July 2020

Wistful Coveting and Christlike Humility

I have been praying for a friend who is experiencing devastating loss as she watches someone she loves slip away. I have observed her journey, trying to uphold her through messages, prayers, and by asking my prayer group to pray for her even though they do not know her. She has gracefully carried on this long, hard struggle, but it has been heart-wrenching to watch her journey. Her solid, undiminished faith is a beam of light for all who know her. 

The Transcendent Church

Steering the ministry fleet during this time of global pandemic highlights the navigational challenges many ministers face in leading their congregations. They can end up exhausted, discouraged, or defeated. However, in the midst of much uncertainty, I have seen one great truth stand out: God’s church will not be overcome. The Church of Christ, His body incarnate on earth, is transcendent. 

Transcendence in Sacrifice  

Useful in the Potter's Hands

The Word of God helps us understand that we are all made of clay. That truth has become clearer, especially during these days of social unrest, increased distrust, and the threat of a pandemic. Our human frailties and limitations are on full display, and many of our plans have been placed on hold.

How can admitting my frailty add any positive outlook to my life? There are several observations that float to the surface when I recognize that I am only dust and that my life is held in the hands of my Creator, the Potter.

Infilling Power

I fear the Church is believing the lie that it is possible to solve global issues apart from the Holy Spirit. Throughout history, theologians, monks, and saints have reminded us of the Truth through anointed and biblically sound answers. But it seems that perhaps we have forgotten. So we continue to confront our world’s issues incorrectly, which becomes painfully obvious in our rhetoric and conduct.

The world doesn’t need the Church unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Reflections on Sermon 44: “Original Sin”

Imagine sitting on an examination table, and in comes Dr. John Wesley with a clipboard in hand. “Give it to me straight,” you tell him. “What is the diagnosis?” He says, “I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that you have been made in the image of God; your human dignity and potential is still in-tact. The bad news is that a disease called ‘Original Sin’ has distorted this image. It’s hereditary, passed down from generation to generation since the day it was spawned by the disobedience of your distant grandparents, Adam and Eve.” According to Dr.

Reflections on Sermon 59: "God's Love to Fallen Man"

If you scroll through a newsfeed on any given day, you will inevitably be confronted by the problem of evil. Stories of hatred, murder, fear, and corruption disturb our inner being while the questions mount: If sin entered into the world by “willful rebellion against God,” then why did God permit it? Couldn’t an Almighty God have prevented it? The problem of evil, for John Wesley, hinged on one’s ability to choose. The real question he wants to consider is, can love really exist without a choice?

Reflections on Sermon 67: "On Divine Providence"

My kids came inside one day and told me that there was a sparrow on our patio that was hurt and unable to fly. While hovering over its frightened body, my children asked, “What are you going to do, Dad?” I told my oldest boy to grab an old birdcage from the basement and hang it on the patio. I attempted to comfort the sparrow with words it didn’t understand as I leaned over to pick it up. Tenderly cupping it in the palm of my hand, I placed it in the cage. Full of compassion, my kids filled containers with food and water. “Let’s care for it,” I told the kids, “and see what happens.”

Reflections on Sermon 128: “Free Grace”

“Is everyone invited, or just a few?” If you have ever felt left out by the lack of an invitation, then you’ve seen a slight glimpse into Wesley’s contempt for predestination. It is one thing, however, to be left out by the lack of an invitation, and quite another thing to be punished for not responding to an invitation you never really received in the first place. Wesley had a problem with the notion that God eternally decreed, before a person was even born, some to be eternally saved, and some to suffer eternal damnation, without ever being offered a choice.