What Does The Life of Gratitude Look Like? (Heidelberg Catechism, Q93)

Decalogue parchment by Jekuthiel Sofer 1768, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving is coming next week! I love having a day that almost requires me to say “Thank you!” to God and to people around me. I want my whole life to focus on giving thanks. What does a thankful life look like? If you have been here before you know that I often post about topics in the Heidelberg Catechism—a 16th century Reformed summary of biblical Christianity. It is a … [Read more...]

How Do You Find God’s Will? (Heidelberg Catechism, Q91)

"?" by Andrés Nieto Porras, cc license

If you follow Jesus, sooner or later the question is going to come up: What is God’s will?” We love God. We want our lives to please God. But how on earth can we figure out what God really wants? A full century after the Pentecostal movement drew our attention to the presence of the Holy Spirit, we assume that if just quiet down God will whisper the answer in our … [Read more...]

Vocabulary Lesson: The Keys of the Kingdom (Heidelberg Catechism, Q83)

First Aid Kit and Key, Felix E. Guerrero, cc license

Read your King James Bible and several times you'll run across the word "sackbut." Say that today and somebody will feel insulted. Back in 1611 people knew it was a musical instrument. Language changes as centuries pass. That can happen with theological vocabulary too. Take the word "keys." Listen hard to sermons, to your Christian friends, or to Christian media. Is … [Read more...]

Guest Post on ChristianMomThoughts.com: “Training Wheels for Your Child’s Prayer Life”

RayPhotosPerth on Pixabay, public domain under cc license

I am thrilled that Natasha Crain invited me to write a post on her great Christian parenting blog, "Christian Mom Thoughts." Natasha writes on apologetics for parents, equipping them to help their kids grow in a strong and well-informed faith, and she now has a book under contract with Harvest House. Check out her work -- but read my post first! It is up and … [Read more...]

That Body and Blood Thing (Heidelberg Catechism Q76)

bread and wine #1, khrawlings, cc license

One Sunday long ago that rarest of things happened: A woman who had never before set foot in a church came and joined us for worship. Her son had asked why they didn’t go to church. Ours was in the neighborhood. They showed up. I mean they had never, ever been in a church before. Most newcomers to any church used to be regulars at some other one. As several of us … [Read more...]

A Prayer for Timothy Matthew Slemmons

Tim Slemmons

Last night at UDTS we installed my friend and colleague, the Rev. Dr. Timothy Matthew Slemmons, as Associate Professor of Homiletics and Worship. I was honored to be asked to offer a prayer in the service. I thought I would share it with you, especially since many of you who know him could not be there in person. Gracious Triune God we thank you for the Word-- the Word … [Read more...]

St. Jerome, the Complicated Christian

St Jerome, by Leonello Spada; public domain via wikimedia commons

Today the Western Church commemorates St. Jerome (c. 347-420). What a complicated fellow. First passionate about secular literature, he gave it up to be a scholar of the Bible and a leader in the ascetic life. Absolutely counter-cultural -- but maybe this Doctor of the Church still has things to teach us. He was controversial Like so many in his era he had a powerful ascetic … [Read more...]

Okay, Why “Trespasses,” “Debts” and “Sins”? (Heidelberg Catechism Q119)

Early printed parchment leaf, probably from a missal, by POP, cc license

One peril of visiting a new church comes when it is time to pray. At least if the congregation of a traditional flavor they will wrap up with something like “Now let join our voices in the prayer Christ himself has taught us, saying…” It all goes fine for a while: …Father… ...Name... …kingdom… …will… …daily bread… But then that awkward moment: what will we ask … [Read more...]