This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on March 13, A.D. 2022.
One of the most immediately obvious facts about our church for a newcomer is that children are very present.
There is no peppy volunteer waiting to scan their barcode and send them down the indoor slide to children’s church.
And not only are children present, they are welcome. They belong here. Not because we think they’re cute—which they are—but because God has claimed them as part of His family. And it would be quite a statement to leave someone out of a family gathering.
But not only are children welcome here, they are here to participate. They are here to worship their God along with the rest of us.
This exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown on Nov 7 AD 2021.
We confess with the Nicene Creed that the church of our Lord Jesus Christ is one.
As St Paul wrote, there is “one body and Spirit,” just as there is also one hope, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:4–6). And last week Dr. Merkle preached on Christ’s High Priestly prayer, in which He asks the Father that all who believe in Him would be one, just as He and the Father are (Jn. 17:20–21).
But what do we do then with the divisions we see today?
We are commanded by St Paul in Colossians to walk in wisdom toward outsiders, letting our speech always be gracious, so that we may know how to answer each person (Col. 4:5).
While the truth remains the same and unchanged no matter the conversation – it can be presented in a variety of ways, some more edifying than others depending on the context. We see this in our Lord’s ministry and how he spoke to the Pharisees contrasted with how he spoke to contrite sinners.
Just like there are different tools for different jobs, there are different ways of speech for different conversations. For one person, you might need to use a rhetorical chainsaw to chop them down a peg, but often for others a rhetorical bandage is required to heal their gaping wounds. And it takes wisdom to know which tool to use.
Every Lord’s Day at this point in our worship service an exhortation is given. In these exhortations, you are reminded of God’s commands and are both admonished and encouraged to obey these commands. Naturally, this comes before our time of confession, because we are all reminded of the many ways in which we fall short of God’s standard and have sinned.
What I want to point out to you this morning is that what I am doing right now is really nothing more than what Scripture says you ought to be doing every day for one another.
This exhortation was delivered to Christ Church Downtown on May 30, 2021.
The summer season is upon us and for many of you an opportunity for a more relaxed schedule, more recreation, more bonfires and fun family vacations. All very good gifts from God for you to heartily enjoy.
But we must remember that summer is not a time to kick back and relax spiritually. There are no spiritual vacations in the Christian life.
As the Apostle Peter wrote, we must always be sober-minded and watchful, because our adversary Satan never ceases from prowling like a lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Now being watchful does not simply mean avoiding temptation and killing sin—the putting off of your old self. It also means further cultivating in your life and your home good spiritual disciplines and habits—the putting on of your new self (Eph. 4:22–24).
One foundational way to remain watchful and alert is to read the Word. We begin our summer Bible Reading Plan through the New Testament on Tuesday, and this is a great opportunity to jump into daily Bible reading with others at a pace of 4 chapters a day. If that’s not your speed or if checking off boxes does the exact opposite of motivating you, then I encourage you to just pick one book, like Ephesians, to read and reread all summer daily at your own pace, learning it front to back.
Regardless of your method, be in the Word consistently. Be vigilant. Be watchful. Take care of your soul and those entrusted to you.
This exhortation was delivered to Christ Church Downtown on May 23, 2021.
This week, as a church body we find ourselves in a time of corporate mourning, afflicted with the tragic death of a dear brother. And as we are all members of one Body, we certainly feel, even if comparatively so small, a tinge of the pain that is much, much stronger for some of our brothers and sisters.
In the midst of this grief, I am reminded of how we as Christians truly are a peculiar people in this world. Our response to suffering and death is similar in some ways, and yet fundamentally foreign to the world’s response. Yes, we weep and we mourn… we are not called to be unfeeling Stoics. But we do these things with a firm, genuine, and powerful hope.