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Word, Sacrament, and Skin Color??

This past Monday evening my wife and I decided to go to a local park so she could exercise for a bit while I watched my eldest at at the playground. While there, I was asked (by a black mother) if a local church I'd recommended to her had black attendees. ?? I would never care whether a church had white people or not. I'd care if the gospel was proclaimed and sacraments administered. We're in Christ! That's what Colossians 3 is all about! On Facebook, I was told it was my white privilege...that is why I do not consider members of my own race attending as something to be hoped for or valued. Marxist bull. Come quickly, Lord.

On the Solution to Racism

Living in St. Louis, in 2017, I hear a lot about racism and racial inequality and the like. I am convinced a lot of the talk is politically motivated, but, shocker, sin still exists. Racism, that disgusting sin of pride and hate still exists. But good news... I know the solution to racism...

It is the fact that Jesus Christ, second person of the Triune God, fully God and fully man, was crucified for the forgiveness of sins & buried, is risen, ruling and reigning presently at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to again dwell with man on a renewed earth forever. He chooses men and women from every tribe, tongue, and nation to show his love and give new life, completely based not on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Not based upon our efforts or works. Not based upon what I've done for God or how much better I am than "those other people". Based completely on a sovereign God who has chosen to show mercy to rebel sinners,…

Don't Worry, Baby Kaylee, About Your Life

Matthew 6:27, 34 (ESV)

"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life span? ... Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Realized something tonight:

 Kaylee cries... A LOT. Well, I knew that already.  But that isn't what I learned.  I continue.

She seems like her little self is always freaking out -- FEED ME!!! CHANGE ME!!!! etc. But almost as if she doubts Kacey's and my ability or faithfulness to take care of her. "Kaylee! I got this, girl! We got this. Chill." 

Then I wondered -- Is this what I sound like to God when I am not only asking for provision but WORRYING about it? As if he won't take care of us? And God in his Word says, "Ryan and Kacey -- I've got this. Chill." But we keep stressing and worrying "No! No! No! No! No! You don't! I'm going to DIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!" And yet, our Triune God is ever faithful to pr…

"Moved to pity by their groaning."

[Joshua 2:18]
As a son of Adam, I am very comfortable worshiping my god of comfort and myself.  My siblings of the human race, likewise, have this propensity to worship self rather than the selfless one, the man rather than the Son of Man.  My interactions with others, then, often follow this approach: "How does this person cater to me?  How can I be served by this other person?  Is he living up to my standard I have for him?"  This is especially true when I deal with other drivers on the road;  I get easily angered and frustrated by lack of "courteousness" / Ryan-respect displayed by my fellow man while behind the wheel.

I am easily angered.

Also, generally being a conservative American, I am frustrated by the bullying an Evangelical worldview faces in the current culture -- particularly about hot-button issues like abortion and homosexual unions.  I would assert I have a right to be frustrated with a righteous frustration that comes from this world being fallen, gr…

Questions on the Church Gathered and Teaching therein (or wherein? I can never get that right...)

I find myself frustrated lately.  So, in honor of my hearing a lengthy quote from a Contemplative today... I'm going to just ask questions.  These are things I am struggling with lately.
Presupposition: The Church corporately gathers to worship our Triune creator and redeemer God through Song, Word, and Sacrament.

With this in mind...

What is the purpose of the sermon?  Should the sermon be verse-by-verse exposition? or topical?If verse-by-verse, should there always be a central theme?If topical, how should the Bible be used in the course of a topical sermon?Should Jesus Christ, and him crucified, be proclaimed every time the Church gathers?Should this be the central theme of the service overall?Or should it be the theme, specifically, of the sermon also? Very frustrating questions I have.  Especially if my assumptions on any (or all) of these are incorrect, and then I am wrongly judging sermons due to my incorrect paradigm.

Ugh.

Maranatha.

Let Us Not Neglect the Old Testament

(Originally written in early March, 2012.  The final two paragraphs were written on 6.30.12, to fittingly end the post.)

My wife and I are continuing to read through the entire Bible in chronological order ... to varying degrees of success.  I have already had some milestones, reading some books I had never read completely - including Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Though I grew up in church, I have yet to read all of God's Word.  Sad state of not only myself but education and chatechesis of Christians.

In reading these books, I did not find them to be at all what I had expected. I was under the impression that these books were dry, without value for the 21st century Christian, and too difficult to "get through."  I don't recall anyone telling me this directly; I arrived at this perception from hearing how others had tried to read the Bible through and got hung up past Exodus.  I am happy to proclaim, however, this was not my experience.  I found the books to …

House of God With Extra Cloud Filling

And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
(2 Chronicles 5:11-14 ESV)
While my wife and I are still using the Chronological Bible reading plan ... we are not very good at consistency and staying on target.  I often am ashame…