To be a community where people experience the healing grace of Christ we must know how to be “safe people” and create “safe places”. This is especially true when the healing is in the area of sexual brokenness.
The second chapter of Genesis is almost always used exclusively to reveal God’s design of marriage. While that certainly is a significant aspect of Genesis there is another vitally important teaching imbedded in Genesis two: that there is one calling for both single and married persons.
This has helped me. Perhaps it will help you. Perhaps not.
Barb Knuckles has sent me some very thoughtful and helpful writings she has done in the area of our sexual brokenness and healing in this area. I asked Barb if I could share some of these thoughts on my pastor’s blog and she graciously said “Yes.” I found this particular writing on Jesus and Defilement very helpful. I have been meditating on how Jesus is pure and not defiled by us and able to bring healing into those places of defilement in our lives.
Think of the church standing her ground against the powerful idolization of sex in our culture (and in our own hearts) as a rugby scrum, that part of a rugby match where the two teams link arms and legs and push against each other. That is the kind of force of exertion that is needed for the church to be faithful to Her Lord and her call to be God’s new society today.
The discipline of celibacy can make you kinder, wiser, more noble than you ever dreamed. Obedience always causes one to suffer but it gives a weight of glory; In the language of John Bunyan, it makes one a “Greatheart.”
We are people of hope not only for ourselves but for others because we have experienced the amazing, pursuing, rescuing, freeing, forgiving, redeeming, restoring, regenerating, relentless grace of God.
In these Reflections I hope to present Scripture’s vision for godly sexuality in such a way that skeptics and seekers might understand, if not appreciate, the Christian sexual doctrine and ethic, and that my brothers and sisters in Christ might be more and more delighted to walk in God’s design for their sexuality and so be formed into that sanctorum communio that is a witness to the suffering and sanctifying power of Christ.
On September 18th, we are beginning the third part of our “Faithful Presence” series. Part one focused on mercy and justice while part two focused on identity and vocation. In the third part of this series, we will be focusing on “godly sexuality.”
This will be a ten week preaching series. Along with the preaching series we will be offering a number of different “paths” to press into this important area of our lives.
This Sunday we will consider the ninth and tenth chapters of Esther and consider how to step out in responsible and concrete action in the midst of the moral complexities and ambiguities of life.
In the sermon we will see how Jesus Christ’s primary calling in our life frees and motivates us to step into our secondary callings with mastery and artfulness.
Esther went through a one year beauty treatment. But God, the King of Kings, is at work in you through your whole lifetime, to bring about a deep inner beauty in you as his son or daughter. Like Esther, as you own more and more of your identity in Christ (who you are), you will more and more be able to live faithfully into your calling (what he has made you to do).
For so many of us who are struggling to (1) live out our identity as sons and daughters of God in the vast and overwhelming milieu of secular culture with all its power and glory and to (2) live into our vocations with the daring and courage that God’s children should have and the world needs, I pray that the story of Esther will shake us from our conformity to this age and call us into the vocations that God has designed and prepared for each one of us.
This spring I set out to preach a series on the Christian mandate to love, serve, and care for the poor and needy. I expected the series to explore the biblical theology and commands behind mercy and justice.
I did not expect a clear, dominant, theme to emerge.
I recommend this book for those seeking to live an lead in gospel ministry in an urban setting.
Tonight, let us be a safe place for real sinners to come and confess; and let us learn what it means that Jesus is sufficient to meet all of our needs according to His Promise.
You are invited to join the Redeemer community in an intentional and rigorous Holy Week.
When I was growing up my mom often shared this story from her life with me. From it she taught me that God calls me – us! – to focus not on the negative things in other people, but on what is good, true and beautiful about them. Recently Mom sent me this story in written form and I’m pleased to be able to share it with you.
Our “sentness” and call to “faithful presence” goes back to the cross. It is rooted in the cross. It is only when we are mesmerized and captivated by God’s love for us in Christ that we are set free to live with joy and creativity and “faithful presence” in the world. So, in a sense, this Lent season is incredibly vital to all that we will be talking about the rest of the year.
I wrote these words years ago. I was looking them over for some quotes for my sermon this Sunday and realized that much of what I wrote is relevant to what I am preaching in my sermon. It is encouraging to see that what I said so many years ago, is what I still hold and believe and preach today.
When I go on a trip away from my home that requires me to fly in an airplane I almost always write notes to Jenny, my wife, and each of my children.
As we conclude our study of the “I AM” statements of Jesus in the gospel of John let us learn their lesson well: Jesus is what we need at the very deepest level of our being. He is what we Need beneath our needs.
A while back I was talking to a friend who attends Redeemer. I asked him, “what kind of sermon or sermon series would you find helpful in your Christian life?”
What is your deepest, most basic, most primal need? Is it your need for food and drink? Is it your need for loving relationships? Is it your need for a life-of-meaning?
Jesus says that your deepest, most basic, most primal need is for a personal-intimate relationship with God. Like a car is designed to run on gas, Jesus says, you and I are designed to work and play, to worship and eat, to laugh and cry with the deep, infallible, permanent assurance that we are loved by God, that we are God’s children in whom he delights.
I look forward to proclaiming the life-giving sufficiency of Jesus Christ to you all, sunday after sunday, this winter.
What is the nature of true virtue? What makes one act good and another act bad?
One of the things I love most about the gospel (good news of Jesus) is that it is not afraid to wade into the areas of our greatest pain. One of these is the area of parental discipline.
It is vitally important for non-Christians to be clear on the story-line of the Bible (even if that story-line is ultimately rejected) because it is the Bible’s story line that distinguishes it from every other religion.
The preaching of the doctrine of hell and God’s judgment is absolutely necessary to (1) knowing God’s love well and (2) loving other people well.
My contention is that Indianapolis needs the deconstructing grace of Jesus Christ more than anything else.
All of us are forced to make a decision about Jesus. Christians are those who view themselves and all of their life and struggles and trials through the grid of Jesus Christ, Lord of the Universe.
How would we live if we knew – functionally knew – that our deepest need was eternally and infinitely met?
No one likes to be put in a box. Yet, for as much as we hate when this is done to us, far too often we do it to others…
As Christians, our hope is not that faith in Jesus erases our Pain but that He is more ultimate, more real, more final, more foundational than the Great Pain of our lives.
Deep in our soul we long for order, for control, but we find ourselves trapped in a seemingly chaotic world.
At the end of the day, Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate parable, his smuggling of Himself past our closed-circle way of thinking, past the defenses of our hearts. Will you let him and his Kingdom in?
We must be intellectually and spiritually honest with the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament.
It is only when you, so to speak, get into his wake, that you can be delivered from the dominion and disintegration of sin.
The people you choose to follow shape the person you become.
You can’t have Sonship without going through the true Son.
When you make Christ your summum bonom, from Him flows grace, acceptance, joy, hope, virtue, rest, purpose, thankfulness even in midst of human powerlessness, boundaries, and failures and even in the face of death itself.
There is a longing lodged deep in each of us that wants to make a mark on this world, to leave a legacy, to be remembered for something, to do deeds of valor and courage.
One of the reasons people reject Christianity…
One of the problems people have with Christians is that they “indoctrinate” their children with their beliefs.
Have you ever experienced a nudge or even a night of dread?