American Disciples at the Cross – Part 3

What if we’ve only preached half the message of the cross for most of the history of the church? What if the message of the cross was meant to be more than a momentary transaction at the foot of Christ’s cross? What if the evangelization of the world prior to Christ’s return requires a community…

American Disciples at the Cross – Part 2

“My husband was laid off work over a year ago and has not been able to find a job. I guess unemployment and its financial impact is our current cross to bear.” “Our marriage has been rocky for many years, and I don’t see signs of improvement at the moment. I guess this is our…

American Disciples at the Cross – Part 1

My sermon this past Sunday made a case that the church, by and large, has embraced one cross and avoided the other. The message of the cross must be two-fold: 1) Bowing in humble repentance at the foot of Jesus’ cross where Christ won the victory and where we receive forgiveness of our sins, and…

Christ Encounter #5: Who am I Really?

This is from a Bible Study series I wrote called Christ Encounters exploring some of the most well-known encounters with Christ in the Gospels.  Each study provides (1) initial observations/questions, (2) interpretation & exegesis, and (3) practical life application questions. 27Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked…

Hope for Moody Pastors (Mark 3:3-6)

One reason I resisted being a “pastor” for so long was all the stereotypes I had in my head for what pastors are supposed to be like. My image always looked something like Mr. Rogers in a sweater and khakis. Warm, personable, emotionally steady, gentle and never, EVER moody. I don’t know where I picked…

A Puzzling Path to Glory 4 (Mark 10:45)

FROM ‘WORD STUDIES’ TO ‘THE STUDY OF THE WORD’: WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? It is often said that it is impossible to find a needle in a haystack. Yet it also could be said that if, once found, one focuses too narrowly upon the small needle so as not to lose it again, they may…

A Puzzling Path to Glory 3 (Mark 10:45)

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ISAIAH: MARK’S STRUCTURE AND JESUS’ IDENTITY Joel Marcus has shed considerable light on the OT background to Mark’s gospel, noting especially the Isaianic influences in the words and actions of Jesus. Mark uses strategic Isaianic passages to show the reader that God is finally initiating the new exodus and ushering in…

A Puzzling Path to Glory 2 (Mark 10:45)

“EITHER-OR” vs. “BOTH-AND”: HARMONIZING OLD TESTAMENT EXPECTATIONS Mark’s narrative paints a Jesus who is intentionally identifying himself with two OT figures—the Danielic Son of Man and the Isaianic Servant of YHWH; and describes his mission as the fulfillment of their drastically different destinies—the glorious triumph of the Son of Man over Israel’s enemy (“the fourth…