July 2020

Reflections on Sermon 128: “Free Grace”

“Is everyone invited, or just a few?” If you have ever felt left out by the lack of an invitation, then you’ve seen a slight glimpse into Wesley’s contempt for predestination. It is one thing, however, to be left out by the lack of an invitation, and quite another thing to be punished for not responding to an invitation you never really received in the first place. Wesley had a problem with the notion that God eternally decreed, before a person was even born, some to be eternally saved, and some to suffer eternal damnation, without ever being offered a choice.

Reflections on Sermon 67: "On Divine Providence"

My kids came inside one day and told me that there was a sparrow on our patio that was hurt and unable to fly. While hovering over its frightened body, my children asked, “What are you going to do, Dad?” I told my oldest boy to grab an old birdcage from the basement and hang it on the patio. I attempted to comfort the sparrow with words it didn’t understand as I leaned over to pick it up. Tenderly cupping it in the palm of my hand, I placed it in the cage. Full of compassion, my kids filled containers with food and water. “Let’s care for it,” I told the kids, “and see what happens.”

Reflections on Sermon 59: "God''s Love to Fallen Man"

The faithful and busy lay people of Saint Clair Avenue Church of the Nazarene in Toronto, Ontario, taught me—then a neighborhood teenager—how to fish for perch and pickerel and to dream about muskies in Canadian lakes and rivers. Among these people was my unforgettable fishing mentor, Mr. Paddle. He knew his way around in the rugged forest wilderness and in the crowded streets of Canada's largest city. I looked up to him, and others, as trusted models of the Christian life.

Reflections on Sermon 44: “Original Sin”

Imagine sitting on an examination table, and in comes Dr. John Wesley with a clipboard in hand. “Give it to me straight,” you tell him. “What is the diagnosis?” He says, “I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that you have been made in the image of God; your human dignity and potential is still in-tact. The bad news is that a disease called ‘Original Sin’ has distorted this image. It’s hereditary, passed down from generation to generation since the day it was spawned by the disobedience of your distant grandparents, Adam and Eve.” According to Dr.

Useful in the Potter''s Hands

Q: I've heard many terms used to describe holiness in the lives of believers. Are some terms more correct than others?

The holiness of God is majestic, awe-inspiring and wonderful. (Perhaps we should also include fearful.)

God's gracious invitation for us to be called by His name and participate in His holy character is an invitation to be holy as God is holy. Holiness in the lives of believers is humbling, powerful, life-changing, and hopeful. It cannot be easily captured in a single word or phrase.

The Transcendent Church

Steering the ministry fleet during this time of global pandemic highlights the navigational challenges many ministers face in leading their congregations. They can end up exhausted, discouraged, or defeated. However, in the midst of much uncertainty, I have seen one great truth stand out: God’s church will not be overcome. The Church of Christ, His body incarnate on earth, is transcendent. 

Transcendence in Sacrifice  

Wistful Coveting and Christlike Humility

I have been praying for a friend who is experiencing devastating loss as she watches someone she loves slip away. I have observed her journey, trying to uphold her through messages, prayers, and by asking my prayer group to pray for her even though they do not know her. She has gracefully carried on this long, hard struggle, but it has been heart-wrenching to watch her journey. Her solid, undiminished faith is a beam of light for all who know her.