Samson, Impulses, Recovery, Gospel

The story of Samson in Judges 13-16 is NOT the story of a really strong guy who gets a really hot girl because he has really cool hair.

It IS the story of a man whose life ends tragically, buried beneath the rubble of his own consequences.  Consequences that come from a life where there was no gap between his impulse and his action. read more

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Foundational Monotheism in Psalm 86

The first ten verses of Psalm 86 read this way:

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Candy Bars

There is nothing quite like a good candy bar, is there?

I remember when they cost a dime. I’d ride my bike up to the neighborhood Seven-Eleven Store, put a dime on the counter, and ask for a Baby Ruth. Those really were the days.

It’s no exaggeration to say that candy bars have been a fixture through my life. So what are the five with real staying power? read more

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ThanksLiving, Week 2 — The “No Words” Sermon Rewind

Paul was a wordsmith.

While other biblical artists draw word pictures, Paul’s specialty is word “pile ons.”  He explains his words with more words.  He adds to his arguments with more words.  Words are his currency and he spends them well.

And yet in 2 Corinthians 9:15, he runs out of words.  At the conclusion of a section where he is supposed to be talking about money but instead sings about Jesus, Paul says emphatically: read more

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Passage To India

In preparation for our team’s recent India Mission trip, I drew this map of the sub-continent to help the team as I gave them a historico-geo-political history lesson in our on-the-plane briefing session.

You’re welcome.

(Many of you have asked when we might give a report on the trip … Chris Macedo has produced a video that we will show in worship on December 3.  Don’t miss it!) read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Jason Isbell Songs

I am not stuck in the 70s and 80s when it comes to my musical tastes.

Really, I’m not.

(Actually, the more I declare it, the less you believe it, I know.)

But for sure my favorite “current” artist is Jason Isbell.  My 25 year old son Riley is the first one to tell me about Isbell, which he did by giving me a copy of the seminal 2013 CD, Southeastern. read more

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ThanksLiving Launch — The “Thunderstruck” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message, which launched the ThanksLiving series, had a couple of goals:

  • To ground the OBJECT of our gratitude not in the “God of the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR” but instead very specifically in the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;
  • To move us away from lists of “what” we’re thankful for and into a mindset where we are thankful for a WHO;
  • To contrast a wheelbarrow full of salt — our mountain of mercy — with the grain of salt with which we usually regard God’s grace.
  • Borrowing some language from John Piper, to invite us to “see and savor” the glory of Christ crucified, resurrected, coronated, and returning;
  • Pave the way for an open mic time;
  • Land at this bottom line:  May we never become careless with what is priceless.

————————————————————

Maybe you remember hearing about the Heist of the Century a couple of years ago in Great Britain.  Because befuddled British police were shocked to find that a supposedly secure vault in a place called Hatton Garden (interesting: I live on Hatton Cross!) had been emptied of $20M in diamonds, jewelry, and cash.  Apparently security got a bit careless and a team of thieves were able to disguise themselves as workmen, climb down an elevator shaft and spend two nights breaking into the vault.  They left behind some power tools but very little other forensic evidence.  Lax security led to an incredible loss. read more

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ThanksLiving Launch — “Thunderstruck”

Thanksgiving.  It’s what we do.  We travel, we gather, we pray, we eat, we watch football, we sleep, and then we prepare for Christmas.  It’s the same year after year.

But ThanksLiving?  It’s not what we do.  It’s who we are.  Or, in the case of Good Shepherd Church, it’s who we are becoming.  People who are increasingly aware of the incomparable gift we’ve been given in Christ, and who live and give thankfully in response. read more

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Look Intently At WHAT?!

Think of all the things that get our double takes:

Beautiful people.

Sunsets on the beach.

Sunrise on the beach.

Mist rising from the mountains.

The colors in a kaleidoscope.

A city skyline at night.

Beautiful people.

And James throws in this line early in his sermon:  “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:27). read more

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Sing To The King …

Matthew Bates’ Salvation By Allegiance Alone has been a mind-bending, soul-shaping, and preacher-salivating read for me over the last few weeks.

Here’s the thesis in a nutshell:

It’s a Gospel that starts with Jesus instead of me and culminates more with a Savior who reigns than with a sinner who gets saved. read more

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