Articles Posts

Calvinism vs Arminianism: The Irresistible Grace of God

Calvinism vs Arminianism: The Irresistible Grace of God

God’s work of salvation in a person’s heart is a profound mystery. Does it ultimately go down to man’s decision or God’s that causes a person to believe and cross over from death to life? In Ezekiel 18, we see that the burden of responsibility for a man’s fate rests on his decision to repent: “when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life” (Ezekiel 18:27). Throughout Scripture, God pleads with mankind to repent and believe the Gospel, and holds us to account according to our decision. The Son of God, himself, even weeps over our unbelief: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). Our unwillingness to believe separates us from God, yet at the same time, we see another reason for unbelief. Jesus explains to the Israelites that, “you do not believe because you are not among my sheep” (John 10:26). Note that he does not say the reverse –  “you are not my sheep because you do not believe.” Obviously, God’s election is somehow mysteriously involved in our choice to believe the Gospel; and while most Christians agree both God and man play important roles in salvation, how they play out, and who has the final say varies considerably across traditions.

You Don’t Have to Change the World

You Don’t Have to Change the World

Dom Cobb explains that “an idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.” So opens Christopher Nolan’s 2010 tour de force Inception. Those who know me well know that Inception is and remains my favorite film of all time. The intensity, the pacing, the score, the cinematography — I could wax eloquent for quite a while on all the elements of this cinematic masterpiece, but I won’t do that here. The fact of the matter is, I, too, have been incepted. An idea, a truth far more resilient than I’ve ever known or ever expected has come to consume me. My thoughts about life and reality, truth and grace, the present and the future have all been upended by this inescapable notion. And though I might try and avoid it, its pursuit of me is ineludible. Yes, I’ve been incepted by the gospel of ordinary grace.

Why I’m a Paedobaptist #3

Why I’m a Paedobaptist #3

So we’ve been looking at baptism. I’ve told you my position on baptism, as it relates to paedo vs. credobaptism and we’ve looked a bit at the OT perspective on baptism and some definitions. I wanted to talk about the OT perspective on baptism because I believe the OT perspective on baptism has a direct bearing on what we’ll discuss next.

Hi, I’m a Narcissist

Hi, I’m a Narcissist

Narcissism has been defined as an “excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance”. I don’t care much for this definition because unfortunately, it describes me.

Marriage is Messy

Marriage is Messy

Marriage is messy. There’s no getting around it. When you take two sinners and put them in a lifelong commitment, conflict is going to come up. My wife and I  were married on a Friday night and the next morning we hopped in a car for ten hours. I would say around the eighth-hour mark of musical disagreement, bad directions, and road rage, we began bouncing around the idea of an annulment. Literally, our first apocalyptic argument went down less twenty-four hours after we said, “I do”. Thankfully, we both repented of our selfishness and I apologized for spending honeymoon money on theology books and Deadpool comics (which I returned 15 minutes after buying them). 

Why I’m a Paedobaptist #2

Why I’m a Paedobaptist #2

When last we discussed, I probably upset my Baptist friends and family with my “confession” of paedobaptism. However, I think words are important and terms have meaning. So I want to be clear what I mean by paedobaptism.

The Crutch of the Cross

The Crutch of the Cross

We don’t read the Bible, we don’t ponder and pour over the word of God to fill our minds with stuff (information). We dig through the caverns of scripture to enable transformation. We mine passionately every passage we find ourselves in because we desire life; not because we desire bigger brains. This truth pulsated from the very core of who the Apostle Paul was. Over and over he illustrates this by pointing out the relationship between understanding Christian doctrine (information), and church fellowship (the Christian life). Paul didn’t see these topics separately. In fact, he saw them as two sides of the same coin. That is, they were (and still are I might add) intrinsically linked; different but joined. Thus, any sort of head knowledge divorced from the life found only in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is terminal and hollow and lacks God’s transforming power. Yes, we need stuff (information). Because without stuff, we cannot grow. But it’s not all we need. We also need that stuff to propel our life, action, and faith in the son of God. We need the practicalness of real gospel truths to radically impact and transform our entire lives. Both for God’s glory and our good.

Why I’m a Paedobaptist #1

Why I’m a Paedobaptist #1

I’ve long desired to write about this subject matter. Mostly because I’ve been wrestling with this issue for several years now and I’ve finally come to an understanding of what I believe the Bible says about this and how we are to follow what God has said about this matter. Among those of us who are reformed in our faith there is much debate about this issue. Sadly there are some who are uncharitable about it. I believe that we should be charitable with those who believe differently than us unless of course they are teaching heresy and things clearly against Scripture. Then we should definitely speak out against such teaching.

I Don’t Like God’s Timing. I Like My Timing.

I Don’t Like God’s Timing. I Like My Timing.

The other day in church we talked a little bit about Hannah. If you don’t know who Hannah is check out 1 Samuel 1. (I went to all the effort of pasting it here so read it!)

Janitoring and Pastoring

Janitoring and Pastoring

I’ve been working through some things recently and I really feel like I need to talk about them publicly. My wife and I have been talking about this a lot recently and I’ve spoken with my pastor about this a couple times and some other brothers. Maybe I shouldn’t deal with my own pain in public but this is how I roll so I’m gonna go with it.

So, have you always been religious?

So, have you always been religious?

I was wondering how long it would be before someone accused me of being legalistic and dogmatic…or any other fun name.

Pride Kills Grace

Pride Kills Grace

Today I had to sit down and look my 3 year old in the face and ask her forgiveness for being unkind. That was hard.

Being a parent is hard.

A Dozen Albums by Christians that Don’t Suck

A Dozen Albums by Christians that Don’t Suck

Ok, so maybe not sucking is a bit of low bar. These are my current favorite albums by Christians. I worded that carefully, these aren’t all worship albums, nor are the lyrics all overtly Christian. There is a spectrum here ranging from stuff you might sing on Sunday morning to stuff that you would listen to in the car on Tuesday afternoon. It is important to note that these aren’t in any particular order, except for maybe the order that I have them on my Spotify account. So let’s get to it:

I Am So Tired of Seeing Fat Pastors

I Am So Tired of Seeing Fat Pastors

Can I just talk about something that will probably make a lot of you uncomfortable? I get on this soap box a lot and this is really one of my personal pet peeves. I want you to know right at the start that this probably won’t sound super spiritual to you. I don’t have any type of proof text for this from Scripture so if that offends you in any way, you should probably stop reading right now.

I’m a Failure

I’m a Failure

I’m a failure.

Now before y’all get all touchy feely and tell me not to feel bad about myself, let me explain. In May of 2015…you know what? Let me back up a little further.

I was a cop for 16 years. That’s right, 16. Yes it’s a long time, thus the grey hair on my head and in my beard. You get shot at and pick up dead bodies and see kids murdered and get in fights and have everybody hate you for 16 years and see if you don’t have some grey hair. Anyways. Moving on.

Healthy Leaders Need Other Healthy Leaders

Healthy Leaders Need Other Healthy Leaders

“What sin, if left unchecked, would undo you? What could potentially disqualify you from ministry and kill your future church plant?… Name that sin and talk about it with a brother sitting next to you.” 

I Don’t Trust God

I Don’t Trust God

I don’t trust God.

That’s not some click-baity headline. Unfortunately… Stuff keeps happening, and over and over God proves to me that I don’t know how good he is or trust that he is in control.

Lessons From A Crazy Lady

Lessons From A Crazy Lady

A few days ago while I was at work a lady came in with a small piece of paper that she wanted copied. It said parking violation across the top, had a space to fill in a license plate number, make, model, color, and other normal ticket type information. At first I just figured it was some sort of private organization like a mall or shopping center that was handing out tickets. But then I started to read the thing.

Toilet Water, Booze, and Jesus

Toilet Water, Booze, and Jesus

There once was a guitar. This guitar was brand new; it had a maple neck, a spruce top, and no imperfections. It had one purpose, one reason for existing. That reason was to hit me dead in the center of my chest. Its mission was to bury its now broken body directly into the center of my heart. It was delivered in such a way to shout at my soul.  It had one message to breathe into me. It was there to bellow one simple truth. That truth was this; I had never really lived.

Healthy Leaders Need a Radical Trust in the Sovereignty of God

Healthy Leaders Need a Radical Trust in the Sovereignty of God

Without a robust understanding of God’s sovereignty, leaders cannot confidently go where God has called them to go. They cannot (and will not) face the sin that perverts and destroys their lives – and the lives of their people. If we do not understand that God lovingly holds all things in his hand, leaders are attempting to survive high-risk missions without firearms. They are expecting to bandage their wounded without medical supplies. In other words, men and woman in need of the gospel are already dead before the team even hits the battlefield.

Failed Church Plants and Dead Brides

Failed Church Plants and Dead Brides

By the time you read this, the church I have been given the opportunity and privilege to pastor (for the better part of a year) will have closed its doors for good. It was birthed in the mid 1920’s, but by late 2016 it will have been buried and heavily lamented over.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

For starters, 

Books of the Bible/ Commentaries:

  • Recovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes (The Gospel According to the Old Testament) / Zack Eswine 
  • Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told / John MacArthur 
  • The Imitation of Christ in the Gospel of Luke: Growing in Christlike Love for God and Neighbor / C.D. Jimmy Agan III

Learning From the Boring Bits

Learning From the Boring Bits

Have you ever read Joshua? It starts out pretty cool. Joshua has just taken over from Moses as the dude leading this massive group of people, and FINALLY, after 40 years of wandering they are moving into this land that they have been promised by God. The book of Joshua goes on to describe the conquest of God’s people through this promised land. Here, after 40 years, there is finally this feeling of fulfillment. The Israelites are moving into the Canaan. Then, the book takes a turn, and it gets super boring. Joshua goes into painful detail about where the boundaries and borders are, who gets what land, and on, and on, and on.

Healthy Leaders Need a Heart-Shattering and Sober Understanding of Sin

Healthy Leaders Need a Heart-Shattering and Sober Understanding of Sin

The reality is this: broken and sinful people (that is — all people) severely need the gospel. It is the difference between life and death. Either people are left dead in their sins or they are, by God’s grace, made alive in Jesus. Either their desires end them or Jesus performs a heart transplant. Either people perish or they bear fruit. This means that leaders called by God are not suggested to participate in His mission to crush sin and reconcile all things to himself, but are explicitly commanded to bleed black that mission day in and day out. They are not permitted to feel indifferent about the very poison that infects and kills those created in God’s image. They are not to coddle that which ultimately brought death to His son.

Entrusted vs Entitled

Entrusted vs Entitled

We live in a culture of entitlement. Entitlement can be defined as “an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others”. From the constant refrains of “I deserve, I deserve, I deserve”, I believe it is no stretch to say we are a people who think we have an endless list of rights. At its heart, it is idolatry and selfishness.