Everyone Has a Story – Determining Who Gets the Pen

When people struggle with control issues in their lives one helpful therapy technique is to talk about who is writing your story. People often struggle with letting others affect them or control them in ways that aren’t appropriate. It is as if our life is a story that is being written in a book. The […]

Resurrection, Part 9: Conclusions

The resurrection is a big topic, and I’ve hardly exhausted it. Hopefully, I’ve shown that it matters both theologically and practically. It affects how we think of the church and how we live as Christians. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in Bible class when someone argued against this or that good […]

Resurrection, Part 8: The Thief on the Cross and Lazarus

The thief on the cross I guess the most common remaining question I get on this material is based on — (Luk 23:42-43 NAS)  42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me […]

Resurrection, Part 7: Why song leaders lead bad songs

Why is it that so many song leaders insist on leading songs with bad music? You’d think that worship leaders, of all people, would understand the importance of beauty in the melody and the arrangement. But in the Churches of Christ, we’ve adopted a form of Greek dualism, treating the words of the song as […]

Resurrection, Part 6: A New Hope

God speaks to us about heaven and judgment and the Second Coming in metaphors. The goal of this brief series has been to get the metaphors right — at least, closer to right than our usual readings. But of necessity, when it comes to the next age, the scriptures don’t answer every single question we wonder […]

Resurrection, Part 5: The Rapture

I have a confession to make: I didn’t know what the “Rapture” is until I was in law school. A degree from Lipscomb and a childhood of Sunday school classes and sermons, and somehow the Rapture got entirely past me. We in the Churches of Christ don’t speak of the Rapture — either pro or […]

Natural Evangelism

It could happen among any group of Christians when the subject of conversation turns to evangelism. One person draws back from the thought of approaching strangers to distribute evangelistic leaflets. Another feels unable to engage in door-to-door “cold campaigning” such as is done by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, but also feels guilty in this regard. […]

Resurrection, Part 4: 2 Peter 3:10-13: The heavens will pass away

2 Peter 3:10-13 is one of the most common — and understandable — objections to belief in a general bodily resurrection, as opposed to a disembodied eternal fate for the saved. This familiar passage is usually taken to mean that God is going to take the saved away from earth so that he can then […]

Resurrection, Part 3: Bodies in the afterlife?

So I was teaching a Wednesday Bible class of older adults not long ago, and I mentioned some of this to them, and they became upset with me. They’d always been taught they’d float off into the ether as disembodied souls. Plainly I was wrong. But I pointed out to them that they’d also always […]

Resurrecting Evangelism…Calling a Kingdom of Priests

In my previous post, I made the point that calling is something that is rarely talked about in Churches of Christ and as a result our outreach has suffered. The fact that people aren’t really sure if God does any calling today makes people reluctant to feel like God has anything specific in mind for […]

Spring Brings …

Once again Spring is in the air; the trees and flowers are in bloom, the weather is beginning to get warmer, and the world is awaking out of the winter doldrums. It is a time of hope, renewal, and new beginnings. Many of us have just experienced a wonderful time of celebration as we remember […]

Multiple Personalities Live Here!

The Resurrection & Grace. Grace & the Resurrection. I am currently preaching through the letter to Galatians on Sunday mornings. A long time ago I was captivated by a series of messages by Rick Atchley called We Be Free. I was so captivated that I listened and transcribed every single one of them—and then developed […]

Resurrection, Part 2: The early church fathers; Asking better questions

The early church fathers actually considered a denial of a bodily resurrection as damning! For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is […]

Resurrection, Part 1: A Definition

The scholar who has most thoroughly studied the question of Christian resurrection is doubtlessly N. T. Wright. The question is central to his books The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) and Surprised by Hope. Surprised by Hope is written at a more popular level and […]

Resurrecting the Resurrected – Instructions to a Dead Church

“If Christ is risen, nothing else matters.  And if Christ is not risen, nothing else matters.” – Jeroslav Pelikan In my opinion the most stunning letter in the entire New Testament is not one that we have as a “stand alone” book of the New Testament. The letter I am thinking of is a lot […]

Thomas and Resurrection

In 2006, I was fortunate to spend a month in Minsk, Belarus where I taught at a small Bible college. Very few people spoke English in a nation still sequestered from the global community by political oppression and material scarcity. For that reason, I was pretty isolated during my time without the assistance of a […]

The Hour of Darkness – a Good Friday meditation

The hour of darkness is upon us… Three times Jesus awakened them—three times. His heart was breaking, his fears were mounting, and his knees were covered in the dirt of the garden floor. Three times he went to pray and pour out his soul in anguish to his Father… They went to sleep. God forgive […]

Up From the Grave He Arose

April’s theme is on resurrection…a term in the Greek New Testament that at its core means “to rise up to a better status” (BDAG anastasis – See Luke 2:34). It just so happens that when a dead person is raised up to a better status that is not just any regular sort of uplifting…that is […]