ll check it out. The table of contents is below. Continue Reading →

Spurgeon urging men and women to be “all at it”

Over the weekend, I saw an excerpt from C. H. Spurgeon’s sermon “All at It” being passed around on social media. It is a sermon well worth your time to read if you haven’t already. Spurgeon’s text is Acts 8:4-5, 35:

4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them… 35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

The overall point of the sermon is that it wasn’t merely the apostles who were called to evangelize the world but all Christians. All are supposed to be at the work of evangelism (thus the title “All at It”). Spurgeon is really careful in his exposition, noting that the words in the New Testament for “preach” are used differently than how they are often used today. He explains, Continue Reading →

Greet one another with a holy kiss…

I am preparing a sermon on the final chapter of 1 Corinthians for church tomorrow. In my reading, I came across an insightful bit of commentary from Richard Hays on verse 20, where Paul commands: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Hays explains:

There is no indication here that Paul thinks of it as anything more than a sign of greeting among people who love one another. In the context of the community’s divisions at Corinth, however, the holy kiss would necessarily serve as a powerful sign of reconciliation among people who had previously been estranged. It is easy to interpret this brief imperative (“Greet one another with a holy kiss”) as a perfunctory gesture, until we try to visualize the Corinthians actually putting it into practice in a community where conflict has prevailed. Within our divided denominations can we envision the members of opposed factions and caucuses coming together and embracing in a holy kiss? As usual, Paul’s call to love is simple, radical, and embodied.

-Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians, 291

What a good word. I don’t believe that a kiss is the right way in our culture to signal the love that Paul calls for in this letter. Nevertheless, the need for simple, radical, embodied love is as acute today as it ever was. This text calls God’s people to meet that need.

The Morning of My Years

I first heard Allen Levi sing “Morning of My years” when I was in my twenties. The song is about turning forty. After hearing the lyrics for the first time, I remember hoping that this would be my perspective when it came time for me to turn that page.

And now that I’ve turned that page some years ago, I still think about this song every year at my birthday. It meant a lot to me then, and it still does now. It represents hopefulness for the grace to age like wine and not like milk. Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner.

The song first appeared on an album that is a little hard to come by these days, but you can purchase a digital copy here if you are interested. You can also stream the song for free from BandCamp. Press the play button to listen below.

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Iron Sharpening Iron: Continuing the Conversation with Sam Storms

I want to thank Sam Storms for his gracious and direct interaction with my response to his earlier essay. I want to reiterate again how grateful I am for Dr. Storms and his long ministry and faithfulness to the Lord’s work. I have been a direct beneficiary of it, and I am truly in his debt. My hope and prayer are that our ongoing dialogue will be a faithful example of iron sharpening iron (Prov. 27:17).

Storms says that I have largely missed the point of his article arguing that women can be pastors. As I understand it, he has argued that the title pastor is a gift not an office—much less an office of senior governmental authority like elder/overseer. For this reason, women can have the gift of pastoring and hold the title pastor. Storms concludes: Continue Reading →

Can Women Be Pastors?

Sam Storms has written a brief article making a complementarian argument that would allow women to serve as pastors.1 He argues that pastoring is a gift not an authoritative office in the church. While all elders need to have the gift of pastoring, it does not follow that all “pastors” must be elders. After doing a brief survey of biblical texts that employ “pastor” terminology, he surmises:

It stands to reason that all Elders must, in some sense, be pastors. But nothing in the way this verb is used should lead us to believe that all pastors must be Elders. No text asserts the latter.

Because a pastor is not the same thing as an elder and is not an authoritative office, Storms argues that women can be gifted pastors serving in the local church. Storms then asks the question: Continue Reading →

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