Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts about Sunday: The Shepherd and His Story (2 Timothy 1)

Stories are how we get to know each other. During my second year of Seminary Yulinda and I joined what DTS called a Spiritual Formation Group. In this group we forged deep friendships and experienced real community. During our second semester of that group each participant had to present their Life Story. The purpose of this exercise was two-fold. 1) The Life Story exercise helped the presenter come to grips with the reality of his or her own story. What events (good or bad) had the most influence on me? 2) The Life Story exercise created a sense of camaraderie within our community. We were more than just friends. In fact, Galen, my best friend aside from Yulinda, was in my Spiritual Formation group. Paul and Timothy were comrades. They knew each other's stories. What's more, they knew the dark sides of their stories. Paul knew that Timothy's father was not a believer (see Acts 16.1-3), and this likely contributed to some of the difficulties Timothy experienced leading the Ephesian community. With this aspect of Timothy's life story in mind, some aspects 2 Timothy 1 come alive. As the letter opens it seems that Paul is exhorting his young friend to leave behind the darkness of an absent father, and to pursue a new narrative that flows out of Timothy's relationship with Paul and his connection to Christ. 

Timothy, my beloved child   

Notice Paul's fatherly disposition toward Timothy. He begins the letter with a heartfelt description of Timothy as his "beloved child." With these words, Timothy perhaps hears something he had longed for but had never heard or seen from his biological father. Paul is not afraid to express his love for Timothy to Timothy.  Never underestimate the importance of telling your children you love them. Furthermore, Paul also strongly encourages his son in the faith. Without qualification, Paul affirms Timothy's faith. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well." (2 Tim 1.5, ESV). With these words, Paul is encouraging Timothy. "You're the real deal, Timothy! I believe that you believe." Never underestimate the importance of affirming in others the faith you see in them. 

The faith and love that are in Christ Jesus 

Notice Paul's Gospel disposition toward Timothy. By "gospel disposition" I mean that Paul encourages Timothy by pointing him to the resources that are in Christ. The main imperative in 1.3-7 is found in verse 6. Paul instructs Timothy to "fan into flame the gift of God." We must return again and again, not to what we have done for God, but to what he has done for us in Christ. It is only by the power of God, that Timothy can "share in suffering for the gospel" (2 Tim 1.8). Even more, it is only by the Holy Spirit that Timothy can "guard the good deposit entrusted to him" (2 Tim 1.14). By virtue of our union with Christ by the Spirit, we have been given the resources we need to stay faithfully on the task to which the Father has called us. In order to live out of our union with Christ this week consider with me two exhortations. 

Be one who is generous with affirmation. 

I'm sure there were things in Timothy Paul could have criticized. However, Paul was overwhelmingly generous with Timothy by expressing his love for him and affirming his faith and the gifts God had given him. It is not masculine to withhold expressions of affection. Every time the words of the Father are recorded in the Gospels, they include an affirmation of love for the Son. God is not a Father who withholds his love. May each of us, love others well and express our love well. 

Lean into union with Christ.

In our own lives and as we seek to affirm others, we must consistently point to Christ and what he offers us by the Spirit as what we truly need. In all that we say to all, we should be affirming that Christ is offering himself to all who will accept. Russell Moore puts it this way: 
For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life is a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable.
Listen here to our exposition of 2 Timothy 1.

Here's what I'm reading: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts about Sunday: Jesus as Mediator

Here's the deal about 1 Timothy 2.1-8. Something sinister lies within each of us that desires to personally negotiate all our relationships, especially our relationship with God. We imagine that no one, including God, could be as on our side as we ourselves are. Brothers and sisters, the powerful and extraordinarily good news of Jesus is that no one is for us as much as God. He knows us better than we know ourselves and his wise and unconditional love far exceeds any love we have known. Nevertheless, we often sneak other mediators into our life with God. Let's consider two false mediators to which we find ourselves attracted.


Each politician and the "movement" associated with him or her has a worldview that describes what is wrong with the world, how we got here, and a plan to restore the world to a particular vision of the good life. The Bible provides for its readers such a worldview. Genesis 3 describes what is wrong with the world and how we came to inhabit it. The Christ event (his life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the right hand of the Father) is the beginning of God's plan to restore the world to the vision described in Revelation 21-22. Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, is the mediator of this plan, representing both God and Humanity, he inaugurates, mediates, and carries to completion, God's plan to restore the world to the vision he intended. He is the One to whom our allegiance belongs. Please, do not look to politicians as the answer to what this world needs. May God grant us good and wise leaders. May God protect us, however, from the idolatry that places our ultimate hope for fixing what is wrong with the world in anyone other than Jesus and his vision for the Kingdom of God come to earth.


Religion assumes that God's default position. is less-than-satisfied. Like the Pharisee in Luke 18.9-14, we assume that God could never be content with how we're doing, so our practice of religion becomes an exercise in trying to impress him. This is such a subtle temptation for us. We love God and long to do what he says. We run into trouble, however, as we begin to believe that God's attention in our lives is mediated by our ability to faithfully pray, study the Scriptures, give to the poor, attend worship gatherings, etc. Like politics, none of these things is inherently bad. However, when we start to believe that our practice of the spiritual disciplines somehow causes God to be more satisfied with us, we have denied the effectiveness of Christ's work. Brothers and sisters, Christ is our satisfaction before the Father as we are united to the Son by the Spirit. Thus, our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3.3). Beloved, the Father couldn't be more impressed with Jesus, and having been united to him, the impressive words the Father said over his Son are now proclaimed over us (Luke 3.21-22). Because you and I are united by the Spirit to Jesus, the Son of God, the Father says over us, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." 

This is what it means for Jesus Christ to be our mediator. He is our salvation. His story is our story. He ministers before God as one of us and does so perfectly. This is why Paul writes; "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2.20, NET). Brothers and sisters, we have been set free from evaluating our own faithfulness. We live by the faithfulness of the Son of God. We can stop trying to make our story of conversion more impressive, because we do not live by our testimony. We live by the faithfulness of the Son of God. This is what it means to have Jesus as our mediator. Thanks be to God.

Listen to Jesus Our Mediator, an exposition of 1 Timothy 2.1-8.  

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts about Sunday: 1 Timothy 4

Here’s the deal with 1 Timothy 4. Having been shaped by the pattern of this world, we, along with those Timothy was leading, are tempted to place our hope in our ability to obey rather than Jesus’ obedience on our behalf. This does not mean our obedience is of no consequence. In the same chapter where Paul uses some of his strongest language against legalism, he still instructs Timothy to “train himself for godliness … because godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (4.7-8, ESV). This is critical for us to grasp. A commitment to reject legalism does not mean we can no longer emphasize godliness. So how do we emphasize godliness without falling off the horse into a big pile of stinky, gospel-contradicting legalism? Please consider this one truth as a way to stay lashed to godliness without become legalistic. 

The love of God for the sinner is not affected by the sinner’s sin

In some imbalanced presentations of the Gospel, the disposition of God toward the sinner is one of exclusive anger. This is where Jesus enters the scene for one reason only - to assuage the one emotion God is feeling - anger. Brothers and sisters, what makes this presentation of the Gospel so dangerous is the thin element of truth it contains. With all false teaching, this is the case. An element of truth is slanted out of proportion like a fun house mirror to the point of forgetting other, more basic truths. Here’s how this works. The Bible does teach that God is angry toward sin. This is the plain fact (See Rom 1.18). The above Gospel presentation, with which each of us is quite familiar, takes the fact that God is angry toward sin and emphasizes it to the exclusion of what other texts plainly teach. Texts such as Romans 5.6-8 teach that God’s disposition toward weak and ungodly sinners is one of love. So how is that these truths coexist? God’s anger toward sin is motivated by his love for the sinner. Much like an oncologist hates cancer - Much like a cardiologist hates heart disease, God hates sin for the havoc it wreaks on those he loves. Brothers and sisters, this is basic Gospel truth. God loves sinners. What’s more, the love of God for sinners is the only reality capable of rescuing sinners from sin. Consider another text from the Apostle Paul. 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3.14-19), ESV) 

Through prayer Paul is transitioning from the Gospel reality of God rescuing sinners who are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 1-3), to the Gospel implications of that rescue (Eph 4-6). More specifically, Ephesians 1-3 describes what God did for the world through the Christ event. He made us alive (2.1-10) together (Jews and Gentiles, 2.11-22) with Christ. Ephesians 4-6, on the other hand, command us to walk in a certain way as a response to the reality described in Ephesians 1-3. So how do we get from the glorious saving rescue described in Ephesians 1-3, to be able to hear and obey commands like the following? 
Let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor (4.25). 
Be angry and do not sin (4.26). 
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths (4.29). 
Be kind to one another (4.32). 
Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you (4.32).  
These verses describe the type of godliness for which Timothy is commanded to train himself. How do we pursue this godliness without leaning in the direction of legalism? The answer is found in Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.14-19. Only when we have been given “the strength to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” will we be able to emphasize godliness without the threat of legalism. True godliness can only be a response to God’s love. All others forms of godliness are a cheap knockoff. So let us emphasize the love of God as the only effective means by which we can be trained to be godly, because: 
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103.11-14, ESV).  
Listen here to our exposition of 1 Timothy 4.   

Here’s what I’m reading. 

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts about Sunday: 1 Timothy 1

Here's the deal with 1 Timothy 1. We have been squeezed into the pattern of the world when we desire the local church to focus on anything other than Christ. The principalities and powers endeavor to draw the church away from her true message - away from the content of the message that contains the power of God. The fallen wisdom of this age entices us away Christ - the One we need, the only hope for the world. This is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2.1-2, ESV). 
Michael Horton writes the following in his book, Christless Christianity.
“What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say "Yes, sir" and "No, ma'am," and the churches would be full every Sunday...where Christ was not preached.”
This emphasis on proclaiming Christ as what each individual and community needs is what we learned yesterday from 1 Timothy. According to Paul all the Ephesians need, everything for which we long, and the truth around which we must orient our lives is "the grace of our Lord overflowing with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Tim 1.14). Paul could never "get over" Jesus, nor should we. On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus was ambushed by the risen Christ and he was never the same. What's more, it was the mercy of Jesus Christ that transformed him. See 1 Timothy 1.12-17 . Underestimating the power of Jesus' mercy was the essential error that had slithered its way into the Ephesian congregation. The Ephesians had been taught and had begun to believe that it was through something other than faith in Christ, that life could be found. Moreover, through an unlawful use of the Mosaic law, they were believing the lie that through myths, endless genealogies, and speculations, they could find the secret to life. Against this backdrop the letter we call 1 Timothy, is an extended exposition of how what we truly need is found in Christ. Indeed ...
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth (1 Tim 2.5-7, ESV).
What's the one thing you need? A spouse? A better marriage? A new job? To get out of debt? While these (and others) are good things, these are not the ultimate thing you need. The only ultimate thing each of needs is Christ.

What's the one thing our local church needs? New and better parking? More young families? A different form of church government? Numeric growth? While these (and others) are good things for which we pray,  the only ultimate thing our local church needs is something we already have - Christ. This is the one necessary thing for the church - to pursue Christ together as the ultimate thing.

Listen here to our exposition of 1 Timothy.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts About Sunday: The Church as an End Times Family

Here's the deal about 1 Peter 5.1-5. In order to understand what Peter teaches about elders/shepherds/pastors, we must first understand the world in which Peter imagines the Church.

The Church is an end times family. 

In 1 Peter 5.1 Peter describes himself to his fellow-elders as a fellow-partaker of "the glory that is going to be revealed." This is a provocative statement because Peter has taught not many verses ago about this future reality. "Rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4.13, ESV). In this verse the revelation of Jesus' glory is future. In 5.1 however, Peter can describe himself along with his fellow-elders as present partakers of the glory that will be revealed. This means, among other things, that the Church is a family that presently partakes of Jesus' future glory. More specifically, the Church offers the world an advance foretaste, an appetizer so to speak, of what the world made new will be like. So the world to come sets the tone for the present life of the Church. 

Because everyone in the world to come will bow the knee to Jesus, we gather as the Church to confess Jesus is Lord. 

Because everyone in the world to come will have their sins forgiven, we gather as the Church to proclaim and extend forgiveness. 

Because everyone in the world to come will have their needs sufficiently met, we gather as the Church to share resources that provide for the poor. 

Because everyone in the world to come will freely communicate with God as Father, we gather as the Church for the sake of prayer. 

Because everyone in the world to come will believe only truth, we gather as the Church to be shaped by the truth of the Word from God. 

Because everyone in the world to come, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status, etc. will be reconciled to God and each other, we gather as the Church to celebrate the meal that anticipates that reconciliation. 

This description of why we gather could go on and on, but you get the idea. When we gather together as an end times family, everything we do must point to the hope that will characterize eternity. 

This is why Stanley Grenz writes: 
Our corporate identity lies in the future. What the church is, is determined by what the church is destined to become. And the church is destined to be nothing less than a new humanity, the glorious company of God's redeemed people who inhabit the renewed creation and enjoy the presence of the Triune God. ... Our task is to live according to the principles that characterize God's future goal for creation. Our purpose is to be a foretaste of the glorious eternity that God will one day graciously give us in its fullness. ... In short, the church is a sign of the kingdom. We are to point the way toward the future (Stanley Grenz, Created for Community, 213).      
Does that describe your understanding of "Church?" How about your experience of Church? Brothers and sisters our weekly gatherings, and our mid-week gathering for that matter, are shaped by the Spirit of God to whet our appetites for the age to come. Moreover, they are intended by the Spirit of God to reveal the quality of the age to come. My grandmother used to comment after the Sunday morning service, "I feel like I've been to Church." I always wondered what that feeling was like or was supposed to be like. 1 Peter helps me understand that feeling a little bit more. May the Spirit of God grant that after we have gathered, each of might say, "I feel like I've been to the future."

Listen here to our exposition of 1 Peter 5.1-5

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts about Sunday: Communion

Here’s the deal about Communion.

As a teenager and “young” adult, I was often disappointed to learn we were “celebrating” communion. In fact, celebration would never have been a word I associated with communion. It seemed back then the Lord’s Supper was usually offered during the evening service. Our family always arrived early to every Church service, and we would walk into the sanctuary with plenty of time to spare. Often times the Deacons would still be preparing the Table by setting out the shiny silver trays that contained the tiny shot glasses of Welch’s and the plates of tiny, tasteless communion wafers. I usually felt an inner exhale of disappointment when I noticed the stacked trays, because they symbolized one thing and one thing only - guilt. Think about the irony of that for a moment. Paul writes that as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Cor 11.26). Something that proclaims the means of our atonement is something that makes us feel guilty? Houston, we have a theological problem!

As Baptists, we didn’t officially believe in anything that resembled what the Romans Catholics describe as penance. However, at Sunday evening Communion services, that’s basically what we practiced. My overly-general understanding of penance goes something like this. You’ve done something wrong. You’ve acknowledged the error of your ways and requested forgiveness. At this point a spiritual leader - call him priest, pastor, or brother so and so - tells you all is forgiven, just go do thus and so and “It’s all good!” Now, for Roman Catholics this exchange takes place in a confessional, on Saturday afternoon. For Baptists, on the other hand, this exact same deal is cut, albeit not in a confessional. It happens in the Sanctuary at 6:55 on Sunday evening. Even though we didn’t call it penance, the result was the same. The time of self-examination revealed some inward sin and we had work to do before we could experience the hospitality of God at the Table of the Lord. The Gospel, on the other hand, is quite different than both scenarios. The good news is this: God unconditionally accepts the Gospel-believing sinner. James Torrance captures this provocative truth this way:
In the New Testament forgiveness is logically prior to repentance. Because Christ has borne our sin on the cross, we are invited to repent - to receive his forgiveness in repentance. That is, repentance is our response to grace, not a condition of grace. The goodness of God leads us to repentance.
This is the truth of the Gospel and this has chaperoned our reading of 1 Corinthians 11.17-34. Without submitting our interpretation to the Gospel, we have sometimes used this passage to keep forgiven sinners from coming to Table of the Lord. After considering the historical context of 1 Corinthians 11, and looking closely at what the text actually says, we have learned that Paul is not discouraging us from coming to the Table because of some unresolved issue in our Spiritual lives. Rather, this text invites us to see the Table as Jesus’ gift to us, to help us come together in Gospel unity as the one Body of Christ partaking of the one loaf. How we approach the Lord’s Supper must be faithful to the Gospel.

Thus, as our week begins let us meditate on two Gospel Realities.

  1. The mercies of God in Jesus have made us worthy family members at God’s table.
  2. The Lord’s Supper has reminded us of the reality of us.

Regarding this second reality, I believe the Spirit is reminding us of the horizontal dimension of being reconciled to God. In other words, when God reconciles us to himself, that upward movement also propels us to live in reconciled relationships with all who have been reconciled to God. Paul teaches this clearly in Ephesians 2. Verses 1-10 describe our reconciliation to God by grace through faith (2.8-10). Verses 11-22 describe the horizontal result of our vertical movement toward God. Describing the two groups of Jews and Gentiles, Paul writes:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace (2.14-15, NIV).
To summarize: When God broke down the barrier between him and humans, he also broke down barriers that divide humans. This helps us make sense of why God requires us to live in reconciled relationships with others, because those relationships are the necessary result of living in a reconciled relationship with God (see Matt. 6.14-15). This is why communion is not about me and my overly-individualized relationship with God. Instead, communion is a gift from Jesus to sustain us within the family of Jesus, because communion is a time for me to discern the body (1 Cor. 11.29), and an opportunity to extend hospitality to all members of the Body who share the one loaf (1 Cor. 10.17).

So thanks be to God that his mercy has made us one with him and with each other.
Take a listen to our exposition of 1 Corinthians 11.17-34.

Here’s what I’m reading.

The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision, by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts about Sunday: Malachi

Here's the deal with Malachi. The kingdom of God is present and the kingdom of God is not yet present. During Malachi's ministry, God's people were doubting the love of God and what the prophet's preaching was designed to do was to get the Jews to look ahead to the promise of God's future in order to nurture present trust in God's unfailing love. Let's unpack this a bit, by describing two kingdom realities.

The kingdom of God is present. 

During Jesus' earthly ministry he taught that with his incarnation the long-awaited kingdom of God had come. The most basic definition of the kingdom/reign of God is "the sphere where God's desired will is obeyed." Jesus most clearly teaches that with him God's reign has come, in texts like Matthew 12.28. After healing a demon-possessed man and being accused by the Pharisees that he cast out demons by the prince of demons, Jesus responds that the reign of God has come and that is why the demons are fleeing. "But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Matt. 12.28, ESV). Jesus teaches the same in Luke 17.20-21. 
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (ESV).  

Here Jesus teaches that with his coming, the kingdom of God has also come. However, Jesus includes an important nuance. In the initial stage, the coming of God's reign will not be observable. It will not be visible. The kingdom of God will not at first displace the kingdoms of this world like Rome. Instead, for an unknown period of time, the kingdom of God will coexist with other kingdoms. This leads to our second kingdom reality.

The kingdom of God is not yet present. 

The not yet aspect of the kingdom is also illustrated by Jesus' teaching. In Matthew 13.31-32 he compares the reign of God to a grain of mustard seed that a man sowed in his field. The point of Jesus' parable is to teach the initial hiddenness - the present smallness of the kingdom. There is coming a future day then the kingdom will grow so that it is "larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches" (ESV).

Summary: The kingdom is already and not yet. 

This is not only taught by Jesus in the Gospels, but also by his servant Paul, in the Epistles. Paul tells the Colossians that King Jesus "has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1.13-14, ESV). By virtue of our union with Christ by the Spirit, the Kingdom of God's Son is a sphere in which forgiveness of sins is found. Furthermore, it is a sphere into which Paul says we have been transferred. The kingdom is already. On the other hand, Paul can tell the Corinthians that the risen Christ is the firstfruits, and then only at his coming will those who belong to him be raised to a life like his. "Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power" (1 Cor. 15.24, ESV). The kingdom is not yet. The New Testament holds these two realities in tension, and so should we.

What does this have to with Malachi? 

The people of Malachi's day lived in a similar already/not yet tension. In obedience to God, they built the Temple. But all the glorious realities to which the Temple pointed as a sign, would not come until the time of Jesus. They were challenged by Malachi to live in light of the glorious future and not to let the disappointments of the present turn them into a herd of Eeyores who deny God's love. Like a child who wants to unwrap all her gifts before Christmas has arrived, we often fall into the selfish trap of wanting all of God's good gifts now. Instead, we are called by God to wait. Oftentimes what it is we want (healing, peace, all suffering to end) refers to a reality we are only guaranteed at the Second Coming of Jesus. These are good desires. These are godly desires. However, because God is graciously patient, our message from Malachi is to patiently wait. This means we shouldn't be surprised when we get bad news from the doctor, when a relationship falls apart, when we remain beset by a certain sin over which we can't seem to gain victory. Don't ever forget, it isn't until the day of Jesus Christ that God will bring his good work to completion (Phil. 1.6). Until then, be patient with the world as it is, with others as they are, and with yourself as you are.

Take a listen to our exposition of Malachi.

I am currently reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion and Relentless Faith by Brennan Manning.

Don't forget we are studying Deuteronomy each Wednesday at 6 PM in room 104.