Kingdom Note: Only Human

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

We had been through what was, up to that point, the most trying season of our lives. We had watched as our beloved church was torn apart by sin, slander and pride, too much of it our own. Relationships had been broken, reputations dragged through the mud. Denise and I had clung to each other through the tumult and finally found that the storm had calmed. We caught our breath, mourned the damage, but saw clear skies before us. Which is when I said to her, “Are you ready to go through this all over again?” I overcame her shock as I patiently explained to her that what we had just gone through wasn’t some bizarre aberration, a freakish anomaly. “This,” I told her, “is what the ministry is.”

Ask R.C.: Why Does God Love Us?

Ask R.C., Blog

It might be a sound argument as to why He ought not to love us that we find this question surprising. It is because of our sin, our pride, and our egos that we think ourselves worthy of His love, as if we are owed such. The truth is we are by nature rebels against His reign, would-be dei-cides, dead in our trespasses and sins.

Kingdom Note: A Killing Shame

General, The Kingdom Notes

Last Sunday I preached from Jeremiah where God speaks to His people explaining why He is sending Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and the temple. At the end of His list He rebukes them for causing their children to pass through the fire to Moloch. He goes so far as to suggest that this great evil, sacrificing their own children to this false god, “never crossed My mind.” If something is so wicked that the omniscient God never gave it a thought, it’s wicked.

Kingdom Note: Free Lunches

General, The Kingdom Notes

It is a truth so astoundingly simple it’s a wonder we don’t all see it. But we don’t, precisely because we are blind, and we want. Here it is – the government has nothing that it has not first taken from someone else.  Right? I mean, isn’t it obvious? The government doesn’t go into the marketplace, offer its goods for sale, make a profit and then determine what it will buy with its surplus. The government and the market are two fundamentally different orders of beings, the former being defined by force, the latter being defined by liberty.

Kingdom Note: Nunc Dimittis

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

A part of me died on Tuesday, at the birth of my first grandson. As he stepped out of his mother’s womb, I dipped my toe into that murky grave that awaits me. Though my love for him is beyond measure, I’m not completely ignorant. He’s not Jesus. Indeed he needs Jesus. That said, I’m drinking deep of that contentment that lead that grizzled old saint Simeon to, upon seeing the baby Jesus at the temple, cry out, “Lord let your servant now depart in peace.”

Ask R.C. Jr.: What are the “third rails” in evangelical social media?

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What are the “third rails” in evangelical social media? We all have our sensitive issues, things that tend to instantly shut down our reason and jack up our emotions. It is usually those things, however, that call for careful reason most. What ought to happen and what does happen, sadly are often far apart. Over the years I have from time to time sought to boldly take up the prophet’s mantel and speak to these kinds of issues. On some occasions I’ve been thanked by those who have been helped.  On others I’ve learned my dispassionate careful approach wasn’t careful enough, and I was in the wrong. Most of the time, however, I’ve found myself standing on the third rail as intense wattage of reader angst coursed through me. Like a dim dog not quite mastering the concept of the invisible fence, I sometimes return to the jolt. But I’m…

Kingdom Note: Colliding Solipsists

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

It is not, of course, a new thing, for one generation to grumble about the weaknesses of the next generation. Indeed, it isn’t uncommon for the complaints to be essentially the same – the younger generation is lazy, disrespectful, slovenly, self-indulgent. That the same complaints get made generation after generation, that the accused, sooner or later become the accusers, however, doesn’t make it not so. CS Lewis, in the true first story about Narnia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, speaks through his alter ego, the professor.  Lucy had claimed to have entered another world through a wardrobe in the professor’s house and to have spent hours therein, only to reappear in our world just minutes after her disappearance.  Edmund had shared some of that experience, but wickedly denied such. Peter and Susan, the oldest of the four were befuddled. The Professor helped them see that it was more…

Ask R.C. Jr.: Is it possible for a Christian to over-repent?

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Is it possible for a Christian to over-repent? Yes and no. There is a perspective out there, driven I suspect more by psychology than theology, that looks down its nose at what is sometimes called “worm theology.” It suggests that we can be too down on ourselves, that looking too deeply into our sinful hearts is unhealthy and unbiblical. The Bible, however, gives a compelling portrait of our sinful nature before we are reborn (see Ephesians 2), and I would argue, after we are reborn (see Romans 7). To look more deeply into our sin is to look more deeply into His grace, and to respond more potently in love and gratitude. One thing most needful for me, and for the church in our age is a more honest, humble grasp of our own sin.

Jesus Changes Everything: An Announcement Regarding My Future Ministry

Blog, General

When we say “Jesus changes everything” I fear we acknowledge the truth, but yawn at it. Because it is true we affirm it. Because it’s a truism, we miss its power. We don’t fully grasp that ultimately it is Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, who is the one moving all the pieces on the chessboard. We don’t get it because Jesus isn’t merely passively “ruling” but is changing reality, bringing all things under subjection, remaking the world. What we miss most of all, however, is everything. That is, we’re willing to concede that Jesus changes some things. He helps us to grow in grace; He brings in the lost; He hears our prayers. But everything? Isn’t there stuff out there that’s just stuff, the backdrop of our lives, the givens that are neutral by nature? So much of my work the past twenty years has been dedicated to…

The Man Inside Me

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

We spend, it seems to me, an awful lot of talk and ink discussing the proper and biblical way to disagree with one another. We have debates on whether sarcasm is ever a legitimate tool in the believer’s arsenal. We have disputes about what situations call for the Matthew 18 protocol and which ones do not. We have the nice police regularly tooting their whistles and waving their batons about over a hard word or two, following by sundry citations of our Lord zinging His enemies with the wit of Shakespeare and the venom of Don Rickles. For all the talk, however, I fear we are making precious little progress in reaching consensus, learning to come now and let us reason together. I’d suggest that a big part of that is that our disputes are by and large through impersonal cyber means, which exacerbates an already existing problem. We don’t…