Upon Further Review – May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017 4:53 pm

There’s something beautiful and miraculous about the scent of sea air, the feel of the sea breeze, and the sound of the sea’s waves; these are also therapeutic for the soul. I am thankful to have had three days at the beach last week, leading to a personal Easter, rising again on the third day. I left Monday and came home Thursday a much more rested and renewed person. The Montana mountains do this for me too, and I can’t wait to get there after General Assembly in June. The Bozeman-Paradise Valley area this trip. Ocean depths and Mountain heights... Read this post

“Keep the State Out of It” Isn’t Necessarily a More Faithful Response

May 6, 2017 2:20 pm

A good friend suggested to me that looking for state aid in the realm of healthcare perhaps reflected a lack of faith in God’s prescribed means for healthcare, which was in his view personal responsibility in the free-market economy. Laying aside for the moment the notion of there being a God-ordained way of healthcare being provided, I took up the issue of whether one’s faith should be called into question based on the economic theory of healthcare provision one embraces.    My friend, what if *a* government is the means by which God delivers a good or service? Isn’t that... Read this post

Upon Further Review – May 6, 2017

May 6, 2017 1:51 pm

This Sunday The truth is that I can’t wait to spend some time this Sunday with everyone looking at John 21 and the resurrection record in the text. Jesus shows up on the beach and grills fish and bread for hungry seamen, especially three noteworthy characters: Peter, Thomas, and Nathanael. More about them on Sunday. It’s been a joy to dwell in that passage this week and go back through the commentaries on John as well. I probably have 30 or more commentaries and several more studies about this Gospel, including sermon collections. Here’s a Pastor that has some wonderful... Read this post

Politics and the Church

May 5, 2017 1:38 pm

At Christ Community Church, we won’t ever be endorsing any candidates for any office at any level of service. We will faithfully proclaim Christ and his Gospel, administer the sacraments, offer worship, and teach the Scriptures. We will pray for all who serve in the civic realm. We will work for the common good of our city and neighbors. That doesn’t mean we think politics is inconsequential. It means we know that Christ is supremely more important than politics, that Christ is political in a radical way that contemporary politics doesn’t usually understand, and that we know what our work... Read this post

Upon Further Review – My New Weekly Update

April 26, 2017 2:51 pm

Upon Further Review Wednesday Night and Isaiah The study of a text as artistic and musical as Isaiah is bound to inspire painters and writers and it was especially delightful to see that on display at our last Wednesday evening gathering of the term. You can watch the video here: https://christcommunity.org/isaiah-study/ (go to Part 18).Mary Grace and Diana offered outstanding examples of the how reflection on the text of Scripture can capture the imagination, inspire the heart, and move us to effectively communicate the message via a different medium. I enjoyed studying Isaiah with both morning and evening communities, and... Read this post

Easter Sermon Notes

April 16, 2017 11:05 am

Amazed Easter 2017 The Lord be with you. I love all the decorations and feasting, all the hallmarks of joy we rightly share today. Easter is beautiful. But the truth is that if we wanted to be really Biblical and recreate the ambiance of the first Easter, we’d have to decorate with tombstones and sepulchers. The ladies in the passage, after all, were on their way to a cemetery. In the dark. Kind of creepy, really. And they were anxious. They were on the way to anoint the body of their dead teacher according to their burial customs – things... Read this post

John Updike: Make No Mistake

April 16, 2017 11:00 am

Make no mistake: if he rose at all It was as His body; If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit, The amino acids rekindle, The Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, Each soft spring recurrent; It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the Eleven apostles; It was as His flesh; ours. The same hinged thumbs and toes The same valved heart That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered Out of enduring Might New strength to enclose. Let us not mock God with metaphor, Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence, Making of the... Read this post

What Does it Mean? Aslan Explains the Deeper Magic

April 16, 2017 10:58 am

The rising of the sun had made everything look so different – all colours and shadows were changed that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan… “Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it magic?” “Yes!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it... Read this post

He Descended Into Hell – An Explanation from Joel Miller

April 16, 2017 10:56 am

We read in the Apostle’s Creed that Jesus “descended into hell.” Some Christians are unsure about this idea today. A couple years back Matt Chandler preached a popular sermon series on the Creed. “Even to this day,” he said, “there are large swaths of evangelicals who read the creed but leave out ‘descended into hell’ because we don’t believe He actually went to the place of hell and did that. Right? The Bible certainly doesn’t teach that.” The explanation I heard as a teen said the line referred to Christ’s agony on the cross. That’s the angle Reformed Protestants have... Read this post

He Descended Into Hell

April 15, 2017 1:07 pm

If you find yourself in hell today – and perhaps it’s even a hell of your own making – let me remind you of Holy Saturday and the words of the Apostle’s Creed: “And he descended into hell.” If you’re in hell today, know Christ has gone before you and conquered the most terrible and fearful and darkest of realms. He rose again. He will yet raise you. And as you make this journey, even through hell, he is with you. “If I make my bed in hell, you are there” (Psalm 139). Do not fear. Do not despair. We... Read this post