From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:16-17 (NIV84)
Being a blogger is a lot like being a fisherman—lines in the water all over the place, always fishing for material to share. I learn a lot.
One of the places I like to go fishing is in podcasts, listening to the likes of William Lane Craig, the scholars at Reasons To Believe, Andy Stanley, and Dick Woodward while commuting. But this summer I agreed to read straight through the Old Testament, and that meant weeks of listening to the reading of all 39 books. No podcasts—just reading through the Bible (an essential prerequisite for personal discipleship).
Finally, I reached the end of Malachi and the next day it was time for something new. I really missed the podcasts, so I pulled out my iPhone and ran through some favorite podcast libraries, settling almost randomly on an Andy Stanley sermon entitled, “When Gracie Met Truthy.” It’s a really powerful message on what it means to be a ‘Christian’, and I couldn’t wait to share it here on Veracity.
So here you go. Click on the image below, then click on the video that appears and listen to some very fine homiletics.
Sometimes Less Is More
But…when I sat down to link everything up for this post, a simple Google search produced a lot more than I bargained for. It turns out this is THE controversial sermon Andy Stanley preached on August 15th, 2012. You know, the one where he made an illustration about a messy situation involving homosexuality and adultery. The rocks started flying in the blogosphere, and even some big names weighed in on the attack. Continue reading
Jesus carried up to a pinnacle of the Temple, by James Tissot, a watercolor between 1886 and 1894. Was Jesus taken up to a pinnacle on the Temple prior to being taken up to a high mountain and shown the kingdoms of the world, or is the order reversed? Does the chronology really matter?
The sermon this past week was on the Temptations of Jesus. I noticed that in comparing Matthew’s version with Luke’s version that there is an apparent discrepancy in the chronology. I asked my small group what they thought of the discrepancy: “Does this impact how you view the Bible?”
You probably know the story: Early in Jesus’ public ministry, He spends forty days in the wilderness and after being exceedingly hungry, He was tempted by the devil. Mark simply records the basics (Mark 1:12-13). But Matthew and Luke spell out the order of events of the three temptations. Both Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) and Luke (Luke 4:1-13) start with the first temptation suggesting that Jesus turn the stones to bread. However, the order of the next two temptations between Matthew and Luke are reversed. Matthew’s second temptation is where the devil takes Jesus up to the pinnacle of the temple, urging Him to throw Himself down and trust the angels to catch Him, and the third temptation is where Jesus is taken to a very high place, challenging him to worship the devil in exchange for sharing power. Luke, on the other hand, switches the chronology, putting the “pinnacle of the temple” last, prior to being taken up to a high mountain and shown the kingdoms of the world. Continue reading
Is Christianity reasonable? As absurd as this question might seem, there are major religions founded on the premise that faith does not have to be reasonable. Fortunately, Christianity is not one of them.
How would you go about convincing someone that the Christian faith is reasonable? (Okay, this is a trick question—it’s not really our job to convince anyone, but it is our job to think.)
But it is incumbent upon all Christians—not just big-name apologists, theologians, and pastors—to think. As Tim Keller says in the following message, “You cannot be a Christian without using your brain to its uttermost.”
Jesus says (in Matthew 6) if you want to have faith, “Think, consider, deduce.” Why does thinking lead to faith? The Bible tells us that if you don’t let your thinking take you all the way to Jesus Christ it will end in despair. Martin Luther’s thinking led him to see there is a God. Then his thinking led him further to see that God must be a personal God. Then he thought, “If there is a personal God, I want to please him.” But Luther couldn’t obey even the Golden Rule, and wondered how he could please God. The Bible tells us there is only one way: Jesus Christ.
Tim Keller, paraphrased from Faith is Reason clip on YouTube
Oftentimes apologetics can be an uppercut. And it can be an intellectual salve. Great apologists are convincing debaters, loaded with sound arguments to defend their position, and truth be told most of us wish we could dial up their arguments in our normal conversations. But there is an inherent danger in all the eloquence and logic of good apologetics—we can lose sight of the object of apologetics.
Some biblical illustrations are harder to understand than others, particularly in the 21st century. Consider Jesus’ words in John, Chapter 10. John noted in this passage that the disciples had difficulty with the sheep and shepherd metaphors.
When we asked Bill Warrick what he would say if he only had five minutes to tell someone about Heaven, Bill shared that he told his own father about Jesus representing himself as the great shepherd. Bill’s video continues to get steady play on this blog, so obviously people are curious about Heaven.
Here’s a beautiful video short that illustrates Jesus’ metaphors about the way to Heaven. It’s perfectly clear—there’s only one gate.