November 2020

Reflections on Sermon 105: “On Conscience”

If I feel that I may have done something wrong, whether it is saying something hurtful to someone or commenting negatively on someone’s Facebook wall, I cannot sleep. No matter what I do, I just can’t sleep. Maybe this is me thinking too much or making a big deal over small things, but I have spent nights feeling uneasy, replaying in my mind what I did and speculating how the other party may have been hurt. The problem is that these convictions come to me when I lie down, which is mostly deep in the night, when everyone except me is already sleeping.

Reflections on Sermon 41: “Wandering Thoughts”

It is easy to become distracted. You are happily listening to your pastor’s online sermon when your smartphone vibrates—a notification tells you that someone tagged you in a Facebook post. You open it, smile, then react with an emoticon. You saw something on someone else’s wall and you begin to scroll down. Forty minutes later, you are watching an “America’s Got Talent” episode of a guy eating swords. By this time, the sermon has already ended and you are left feeling guilty. This is an all too common situation people may experience in this technology age.

Reflections on Sermon 82: “On Temptation”

I remember the story of a monk who went to see his superior (the abbot) with great excitement. He wanted to report on a recent spiritual breakthrough—he thought he was not facing temptations anymore. When the abbot heard of his new circumstance, the monk was surprised that the abbot did not express joy. Instead, he saw wrinkles forming in the pondering abbot’s forehead. So the monk asked, “Abbot, is there something wrong? Is it not a cause of celebration that I am no longer tempted by the devil?” Sighing, the abbot responded, “My son, I am afraid your current situation is dire.

Keeping in Step with Jesus

I have never lived on a farm—never milked a cow, never plowed a field, never waited for the harvest. I am a city boy. This puts me at a disadvantage, at times, when I read the parables and illustrations of Jesus in the New Testament. Many of His images in preaching came from a context of farming—ancient Israel was an agrarian society. The people not only understood but lived their lives around the planting and harvesting seasons.

A Merciful Savior

Every human is guilty before God because of his/her sin and cannot run away from this guilt and condemnation. Each of us is destined to death, but through our faith in the gracious intervention of the Son of God who took our sins on Him, we can be saved. On the cross, we were rescued and redeemed, freed from the slavery of sin.

Justification, Regeneration, and Adoption

The Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene are statements of how we as Wesleyan-Holiness people understand God’s revelation to humanity through His Holy Word. Articles V to X describe the journey of humanity from sin to holiness.

With the Grain of the Universe

The loud sobbing was coming from somewhere in the blackness of the sanctuary. In the darkness, I found a dear friend laying across the seats crying uncontrollably, pleading with the Lord for mercy.

The Righteous Judge

The doctrine of justification encompasses more nuances than just the word itself. The Greek word “δικαιοσύνη” used for “justification” extends to a range of meanings in English, including justification, justice, truthfulness, and righteousness. In order to explain the concept of justification, we must capture multiple links between these various words in the δικαιο-family.

A Community Born by Grace

Interwoven throughout the testimonies of the Old Testament is the conviction that the Lord graciously initiated and freely established a unique relationship with the community called Israel. Frequently described in terms of covenant, this relationship between God and people finds its most common expression in the Lord’s validating words, “I will be your God, and you will be my people” (Leviticus 26:12). As our biblical ancestors spoke of being “rightly related” with God and each other through this covenant, they used words derived from a single Hebrew root: ts-d-q.

Pelagius, Augustine, and Arminius

The Reformed Church of the Netherlands (RCN) has been the official denomination of the Republics of the United Provinces of the Netherlands since 1571. On the occasion of the Synod of Endem, they established the Belgian Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism (for the Dutch-speaking provinces) or the Catechism of Geneva (for French-speaking provinces) as the confessional documents and indispensable requirements for the ordination of their ministers.