• Blog,  Devotional Musings

    A Message to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives

    I was going through old blog posts, and I came across this one from a few years ago. In 2016, I was invited to be “chaplain of the week” for the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. It was a fun experience, and I pray folks were encouraged by what I had to say. Below is a transcript of the brief devotion I gave at the end of the week. (NB: This post originally appeared on the Trinityhaus blog.) ______________________________________________________________________________ Thank you for allowing me to come and serve as your chaplain this past week. It has been an extraordinary blessing to me, and I only hope that my being here…

  • Biblical Studies,  Blog,  Devotional Musings,  Theology

    What Does Covid-19 Have to do with the “Mark of the Beast”?

    I am thankful to the folks at The LAB (Logos Academic Blog) for sharing my post “COVID-19 and The Mark of the Beast.” With the host of rumors and odd theories floating around the internet (not least on social media platforms), many sincere Christians are becoming increasingly concerned that “the mark of the beast” is somehow related to the pandemic (e.g., a vaccine, the quarantine). Much of the fear is based upon wrong assumptions about the book of Revelation and “the mark,” and I attempt to address some of these in my post. I’ve always had a passion to “bridge the gap” that exists between scholarship and the local church…

  • Blog,  Devotional Musings

    Alas, Discouragement

    Walking through a period of discouragement is like traversing a dark valley coated in tar. Wrapped in darkness, you’re unable to see where you’re going. Neither can you so much as lift a single foot without some serious sweat. The muck of the valley is tightfisted, a jealous demon of sorts; your feet, its helpless prisoner. Life, no doubt, is full of curveballs (to switch metaphors). But that is not the same as discouragement—an altogether different thing. You can hit curveballs, after all. Discouragement, on the other hand, often paralyzes you such that you can’t even swing the bat. To make matters worse, discouragement has a concomitant associate, namely, depression.…

  • Blog,  Devotional Musings

    Show Grace or Stand for Truth?

    I have been reading through the Gospels, carefully observing (the best I can) the way Jesus interacts with his friends, the crowds, and his enemies. If you study the ways of Jesus, you’ll notice that he never prioritizes grace over truth or truth over grace. Typically, his responses to the humble and lowly are tender and compassionate. In contrast to this, his responses to the arrogant and proud are baptized in anger (Jesus knows how to manufacture and wield whips in church!). A common theme, moreover, among the varied ways of Jesus is his commitment to both grace and truth. He never, so far as I can tell, grants one…

  • Blog,  Devotional Musings

    Off-The-Cuff Musings on Faith, Hope, Love, and Tacos

    My Bible reading this morning took me to 1 Thessalonians, and I was struck by a few things Paul had to say. When he writes to the Thessalonian church, Paul begins by extolling them for their Christian virtues – that is, for their way of faith, hope, and love. He says, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thess. 1:2-3 (ESV) I think what he says here is super instructive for many Christians. In much of…

  • Blog,  Devotional Musings,  Theology

    Theology Matters Because Love Matters

    When it comes to your relationship with God, “head knowledge” is so important. The whole “just-love-God-with-your-heart” motif won’t work. After all, you can’t possibly love God with your heart without knowing something about God in your head. To attempt to do so is nothing short of insulting, unloving, and nonsense. Let me explain. Suppose that, over dinner, my wife begins telling me things about herself – that is, about her desires, her hobbies, her passions, her preferences, her dislikes, her thoughts, her past, her plans for the future, etc. But before she can even finish, I interrupt her, saying, “Oh, honey. I don’t care to know anything about you; I…