The Sounds of Heaven

In the book of Revelation we get glimpses of the heavenly order through the vision that was given to the apostle John.  Again and again throughout the book we hear singing and praise to God; a thunderous wave of praise from the people of God.  In virtuously every casewe are told that those singing were from every race, tribe, people, and tongue.  The cacophonous praise is multi lingual and international.  Last Fall I had the privilege to travel to Kenya to teach systematic theology at a pastor’s conference.  Prior to arriving in Kenya I travelled to Germany to meet up with my brother Stephen who would be heading to the conference with me.  While in Germany I was scheduled to preach at his church in Neuenburg, a privilege I look forward to every time I am there.  One of the joys I look forward to most is the singing.  I love to hear the saints of God singing praise in their native tongue.  It is a foretaste of the experience we will have in the new creation as reported in the book of Revelation.  What was particularly special was when

On Holy Indignation

My intention is not to blog on the singular subject of abortion or Planned Parenthood, but the moment strikes me as one of the utmost importance; one that demands extended concentration.  I have noticed recently a strain of response from Christians to the rhetoric and anger of other Christians regarding the recently released videos.  Rachel Held Evans and Ann Voskamp are two examples of prominent bloggers from opposite ends of the Christian social spectrum who are pushing back and calling for a response of grace and love.  They are unsettled by the angry tone of many believers on this issue and believe that it will do more harm than good and may in fact be misrepresenting the Christ that loved sinners without a spirit of condemnation.  

On the one hand, I appreciate the concern.  It is important for us all to remember that people are broken and ultimately need God’s grace, that is, mothers who have had abortions and fathers who have insisted on them, as well as abortion doctors and nurses, technicians and baby part purchasers.  Until there is a Spirit wrought change in the heart, our fist pounding, legislating, blogging and protesting will have little lasting impact.  Therefore our anger must be seasoned with the salt of the gospel and with a genuine concern for lost sinners.  We must not be like James and John, the “Sons of Thunder” who immediately wanted to call down fire from heaven  upon the rebellious.  No, ultimately they need the transforming power of Jesus to heal and save them and we should long for that and pray for it.

On the other hand….

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The past couple of months have been an absolute whirlwind of cultural disintegration.  It seems like it was a year ago that Bruce Jenner had his Vanity Fair coming out party; so much water has gone over the dam since then.  From the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, the $130K judgement against the Klein’s for being unwilling to make a cake for such an event, and the talk of churches losing their tax exempt status, to the latest horrifying videos of Planned Parenthood, it has felt like we are in the middle of a cultural free fall.  We all saw it coming for years now, but these past couple of months have brought the future rushing into the present and with the Obergefell  decision in particular, it seems as if a threshold has been crossed and American Christians are officially on the outside looking in and left to speak from the margins.  While this may be slightly overstated, it has led some….

Don't Look Away

Few things have I found more difficult to watch and listen to than the video that was released on Tuesday of Dr. Deborah Nucatola the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood at a lunch meeting with two people posing as potential buyers of the organs of aborted babies.  To listen to her so casually discussing the high demand for the livers and lungs and even the heads (or as she so professionally calls the calvarium) of babies and how they have perfected the skill of removing “it” (the baby) so as not to damage any of the desirable organs all while she eats her salad and sips her wine was unbelievably sickening and infuriating.  It is utterly incredible and chilling to watch someone who has so lost her humanity that she can talk of dismembering children (eight of which she says she had just done that morning) as if she was discussing shopping for shoes.  How painfully shocking it is to listen to this so called doctor describing all of the particular body parts of the baby with medical clarity and yet with complete blindness to the very fact that….

Where Do We Go From Here?

Though I cannot say it was a shock to hear the SCOTUS ruling this past friday, I will admit that it did hurt. While for years I have been preaching the importance of adopting an exilic mindset, understanding that as Christians we are living in Babylon, it was none the less difficult coming to grips with how quickly and radically we have thrown off our Judeo-Christian heritage. Of course, as many sound minded analysts have noted, the issue is not only the legal redefinition of marriage, but the genuine threat to religious liberty that it poses. Along with many others I fear that this has never been merely about the inclusion of homosexuals in the institution of marriage, but has been intended as a means of  breaking the cultural influence of Christians in America.  In an age of sloppy thinking and emotionally rather than logically driven arguments, the gay marriage issue has provided a perfect opportunity to those who resent….

The Blood Of The Martyrs

News broke yesterday of 147 Christians killed in Kenya by Al-Shabaab, the radical muslim group out of Somalia.  According to an article here (  the gunmen singled out Christians and shot them on the spot. In hearing this terrible news we join our cry to that of the martyrs in Revelation 6, “How long, O Lord holy and true, before you judge and avenge our blood?”  It is hard to hear about  our brothers and sisters suffering around the world and in particular, in East Africa and in the Middle East.  It is absolutely appropriate to pray that God would avenge their blood and judge these murderers and servants of the beast or convert them. However, God’s response to the martyrs and to us, is that...