Receiving The Kingdom Like A Child

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Wessel and Strauss note that the phrase, “Truly I tell you,” is used by Jesus 13 times in Mark’s gospel. It functions as a signal to let us know that something important is aboutContinue reading “Receiving The Kingdom Like A Child”

The Joy That Jesus Brings

It’s an understatement to that the Pharisees and teachers of the law didn’t know what to make of Jesus. They didn’t come anywhere close to seeing Him for what He was. He wasn’t Someone who had come tweak their system a bit here and there—He called for a radical revisioning of things (Mark 2:21-22 and the Sermon onContinue reading “The Joy That Jesus Brings”

“You Want To Talk About It?” (Bella)

Ever since by faith I saw the streamThy flowing wounds supply,Redeeming love has been my theme,And shall be till I die. Those words are from the William Cowper song, There is a Fountain. They point us to one of the most powerful qualities of love—it’s redemptive character. It’s Barnabas standing up for Saul when everyone else isContinue reading ““You Want To Talk About It?” (Bella)”

Big Stories and Little Stories

There are big stories and little stories. The little stories are about us. They are about where we were born, the family we grew up in, and other significant events in our life. They are rich, wonderful and engaging—but they are also profoundly lacking. Why? Because they have a beginning and an end. We areContinue reading “Big Stories and Little Stories”

Vindication of Joy

James Mays offers this in regard to Psalm 126: Words for laughter/joy occur five times in the whole, giving the song its dominant emotional tone. The song is about joy remembered and joy anticipated. In both cases the joy is the work of the Lord, in the first through the restoration of Zion and inContinue reading “Vindication of Joy”

Joy for the Journey

Psalm 126 has Israel’s return from Babylon (“When the Lord brought back the captive ones” (v. 1 – NASB) as its starting point. The nation’s response to God’s great deliverance is both poetic and powerful, “Our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy . . . we are filled with joy” (v. 2-3). TheContinue reading “Joy for the Journey”

The Joy of Community

Community is a prominent theme in the Psalms of Ascent. As we’ve noted, the background for these psalms are the pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the three annual feasts. These trips were made in the company of others. It was not only a safe way to travel, it was also spiritually enriching. God’s goodness was experiencedContinue reading “The Joy of Community”