Discovering God’s Love Together

In Ephesians 3.18 Paul prays that God would give his readers the strength they need to comprehend something of the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ, but he tucks a little phrase into the prayer that we can so easily skate over: ‘with all the saints’. We comprehend the love of Christ with all the saints. In other words, it’s just not possible to understand the love of Christ in isolation. Paul is not asking that the Ephesians would have thrilling individual revelations of the love of Christ as they each sit on top of a mountain or in their own home. He is praying that together, collectively, they will grow in their appreciation and experience of the love of God. It’s not far away from what he says in the next chapter, in verse 16, when he speaks of the body building itself up in love.

There is a corporateness, a togetherness, about New Testament Christianity that is lacking in so many Western churches. We are so focused on our own personal time with God and what he is saying to me and how he is blessing me that we lose this important emphasis: ‘with all the saints’.

Part of […]


What Pleases Parents Most

What is it about a child that pleases parents? What is it about a son that gladdens the heart of a father? What is the greatest compliment a dad could ever pay to his daughter?

These are the questions I was asking today as I went for a walk with my wife, and daughter, and dog – it was pretty easy really to come up with an immediate answer!

There are a couple of bible passages that immediately came into my head. The first is the command for children to obey parents in Ephesians 6.1-3:

“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ which is the first commandment with a promise; ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’”

Obedience, of course, for children, is their dutiful response to the Gospel. If they want to please the Lord Jesus, in gratitude for all He has done for them, then they will take this matter of doing what their parents tell them seriously. They will pick up their clothes, tidy their room, answer the door, pick up the phone, avoid unruly company, work hard at school, assemble for family worship, […]


Easy Lies to Believe

A few days ago, our Sunday school lesson was centered on the first chapter of the Westminster Confession and its emphasis on the necessity of Scripture. In discussing how wonderfully God provided for our need to be certain about Him and about salvation, we also spoke about how often we feel certain but we shouldn’t. Along those lines, I’d like to take a stab at naming and disarming several lies often spoken to us through social media, especially in understanding the world around us. In naming these lies, I’m not necessarily advocating giving up on #facetagramsnaptweeting, but encouraging us to wise, careful and limited use.


Summer Days, Unread Books, and Butterfly Wings

On vacation near Lake Michigan again, here’s a memory from ten years ago from my old blog.

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When I am on vacation, I have one idea of how I like to spend my time. Celia, my four year-old daughter, has another.

Often when we are at Miriam’s parents’ home at summertime, I find myself alone for a few hours in the morning while the rest of the entourage goes into town to shop. Lounging about sipping coffee and reading one of the several books I’m in the midst of before an afternoon down on the beach of Lake Michigan is my ideal. Yesterday morning looked promising, as once again everyone went off to do their thing at an antique store (or was it Meijers? They told me but I was engrossed in my reading and did not hear clearly). Anyway, one thing they surely told me, but I did not factor into my “It’s going to be a perfect morning” equation, was that they were leaving Celia behind.

Now I love my kids, and playing Monopoly, riding bikes, jumping in waves, playing kickball in the sand and the like are testimony that I cannot exactly be accused of ignoring them on […]


Answering Questions with Jesus

 

Joel Hart wrote the following guest-post. Joel is preparing for pastoral ministry as a student of theology in the Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA. He is a rising senior at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Lord has given Orlena as Joel’s wife and has blessed them with three children.

                “I left the church because no one would answer my questions.”

This refrain, or similar rhetoric, scatters the blogs or social media posts of those who have distanced themselves from Christ’s church. One question emerges when we observe the phenomenon of despairing and leaving question-askers: Does the church — ­can the church — ­answer the questions of those in the church asking questions amidst an increasingly skeptical world?

Earlier this summer, I enjoyed the privilege of teaching 30 junior high youth at a church family camp. Our studies in the gospel of John led us to the response of the crowds to the teachings of Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:60-71). For Jesus’ audience, this teaching left many with a searching, skeptical question: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (6:60). Here, our Savior answers the doubtful question with a decisive answer built on the […]


3GT Episode 48: Small Town Ministry

You got it – we’ve finally given Kyle his own episode! After we have fun learning more about Winchester, Kansas, we dig into his recent article in Tabletalk on rural ministry. We discuss counterbalancing the current rush to church plant, being more like Jesus and the apostles who preached in towns and villages, the wonderful blessings of doing so, and some of the unique challenges faced in ministering in rural areas. It leads us to the obvious question: Is Kyle the next Tim Keller of the small town? You be the judge!

Listen along and you’ll probably start singing, “Give me a Sunday morning that’s full of grace/A simple life and I’ll be okay/Here in small town U-S-A.”

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/3gt-episode-481.mp3

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Referenced Article:

“The Need for Rural Ministry“, Tabletalk | Kyle Borg


Corporate Prayer: An Example

How might we improve corporate prayer? Last month, I suggested that we replicate a practice of the early church in which worshipers are given time to take petitions to the Lord in silent prayer simultaneously.

Some readers have inquired as to what this might look like in practice. Below, I’ve published Second Reformed Presbyterian Church’s whole order of service from last Lord’s Day morning. You can see our developing practice of corporate prayer. We’re not saying we’re praying the best way, or the only way, or the way that we will always pray; we’re just trying to grow in our love for the Lord and in our prayer life.

Members have provided enthusiastic feedback as we have experimented with different forms of the same basic method over the last few weeks and months. They note that this method calls them to be more engaged in prayer in worship (and less drowsy), leads them to greater communion with God and others, and teaches them to pray by example and by practice. The net result is that we lift up far more requests to the Lord than if the voice of one leader vocalizes prayer during the entire time of corporate prayer. Saints have time to […]


Browse Worthy: The Slippery Slope

Some helpful articles have appeared recently discussing how ministers, churches, and denominations can start the downhill slide down into theological liberalism that destroys evangelical faith, personal holiness, and ecclesiastical integrity. The following posts are helpful mind-sharpeners on this issue.

The Slippery Slope and the Jesus Box | Richard Philips

Dr. Philips tracks a former PCA minister’s (and the congregation he pastors) long descent into endorsing homosexuality and denying Christ’s penal substitution. He points to the first steps down this slope, which he identifies as compromising Biblical authority and accepting women’s ordination.

The Slippery Slope: An Iron Law of Theological Declension? | William Evans

In response to Philips, Dr. Evans questions whether these are truly the first steps and wonders if starting the slide down the slippery slope is not more complicated. He raises the question of whether the competing authority of the culture with Christ and how the Bible is being interpreted are where slides begin.

Double Black Diamonds: Navigating the Slopes | Jay Harvey

In another article interacting with this subject on Reformation21, two particular types of slippery slopes, that of hermeneutical fallacy and the other of fear, are described.

Avoiding Logical Fallacies in Theology | Justin Taylor

In this archived article, Justin Taylor reminds us of how a slippery slope argument […]


Reading God’s Handwriting

I made a comment recently that we should be readers of three books in particular: the book of Scripture, the book of Creation, and the book of Providence.

This was off the back of a holiday which took us across the States and into Canada—so enabling us to enjoy some of the glories of God’s creation, whether it was the mountains around Seattle, the islands off Vancouver, the sheer might of Niagara Falls, or the beauty of sunsets. We saw God’s artistry in a new way. Added to that were many experiences of God’s providence as we travelled—from misplacing tickets and missing a train (which ended up saving us money!) to a stranger offering to carry a suitcase down four flights of stairs (which enabled us to catch a bus to the airport to make a flight) to many, many more—which filled us with a sense of our heavenly Father’s care.

So in preaching I said we should be good students of these three books, and in particular we should note down God’s providences so that we can see the regular care of our Father for us, and learn to marvel at his kindnesses. This way we train ourselves to see his […]


Longing for Home

I have been away from home a lot this summer. It’s not been vacationing on a beach with a little-umbrella’d drink–I can do that without leaving. My travels have been for ministry purposes with a quick trip to Vancouver for some family time. Despite the good reasons for travel, like most of you, I began to long for home.

For many people, home is a place of love and a place for which we long when we are away. You know the longing for home? Remember when you were first sick while away at university, how you longed for home?  Or during a time of family trial where you longed to be with those that needed you? Maybe a birthday missed?  Do you know those familiar smells, sounds, or sights which bring to memory your love for home?

Most of us love home and when we are away we long to be there.

As Christians, that love and longing for home ought to be a desire for our eternal home as well. We ought to long for heaven and the Christ who dwells there. For heaven is our eternal home.

Do you long for eternity? I don’t think that we consider heaven enough. At […]