My Path Here: Part 1

Screenshot 2020-02-18 at 11.37.10 AMWhy do you believe what you believe? Are you Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian and more importantly why or why not? Are these things you thought through systematically or do you still go to the same church as your parents? Within your denomination, are you conservative, liberal or moderate? What are your thoughts on election (Romans 8 not Sanders vs. Biden)? These questions are rhetorical, something to think about, but the one I really want to address today is this: Are your answers to these questions today the same as they would have been 10 or 20 years ago? How many iterations of systematic theology did you go through to get where you are today?

I would like to put my thoughts into words about how I got here on the journey. I suspect that if you’re somewhere around middle age, like myself, then 40 or 50 something you is at least somewhat removed from early adult, fresh out of college, ready to start a family/career you. Continue reading

Dumping the Screen is Not the Answer

I see memes on Facebook that say things like “Throw the screen in the trash.” My friends share links to competing articles promoting the virtues of digital projection and also what we lost when we stop using hymnals. I don’t think we have correctly identified the problem. Continue reading

Book Review: The Mystery of Suffering and the Meaning of God

e4c54eda-8376-434b-b8a2-7a44c2b117abAnson Hugh Laytner is a retired Jewish rabbi. One’s initial reaction might be “This is not Christian theology.” Firstly, Laytner anticipates a Jewish and Christian audience. He describes himself as a skeptical but spiritual person thus the intended audience may go beyond Christian or Jewish to include anyone struggling with questions and looking for answers. More to the point in this context, Christian theology grew out of Hebrew history, ritual, literature and Jewish theology in the first century. Laytner is aware of the relationship. As he begins a section describing Radical Monotheism he mentions the Tanakh and then inserts in parenthesis “the Jewish Bible, similar to the Christian Old Testament.” The search for meaning and understanding is practically universal among people everywhere and Laytner’s process may benefit any reader wrestling with the same issues. Continue reading

God is Willing and Able

There is a lot to learn from reading the Bible but a few predominant themes run through the whole book. One lesson we learn that is reinforced many times is that God knows what he’s doing. 

…the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment… 2 Peter 2:9

Continue reading

I Just Want My Blessing

A post from guest blogger Jimmy Humphrey. 

I think we could all agree that we want to live lives that feel “blessed.”

We want to feel that God’s fortune shines upon our lives. We want to feel favored. We want to feel like we lack for nothing.

Yet, many of us do not in fact feel that way. Continue reading

Heaven, Hell and the Gospel

preach the BibleA short Facebook exchange this morning led me to search The Master’s Table for references to hell. The only post with hell in the title was a link to a sermon on the Unity website. Here is the full text of that sermon, preached at Unity Baptist Church on October 4, 2015. The scripture text is Isaiah 11:1-10.  Continue reading

What We Are Called To

For reasons I do not understand an old post saw some new life today. A follower came across “Remember What We Are Called To” in her reader this morning, originally published June 30, 2015. The subject is 1 Peter 3:15 which I just preached on again Sunday morning as part of a series through 1st Peter. The context back in 2015 was the Supreme Court decision striking down state laws banning same-sex marriage. So with a new introduction here is the body of that post. Good shelf life on this one (just remember it’s from the archives when I mention President Obama).

1-pet-3-15

1 Peter 3:15 is the basis for Christian Apologetics. Apologetics may sound like apologizing but an apologist is one that defends the Christian faith. It’s about being prepared to answer questions about why we believe what we believe. One must be well versed in scripture and certain that his own faith has been built on a sure foundation. Apologetics may involve boldness, defending a faith that is not always popular, but care must also be taken not to offend. We will offend people by sharing the Gospel; but we must be sure is the cross that offends and not us. Continue reading