Forde Quote

I do love myself some Gehard Forde…

God does not come to us because we are free and responsible.  He comes all the way to us because we are not and he intends to make us so.  He comes to set us free and to give us that destiny which he himself has planned for us as his creatures.  He comes to set us free form our bondage, our illusions, dreams, and fictions, our enslavement to our own ideals, to the law.  He comes to give us the freedom to live, to bring forth life out of death.”

Gerhard Forde “Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life

Martin Luther’s Christmas Day Sermon 1530

“In my sin, my death, I must take leave of all created things.  No, sun, moon, stars, all creatures, physicians, emperors, kings, wise men and potentates cannot help me.

When I die I shall see nothing but black darkness, and yet that light, “To you is born this day a Savior” [Luke 2:11], remains in my eyes and fills all of heaven and earth.

The Savior will help me when all have forsaken me…

If you can say: The Son, who is proclaimed to be a Lord and Savior; and if you can confirm the message of the angel and say yes to it and believe it in your heart, then your heart will be filled with assurance and joy and confidence, and you will not worry much about even the costliest and best that this world has to offer…

If it is true that the child was born of the virgin and is mine, then I have no angry God and I must know and feel that there is nothing but laughter and joy in the heart of the Father and no sadness in my heart.

A Sermon for Sarah


As many of you know, last week one of my former students from St. Paul’s in Maumee, Ohio took her own life.  Below is the transcript of the sermon I gave at her funeral this morning.  I’m sharing it as a word of hope for those who are mourning the loss of Sarah this Christmas or for anyone who has suffered from the suicide of a loved one… Continue reading

Reading Spufford in Light of Ferguson

I came across this quote while researching for my sermon this week.  Concerning the crisis in Fergeson, it’s a humbling reminder to all of us (myself included) who are pointing fingers in our hearts and on social media.

Wherever the line is drawn between good and evil, between acceptable and unacceptable, between kind and cruel, between clean and dirty, we’re always going to be voting on both sides of it, despite ourselves.

Continue reading

Paul Zahl on the Focus of Christ’s Saving Work

Christ’s soteriology [i.e. saving work] is focused and exclusive…  It is exclusive to sinners.  This is because “those who are well have no need of a physician” (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31).  The non-inclusive and non-universal voice is not a slap at other religions, such as Buddhism and Islam.  The non-inclusive factor is instead a barrier to the non-needy people, or better, to the needy people who do not realize they are needy.

Paul Zahl “The First Christian

Entertainment & Church

Came across this powerful quote from Lutheran scholar Gene Edward Veith in a book I was reading today.  Thought I’d pass it along to you:

Entertainment is not the purpose for going to church.  Indulging ourselves in aesthetic pleasure is not the same as worshiping.  Churches dare not choreograph their worship services to add entertainment value, even to attract nonbelievers

To do so in worship… risk undercutting the Christian message.  Ours is a culture wholly centered upon the self.  The church must counter this egotism, not give in to it.  The Bible calls us to repentance, faith, service, and self-denial–qualities utterly opposed to the entertainment mentality.

In Christian worship, the congregation is not the audience; God is the audience.

Gene Edward Veith quoted in Philip Ryken’s “City on a Hill: Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for the Church in the 21st Century.”