Blog

Why Read Peter Martyr Vermigli?

Confronted by the persecution, force, and cruelty of this world, Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1542, pronounced Vayr-MEEL-yee,) urged Christians to leave the shadows of ignorance and recognize two realities: their identity in Christ and the sure hope of one day seeing God face to face. This, he contends, is “man’s ultimate happiness,” the delight that surpasses[…]

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The Audacity of Preaching

It happens every week—same time, same place. Just before I preach, I look out upon the congregation. Then I think: How can simple words penetrate the souls of men and women, lift them from the mire of sin, impart hope, and engender heartfelt worship. Audacious. Presumptuous. Ludicrous. Nevertheless, here goes. In those brief moments before I begin to preach, as[…]

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Gathering Together: An Irreplaceable Gift of Grace

Early Christians saw themselves as the manifestation of Christ in the world. According to sociologist Rodney Stark, this understanding of Christ’s body fueled the church’s growth. Onlookers observed the warm-hearted gatherings of Christian men and women and were drawn to learn more. During pandemics and plagues, as Romans fled their cities and towns, Christians remained[…]

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My Song Is Love Unknown

It is Good Friday, a time to read Scripture, poetry, hymns, and devotional literature that probe into the wonder of Jesus’ cross. One of my favorite poems is part of tonight’s service at New Covenant Church, My Song is Love Unknown. Let the lyrics sink into your soul and remind you of the inexplicable love that[…]

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This Political Moment

Last month I was in Grand Rapids performing the funeral of a young father. It was a heart-wrenching service that led me to ponder how the fears and angst of this moment relate to the presence of Christ’s kingdom. In God’s gracious providence, Ryan—a friend and thoughtful conversation partner who lives there—invited me out for[…]

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The Priority of Prayer

Adoniram Judson was among the first missionaries that American Baptists sent overseas. During a long career in Burma, he became noted for his commitment to evangelism and his translation of the Bible into Burmese. A master of languages, he also produced a Burmese grammar and dictionary. His preaching ministry resulted in thousands of conversions though[…]

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George Floyd Asphyxia ad Mortem

We’ve seen the gut-wrenching footage. Hands cuffed behind his back, Mr. George Floyd on his face, oppressed by the unjust knee of cruelty that has afflicted African Americans for centuries. Immobilized and groaning on the pavement “I can’t breathe.” “Please, please.” Eight minutes long—suffocating to death. “Let him breathe, man!” a bystander yells. Passing cars,[…]

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When We Preach Jesus

It was among the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Following a lesson on Matthew 2 in which I explained the redemptive-historical significance of Jesus’ flight to Egypt, an older member of the congregation put his arm around me and asked if he could offer some feedback. “Please,” I replied, “I am a seminarian;[…]

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Freedom from Anxiety

The daily tallies of infection and death from COVID-19 assault our hearts and minds. Rather than calm us, the syncopating admonitions to wash our hands, wear a mask, or—best of all—stay home and “shelter in place” stoke our fears. As we toss and turn, the questions just won’t leave us alone. When will all this[…]

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Preparing for the Awakening

The COVID-19 crisis has brought much of American life to a grinding halt. Gone and nearly forgotten as we shelter in place are heretofore assumed national pleasures such as the advent of spring and Major League Baseball. The exhilaration that many of us experience at this time of year has been replaced by deeper and[…]

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