Theology

Have You Learned Christ?

In Ephesians 4:20, Paul says the Christians at Ephesus had "learned" Christ. By that, Paul means, the Messiah. What Christians have learned is that Jesus is the true God of the universe. He is the 2nd person of the Trinity who is the fulfillment of all the OT...

Parable of the Talents: It’s Not About the Talents

The Parable of the Talents is more than just about "talents." A lot more! But how are these talents typically portrayed? Money, time, power, resources? So often we hear sermons on this text, and so much time and ink are spent describing what the talents symbolically...

Ep. 049 | Conley Owens and The Dorean Principle — TAU Roundtable

It gives us great joy to return to a roundtable episode with an interview with Conley Owens, author of The Dorean Principle. You can read or order the book at https://thedoreanprinciple.org What are your thoughts about money and ministry? Do you see a problem with the...
Church Discipline is for Restoration

Church Discipline is for Restoration

Below is a teaching outline that I've used to train others concerning the process and purpose of church discipline. In short, church discipline is for convincing the wayward of their sin and restoring them. I pray it would be beneficial for your congregations....

Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Chapel Library’s booklet, Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial is the perfect length. It gives just enough information to make someone interested in reading a larger work about this dear saint, yet also gain an appreciation for Ann and learn from her life without a large investment.

5 Deceitful Schemes Seeking to Ruin Churches

5 Deceitful Schemes Seeking to Ruin Churches

In Ephesians 4:14, Paul desires that local churches “…may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” In this post, I want to give you 5 examples of deceitful...

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Here are some of my thoughts on the eighth commandment from my final sermon on Exodus 20:15. Stealing is the taking of something that isn’t yours or the using of something that isn’t yours without the owner’s consent and approval. Giving Remember that the opposite of...

Dealing w/Criticism: 12 Points to Consider by Joel Beeke

Dealing w/Criticism: 12 Points to Consider by Joel Beeke

Pastor Joel Beeke has featured his twelve points concerning how to deal with criticism on many podcasts and conferences. I felt it necessary to share the 12 Points here, provide short points based upon my own experience (and Beeke's), and share the several links below...

Why the Church Should “Get with the Times”

Why the Church Should “Get with the Times”

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." The Greek word for "old" in our text is ἀρχαῖα. It’s where we get the English word “archaic.” I’m not trying to read that...

Hebrews: Kerux Commentary (book review)

Hebrews: Kerux Commentary (book review)

The Kerux Commentary on Hebrews from Bateman and Smith is another solid entry in this series from Kregel. The editors and authors serve their primary audience of active preachers and teacher well.

How Children Ought to Behave to Obey The Fifth Commandment

How Children Ought to Behave to Obey The Fifth Commandment

The following is an outline of some of the practical responsibilities of children to their parents. Parents: you are responsible to teach your children to do these things and to hold them accountable to these virtues. Consider printing this page or you can download a...

No One is Scared of the Church

No One is Scared of the Church

Exodus 12:33 shows us that the Egyptians saw God's people as a threat to them. The text states, "The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, 'We shall all be dead.'” This is, of course, right after the tenth and...

Reminders About Disciplining Children

Reminders About Disciplining Children

Discipline is Good and Christian Here are some things that help me when I have to consider how to discipline my children. I need to make sure I am being loving when I discipline. Discipline is supposed to be based on love for the child. My actions and methods must be...

Neutrality is War

Neutrality is War

Neutrality is not only an impossibility but also rebellious. To pretend that anything in our universe, like a tree, or the law of gravity, or the human mind, does not have a holy and good Creator is actually rebellion against God. To attempt neutrality is an attempt to live out from under the rule and reign of God. 

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

If a person changes their life because they change their thinking, apart from salvation in Christ and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, (although those changes may be positive changes), it is not the church’s purpose to help people better their lives simply by better thinking. It is her purpose to preach God’s Word to people and let them fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit where the only real helpful change to a soul occurs (Phil 3).

What Causes You to Sin?

What Causes You to Sin?

Men will either sin or not sin—erupt with anger or remain in control—based on what is in them already, not what is introduced from the outside. It’s not your kid’s fault that you got angry; it’s not your wife’s fault you’re irritable; nor is it that scantily dressed woman’s fault that you lusted. You sin against our holy God because you want to sin—and the environment around you simply gives you an excuse.

Soft Soil and Tender Shoots

A Little Background My wife and I have 3 girls under 5, and we're still working out what raising godly children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4) really means in a practical sense. For us, it sometimes looks like listening to hymns or Bible...

Jesus Tempted As We Are, In Context

Jesus Tempted As We Are, In Context

There is a common misunderstanding concerning Hebrews 4:15: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (ESV; bold emphasis mine) What happens during our...

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 5

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 5

This is the fifth and final post in a series of posts on why you should be a baptist. In the last few posts, we've been looking at what Baptism signifies. We conclude with today's post. Baptism signifies, Resurrection, Regeneration, Renewal, Relocation, Resolve,...

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 4

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 4

In the previous two posts, we have walked through 5 points on the significance of Baptism. I am trying to convince you to be a credobaptist. And if you already are a credobaptist, I hope that these posts help you to glory in the gospel all the more. We will finish 2...

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 3

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 3

In the previous post, we began to walk through 8 wonderful realities that our Baptism points to. We finished 3 last time and we will finish another 2 today. Before we get into the list let me say how much my walk with the Lord has been improved by listening to and...

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 2

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 2

The last post was really an introduction to this discussion. In this post, we begin to get into more of the meat of the matter. And what I want to do is lay out for you 8 truths about the symbolic nature of Baptism. In doing this, I hope to persuade you to be a...

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 1

Why You Should be a Baptist – Part 1

Benjamin Keach, a 17th Century Baptist, was once put in a pillory to face physical pain and public scorn because of his views on credobaptism (also called "believer's baptism"). Sadly, today, I’m afraid too many Baptists cannot defend the doctrine of credobaptism very...

Quick Thoughts on Bethel Redding California

Quick Thoughts on Bethel Redding California

Bad Theology Take Here's a screenshotted FB post where someone quoted Kris Vallotton (from Bethel Redding) saying that the church must demonstrate the miraculous works of Christ. It is clearly implied that this is what allows nonbelievers to experience repentance....

Catechize Yo’ Babies

Catechize Yo’ Babies

One of the foundational principles of the Reformed™ Christian religion is the use of catechisms. A catechism is defined by the Google "definition box" as: Catechism: a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used...

Sin: Not a Reason to Refuse Communion

Sin: Not a Reason to Refuse Communion

Enjoying communion with your local church is truly a blessed time. It is not only a sober and convicting remembrance of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection, but it is also a joyous celebration concerning our salvation and His return (1 Cor. 11:26). This means...

Spirit Baptism and Water Baptism

Spirit Baptism and Water Baptism

Baptism and the Spirit In the New Testament, we recognize the word “baptism” is not only used to refer to physical water. For example, John the Baptist says in Mark 1:8 that Jesus is coming to “baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Or, in 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says,...

The Work of Elders and Deacons (Benjamin Keach)

The Work of Elders and Deacons (Benjamin Keach)

Consider the words of 17th century Baptist, Benjamin Keach (1640-1740), on Elders and Deacons: The Work of Elders 1. The Elder’s or Pastor’s work is to study the word, to show himself approved. “A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of...

Soft Chauvinism

Soft Chauvinism

It seems we have ventured into a time in Christianity where every time we write about or exhort women, it must be qualified in such a way as to soften any offense or blow to the reader or hearer. We live in a time of 'soft chauvinism' in the way we treat women in the...

Looking unto Jesus, In Context

Looking unto Jesus, In Context

In Hebrews 12:2, the key phrase "looking unto Jesus" is often quoted, but popularly misunderstood in light of its context. In general, every Christian knows we should always keep our eyes on Jesus. And in the midst of the troubles we face, it's even more important to...

Earthly Weeds, Heavenly Grass, & Scorched Earth

Earthly Weeds, Heavenly Grass, & Scorched Earth

The picture showcased on this blog is my front yard. It was "scorched," not by typical Texas heat, but from freezing temperatures we recently experienced. One thing I noticed was that cold weather produced the same visual results that scorching heat does. This made me...

Pandemic, Wildfires, and Holy Matrimony

Pandemic, Wildfires, and Holy Matrimony

I recently had the privilege of officiating two weddings. And what a treat it was! But because of our "pandemic" and wildfires, there were plenty of details that made these events, well...special. First, in an effort to honor the godly couples, I must point out that...

Do We Fear God For Nothing?

Do We Fear God For Nothing?

Did you know that Satan and Job asked God a similar question? Of course, Satan’s questioning was meant for evil, but God permitted it for Job’s good. Nevertheless, when we probe the question(s) that Satan and Job directed toward the LORD, we see very similar pursuits,...

When the Gospel takes Root

When the Gospel takes Root

The following is an excerpt from my book, From Death to Life: How Salvation Works (you can order this at our shop here at ThingsAbove): Affections, Actions, and Attitudes Here’s a helpful alliteration to assist in discerning whether or not the gospel has actually...

The Love of Christmas

The Love of Christmas

We covered Ephesians 3:18-19 recently at Perryville Second Baptist Church. Strange interpretations have been given on these words “the breadth and length and height and depth…” Some very old writers said it refers to the cross as the cross has four directions and Paul...

4 Key Truths about Monergism and Evangelism

4 Key Truths about Monergism and Evangelism

The following is comes from a manuscript I'm working on entitled, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters.  Regeneration and Evangelism There is a certain faulty line of reasoning that says if God is completely sovereign in salvation, choosing...

Suffering for Glory

Suffering for Glory

Author's note: After almost taking a year off of writing because of trials and transition from military to retirement, and after a year I wrote An Open Letter to Afflicted Saints, I thought I would share another shade of truth that I pray will help those who are...

Ore From the Puritans’ Mine (book review)

Ore From the Puritans’ Mine (book review)

Dale W. Smith has obviously put a remarkable amount of work into compiling the best of Puritan writings in Ore From the Puritans’ Mine. This book will serve effectively as a scholarly resource, as personal devotional reading, or as material for family worship. Highly recommended.

Systematic Theology – 2nd Edition (book review)

Systematic Theology – 2nd Edition (book review)

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology has rightly become a modern classic. Readers can benefit from this book as an introductory source. I also think the author would agree that his listed resources for further reading should be used as a springboard to lead into deeper waters.

An Open Letter to Unbelieving Parents

An Open Letter to Unbelieving Parents

Dear Unbelieving Mom, Dad, or Grandparent, Perhaps you are a flat-out denier of the truth of Christianity. Or, perhaps, you would not refer to yourself as an "unbeliever" at all since you do profess to be a Christian. But, for all intents and purposes, you are what is...

Who Invented “Church Membership” anyway?

Who Invented “Church Membership” anyway?

Is church membership a manmade idea or is it really biblical? In this short post, we'll consider just one text. Peter told pastors in his first epistle to “shepherd the flock of God that is *among you*.” (1 Peter 5:2) There is a lot there we could unpack but let me...

Commentary on Ephesians: WBC by Lincoln (book review)

Commentary on Ephesians: WBC by Lincoln (book review)

This important commentary on Ephesians comes to us from Andrew T. Walker as part of Zondervan’s Word Biblical Commentary series. Unfortunately, while Lincoln may be an accomplished scholar, his denial that the Apostle Paul actually wrote Ephesians affects the usefulness of this book for believing students of the Bible.

The Enemy of Your Enemy May Not Be Your Friend

The Enemy of Your Enemy May Not Be Your Friend

There's a pretty well-known quote that goes like this: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The idea is simple enough: if you have an enemy, someone else who is an enemy of that person is someone with whom you now have something in common. And he may even be a person...

5 Ways the Holy Spirit Builds Christian Fortitude

5 Ways the Holy Spirit Builds Christian Fortitude

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fortitude as “a quality of character combining courage and staying power.” In Ephesians 3:16 Paul prays that God would strengthen His people with power through the Holy Spirit. We might say, then, that it is biblical to pray for...

The Christian Teacher as Office Bearer (book review)

The Christian Teacher as Office Bearer (book review)

The Christian Teacher as Office Bearer does not present a simplistic “What Would Jesus Do?” way of “being like Jesus.” Joel Beeke gives readers a wonderfully biblical, theologically rich, and aspirational vision of what it means to reflect Christ to students.

Isaiah 7, a Child, and Impeccability

Isaiah 7, a Child, and Impeccability

When discussing the humanity of Jesus Christ, impeccability is the word Christians use to describe that Jesus was unable to sin. This is a disputed topic even among Reformed™ brethren. There are some who teach that it was, in fact, possible for Jesus to sin,...

The Reformed Christian and the Sovereignty of God

The Reformed Christian and the Sovereignty of God

This is just a quick post highlighting some great quotes from Joel Beeke on the sovereignty of God. This is from his book Reformed Preaching. The quotes are found on pages 64 and 66. The reformed Christian believes that God is the Lord of life and Sovereign of the...

ESV Preaching Bible (book review)

ESV Preaching Bible (book review)

The ESV Preaching Bible is another solid contribution from Crossway to the premium bible market. The elegant black goatskin, art guiding, generous font size all make this bible a pleasure to use in service to the church or simply to read from devotionally.

A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin (book review)

A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin (book review)

A Little Book on the Christian Life I was surprised to find out how utterly readable John Calvin is when I first delved into reading him myself. As I stated (in other words) in my review of Simonetta Carr's biography of Calvin, his immense contribution to Christianity...

Here I Am, Send Someone Else

Here I Am, Send Someone Else

The Background No doubt it was a bizarre sight – the bush burning, but not consumed from the fire. And when God called Moses he said the same thing Abraham said to God in Genesis 22, “Here I am!” This is the same thing the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 6 when the...

John Calvin (book review)

John Calvin (book review)

From the Back Cover In this attractive volume, Simonetta Carr introduces young readers to the life, thought, and work of one of the most famous Reformers of the Christian church. She tells about the life of John Calvin from his birth to his death, placing him within...

Cradle or Credo?: A Defense of Biblical Baptism

Cradle or Credo?: A Defense of Biblical Baptism

With the recent move of a good brother, Jared Longshore, from credobaptist to paedobaptist, I thought I would share an excerpt from a book I'm continuing to work on in my "free time", A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters. Below comes...

Reading with the Grain of Scripture (book review)

Reading with the Grain of Scripture (book review)

Richard B. Hays’ Reading with the Grain of Scripture is a worthy contribution to the literature on properly interpreting the Bible and the historicity of the Christ that it points us to. Recommended.

Born of Mercy

Born of Mercy

In 1 Peter 1:3, Peter gives glory to God highlighting His blessedness and His great mercy for His causing sinners to be born again. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living...

Revisiting Andy Stanley’s “Unhitch” Remark (audio edition)

Revisiting Andy Stanley’s “Unhitch” Remark (audio edition)

Back in the "good days" of Reformed social media when the topic du jour was inerrancy instead of critical social justice, Pastor Andy Stanley came under fire for stating in a sermon that we need to "unhitch" from the Old Testament. Some of the criticisms seemed to go...

John Newton (book review)

John Newton (book review)

Never in my life have I read a testimony that brought to mind my own life as the biography of John Newton. From the near-death experiences displaying the providence of God to the conversion of a hateful sinner into a preacher of God's love, I was moved on nearly every...

No Rest for the Wicked: Satan’s Active Work in Today’s World

No Rest for the Wicked: Satan’s Active Work in Today’s World

The Sovereignty of God In 1 Peter 5:8 the Apostle says, "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." The Bible is clear in many places that Satan is at work in our world today. Yet, the Bible...

On Accusations Against Voddie Baucham and Fault Lines, part 2

On Accusations Against Voddie Baucham and Fault Lines, part 2

In part one concerning accusations against Voddie Baucham and his book Fault Lines, I argued: Baucham’s misquotation and misrepresentation of Delgado and Stefancic is a serious error, not a minor formatting mishap. The controversy online appears to have died down, and...

Jonathan Edwards (book review)

Jonathan Edwards (book review)

From the Back Cover Jonathan Edwards lived at a time when many people were seriously questioning long-accepted ideas about the world, life, and God, and his answers to these questions have left a mark on the way we think today. While he is often remembered as the...

Julia Gonzaga (book review)

Julia Gonzaga (book review)

Carr, Simonetta. Julia Gonzaga (Christian Biographies for Young Readers). Hardcover. Reformation Heritage Books, 2018. 64pp. $8. Purchase at RHB website. Biographical Sketch of Author and Illustrator Simonetta Carr - Author (from Amazon) Award-winning author Simonetta...

Do You Feel Called by God? by Michael Bennett (book review)

Do You Feel Called by God? by Michael Bennett (book review)

Less than two months into my time on campus at Dallas Seminary, these words of unapologetic careerism came to us from a guest speaker at chapel: If you're in your fourth year — first, second, third-year students listen up — if you're in your fourth year, and you don't...

Unintended Consequences (audio)

Unintended Consequences (audio)

This is the audio edition of "Unintended Consequences," the written edition of which we originally published in September of 2018. You can go back and read it if you wish or just enjoy the audio edition. If you haven't subscribed to the audio edition already, you're...

You Ask Me How I Know He Lives?

You Ask Me How I Know He Lives?

A Presbyterian minister named Alfred H. Ackley wrote hundreds of hymns. One of the most well-known of these is "He Lives." I found this article that gives some history and even an explanation of the song if you are interested. But my goal in this post is simply to...

On Vacay? Out of Town? Go to Church!

On Vacay? Out of Town? Go to Church!

Whether they hold to the doctrine of the Christian Sabbath or not, Christians should universally believe in the significance and importance of attending church. Yet folks skip miss church for all sorts of reasons—and most of them are bad reasons. One of the worst reasons Christians miss weekly worship is due to a vacation or travel schedule.

I believe that Christians should make every effort to schedule their lives around the Lord’s Day. Worshipping Christ in communion with the saints should be the focal point of your week…and everything else should fit in around that. If you follow that principle, you will never find yourself traveling all day Sunday and missing church or lounging on the beach when you should be gathering corporately. A mind set on being ready to meet with God on Sunday with the saints will take the necessary steps on Saturday to not be too tired for church, for example.

A Change of Heart – Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 4)

A Change of Heart – Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 4)

For the last year+, I've been working on a new book, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters. Now that I've finally completed my M.Div, I've taken this project back up again. I thought I would share the first two chapters in a series of blog...

On Accusations Against Voddie Baucham and Fault Lines, part 1

On Accusations Against Voddie Baucham and Fault Lines, part 1

On July 30th, Joel McDurmon posted a blog article titled "Voddie's Fault Lines Worse Than Before: Fake Quotations AND Plagiarism." McDurmon previously posted a series of videos critiquing Voddie Baucham's book, Fault Lines, that had not captured my attention despite...

A Change of Heart — Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 3)

A Change of Heart — Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 3)

For the last year+ I've been working on a new book, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters. Now that I've finally completed my M.Div, I've taken this project back up again. I thought I would share the first two chapters in a series of blog...

A Curious Case of Providence

A Curious Case of Providence

A couple of weeks ago, our team was ministering at Planned Parenthood. We had a group of five people, which is a nice team size, but two of the men were first-timers; that is, they had never been to an abortion clinic before for ministry. Nothing remarkable happened...

One Way God Judges (audio repost)

One Way God Judges (audio repost)

As part of our newly-debuted audio edition, we're re-publishing some of our older posts in audio format. If you haven't subscribed, please consider doing so! In today's post, One Way God Judges, Michael encourages us not to hold back from sharing God's law and gospel...

A Change of Heart — Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 2)

A Change of Heart — Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 2)

For the last year+ I've been working on a new book, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters. Now that I've finally completed my M.Div, I've taken this project back up again. I thought I would share the first two chapters in a series of blog...

Mama Bear Apologetics (book review)

Mama Bear Apologetics (book review)

I became aware of Mama Bear Apologetics by means of the Wokeness and the Gospel conference last month. The book somehow became in high demand at the bookseller table and sold out. Luckily enough, the parents of one of the authors were attending the conference, so they...

A Change of Heart — Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 1)

A Change of Heart — Chapter 2: Mere Christianity (Part 1)

For the last year+ I've been working on a new book, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters. Now that I've finally completed my M.Div, I've taken this project back up again. I thought I would share the first two chapters in a series of blog...

A Change of Heart, ch. 1 — Heart Matters

A Change of Heart, ch. 1 — Heart Matters

For the last year+ I've been working on a new book, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters. Now that I've finally completed my M.Div, I've taken this project back up again. I thought I would share the first two chapters in a series of blog...

It’s Good to Be a Boy by Spurgeon — Children’s Book Review

It’s Good to Be a Boy by Spurgeon — Children’s Book Review

Spurgeon, Joseph. It's Good to be a Boy. Large type / Large print edition. 5 Solas Press, 2020. 26pp. $14. Purchase here. Biographical Sketch of the Author (From Amazon) Joseph Spurgeon is the husband of a beautiful and godly woman named Rowina, father to six...

How to Obey God

How to Obey God

True believers are actually being made holy by the power of God. The work of Christ didn’t just purchase a legal declaration but also a practical application of holiness. This is another blessing the believer possesses in Christ. J.C. Ryle elaborates: The Lord Jesus...

Receiving Christ in Saving Faith

Receiving Christ in Saving Faith

Read these words from John Owen from his work, The Glory of Christ... You tell us to come to Christ. Well, what would you have us do? We hear the Word preached, we believe it as well as we can. We do many things willingly. We make every effort to abstain from many...

Ethnos is not Ethnicity

Ethnos is not Ethnicity

I've been hearing an argument from our own side of the critical race theory (CRT) fault line as of late. The argument basically goes, "Use biblical terminology. The biblical term is 'ethnicity' (ethnos in Greek), not race. Race doesn't exist." I see a couple of...

Everything Wokeness and Gospel (But Not the Conference)

Everything Wokeness and Gospel (But Not the Conference)

We had a total of three current and former Things Above Us authors at the Wokeness and the Gospel conference this past weekend. It was truly a joy meeting new people, catching up with old friends, and digging into some solid teaching! I plan to have more...

The Preciousness of Christ – Benjamin Keach

The Preciousness of Christ – Benjamin Keach

The following comes from a sermon excerpt from Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) on Matthew 13:45-16 which says, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had,...

Why Genesis 2 Teaches a Covenant of Works – Part 2

Why Genesis 2 Teaches a Covenant of Works – Part 2

This is Part 2 in a two-part series on the Covenant of Works in Genesis 2. See Part 1 here. Covenant Defined and Defended In defending the exegetical reality of the Covenant of Works in Genesis 2, it is important to define what is meant by the word “covenant.” In his...

Did They Know Jesus Yet? A Textual Criticism Case Study in John 14:7

Did They Know Jesus Yet? A Textual Criticism Case Study in John 14:7

For those of you who are tracking the release of the Legacy Standard Bible — the real, actual successor to the NASB 1995 — there's an interesting change in John 14:7 that's more textual criticism than translation. Let's take a look. LSB NASB 1995 John 14:6 Jesus *said...

Why Genesis 2 Teaches a Covenant of Works – Part 1

Why Genesis 2 Teaches a Covenant of Works – Part 1

In the Garden of Eden, there lived a king named Adam. God gave Adam, the first man, a mission to further this kingdom over all the earth. God would reign through the man He had appointed as the federal head of the human race (cf. Gen. 1:31). The key to this paradise...

Then Nathan Went To His House

Then Nathan Went To His House

In 2 Samuel 12:15, we find the phrase "Then Nathan went to his house." It appears to be an inconsequential detail of a greater narrative. Yet every Word of God's revelation is profitable, and we should meditate upon why God chooses to include certain details in His...

Sermon Excerpt: An Evangelical Atheist?

Sermon Excerpt: An Evangelical Atheist?

Here is a quick sermon excerpt from our series in Ephesians. This comes from Ephesians 2:12 as we discussed what the Ephesians were like before their conversion. They were "without God." Sadly, many who claim to be Christians live the same way. Consider the following:...

The Son of David

The Son of David

There he was, the son of David — suspended between heaven and earth. Silver had been offered for the taking of his life. His followers were now scattered. Though they had thought he would lead them to an earthly victory as true King, their hopes were now dashed as he...

Jesus and John Wayne (book review)

Jesus and John Wayne (book review)

Kristin Kobes Du Mez (pronounced "doo may") is a professor of history and gender studies at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, she lays out a seventy-five-year...

Why Heaven Now is Incomplete

Why Heaven Now is Incomplete

First, I'll admit that I'm a bit hesitant about the word "incomplete." I don’t mean to imply heaven is an existence of suffering. It’s not. The souls of believers have no more sin or sorrow or pain or suffering. And I want us to also remember the beautiful words of...

9 Common Emotional/Situational Pornography Triggers (repost)

9 Common Emotional/Situational Pornography Triggers (repost)

Of all my years counseling Christians and non about the dangers of pornography, there are 9 common emotional and situational patterns that trigger porn use. Some of these are simply symptoms of a deeper problem, meanwhile others only serve to justify a depraved...

Christ is King

Christ is King

What does it mean that Christ is King? We explored this recently as a church as we walked through Ephesians 1:21. So in today’s post, I want us to explore the meaning of Christ’s kingship by considering four attributes of His kingdom based on Ephesians 1:21. It is...

Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham (book review)

Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham (book review)

Author's note (02 August 2021): I have become aware of Joel McDurmon's credible accusations of misquotation and plagiarism in Fault Lines. My own independent investigation into the misquotation issue confirms Baucham's misquotation of CRT scholar Richard Delgado on...

Assurance of Salvation, or the Lack Thereof

Assurance of Salvation, or the Lack Thereof

The Problem I saw a heartbreaking post in a Facebook group. It went like this: Do any of you worry that Jesus will say depart from me for I never knew you? And I worry that I would be one of those wolves in sheep clothing, deceiving the Body of Christ? I don’t...

You Will Be Like ‘Gods’?: Genesis 3:5 and Mormonism (re-post)

You Will Be Like ‘Gods’?: Genesis 3:5 and Mormonism (re-post)

The following post originally appeared on Things Above Us in October 2019. A good friend in the ministry recently raised a question she was asked by someone else concerning Genesis 3:5 in the context of a conversation with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of...

Rightly Understanding John 3:16 — Applications

Rightly Understanding John 3:16 — Applications

In a previous post, I wrote a little on understanding John 3:16. In today's post, I'd like to walk through a few applications of understanding this verse rightly. There are negative applications for both the non-Calvinist and the Hyper-Calvinist. There are also...

Rightly Understanding John 3:16

Rightly Understanding John 3:16

It seems some Calvinists get so concerned about John 3:16 being used as a “gotcha” against the Doctrines of Grace that they can go too far in overcorrecting. Some work so hard to show what all the verse does not mean that they fail to eagerly embrace all that it does...

2 Peter 1 in the Legacy Standard Bible

2 Peter 1 in the Legacy Standard Bible

With the full text of the LSB New Testament now available, we have an opportunity for the first time to look through how the translation handles one of the catholic (general) epistles. I've sought to explain every change in 2 Peter 1 in this post. LSB NASB 1995 head...

5 Reasons Baptist Churches Should Associate

5 Reasons Baptist Churches Should Associate

I may write a follow-up post on the nature of associations, but in today's post, I just want to lay out 5 reasons that churches ought to cooperate. Dr. Gregg Allison says this: [C]hurches are to establish and promote strong associations with other churches for the...

Someone Turned Out the Light: Guest Post from Pastor Paul Vawter

Someone Turned Out the Light: Guest Post from Pastor Paul Vawter

I've gotten to know Pastor Paul Vawter on Twitter. He is a good brother, though we disagree on hermeneutical methodology. I subscribe to the Redemptive Historical approaching and he the Grammatical Historical Hermeneutic. Though I disagree with what he has written, I...

Accordance-fu(n) with the Legacy Standard Bible

Accordance-fu(n) with the Legacy Standard Bible

This post is edited from its original version. See comment from Rick Mansfield below. The Legacy Standard Bible app for iOS and Android is out, but it's not exactly a standalone app. It's really a repackaged version of Accordance 13. If you've already purchased...

Full Stomach, Empty Heart: A Sermon Outline from Ruth 1, Part 2

Full Stomach, Empty Heart: A Sermon Outline from Ruth 1, Part 2

Last time we looked at how Elimelech's departure from Bethlehem to Moab revealed that he failed to, Discern the Purposes of God, Delight in the Precepts of God, and Dwell in the Presence of God. We have two final points to mention in today's post. Elimelech's...

“The Rank Game” Review

“The Rank Game” Review

THE RANK GAME by Storyastic Check out the promotion for this new game. https://youtu.be/n3RZ4y1YJPw One of the difficulties of family life is finding activities that everyone enjoys. Sure, the whole family says they like to spend time together, but when Sally wants to...

Full Stomach, Empty Heart: A Sermon Outline from Ruth 1, Part 1

Full Stomach, Empty Heart: A Sermon Outline from Ruth 1, Part 1

In this post, we'll look at a sermon outline from the book of Ruth and focus on Elimelech’s decision to move his family to Moab. In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab,...

Biblical Doctrine and Biblical Theology (book reviews)

Biblical Doctrine and Biblical Theology (book reviews)

In this article, we have the privilege of offering you another double review. We will be looking Biblical Doctrine (a systematic theology, not a biblical theology), and Invitation to Biblical Theology (a how-to on biblical theology, not systematic theology). Confused yet? Don’t be. It will be ok. We can do this. Enjoy.

Manga Messiah (children’s book review)

Manga Messiah (children’s book review)

Manga Messiah is the first to be published in a series of manga books that covers the narrative biblical canon. Manga Messiah in particular is a harmonization of the Gospels, starting with the birth story in Luke and ending with Acts 1:8, John 20:30; 21:25. The other...

“the Rank game” Giveaway

“the Rank game” Giveaway

THE RANK GAME by Storyastic Check out the promotion for this new game. We will have a giveaway contest where you can get one for free! https://youtu.be/n3RZ4y1YJPw Next week, I'll add a review of the game as well. But I wanted to let you see what's coming. To enter...

Should Small Churches Unite?

Should Small Churches Unite?

I'm working on my master's thesis with Grace Bible Theological Seminary and came across some things I thought our readers might find interesting. In 1689 the General Assembly of Particular Baptist Churches convened. One of the things the General Assembly did was give...

How Far Might Deception Go?

How Far Might Deception Go?

In his classic work, The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded, John Bunyan contrasts the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. In his discourse upon the Covenant of Works, he considers how far one might go and still be under the Covenant of Works and lost in...

The Church History ABCs (children’s book review)

The Church History ABCs (children’s book review)

The Church History ABCs is a fun way for kids to learn about great figures in Christian history. Twenty-six heroes of the faith march through the alphabet, boldly telling their stories in language children can understand. This wide range of characters—men and women...

Psalm 46 in the LSB vs. NASB 1995

Psalm 46 in the LSB vs. NASB 1995

Last week, Three Sixteen Publishing posted the text of Psalm 46 in the Legacy Standard Bible. As we did with Psalm 37 earlier, here's a verse-by-verse comparison with its NASB 1995 predecessor. I've also added some small commentary below. LSB NASB 1995 0 God Is Our...

Futile Thoughts, Foolish Hearts

Futile Thoughts, Foolish Hearts

Recently, we've been walking through Romans 1:18-32 for Sunday School. This passage teaches us that all men, women, boys, and girls know God is real because He has shown it to them. But they deny this reality and suppress the truth in unrighteousness. And then Romans...

Psalm 37 in the LSB vs. NASB 1995

Psalm 37 in the LSB vs. NASB 1995

The LSB website recently posted its translation of Psalm 37. I've typed it out here and marked differences with its NASB 1995 basis. LSB NASB 1995 1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward doers of unrighteousness. Do not fret because of evildoers, Be...

Reformed Ethics, vol. 1: Created, Fallen, and Converted Humanity (book review)

Reformed Ethics, vol. 1: Created, Fallen, and Converted Humanity (book review)

Reformed Ethics – Vol. 1 is the first in what will be an eventual 3 Volume set from one of the great rediscovered theologians of the past. Bavinck’s method for thinking through ethics is challenging and helpful. In many sections I found myself driven to worship the God who frees his people from the spirit of slavery, grants them his Spirit of Adoption, and frees them to obey Him out of gratitude.

Soul (movie review)

Soul (movie review)

Though originally intended for theatrical release, Disney/Pixar's Soul was released on Disney+ on Christmas last year given the present pandemic. Christians may rightly already be skeptical just by virtue of the film's title and its dealing with souls. Weird...

Book Review — Bavinck – A Critical Biography

Book Review — Bavinck – A Critical Biography

In Kingdom Through Covenant – 2nd Edition, Gentry and Wellum have given us a much needed updated to their seminal work on the biblical covenants. Whether one finds their arguments convincing or not, theologians who argue for or against covenant theology or dispensationalism will eventually have to consider the claims made by the authors.

The Immeasurable Greatness of His Power

The Immeasurable Greatness of His Power

We are working through the book of Ephesians at Perryville Second Baptist Church. Recently, we came upon Ephesians 1:19 where Paul prays that the Ephesians would know what is the immeasurable greatness of God's power toward believers. It's a really great prayer. And...

Philippians in the Legacy Standard Bible: Instances of “Think”

Philippians in the Legacy Standard Bible: Instances of “Think”

In case you've been hiding under the sky☘, a team from The Master's University and Seminary is working on the Legacy Standard Bible, an update to the much-beloved NASB 1995. They recently released a PDF containing the entire text of Philippians, and I've made...

Unhitching: A Ditch on Either Side

Unhitching: A Ditch on Either Side

Recent History Andy Stanley famously (well, Christian-famously) mentioned that we need to "unhitch" Christianity from the Old Testament. He tried to walk back the statement afterward but, well, that's hard to do even if had he had a good explanation. Garrett wrote...

An Age Old Question: What do you think about the End Times?

An Age Old Question: What do you think about the End Times?

Recently, I took a seminary examination that posed the following question. I thought I would post this question and my response for our readers. The Question During Wednesday night supper at church, Bob—one of your top children’s Sunday School teachers—comes up to you...

Justification, Mercy, and Propitiation

Justification, Mercy, and Propitiation

I should probably get back to working on the book manuscript I wrote. Back in May, I posted an excerpt called "The Need for Justification." This is the portion that follows. Just and Merciful But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God (being testified by...

Is Gambling Okay?

Is Gambling Okay?

The Question After we published our second playoff roundtable episode for the year, I received a question via email from a listener. Would you consider friendly wagers of $5–10 sinful? I think this is a question worth answering, and I'll attempt to do it with brevity...

God’s Hatred of Sin and the Coming Judgment

God’s Hatred of Sin and the Coming Judgment

Since God is unchangeably holy, His hatred of sin has not changed. God will always have an intense hatred for sin. One day, Christ will return to judge the nations, and those who have not bowed the knee to the Lord of hosts will suffer His great wrath. Revelation...

Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election

The biblical doctrine of election is God’s unconditional, eternal, immutable, particular, and effectual choice to save specific persons in Christ according to His own pleasure and not on the basis of foreseen faith or merit. This precious doctrine is the wellspring of...

What Happens When You Die?

What Happens When You Die?

I had a seminary assignment recently that I thought might be a benefit to our readers. I'm posting it in its entirety below. The Question You learn that a dear older lady in your church is dying of colon cancer, so you promptly begin visiting her in the hospital. She...

2021 Resolutions

2021 Resolutions

One of the reasons we make resolutions is that we are people who do better with some type of regimen or schedule. We rarely naturally drift into a variety of positive habits for our lives, so we need a plan. Think about it, do you need to commit to eating poorly, or...

My Top 7 Books of 2020

My Top 7 Books of 2020

It would seem that with the large amount of downtime we had in 2020 back in the Spring, that I might have read more books this year, but all in all, this was probably a below-average year in terms of reading. A lot of that was probably due to Seminary work as well as...

Children’s Book Review — Just Nicholas by Annie Kratzsch

Children’s Book Review — Just Nicholas by Annie Kratzsch

About the Book From Amazon: Read the true story of Saint Nicholas of Myra, the man who gave what he had to help others because he was grateful for what God had given him. As a young boy, Nicholas learned the story of Jesus from his parents. When he grew up, he lived...

How to Know if You’re Elect

How to Know if You’re Elect

For an upcoming project I've been reading some of Wilhelmus A. Brakel's (1635–1711) The Christian's Reasonable Service. It's a four-volume work on which Reformation Heritage Books has a great price (link). The other night I was reading in Volume 1 on his treatment of...

Why Aren’t More People Christians?

Why Aren’t More People Christians?

I live in the Bible Belt. This is a place that certainly has a lot of bad teaching in terms of theology. But there is also great access to the gospel. And sometimes I wonder, "Why aren't more people Christians?" Sure, I understand God is wholly sovereign in salvation....

One Way God Judges

One Way God Judges

What is the Problem? We draw people to the Savior by proclaiming God's holiness whenever we have the chance. The contrast between God's holiness and man's sinfulness is designed to cause men to tremble in fear before the Lord and repent and believe in Christ. To avoid...

Book Review — Kingdom Through Covenant – 2nd Edition

Book Review — Kingdom Through Covenant – 2nd Edition

In Kingdom Through Covenant – 2nd Edition, Gentry and Wellum have given us a much needed updated to their seminal work on the biblical covenants. Whether one finds their arguments convincing or not, theologians who argue for or against covenant theology or dispensationalism will eventually have to consider the claims made by the authors.

A Open Letter to Afflicted Saints

A Open Letter to Afflicted Saints

To my dear afflicted Saint, I write this with tears that have been recently mixed with emotional pain and grief. I know what it feels like to have people text, email, and call you, and still receive no comfort. I mean, it's nice to know that people are thinking and...

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 4

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 4

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, from 1 John 4 for the commencement ceremony at Yale. We've seen four of these distinguishing marks so far: esteeming Jesus, opposing Satan, loving Scripture, and...

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 3

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 3

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, from 1 John 4 for the commencement ceremony at Yale. We've seen two of these distinguishing marks so far: esteeming Jesus and opposing Satan. In this blog post, we...

Book Review — John Calvin: For a New Reformation

Book Review — John Calvin: For a New Reformation

Love him or hate him, John Calvin remains “The Theologian” who is often dismissed, pigeonholed, or lionized without actually being read. In John Calvin: For a New Reformation, editors Derek Thomas and John Tweedale ask us to reconsider Calvin.

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 2

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 2

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, from 1 John 4 for the commencement ceremony at Yale. Last time, we saw that one of these marks is esteeming Jesus. In this blog post we look at the second mark....

Legacy Standard Bible Gospel of Mark: Initial Observations

Legacy Standard Bible Gospel of Mark: Initial Observations

Wake up and smell the coffee. Wait, does John MacArthur drink coffee? Wake up and smell the...uh...Postum? Are the rest of you drinking Postum? There's a new Bible translation coming, and it's looking really promising. Unfortunately, the only major engagement the...

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 1

How to Know the Holy Spirit is at Work — Part 1

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, from 1 John 4 for the commencement ceremony at Yale. This message was partly a defense of the genuineness of the Great Awakening. Edwards believed the biblical truth...

Characteristics of Saving Faith

Characteristics of Saving Faith

The book of Ephesians is marvelous. I have found Ephesians 1:3–14 to be one of my favorite passages of Scripture. These verses teach us the trinitarian work of salvation. They are Christ-focused and give believers a taste of the blessings we have in Him. They show us...

Book Review — Carl F.H. Henry – Architect of Evangelicalism and Basics of the Faith

Book Review — Carl F.H. Henry – Architect of Evangelicalism and Basics of the Faith

Both Architect of Evangelicalism and Basics of the Faith are significant works, centering around the question of what it means to be an “evangelical.” In them, Henry has given us ample evidence that the best of the evangelical movement stands in the great tradition or orthodox Christianity, while also having much to say to the ultimate needs of modern man.

Meticulous Sovereignty

Meticulous Sovereignty

The (Apparent) Sovereignty Paradox The theologian Herman Bavinck once wrote, "Round about us we observe so many facts which seem to be unreasonable, so much undeserved suffering, so many unaccountable calamities, such an uneven and inexplicable distribution of...

Truths on Suffering – Part 2

Truths on Suffering – Part 2

We are doing a bit of an overview of Romans 8 and considering what it has to teach us about suffering. Last time we acknowledged the reality of suffering in a fallen world and we saw that suffering cannot separate us from Christ and that all creation suffers. Let's...

Uncle Tom (movie review)

Uncle Tom (movie review)

Uncle Tom Movie Review From https://www.uncletom.com/ An Oral History of the American Black Conservative In a collection of intimate interviews with some of America's most provocative black conservative thinkers, Uncle Tom takes a different look at being black in...

Truths on Suffering – Part 1

Truths on Suffering – Part 1

Roman 8 is perhaps one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible. Derek Thomas notes, “No chapter of Scripture reaches the same sustained levels or covers the same ground as Romans 8. It is a description of the Christian life from death to life, from justification...

Lord Willing Ain’t An Excuse

Lord Willing Ain’t An Excuse

Lord Willing Christians and non-Christians alike have adopted the use of the phrase "Lord willing." Appended to a declaration of future plans, this phrase is meant to convey an understanding of God's absolute supremacy and sovereignty. That is, we will do this or that...

Matchless Grace

Matchless Grace

Grace so permeates the book of Ephesians that one might call the entire book, “Grace Abounding.” Grace has the first word, if you will (Ephesians 1:2). It has the final word (Ephesians 6:24). And it flows like a mighty river through every verse we read in this book....

7 Reminders About the God of Our Trials

7 Reminders About the God of Our Trials

Do you know it’s a sin to be deceived? Sure, there is greater condemnation for those who do the deceiving, but the Bible commands us not to be deceived. James writes in James 1:16, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” We are commanded not to be deceived. In...

3 Most Important Parts of a Marriage Ceremony

3 Most Important Parts of a Marriage Ceremony

There are truckloads of webpages about how to officiate a marriage ceremony. And for the most part, what the couple wants may dictate the majority of those details. But I believe there are three essential parts of a marriage ceremony where I encourage every Bride and...

Book Review — The Liturgy of Politics by Kaitlyn Schiess

Book Review — The Liturgy of Politics by Kaitlyn Schiess

Think for a moment upon the things that have influenced your politics and the things that influence your politics in your daily and weekly routine. You read The New York Times every morning over breakfast and shriek with joy at the latest column from Maureen Dowd....

Implications of the Imago Dei

Implications of the Imago Dei

The "Imago Dei" is Latin for the image of God. Genesis 1:27 tells us God created male and female in His image. In Genesis 9, post-fall, God reminds us that mankind is still made in His image (see Genesis 9:6). Here are three implications of this reality. Every single...

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos – Part 4

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos – Part 4

We have been examining Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…” We have already seen an exhortation to cling to Christ’s humanity. In the last post we were...

The Fleeting Glory of Man

The Fleeting Glory of Man

Bo Knows Due to the popularity of American football and baseball in the good ole USA, there is effectively no argument among gen-Xers that Bo Jackson was the greatest athlete to ever live. If you grew in the 80s and 90s, you saw his legendary feats. I say legendary...

Pandemic, Wildfires, and Holy Matrimony

Pandemic, Wildfires, and Holy Matrimony

I recently had the privilege of officiating two weddings. And what a treat it was! But because of our "pandemic" and wildfires, there were plenty of details that made these events, well...special. First, in an effort to honor the godly couples, I must point out that...

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos — Part 3

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos — Part 3

We are now examining Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…” In the last post I encouraged you to remember Christ’s humanity. Today, I want us to remember to: Cling...

Psalm 96:10-13 God Will Judge!

Psalm 96:10-13 God Will Judge!

Do you know that feeling when you start to tell someone about the Lord and you realize they do not already know Him? Do you get a pit in your stomach sometimes—a warning not to go there? Our natural response to difficulty is sometimes “flight.” Telling your neighbor that God will not only judge him or her but that God is right to do so can be frightening! It is no wonder we fail so many times in our evangelism—it is truly counter to our flesh’s desires for comfort!

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos – Part 2

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos – Part 2

Last time, we looked at some Old Testament background for what it means to cling ourselves to Christ. Today, we turn to 2 Timothy 2:8 to consider Paul’s words to young Timothy. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my...

What Can the Church Learn From the Pop Culture Woke War?

What Can the Church Learn From the Pop Culture Woke War?

Lately, I’ve taken a strange liking to some commentators who decry the ever-increasing wokeness of popular art. They believe that this wokeness is destroying longstanding entertainment franchises and even the comic book industry as a whole. As it turns out, worldview-concerned Christians with young children aren’t the only ones noticing and speaking out. Scripture is sufficient for us to respond as the church within our own walls, but I believe what we’re seeing in popular art provides a helpful cautionary tale.

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos — Part 1

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos — Part 1

The year 2020 will be an epoch that is talked about in American history books. That is, if when all of this plays out if there is an America still, and if there are still history books. We really live in unprecedented times on a number of levels. COVID-19 has rocked...

Book Review — Spurgeon’s Quotes–The Definitive Collection

Book Review — Spurgeon’s Quotes–The Definitive Collection

Click the link and use code straighttruth to save 40% off this book. A great gift for the preacher in your life or just for exploring the mind & heart of the Prince of Preachers! This 624 page beast of a reference book is a must for the desk of every man who...

Book Review — Creation Basics & Beyond, 1st Edition

Book Review — Creation Basics & Beyond, 1st Edition

Creation Basics & Beyond sounds like a fairly generic, nondescript title, but it's actually fitting. Sometimes it can be very basic, and other times it goes beyond my understanding to the point that I have to just leave a note on the chapter to go back to it...

Psalm 96:10 Jesus Reigns!

Psalm 96:10 Jesus Reigns!

Jesus Reigns! Psalm 96 is like a lot of passages of the Bible—this chapter isn't simply written about a single topic. Psalm 96 references our need to sing to the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 96:1-2), evangelize the nations (Psalm 96:2-3), fear the Lord (Psalm 96:4),...

Christianity is Supernatural

Christianity is Supernatural

The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book — A Change of Heart Christianity is supernatural. Left to ourselves we do not fear God, seek God, truly understand God, or care about God’s glory at all. Without the Holy Spirit, we don’t even want to know the...

Book Review — The Jesus of the Gospels: An Introduction

Book Review — The Jesus of the Gospels: An Introduction

The Jesus of the Gospels is a reliable guide to the Gospels from one of the most reliable guides in biblical scholarship. The book strikes an effective balance for lay people interested in a supplement to their reading of the Gospels.

6 Obstacles to Revival

6 Obstacles to Revival

W.B. Sprague’s 1832 work, Lectures on Revival, is a helpful book in thinking trough the subject of revival. Charles Simeon called it, “A most valuable book…I recommend the good sense of Dr. Sprague In his third lecture, Sprague lays out six obstacles to revival.[1]...

Book Review — God Made Me AND You by Shai Linne

Book Review — God Made Me AND You by Shai Linne

God Made Me AND You begins with school children teasing each other about their ethnic differences. Their teacher steps in and shares that God's wonderful plan is for our differences to reflect the amazing diversity of God's creation and the bring all nations to...

The Drunkenness and Repentance of Brother Johnnathan Osburn

The Drunkenness and Repentance of Brother Johnnathan Osburn

I have a book I received as a gift from Plum Creek Baptist Church in Taylorsville, KY. This book tells the story of the church's inception to its 175th anniversary in 1985. I am grateful for my brief time serving there as Youth Pastor for portions of 2008 and 2009....

Psalm 96:6-9 The Beauty of Christ

Psalm 96:6-9 The Beauty of Christ

Splendor and Majesty The word splendor conjures the idea of beauty and of grandeur. Our God isn't only comely; He is altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16). In his Treasury of David, Spurgeon wrote regarding the honour and majesty of Yahweh: Men can but mimic these...

Augustine vs. Pelagius

Augustine vs. Pelagius

The Debate In the 5th century — the early 400s — there was a controversy in the church between two men, Augustine and Pelagius, over God’s grace in salvation. Pelagius essentially argued in such a way that would minimize the necessity of regeneration. He taught...

A Primer on Jacob Arminius, John Wesley, and Charles Finney

A Primer on Jacob Arminius, John Wesley, and Charles Finney

Jacob Arminius and John Wesley Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), in response to William Perkins, wrote, “No one believes, without the exercise of his will. But the actual exercise of the will to believe is a different thing from the ability to will to believe; the latter...

The Shame of Idols

The Shame of Idols

Last week, I covered Psalm 96:5 and the idea that the idols of our world are worthless. Brother Luke Walker (I've reviewed his books here) has splendidly communicated more fully what we need to understand concerning our use of the world's goods in his post, A good...

A Case for Confessions of Faith

A Case for Confessions of Faith

Recently I read through a little over half of James Bannerman's classic tome, The Church of Christ. I obviously disagree with his Presbyterianism, but that aside, I highly recommend this book and hope to finish the second half sometime soon. One of the areas I found...

Psalm 96:3-5 Worthless Idols

Psalm 96:3-5 Worthless Idols

Declare For those of you who know me, Psalm 96:3 is an obvious verse that I would find refreshing. I am an evangelist and preacher and declaring Christ to the nations has been my endeavor for more than a decade. The theme of Psalm 96 is that God has done so much for...

5 Reasons People Don’t Believe Certain Truths from the Bible

5 Reasons People Don’t Believe Certain Truths from the Bible

In teaching on the doctrine of regeneration recently, I was thinking through explanations on why people would reject the Bible’s teaching on this precious doctrine. I came up with 5 reasons. These reasons apply to other precious doctrines as well. When the Bible...

Counseling Awakened Sinners and Recent Converts

Counseling Awakened Sinners and Recent Converts

I had the privilege recently of reading William Buell Sprague’s 1832 book* Lectures on Revivals of Religion. This work is a series of 9 lectures that Dr. Sprague gives defending the biblical warrant for revival and instructing churches on how to promote true revival...

Psalm 96: Introduction

Psalm 96: Introduction

Psalm 96 is a wonderful song written by David as part of a larger song of thanks which is introduced to us in 1 Chronicles 16. I was scheduled to preach a topical sermon at the 2020 Psalms & Worship conference in Canton, OH on the topic of "Worship in Evangelism,"...

Book Review — NIGTC: The Epistle of James – A Commentary on the Greek Text

Book Review — NIGTC: The Epistle of James – A Commentary on the Greek Text

Originally published in 1982, Peter H. David’s work in the NIGTC: The Epistle of James – A Commentary on the Greek Text is far from being outdated. Those who are serious about seeking to understand what the Letter of James teaches about wisdom, faith, and justification should consider picking this volume up and making it a part of their theological library.

The Loveliness of Christ

The Loveliness of Christ

Jesus is lovely. In Song of Solomon 5:16 the Bride says to Solomon, "he is altogether desirable." Thomas Watson called this book "a divine marriage song" and so it is. And while I don't think we ought to allegorize it, I do believe that the New Testament shows us...

The Preaching Killdeer

The Preaching Killdeer

My Grandparents and I - 2003 Growing up in rural Arkansas I had many opportunities to walk the woods with my grandfather learning about various aspects of nature, including birds. One of the most interesting birds I can remember is the Charadrius vociferous, or, you...

Children’s Book Review — The Woman Who Loved To Give Books

Children’s Book Review — The Woman Who Loved To Give Books

The Woman Who Loved To Give Books is a short depiction of the life of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of the prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon. Faced with a difficult illness, Susannah wonders how she can serve God. And then she finds just the way!

What Does my Son Think of Church?

What Does my Son Think of Church?

Last Wednesday my wife had a bit of a toothache from a recent filling and so I offered to take our 3-year-old to Wednesday night Bible study. Now, we are just now transitioning back into in-person services so I knew our attendance would be low as we also continue to...

Children’s Book Review — The Man Who Preached Outside

Children’s Book Review — The Man Who Preached Outside

The Man Who Preached Outside is a short depiction of the life of George Whitefield, the well-known itinerant preacher in the UK and USA. Your children will see George Whitefield heralding the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to a crowd. A good idea will be to show the child the variety of responses Mr. Whitefield is getting from the crowd. Warning, they aren’t all positive! But this should give the opportunity to prepare your child for opposition should he or she come to saving faith.

Children’s Book Review — The Woman Who Helped A Reformer

Children’s Book Review — The Woman Who Helped A Reformer

The Woman Who Helped A Reformer is a short depiction of the life of Katharina Luther, the wife of the well-known reformer, Martin Luther. The work that she did to help her husband be free to preach and teach the Word of God during a pivotal time in church history is shown with wonderful imagery. Although the book is very well-written and captures little one’s attention, it is the illustrations that put the entire story together. Thoughtful parents will take time to ask their children questions like “How many things is Mrs. Luther carrying on this page? and “What is that in her hand?” in order to engage young readers’ attention.

Book Review — Passionate About The Passion Week (Part 2: The Odd)

Book Review — Passionate About The Passion Week (Part 2: The Odd)

If you have not read Part 1 of this review concerning The Good, please do so first. While there is much to be praised about this work historically, there are some oddities in some sections. This isn't necessarily negative per se, although it may seem that way. For the...

When God Brings the Sun Burn

When God Brings the Sun Burn

Here’s an old sermon outline that I touched up for a blog post. It’s from Jonah 4:5-11. It has to do with God’s patient providential work in Jonah’s life. Let’s consider God’s providence together today: Prevailing Providence First, consider the word ‘appointed’ in...

YouTube, Censorship, and the Christian (Guest Post)

YouTube, Censorship, and the Christian (Guest Post)

The following is a guest post by Robert Reece from http://redgracemedia.com/ taken from a social media posting. Christian Censoring? My business deals with marketing and using various platforms to promote offers for sale, running ads, etc. This is how I make money. So...

Pastors, Plagues, and Playing Games

Pastors, Plagues, and Playing Games

In my GBTS class on ecclesiology the other night, Dr. Jeffrey Johnson told us the story of John Calvin's pastoral ministry in Geneva during the plague of 1542. I was able to check out Harry Reeder's work in John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion Doctrine &...

Book Review — ESV Omega Thinline Bible

Book Review — ESV Omega Thinline Bible

The ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible is a beautiful presentation of God’s Word. Crossway has given us a thinline that balances premium materials, size, and functionality well.

I Still Believe: Official Movie Review (No Spoilers)

I Still Believe: Official Movie Review (No Spoilers)

I Still Believe Jeremy Camp is a singer and songwriter who is popular in the Contemporary Christian Music scene. I believe his music is more Christ-centered and explicitly Christian than most of what is produced in the 21st century under the heading of "Christian." To...

Daniel’s Defiance

Daniel’s Defiance

"When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously." - Daniel 6:10...

9 Reasons to Depart from Iniquity

9 Reasons to Depart from Iniquity

Today's post has my name on it, but I didn't write it. Rather, we turn to our friend John Bunyan to consider his exhortations on why believers ought to depart from iniquity. This comes from Bunyan's work, A Holy Life, The Beauty of Christianity. Here are Bunyan's...

Lexham English Bible: Outdoing the NASB?

Lexham English Bible: Outdoing the NASB?

In my previous post, which concerned John MacArthur's announcement of the new Legacy Standard Bible translation and the ever-impending NASB 2020 update, one point that seemed to gain much attention was the existence of the Lexham English Bible, a translation that...

When Providence goes Viral

When Providence goes Viral

I wrote this post while there were still quite a few unknowns about COVID-19. President Trump had just declared a National Emergency. Local schools began closing all over the world. The NCAA canceled important sporting events and subsequently all spring sports. And...

Book Giveaway: Exalted Above the Heavens

Book Giveaway: Exalted Above the Heavens

  ***Book Giveaway*** The Roundtable podcast @ Thingsabove.us is giving away 3 free copies of "Exalted Above the Heavens" by Peter Orr For a chance to win, the more you share, the more entries you gain. We will announce winners when we record our podcast...

Inspired to Conspire

Inspired to Conspire

2020 is already the oddest and most surprising year of my life. Personally, it's been filled with news and events I was not expecting (most of which was good) and then obviously the onset of SARS-CoV-2 and the ensuing global reaction have truly been historic...

False Conversion, Quarantine, and Apathy

False Conversion, Quarantine, and Apathy

I recently conversed with a young lady about why she left Christianity. More often than not, when I evangelize to someone in America, they have some sort of Christian background. This benefits me because the door slams open to discuss the gospel. And I asked her a...

Children’s Book Review — A Rainbow of Rocks

Children’s Book Review — A Rainbow of Rocks

There are two main sections to this children’s book. The first section takes your child page by page and displays a picture of a rock with a little text about the rock on each page. The photos are brilliant, and the name of the rock is highlighted in the same color as the rock. The color scheme is really neat. Each set of two pages has similarly colored rocks. By the end, you’ve looked at 16 different rocks of several different hues.

Spurgeon: God is Good and God is Sovereign

Spurgeon: God is Good and God is Sovereign

God is good and sovereign! The following is taken from Charles Haddon Spurgeon's Sermon "A View of God's Glory".  The section below was particularly edifying to me (the remaining words are all Spurgeon’s): "Do not be alarmed, my Friends, because I am going to preach...

The Enemy Of My Enemy

The Enemy Of My Enemy

Don't Be Charmed Alyssa Milano is an outspoken hypocrite for the Democratic party in the USA. You can do your own work to verify this. But it's the recent public kerfuffle between Milano and her Charmed co-star Rose McGowan that is the fodder for this post. Let me sum...

Some Thoughts on the Legacy Standard Bible

Some Thoughts on the Legacy Standard Bible

Update (20 November 2020): I've posted my initial observations of the LSB Gospel of Mark here. https://vimeo.com/402824903 If you haven't seen the news by means of a video update from John MacArthur for his church (skip to 7:20 in the video above), there's a new...

Why We Groan (Short Devotional)

Why We Groan (Short Devotional)

[2Cor 5:1–5 ESV] 1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on...

How Much Is A Life Worth?

How Much Is A Life Worth?

Have you ever thought about how much a person would sell for? Have you considered in dollar amounts what you would pay for a human being? If we're ever going to resume normalcy then we have to figure out the answer to the question posed in the title of this post: how...

Now It’s Personal

Now It’s Personal

Most of the time I write, podcast, or otherwise post online, my posts are impersonal. I have a healthy fear of focusing too much on myself and so I choose to preach and teach theology without inserting my own life too much. Today, on the anniversary of a horrific...

Why Spontaneous Baptism Sunday is Not a Good Idea

Why Spontaneous Baptism Sunday is Not a Good Idea

Here I am, a Baptist writing a post against baptism. That might be like Michael writing a post dogging the Big 10 or something. But actually, this post isn't actually against baptism. Rather, it’s because I love baptism so much that I write today’s post. Now...

They Pray For Us (Short Devotional)

They Pray For Us (Short Devotional)

[Rom 8:26–27] Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit...

Everything Egalitarianism and Then Some

Everything Egalitarianism and Then Some

Do you miss the days not too long ago when the hot social media topics were egalitarianism and social justice instead of virtual church? No? Regardless, here's everything we've written on complementarianism and egalitarianism (so far) in one convenient list....

The Aim of Shame

The Aim of Shame

I don't buy the argument that says Americans are worse today than we were 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or even 240 years ago. Some may be baffled at such a statement given present cultural controversies over marriage and abortion, and the general disdain we seem to...

A Word to the Hurting

A Word to the Hurting

2020 has been nothing short of perilous. Bloggers and preachers regularly employ hyperbole, but what we are seeing due to the coronavirus pandemic is unique. At the time of writing, I'm a 44-year-old man who was born and raised in the United States, and I can...

There is No Free Lunch: STTA

There is No Free Lunch: STTA

It's not that hard at the moment to find dumb takes on Twitter. Okay, that's always true, but it's especially manifest at the moment if you search for the term, "401k." Without going into a litany of specific tweets, the overall sentiment is that all of us investors...

Why so Many Almost Christians?

Why so Many Almost Christians?

George Whitefield once preached a message on Acts 26:28 entitled, The Almost Christian. In today's post, I want to highlight 5 reasons he gives for Almost Christians. I affirm that these reasons are still true today. Particularly, they are true in the cultural context...

Corona Virus, Conspiracy, and the Kingship of Christ: STTA

Corona Virus, Conspiracy, and the Kingship of Christ: STTA

Its mortality rate is low, but its infection rate is high. They are restricting gatherings of 500...no wait, 250. Nope. Now it's 50. Sorry, it's 10 now. For sure now the government is going to restrict our liberties. The President is now going to stay in power. If...

Psalm 119:173-176 — Seek Your Servant Like a Lost Sheep

Psalm 119:173-176 — Seek Your Servant Like a Lost Sheep

Jesus, the lamb of God, became sin for His people that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus was the lamb who never strayed from the pasture, yet he took on the penalty deserved by foolish and rebellious sheep. Jesus is the lost sheep when he is suffering the penalty for our sins. Jesus is the one who cries to God to be sought after in this state. And Jesus is the one who never forgot God’s commands.

Four Things We Must Consistently Believe About Original Sin

Four Things We Must Consistently Believe About Original Sin

I praise God that many are aware that man is born sinful. But the sad part is that we don't really believe it. What I mean is, we don't understand two main things: 1) The depth of the implications and 2) The doctrines we must affirm to consistently believe this...

Speaking Rightly of God

Speaking Rightly of God

The book of Job is best known for Job's patience in enduring a multitude of difficult trials. The destruction of his property to the death of his children to his being inflicted with a skin disease and finally to the harsh rebukes from his friends. In the end, Job...

You’re Not Herod!!

You’re Not Herod!!

In the heyday of Tim Tebow doing interviews after football games, there was an ever-present "I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," that we all came to expect. It was exciting to hear someone who seemed to hold to the faith proclaim Christ publicly....

You Must be Born Again: Make Regeneration Great Again

You Must be Born Again: Make Regeneration Great Again

In God's kind providence, it was a biblical understanding of the great doctrine of regeneration that birthed (I'm not sure if I'm intending the pun or not) the evangelical movement of the 18th century. Sadly, it is also a misunderstanding and underemphasis of this...

Official Press Release from Planned Parenthood Re: COVID-19

Official Press Release from Planned Parenthood Re: COVID-19

From the desk of Alexis McGill Johnson, President, Planned Parenthood, LLC Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) public health concerns, I wanted to put the minds of Americans everywhere at ease. First, our commitment to slaughter, dismemberment, burning, or simple...

5 Reasons a Historical Adam Matters

5 Reasons a Historical Adam Matters

Did a man directly created by God out of the dust named Adam really exist in history? Did he really have a wife named Eve? Did he really have sons and daughters and populate the earth? And does it really even matter? Well, actually, yes it does. And I'm going to give...

Latitudinarianism and the Southern Baptist Convention

Latitudinarianism and the Southern Baptist Convention

Really, part of me is just going for blog title of the year. The rest of me, however, does have a point to make. And I understand that latitudinarianism is probably not a word you casually mention much over coffee.  But I’d like to take a quick trip in church history,...

Book Review: Walking In Christ by Jared Baergen

Book Review: Walking In Christ by Jared Baergen

Author Jared Baergen is a Bears and Cubs fan living in Wisconsin. He's a serving member (Bible teacher) at Racine Bible Church and an online student at The Master's University. I met Jared in 2012 as part of a fellowship a mutual friend was holding on Google hangouts....

Meeting Jesus, Missing Heaven

Meeting Jesus, Missing Heaven

Is there a more alarming passage in the Scriptures than Matthew 7:21-23? As He is concluding the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven....

Everything You Need To Understand the Culture

Everything You Need To Understand the Culture

Our practice at ThingsAbove.Us is to write about whatever we want always with an end goal toward our mission and to have some fun too. Sometimes that's verse-by-verse exegesis. Other times, that means critiquing pro sports. Once in a while, we write articles that help...

Book Review: A Call to Pure Worship

Book Review: A Call to Pure Worship

Pastor Meadows created something I really needed in this explanation of the Regulative Principle of Worship: clarity, conciseness, and a direct explanation of the doctrine.

The Sinner’s Prayer

The Sinner’s Prayer

The following is an excerpt from my book From Death to Life: How Salvation Works The Reality In too many churches, we’ve essentially equated saying the right words to God as a third ordinance: Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Sinner’s Prayer. Once this prayer is...

Rightly Dividing the Popular Culture: TGC Fumbles Frozen II

Rightly Dividing the Popular Culture: TGC Fumbles Frozen II

Once upon a tyme, in the cold, dark for'sts of New York and Quebec, a pair of well-respected Reformed theologians did found a Coalition to advocate for and restore trust in the biblical Gospel. 'Twas to be "a fellowshipe of evangelical churches in the Reformed...

A Life of Fear and Trembling

A Life of Fear and Trembling

The following in an excerpt from my book, Before the Throne: Reflections on God's Holiness. You can check out ordering information at our store. A Life of Fear and Trembling There are many ways to describe the Christian life. It can be said that the Christian life is...

SBC Resolution on A Reformation of Corporate Worship Practices

SBC Resolution on A Reformation of Corporate Worship Practices

True, just two years ago I wrote a piece on my apathy toward resolutions. And while I still feel that, as a whole, resolutions don't "do much" in terms of reforming the SBC, I do think they can at least be a tool of assessing where we already are as an association of...

When Should We Officially Ditch a Christian Content Creator?

When Should We Officially Ditch a Christian Content Creator?

The change of scenery is nice, I'll admit, but going on "vacation" with four kids under 7 is not really a vacation per se. Zombie TownWhen most people imagine vacations, they think of relaxing on the beach, going to Disney World, or camping. What we experienced...

Walking with God — Part 4

Walking with God — Part 4

Currently, I am preaching through Genesis 1–11 at Perryville Second Baptist Church. In our 33rd week through the series (no, I am not recommending everyone go that slow!) we came upon the curious case of Enoch in Genesis 5:22–24. This series of posts (see part 1 here)...

Sundays Are For Training

Sundays Are For Training

I graduated from High School and Bible College with adequate grades. I tried, but I didn't exactly over-exert myself, to be honest. "Coasting" was probably the right word for it. I learned enough and enjoyed the classes I enjoyed and got through the classes I needed...

Ecclesiastes: Not About Vanity, But Enjoying Life

Ecclesiastes: Not About Vanity, But Enjoying Life

I know. It's a bit provocative to say that Ecclesiastes is not about vanity. But it is true. Well, let's just say that it's partially true. However, not in a deceptive way. But in an incomplete way. The kind of partial truth where you are only seeing the small details...

Is Male Headship a Gospel Issue?

Is Male Headship a Gospel Issue?

Men, mean, and misogyny all start with the same letter. Obviously, guys are jerks and need to calm down. And women need to be filling the pulpit because the resurrection of Jesus was first announced to women. Believe it or not, that's the sort of argumentation you get...

Walking with God – Part 3

Walking with God – Part 3

Currently, I am preaching through Genesis 1-11 at Perryville Second Baptist Church. In our 33rd week through the series (no, I am not recommending everyone go that slow!) we came upon the curios case of Enoch in Genesis 5:22-24. This series of posts (see part 1 here,...

Book Review — Orthodox Radicals: Baptist Identity in the English Revolution

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

Walking with God – Part 2

Walking with God – Part 2

Currently, I am preaching through Genesis 1-11 at Perryville Second Baptist Church. In our 33rd week through the series (no, I am not recommending everyone go that slow!) we came upon the curious case of Enoch in Genesis 5:22-24. This series of posts (see part 1 here)...

Psalm 119:169-172 — Eruption of Praise

Psalm 119:169-172 — Eruption of Praise

Pray Like Jesus Psalms 119:169  Taw Let my cry come before you, O Yahweh; give me understanding according to your word! As we begin to close the longest chapter of the Bible, we might be tempted to think that God has already said everything that can be said. We must...

Jesus in the Garden

Jesus in the Garden

Jesus went to a garden once. In Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father as He anticipated His crucifixion. But long before that garden, there was another garden where the Son of God was. The triune God made this garden for His beloved creation, mankind. This garden's name...

By All Means, Mourn Kobe Bryant’s Death, But…

By All Means, Mourn Kobe Bryant’s Death, But…

My social media feeds have run the gamut in relation to the responses to the death of Kobe Bryant and the responses to the responses to Kobe Bryant’s death.

On one hand, I read of folks using bereavement leave at work due to mourning the loss of their dearly beloved basketball star? On the other hand, I’ve seen folks deride those who are so affected by Kobe’s death, pointing out such things as “you don’t mourn the death of 3000 babies yesterday but you mourn the death of a basketball star?” or generally criticizing people for being so affected by the death of someone they didn’t know personally.

I will show you a still more excellent way.

Walking with God – Part 1

Walking with God – Part 1

Currently, I am preaching through Genesis 1-11 at Perryville Second Baptist Church. In our 33rd week through the series (no, I am not recommending everyone go that slow!) we came upon the curios case of Enoch in Genesis 5:22-24. This series of posts fleshes out some...

Psalm 119:165-168 — Cause → Effect

Psalm 119:165-168 — Cause → Effect

It has been said that there are two religions in the world: the religion of grace and the religion of works. A distinguishing characteristic of the religion of works is that somehow the good deeds a man does are what pleases his deity. This is true whether that religion sees man as inherently good or as innately sinful. Since this is an affront to the gospel of grace, our Scriptures go to great lengths to destroy any hope men can have to save themselves by proclaiming the gospel of grace (Romans 3:24,25; Ephesians 2:8, 9). But wicked men will always twist good religion to their own ends and many a man has proclaimed the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ apart from works as a license to sin.

One of the ways God helps us to walk in his ways while we strive to imitate Christ is by granting us awareness of His immanence. Nothing can be hidden from the anthropomorphic eyes of God. For the heathen, this truth is blatantly denied as they fancy themselves into thinking they will escape judgment. It’s not always because men think they are good that they shall escape judgment, but sometimes it is that they think no one knows of their crimes. The child of God whose heart has been quickened earnestly desires obedience to God’s precepts and adherence to God’s testimonies, yet he or she still finds it difficult to obey. The spirit and flesh are opposed to each other and the battle rages, and sometimes the flesh wins.

Book Review: Truth & Grace Memory Book 1

Book Review: Truth & Grace Memory Book 1

I bought this book on the recommendation of a reformed Baptist pastor friend. I knew that I was supposed to teach my kids, and I had learned the value of catechizing them, but I didn’t know where to start. The Baptist Catechism book I owned seemed “too big” to ask my little ones to memorize. The question and answer format is a great teaching tool, in my opinion, so when I saw that Founders had produced a children’s catechism which was recommended by a trusted friend, I purchased a copy immediately.

Evidences of True Revival

Evidences of True Revival

Holiness of life and true revival can not be separated. A so-called “revival” that does not produce holiness is not a work of the Holy Spirit. Here we may offer an important reminder that true revival cannot be manufactured by men. The sign that says “revival next week” doesn’t really communicate what true revival is for true revival is God-sent and according to His plans and purposes, not ours.

Psalm 119:161-164— Do You Hate Falsehood?

Psalm 119:161-164— Do You Hate Falsehood?

Christianity is thought of by many as the “religion of niceness.” Whoever came up with that idea knows very little of the scripture. Yes, Christians are called to be kind and should be known by their kindness and meekness. But too often we mistake kindness for fake-virtues like “never disagreeing with anyone,” and “never hating anything or anyone.” But as David speaks here, so does the Christ, “I hate and abhor falsehood.” Jesus Christ is the Truth and falsehood is a lie. Thus it is fitting that we should hate the opposite (falsehood) of that which we love (Christ). God chooses more than one word here to denote His holy hatred for lying. God personally hates lying and morally detests it.

TAU Beginnings

TAU Beginnings

On January 15, I was reminded that it has been two years since we started ThingsAbove.Us. The reminder came by way of a tiny bit of hardship where our domain name expired precisely two years after we purchased it. We got that fixed, but I wondered how many of our...

Book Review — Reformed Systematic Theology Vol. 1: Revelation and God

Book Review — Reformed Systematic Theology Vol. 1: Revelation and God

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

No Regrets

No Regrets

Sometimes the providence of God is especially kind. In the same week I was preparing for our 32nd sermon in our Genesis 1-11 series on Genesis 5:1-5, I received an email. Turned out to be a valuable sermon illustration. (I hope) BOOM shakalak! That was the subject...

Psalm 119:157-160 — We Are In A Battle

Psalm 119:157-160 — We Are In A Battle

We vomit spoiled food almost instantaneously, not because we think about it and decide we should expel it, but because our bodies are naturally designed to protect us. We have a *”gag reflex” for a reason, and it prevents things from getting deep inside us before we have time to realize all the effects. Similarly, our Christian conscience and convictions, bathed in the Word and Law of God, are capable of causing a natural aversion to sin and evil before we’ve even had time to consider it. We are disgusted by the ideas of lying, stealing, vandalism, gossip, slander, sexual immorality, rape, orgies, homosexual acts and desires, drunkness, hypocrisy, envy, sorcery, and faithlessness. A Christian who is growing in holiness and separation from worldly lusts will find themselves more quickly disgusted when they encounter rampant wickedness and filth as they walk their path in this world (James 1:21).

Children’s Book Review – The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

Children’s Book Review – The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul Summary (from the Ligonier website) This imaginative tale from the late R.C. Sproul, based on a true story, begins one evening with Mr. McFarland leading family devotions. When his daughter asks him how she should pray, Mr....

Living Things Grow

Living Things Grow

The following is an excerpt from my book, From Death to Life: How Salvation Works. You can check out ordering information at our store. Living Things Grow When the gospel penetrates our hearts and changes our affections for Christ it will show in our outward behavior....

Psalm 119:153-156— Christ Alone Delivers

Psalm 119:153-156— Christ Alone Delivers

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. It's longer than several entire books. I imagine that due to our propensity to read to the end of the chapter, a good number of people read Psalm 119 in one sitting when they get to it in their Bible reading plan....

Book Review — Divine Impassibility: Four Views

Book Review — Divine Impassibility: Four Views

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

9 Ways To Have A Successful Christian Podcast

9 Ways To Have A Successful Christian Podcast

In this social media age, there is no shortage of competition vying for our attention. And in the world of podcasting, gaining and keeping your attention is tantamount to acquiring listeners. But in the world of American-Christian podcasting, popularity is king! Never...

Tips for (Raising) Toddlers

Tips for (Raising) Toddlers

I have raised three people through the toddler years and I'm working on the fourth now. Over the years I have discovered some things that seem to work really well—some of them are things I wish someone had told me. So with that in mind, here are a few tips for raising...

God’s Desire for All: STTA!

God’s Desire for All: STTA!

Below is Calvin's commentary on 2 Peter 3:9. Though I would disagree with his exegesis here, I do agree with the theology and find it supported by the rest of Scripture, namely that, though God will not save all men, He does have a genuine desire for the salvation of...

Posts YOU Need to Read (2019 Edition)

Posts YOU Need to Read (2019 Edition)

Instead of a pSaturday Psalm post (which I didn't have time to write this week), I decided to share some of my favorite posts from 2019, (one from each TAU author). http://thingsabove.us/46-years-of-failure/ http://thingsabove.us/whiteness-ekemini-uwan/...

The Omniscience of God and Determinism

The Omniscience of God and Determinism

The future is determined. Even the thought you just had about that sentence was determined from long ago. And what I’d like to do in this post is to demonstrate that this is an orthodoxy issue, not merely a “Calvinist” issue. That is, too many label Calvinists as...

Jesus Wept. But Not For Lazarus

Jesus Wept. But Not For Lazarus

Jesus wept (John 11:35). Perhaps one of the most memorable verses in the bible next to John 3:16. Not because of content, but word count (and certainly not because of context). When teachers ask students to learn a memory verse, they humorously remove this one as an...

Psalm 119:149-152 — Be Comforted For God Is Near

Psalm 119:149-152 — Be Comforted For God Is Near

It is easy to be anxious in this world. We are surrounded by difficulty even when we are not being chased down by evildoers. A Christian’s comfort must begin with God. And the only way we can find comfort is with a God who is near to us. Other religions brag of completely transcendent gods. Some religions have gods who are so much like us that it’s impossible to discern what makes them gods in the first place. But our God, the God of Heaven and Earth, is near to us. He is omnipresent so we always have access to Him through Jesus Christ who shed his blood for us then rose again and ascended into Heaven. There is no place we can go to avoid His presence (as if we’d want to!).

Take the Ship — A Response to Dave Miller and SBC Voices

Take the Ship — A Response to Dave Miller and SBC Voices

On December 19, 2019, Dave Miller ran a piece over at SBC Voices where he quoted Dr. Tom Ascol, who was quoting me who wrote a review of the new Founders cinedoc, By What Standard? Are you following all of that so far!? The quote in question that Miller took...

Be Killing Sin – Part 3

Be Killing Sin – Part 3

We’ve been walking through Genesis 4:6-7 in these posts and today we want to look at our response. The ball is in Cain’s court so to speak. How will you respond Cain? Sin’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Be killing sin or it will be killing you. We know...

The Trojan Mouse (book review)

The Trojan Mouse (book review)

I'll admit from the outset that I was never a huge Disney fan as a child. In fact, I rather disliked nearly everything on Disney Channel, and I can’t recall ever visiting a theater to watch a movie from Disney proper (as opposed to Pixar or other Disney subsidiaries)....

2019 Advent Devotionals – Christmas Eve

2019 Advent Devotionals – Christmas Eve

Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of...

Unforgiving Attack Dogs

Unforgiving Attack Dogs

The National Football League recently decided to honor former quarterback Mike Vick by making him an honorary captain in the league's annual Pro Bowl. Vick was undoubtedly one of the most electrifying players the NFL has ever seen. His speed, elusiveness, and arm...

Psalm 119:145-148— Meditate on the PROMISE

Psalm 119:145-148— Meditate on the PROMISE

The promise we have received is no different, but we have received more revelation. We meditate on the aspects of that promise which are already fulfilled: that Jesus Christ has come into the world. He was born of the virgin, conceived without the stain of sin by the Holy Spirit, and was perfectly righteous before the Father in every respect, although He was tempted by Satan (Hebrew 4:15). He was delivered to death and suffered the wrath of almighty God for sinners, (Isaiah 53:11), was buried, and on the third day rose from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). THIS is what we meditate upon, and all its implications: that we are wretched sinners, that Christ is a kind and gracious and all-sufficient savior, and that only by grace through faith can salvation be accomplished (among others)!

Book Review — Human Nature from Calvin to Edwards

Book Review — Human Nature from Calvin to Edwards

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

A Review of By What Standard

A Review of By What Standard

In mid-December 2019, Founders Ministries released the CineDoc By What Standard? God's World...God's Rules (watch for free here). I considered doing a tweet thread with my thoughts, but think by the time I'm finished, it'll be a bit much for Twitter. This will not be...

Abounding Love

Abounding Love

The Apostle Paul told the Phillippians that his prayer for them was that their love would abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment. If the Lord inspired Paul to pray for these saints this way and record it for us, I think we ought to know what it means...

Supported by the Public

Supported by the Public

Asking for a raise is one of the most intimidating aspects of being employed. An employee subjects themselves to an evaluation of their worth in hopes of garnishing an increase in wages. The wages are ultimately derived from the owner of the company, so the employee...

2019 Advent Devotionals – Week 4

2019 Advent Devotionals – Week 4

Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of...

Be Killing Sin – Part 2

Be Killing Sin – Part 2

Last time, we looked at God’s rebuke of Cain and the exposure of his sin (Genesis 4:6-7). In this post, we want to dive a bit deeper into a better understanding of sin. In this gracious rebuke from the Lord, we also learn some important truth about sin and a warning...

Reinventing Jesus by Komoszewski, Sawyer, and Wallace (book review)

Reinventing Jesus by Komoszewski, Sawyer, and Wallace (book review)

Welcome to the Christmas season once again. Whereas for eleven months out of the year our documentary film fare consists of a balanced diet of fringe nutrition advice, adorable nature footage, financial malfeasance, and Pawn Stars reruns, this month is sure to feature...

2019 Advent Devotionals — Week 3

2019 Advent Devotionals — Week 3

Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of...

Psalm 119:141-144 — Assurance of Perseverance

Psalm 119:141-144 — Assurance of Perseverance

First, we note the extent and duration of God’s righteousness. It is righteous forever. There is no other being of whom that can be said. God is eternal and unchanging. Thus, His righteousness is forever righteous. What a comfort to know that our God will not change and will forever be righteous. Secondly, we note the quality of God’s righteousness. His righteousness is righteous. While this seems obvious, it bears remarking that God describes our righteousness in very different terms. Isaiah 64:6 reminds us that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” God’s righteousness is contrasted with ours in that His righteousness is eternal and unblemished righteousness. There is no stain on God’s righteousness and it isn’t pushed about by winds of change. Praise Him!

Be Killing Sin – Part 1

Be Killing Sin – Part 1

In his work on the Mortification of Sin, that is, the killing of sin, John Owen (1616-1683) writes: “Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Be killing...

Rebuke, Reprove, Recycle

Rebuke, Reprove, Recycle

The internet has proven to be a resource for Christians. It is a good resource for history, commentaries from sound Bible interpreters, answers to difficult questions, and information regarding the contents of the 66 books of God's Word. It's also a resource for bad...

Give us EARS to Hear

Give us EARS to Hear

I am wholeheartedly committed to the priority of the preaching of God's Word in our regular church gatherings.  True, I am a pastor, so I guess by default I "have" to say that, but even apart from that role, there is a deep conviction running through me that the Word...

“Merry Gentlemen” or “Merry, Gentlemen?”

“Merry Gentlemen” or “Merry, Gentlemen?”

The hymn God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a Christmas favorite of mine. I love the majesty and the pace of it. It's an easy tune to remember and full of biblical truth. The pace of the song prevents us from recognizing the need for a comma after "merry." This can cause...

2019 Advent Devotionals — Week 2

2019 Advent Devotionals — Week 2

Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of...

Psalm 119:137-140 — Zeal + Ignorance = Worthless Religion

Psalm 119:137-140 — Zeal + Ignorance = Worthless Religion

In Romans 10:2-4, Paul criticizes the Israelites for having a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. It is not that they didn’t know who God is or that they worshipped the wrong God. No, Paul’s admonition is that the Israelites knew God, but didn’t comprehend His righteousness. Thus, they didn’t submit to it, nor were they grasping their need for Christ’s righteousness to cover them. But the Israelites could not blame the psalmist. For centuries before the incarnation, Psalm 119 was telling the people of God’s righteousness and His faithful promise. Thus, the psalmist is consumed with his own zeal for God’s righteous testimonies. He is consumed with zeal for God’s faithful promise as a contrast to the ignorance of his enemies.

Created to Care by Sara Wallace (book review)

Created to Care by Sara Wallace (book review)

The following is a guest review written by Joan Douglass. Created to Care by Sara Wallace, P & R Publishing (2019). 160 pp. $16.99 If you have any further questions, please email Joan at johnandjoan@gmail.com Summary   Sara Wallace has written a book that...

A Heartfelt Thanks

A Heartfelt Thanks

Not to be trite, but this Thanksgiving all of us at Things Above Us want to thank all of you who read the blog, listen to the podcast, shop in the store, and encourage us in various ways. There is very little way to extend our appreciation to you other than to...

Ep. 030 | Better Life Coffee Co — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 030 | Better Life Coffee Co — TAU Roundtable

Throughout the weekend of the Cruciform Conference, I (Michael) enjoyed fresh cups of coffee from Better Life Coffee Co and mild chatting with Joe Heatwole, founder, and owner. As the conference was finishing, Joe was given a chance to tell "his story" before the...

Book Review — Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Book Review — Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

2019 Advent Devotionals — Week 1

2019 Advent Devotionals — Week 1

Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of...

Psalm 119:133-136 — Does Your Love Bring You To Tears?

Psalm 119:133-136 — Does Your Love Bring You To Tears?

God justifies us by grace through faith alone, and that faith is followed by good works (Ephesians 2:10). God doesn’t just forgive sinners and leave them in their sin; He promises them help along the way (Proverbs 3:6). That is his promise to us. God provides us with new affections and desires. But in our unredeemed flesh, we still must wage war with sin. Confessing our weakness, we ought to pray with the psalmist “let no iniquity get dominion over me!” It is good and right to plan on not sinning, but we humbly request God to be the power that enables us to walk in newness of life. A healthy fear of the power of sin is essential to avoid it. It is those who think they stand who are in most danger of falling (1 Corinthians 10:12). Humbly acknowledge your need for His grace today.

Not by Faith Alone: What is James’ Justification? (book excerpt)

Not by Faith Alone: What is James’ Justification? (book excerpt)

As I attempt to dedicate more time towards completing my evangelistic book, I've adapted a short excerpt here for the benefit of ThingsAbove.us readers. As with most of my book, the biblical translations are my own. The character 'ᴾ' indicates a second person plural....

Ep. 029 | Brad Weber Interview — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 029 | Brad Weber Interview — TAU Roundtable

Michael interviews Brad Weber of Theology Nights @ http://theologynights.com/ Theology Nights offers Reformed theology, articles, teaching, videos, and podcasts. In this episode, Brad gives us insight into his former life of addiction and what drives him to do what he...

Book Review — Cracking the Foundation of the New Perspective on Paul

Book Review — Cracking the Foundation of the New Perspective on Paul

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

Ep. 028 | New Perspectives on Paul (Part 2) — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 028 | New Perspectives on Paul (Part 2) — TAU Roundtable

On this episode of Things Above us Round Table, George Alvarado and Chuck Ivey continue with Getting the New Covenant Right in Part 2 of their discussion on the New Perspectives on Paul (NPP). They help us identify how to understand the language of NPP teachers, and...

Psalm 119:129-132 — Into The Light

Psalm 119:129-132 — Into The Light

God is glorified by His giving of more and more grace. It magnifies God’s benevolence and kindness in the eyes of creatures when He expresses pity on them and blesses them with still more grace. Oh, how many Christians will go to Heaven and only realize there that there was more grace available in this life had they only asked. God will never run out and you can never exhaust His grace! Too often we don’t ask for more grace because we don’t feel we deserve it.

We never deserve it. That’s why we call it grace. It is not earned. It’s granted by a good and merciful Savior.

Ep. 027 | Dustin Benge Interview — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 027 | Dustin Benge Interview — TAU Roundtable

Michael interviews Dr. Dustin Benge of Southern Seminary about the two sermons he gave at the 2019 Cruciform Conference concerning the cruciform gospel. Dustin preached from Titus 3 and posed 4 questions to consider: Where does a cruciform gospel start? What does a...

Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge

Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” – Hosea 4:6 Knowledge is power, so they say. When it comes to knowing the character of God, the lack of knowledge is detrimental. Contextually, the weight of this verse lies on the spiritual leaders of God’s people....

Ep. 026 | Michelle Lesley Interview — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 026 | Michelle Lesley Interview — TAU Roundtable

Michael interviews Michelle Lesley of michellelesley.com and A Word Fitly Spoken podcast about Feminism, femininity, biblical womanhood, and Moore. Michelle is a wife, mother, and blogger. You won't want to miss this hard-hitting interview! 🙂 [content type=page...

Dear Egalitarian: Even Some Men Are Not Qualified

Dear Egalitarian: Even Some Men Are Not Qualified

With all the hubbub about Beth Moore and her doubling down concerning being qualified to preach, social media has erupted with pragmatic reprimands. From the laymen to the pulpit, it seems like the giant elephant in the room has grown too big for evangelicalism to...

ThingsAbove.Us Christmas Giveaways!

ThingsAbove.Us Christmas Giveaways!

In an effort to get our Things Above Us Shop up and running (ThingsAbove.Us/shop) we are offering Christmas giveaways each Friday between 11/15/19 and 12/20/19! You will receive an entry for EACH item purchased. All you have to do to enter is to order through the...

Psalm 119:125-128— God’s Law > Everything on Earth

Psalm 119:125-128— God’s Law > Everything on Earth

Thus, David begins the end of this octet with the proclamation that God’s precepts are right. All of them! And thus it follows that every other way is false and therefore worthy of disposal. It is not enough for the Christian to say “I believe what I believe but I won’t judge someone else for their beliefs.” This is as hateful as letting a child play with a fork near an outlet or walk through a parking lot with his or her hand unheld. When you love someone, you do what you can to protect them while they are weak, teach them how to protect themselves so they’ll grow, and warn them of the very real dangers they are ignorant of.

Stubborn as a Mule

Stubborn as a Mule

I played Donkey Basketball one time. After that experience, I can say I have firsthand understanding of what the phrase "stubborn as a mule" means (Yes, I know. A donkey and a mule are two different animals, but you get the illustration). The whole reason "donkey...

Ep. 025 | Various Interviews — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 025 | Various Interviews — TAU Roundtable

Michael interviews a few more interesting people from the Cruciform Conference. Micah Hasty of Micah Hasty Music https://twitter.com/themicahandrew Josh Hamon of https://theministryofwar.com/ Bryan Lamb of https://www.garageministries.com/ [content type=page...

Why We Should Have Seeker Sensitive Churches

Why We Should Have Seeker Sensitive Churches

I can't really document the dates so well, but I think most will generally agree that at the turn of the century the "Seeker Sensitive" movement was in full gear. This movement's mantra is, essentially, that churches should be designed for seekers. In my own state of...

Ep. 024 | Kofi Interview — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 024 | Kofi Interview — TAU Roundtable

Michael interviews Kofi regarding his sermon, Hebrews 12: Cross Purchased Discipline. This discussion will edify saints as you get the benefit of the hours of study which was put in before the Cruciform Conference in Indianapolis. Also, we hear about Kofi's church's...

No Remorse: STTA!

No Remorse: STTA!

"Convicted Payday Loan Mogul Scott Tucker Has Absolutely No Remorse," declares a headline on Jalopnik. What did this guy do? Why does he have no remorse? And what is this doing on Jalopnik, an automotive blog? I recently went back to a month — and only one month — of...

Bulls on Your Altar

Bulls on Your Altar

How does sacrificing bulls on God’s altar teach us about right sacrifices to God?

After establishing the right relationship with God through His cleansing power, we see that God WILL delight in right sacrifices and that bulls will be offered on God’s altar. It isn’t that God is completely displeased with sacrifices and offerings (religion). It is that sacrifices and offerings (religion) are only acceptable to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Once we know Jesus we are made holy so that we may offer sacrifices to God in Spirit and in Truth (Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5; Matthew 5:23-24).

Reformation Day – Luther and the 95 Theses

Reformation Day – Luther and the 95 Theses

October 31st, 2019 marks the 502nd anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. As confessional protestants, many of us recognize the Reformation as a recovery of the gospel. Here is a brief look at who and what sparked the Reformation and why it matters. Who was Martin...

Ep. 023 | New Perspectives on Paul — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 023 | New Perspectives on Paul — TAU Roundtable

On this episode of Things Above us Round Table, George Alvarado and Chuck Ivey continue our series on Getting the New Covenant Right by diving into the New Perspectives on Paul and the damage it does to the doctrine justification by faith. Scriptures: Genesis 15;...

Book Review — The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text

Book Review — The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

God’s Sovereignty Over Evil

God’s Sovereignty Over Evil

A typical atheist mantra seems to be something along the lines, "God doesn't exist and I hate Him." One of the reasons cited for this hatred is because we live in a world with pain, suffering, and evil. A few years ago British comedian Stephen Fry was asked what he...

That Ain’t Your Mama’s Hyssop

That Ain’t Your Mama’s Hyssop

David is guilty of the death of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:15). Although he hadn’t physically touched Uriah’s dead body, there is a sense of uncleanness because of his involvement in Uriah’s death. So when David cries out to the Lord to be purged with hyssop, he is calling on God to cleanse him from his sin. David could have offered more sacrifices than nearly anyone who has ever lived. He was a rich man! But he knew that God delights in “a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,” rather than animal sacrifices (Psalm 51:16-17), and certainly hyssop is similarly a prefigurement of something…or Someone.

Before the Throne – Introduction (and Sale)

Before the Throne – Introduction (and Sale)

Sale Info. Beginning today my second book, Before the Throne: Reflections on God's Holiness is on sale (read endorsements here - or read a review here, here, or here). The Amazon Kindle edition is just $0.99! Beginning 10/28/19 the paperback copy will be just $11.99...

Do You Have to Go to Church Every Sunday?

Do You Have to Go to Church Every Sunday?

A familiar ding of the phone went off. (That's right, I still walk around with my cellular device on loud). The text message read: “So you think you have to go to church every Sunday?” The reason for this message was because I had reached out to some church members...

All The More They Were Eager

All The More They Were Eager

It is the law of God, held before a sinner, that exposes and even entices the indwelling sin. Remember Romans 7? Consider verse 8: “But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.” There is something about God’s correction which actually livens up the sin that at times lays dormant in our flesh.

The picture that Zephaniah provides to us is a picture of sinners who purposed in their hearts to make all their deeds corrupt. It wasn’t enough that they had fallen short of God’s commands, broken His covenant, and lived in rebellion. Upon hearing of their own deserved judgment, their response is eagerness to make all their deeds corrupt.

Ensign Taylor

Ensign Taylor

Meet "Ensign" Taylor. "Ensign" Taylor has attended your church for the past 6 months. He's a nice enough guy, fun to talk to, and he has a really interesting story. You see "Ensign" Taylor lives on the Starship Excellence which, he informs us, is currently in a...

Satan’s Strategies for Temptation – Part 2

Satan’s Strategies for Temptation – Part 2

Last time, we saw that Satan tempts us in doubting God's Word and downplaying the consequences to sin. In this post, we will look at 2 final strategies Satan uses for temptation in Genesis 3:1–5. Distorting God's Character Essentially Satan has targeted the goodness...

Psalm 119:121-124— Deliverance

Psalm 119:121-124— Deliverance

ot only are we promised deliverance from our own cursed flesh, but we are promised freedom from the evil of this world. We long to see the day when all of God’s enemies are finally made a footstool (Hebrews 1:13) so that we might be delivered from them! Our suffering and oppression, although ordained by God and granted by God (Philippians 1:29) is nevertheless something we naturally want to avoid. We long for the time and place where God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4), where there will be no more pain and no more death. Suffering and pain are results of the curse, and all creation groans to be delivered—ourselves included (Romans 8:22-23). It is this meaningful focus on future deliverance that strengthens the child of God for every circumstance in this world. We are not promised health and wealth now, but when we inherit all the rewards earned by the Christ, we will be glad we traded none of them for temporary comfort!

Book Review — The Whole Christ

Book Review — The Whole Christ

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

The Life of Charles Weigle

The Life of Charles Weigle

As I got into Charles Weigle’s conversion story, I started to become more intrigued in my heart, then the FLOOD BEGAN. Not only had I failed to “not cry,” but I was bawling my eyes out. The story is so interesting I kept reading.

Satan’s Strategies for Temptation — Part 1

Satan’s Strategies for Temptation — Part 1

Satan takes God’s Word and he twists it and he downplays the consequences for disobeying it, and he downplays the consequences for sin. The famous RG Lee quote is pertinent here: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

Psalm 119:117-120 — God Discards the Dross

Psalm 119:117-120 — God Discards the Dross

God’s holy hatred for sinners is pure and so much more terrifying than we tend to want to think about. The KJV says, “Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes,” and the sense is truly terrible. There is no mercy for the wicked when God’s judgment comes. Therefore, we must all the more earnestly tell sinners of the mercy of God which can be found today. And we must never diminish the terror of the Lord. The heathen will rage (Psalm 2:1) and the weak of heart will accuse us of fear-mongering, but there can be no compromise when we preach the wrath of God because to tone down God’s hatred for sinners has the practical effect of diminishing Christ’s love for sinners, as well.

You Will Be Like ‘Gods’?: Genesis 3:5 and Mormonism

You Will Be Like ‘Gods’?: Genesis 3:5 and Mormonism

A good friend in the ministry recently raised a question she was asked by someone else concerning Genesis 3:5 in the context of a conversation with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it's a very good one. In this article, I'll answer the...

Worship Me

Worship Me

Older generations like to make fun of all the selfies millennials take, and to an extent, that’s warranted. However, the selfie generation in America was here much earlier than the 1980s. The god of self didn’t come along with the iPhone. The iPhone is a fruit of idol worship, not the root of it.

The key attribute of the god of self is autonomy. Essentially autonomony means that “I get to do what I want because I am me. There is no one more important than me. In fact, you can’t spell awesome without ME” (I know, Taylor Swift song reference).

Psalm 119:113-116 — My Hiding Place and My Shield

Psalm 119:113-116 — My Hiding Place and My Shield

Not only is God our hiding place, but He is our shield. He is our defense against everything hurled toward us by the enemy. There is no condemnation from God for those who are in Christ Jesus, the hiding place, but the condemnation of men is in ample supply. God does not promise that his people will avoid attacks from evildoers. But He acts as our shield. It is God who takes the brunt of the punishment when we are accosted for our faith (Acts 9:5). With a shield, we will still feel the impact of the blows and experience the heat of the battle, but we will not receive a fatal blow until the shield determines it is time.

Brown Journalism

Brown Journalism

This past week we witnessed one of the ugliest instances of "journalism" I have ever seen. A young man from Iowa stumbled into raising over a million dollars for a children's hospital in his home state. It's the same hospital that overlooks the University of Iowa's...

9 Common Emotional/Situational Pornography Triggers

9 Common Emotional/Situational Pornography Triggers

Of all my years counseling Christians and non about the dangers of pornography, there are 9 common emotional and situational patterns that trigger porn use. Some of these are simply symptoms of a deeper problem, meanwhile others only serve to justify a depraved...

TAU Roundtable Feed Update

It has been brought to our attention that subscribers to the Things Above Us Roundtable were unable to access episodes prior to 2019! We have refreshed our feed so that all episodes are now accessible. If you cannot see all episodes in your podcast feed for the...

Partnering with Future Churches

Partnering with Future Churches

What a travesty when local churches are reckless with their doctrinal commitments, soteriological practices, commitment to the Scriptures, worship practices, and church leadership structure all because things are seemingly going “good.” Too many churches take confidence in current worship attendance numbers, weekly offerings, or baptism rates in order to justify practices that are setting up future generations to be taken captive by Babylon, thinking “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

Psalm 119:109-112 — Sorrows, Snares, Sons, and a Savior

Psalm 119:109-112 — Sorrows, Snares, Sons, and a Savior

The Antidote to Sorrows Psalms 119:109  I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. David was no stranger to danger. He was constantly threatened, yet refused to forget God's law. He wrote, "I hold my life in my hand continually..." and this...

When You Miss, You’re Missed

When You Miss, You’re Missed

A Parable Once upon a time, there was a mother with 7 sons. She loved her boys very much and they loved her. She and her husband were committed to the family meal and their evenings were often filled with laughter. And if you have boys then you know that those...

God’s Unborable Holiness – Part 2

God’s Unborable Holiness – Part 2

*The following is an adapted excerpt from Before the Throne: Reflections on God’s Holiness by Allen S. Nelson IV (2019).  The Gospel of a Holy God The need of every human being is to be reconciled to their holy and good Creator whom they have sinned against, turned...

Psalm 119:105-108 — Freewill, Oaths, and More Affliction

Psalm 119:105-108 — Freewill, Oaths, and More Affliction

God's Word Lights The Way Psalms 119:105 ESV  Nun Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The 14th octet of this great psalm begins with this oft memorized declaration about God's illuminating Word. The psalmist notes that God's word is a lamp to his...

Suicide Thoughts

Suicide Thoughts

Thus, we need to be careful when we are talking about folks who committed suicide. Too often I think we skirt around the issue of calling it sin, or even murder. Most people who commit suicide do it as the result of some sort of depression and I think we almost excuse it a little in our minds. It seems rather callous to call a guy who was so depressed he took his own life a murderer. But truth is worthless if it is hidden (Matthew 5:15).

To Give His Son a Bride

To Give His Son a Bride

God put the helpless Man to sleep and opened up his side A promise old, intent to keep, to give His Son a Bride Adam awoke to see the gift, his eyes on her steadfast, A perfect helper for him fit, he cried to God ‘At Last!’ The glory of that fateful day, too soon it...

Placebo Prayers

Placebo Prayers

Last weekend, we had 6 men preaching God’s Word in our group. We split into two groups of 3 and separated physically. This allows us to always have 2 men preaching the mystery of the gospel. So we were able to achieve nearly 5 hours of street preaching in 2.5 hours, with each man carrying no more than about an hour of the load. But this week, I was the only preacher, and I was committed to filling the time. How God enabled that to happen is truly remarkable!

Book Review — The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls

Book Review — The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls takes its title from the Reformation era conviction that justification by faith is the dividing line between the biblical gospel and man-centered efforts to earn favor with God. Matthew Barrett serves as editor and co-author with several significant theologians. In the forward, D.A. Carson writes that nothing is more important than the subject of this massive volume (15). The book is organized into four parts, grouping the chapters by looking at justification according to what the Bible itself teaches, theological perspectives on the doctrine, church history, and pastoral practice.

God’s Unborable Holiness – Part 1

God’s Unborable Holiness – Part 1

*The following is an adapted excerpt from Before the Throne: Reflections on God’s Holiness by Allen S. Nelson IV (2019).  No Room for Meh When it comes to responding to the holiness of God we have two options (See Isaiah 6:5 and Revelation 4:8). Woe is me or worthy...

Psalm 119:101-104 — Sweeter Than Honey

Psalm 119:101-104 — Sweeter Than Honey

Honey is never bitter or sour, and neither is the Bible to the adopted child of God. We taste it, take it within ourselves, and then come back for more. But like honey, it has to be searched for and found, then extracted from its comb. Honey doesn’t come from Heaven in jars. There is danger and even peril in taking the fruit of the bee, and we also must be willing to endure trial when we dig into God’s Word. You may even get stung!

The Gospel Coalition and “Jesus is a Sexual Jesus”

The Gospel Coalition and “Jesus is a Sexual Jesus”

Jesus wrapped himself in flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). However, according to an article written by a contributor for Themelios, a webpage for The Gospel Coalition: "...flesh is not merely a gender-neutral term for humanity, but often a euphemism for the sexual...

Polyamory and a Jealous God

Polyamory and a Jealous God

One of the ways we proclaim our great Savior to the world is through the institution of marriage. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:32). We reflect God's faithfulness, mercy, and love when we love our spouse the way He has...

The Greatest Words in Human History

The Greatest Words in Human History

There have been quite a few famous speeches in the course of human history. Winston Churchill and William Wilberforce both addressed the British House of Commons in their respective eras with words that have been dramatized by Hollywood. Abraham Lincoln's words at...

Psalm 119:97-100 — Elevated Wisdom

Psalm 119:97-100 — Elevated Wisdom

What's Your Meditation? Psalms 119:97 ESV  Mem Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. The book of psalms starts out with Blessed is the man who delights in God's law and meditates on it day and night (Psalm 1:1-2). That recurring theme is not lost on...

Assurance: “How Can I Know I’m Really Saved?”

Assurance: “How Can I Know I’m Really Saved?”

Examine Yourself How do you know you are really a Christian?  Do you really know you are going to spend eternity in Heaven when you die? Are you sure you are actually right with a just and holy God? Can a true Christian lose their salvation? I recognize there is a...

Why it’s Not Good for Man to be Alone

Why it’s Not Good for Man to be Alone

Our church has slowly been making its way through Genesis 1–11 on Sunday mornings.  It has been so amazing to see how important these chapters are to contemporary events. The Bible truly is living and active! In Genesis 2:18, Moses writes: Then the LORD God said, “It...

Good Reputations

Good Reputations

This past Sunday two men were up to be affirmed as new elders of our church. As our senior pastor read through the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3 I was struck by the last trait listed in the first paragraph: 1 Timothy 3:7 (NASB) And he must have a good...

The Active Obedience of Christ (book excerpt)

The Active Obedience of Christ (book excerpt)

I've given up on a particular timeline for finishing my evangelistic book. The manuscript word count is now at 29,183. My plan is to release more excerpts as time passes so that I'm able to combine my effort on the book and here at Things Above Us. Here's a chapter...

On Dirty Faces and Pop-Tart Guns

On Dirty Faces and Pop-Tart Guns

We noticed the strangest thing when our middle son was 6 years old playing baseball. Now, little boys playing baseball are always going to get dirty, but there seemed to be something exceptionally dirty about our son. My wife observed it first. "I think Caleb is...

Psalm 119:93-96 — Limited Perfection

Psalm 119:93-96 — Limited Perfection

We Remember Psalms 119:93 ESV I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. One of the most depressing themes of scripture is the frequency and ease with which the people of God tend to forget what He has said. The Scripture is replete with...

9 Steps Toward Apostasy

9 Steps Toward Apostasy

I've shared this on other blogs before, but given the recent apostasy of Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson, it is always good, by way of reflection and introspection, to be reminded of your own spiritual condition before God. I've counseled countless believers and...

The Myth of Peacetime Christianity

The Myth of Peacetime Christianity

One of the things I got to do over the Summer of 2019 was read David Steele's new book The White Flag: When Compromise Cripples the Church and write its foreword. I commend this book to TAU readers. In today's post, I'm simply posting the foreword for the book. See...

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 4)

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 4)

In part 1 of this review, we saw Armstrong’s argument that Mary Magdalene is the “second Eve,” thereby meaning that the curse of women being easily deceived ceased at the resurrection. In part 2, we examined Armstrong’s treatment of Ephesians 5:22 and the Hebrew...

Ep. 022 | Getting Apostasy Right — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 022 | Getting Apostasy Right — TAU Roundtable

Michael, Tim, and George discuss the New Covenant promise of the perseverance of the saints and Tim’s article “Choked Out by Thorns.” How are we to think about folks who fall away like Joshua Harris or Marty Sampson? What assurance can a Christian have in this life that they will truly be preserved to the end?

What steps can someone take to make their calling and election sure and watch out for their brethren?

Why You Should Read More (and Less) Books

Why You Should Read More (and Less) Books

Sometimes I like to smell books. I'm a weirdo, I know. My wife makes fun of me for it. There's just something about smelling the pages of a new or old or somewhere in between book that fascinates me. I'm inclined to think that in the new heavens and new earth all of...

Psalm 119:89-92 — Established

Psalm 119:89-92 — Established

Firmly Fixed Psalms 119:89 ESV  Lamedh Forever, O Yahweh, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. It is hard to believe we are starting the second half of Psalm 119. It has taken over 6 months and anyone involved in this devotion or memorizing this psalm has...

The New Covenant: Unmixed, Unbreakable, & Unconditional (Part 2)

The New Covenant: Unmixed, Unbreakable, & Unconditional (Part 2)

An Unbreakable/Unconditional Covenant Building on point #4 in the previous article about who are the unmixed members of the NC, if it were possible that NC members could break Christ's covenant through apostasy, or keep it through perseverance, then this causes some...

The New Covenant: Unmixed, Unbreakable, & Unconditional (Part 1)

The New Covenant: Unmixed, Unbreakable, & Unconditional (Part 1)

Reread the title again. Let those words burn into your memory like a branding iron. The New Covenant (NC) that our LORD Jesus Christ inaugurated with his own blood (Hebrews 9:14-15) is unmixed, unbreakable, and unconditional. For some, this may seem obvious. But for...

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 3)

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 3)

Kat Armstrong's No More Holding Back: Emboldening Women to Move Past Barriers, See Their Worth, and Serve God Everywhere conveys a certain feminist, idealistic image of a Christian woman who seeks to live out all four aspects of the second greatest commandment. In...

Book Review — Eschatological Discipleship

Book Review — Eschatological Discipleship

Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context   Review by Chuck Ivey Wax, Trevin K., Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context. (Publisher: B&H...

20 Books That Have Shaped Me

20 Books That Have Shaped Me

I love books. I love buying books. I love reading books. I know books aren't for everyone, but they have had a profound impact on my life. In this post, I want to share with you 20 books that have significantly impacted me. The Rules I'm going to stretch this a bit. I...

Psalm 119:85-88 — They Have Dug Pitfalls

Psalm 119:85-88 — They Have Dug Pitfalls

Insolent Pitfalls! Psalms 119:85  The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law. There is a principle which plays out in the life of every true Christian. And that is the world will hate you because they hated your master, Jesus. The...

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 2)

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 2)

In part 1 of this review, we introduced Kat Armstrong's No More Holding Back: Emboldening Women to Move Past Barriers, See Their Worth, and Serve God Everywhere. We primarily found that Armstrong advocates an over-realized soteriology of women which interprets Mary...

Outsourcing Discipleship

Outsourcing Discipleship

In the secular world, teachers notice a difference between kids whose parents are active in the education of their children and kids who have parents who assume no role in that arena. The teacher can be brilliant in their understanding of the material, exceptionally...

Man’s Design is for Dependence

Man’s Design is for Dependence

We've been walking through Genesis 1-11 in our Sunday morning sermon series at Perryville Second Baptist Church. I'd like to highlight one of the things we've discovered together as we've been studying these verses together. Man is designed to be dependent on God —...

Psalm 119:81-84 — Our Whole Being Longs for God

Psalm 119:81-84 — Our Whole Being Longs for God

We Have No Other Hope Psalms 119:81  Kaph My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. The Kaph octave begins with a description of deep longing. The word for long in verses 81 and 82 is the same word used in verse 87 where the psalmist laments that the...

When Battling the Culture

When Battling the Culture

Christians are in a constant battle with the culture because Christianity is opposed to the culture. A better way of saying it would be that the culture, or world, is opposed to Christ...and thus, Christianity. Many Christians seem to be particularly gifted or...

Choked Out by Thorns

Choked Out by Thorns

In the fourth chapter of his Gospel, Mark records the Parable of the Sower as told by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of the seeds is immediately gobbled up by birds (Mark 4:4), the next seed quickly grows in rocky soil but eventually withers away (Mark 4:5-6),...

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 1)

No More Holding Back — Kat Armstrong (book review, part 1)

As Kat Armstrong opens No More Holding Back: Emboldening Women to Move Past Barriers, See Their Worth, and Serve God Everywhere (Thomas Nelson, July 2019), she tells a story of an incident. In the middle of a class at Dallas Seminary, she lamented to her professor,...

Speaking at Upward? No Testimony, Please…

Speaking at Upward? No Testimony, Please…

What would you do if you were asked to give the "message" at halftime of an Upward Sports match? This situation really comes up, and Christians with sound theology need to be ready at all times to present God's Word to the world. A Twitter friend asked this question...

Why I Need A Church that Judges Me

Why I Need A Church that Judges Me

If you're not a careful reader of Scripture you may have never noticed what Paul says to the church in Corinth: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?" 1 Corinthians 5:12 We are a society so enamored...

Psalm 119:77-80 — May God Supply!

Psalm 119:77-80 — May God Supply!

In the second half of the Yodh octave, we continue the series of supplications that David is making of the Lord. In Psalm 119:76, he refers to God's promise of salvation and his desire for the comfort of God's. The last four verses of that section build on that theme....

Ep. 021 | Getting the New Covenant Right — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 021 | Getting the New Covenant Right — TAU Roundtable

Michael and George discuss the New Covenant. This covenant is unmixed, unbreakable and unconditional. This is the first in a series where we will define the New Covenant, discuss its implications, apply it to the Christian life, and then contrast it to errors that...

How Much Should Pro Athletes Get Paid?

How Much Should Pro Athletes Get Paid?

The short, cold, unflinching answer to the question posed in the title of this post is: whatever the market allows, but my fellow laborers at Things Above Us demand I write more than a dozen or so words. Let's discuss this topic with sins like greed and envy at the...

Why King Jesus is Better than King Josiah

Why King Jesus is Better than King Josiah

Not all of the kings of Judah were good kings. In fact, most of the kings of Judah were not good kings. In picking out people to name your son after there's not a plethora of worthy names to be found in the books of 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. But there is...

Psalm 119:73-76 — Sovereign Creator

Psalm 119:73-76 — Sovereign Creator

The most fondly looked upon saints in history were built up in the faith (Jude 1:20) through their own suffering which led to earnest prayer. And they, like the faithful ones of Hebrews 11, looked forward to God’s promise to his servant to endure. It is the hope of Heaven that allows weak vessels to remain faithful during suffering. It is the promise that God will not lose any of His sheep that provides the strength to do good in the midst of evil. And it is the comfort we find in God’s steadfast love toward us that motivates us to be still and know that He is God when the only hope we have is that he will do all that He has promised, even when all earthly evidence appears to the contrary.

Rules for Worship

Rules for Worship

It may be surprising to many but God is not only concerned that we seek Him, but also how we seek Him. You are probably familiar with the story of Uzzah from the Old Testament but just in case you're not, let's do a quick review: After David became king, he desired to...

Psalm 119:69-72 — More Affliction?

Psalm 119:69-72 — More Affliction?

Smearing With Lies Psalms 119:69  The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; We’ve seen throughout Psalm 119 that the psalmist is no stranger to affliction. He is humble, honest, and strives to serve the Lord with all his heart. He...

Will You go to Hell?

Will You go to Hell?

Hell is a real place filled with real people. It is a place of unceasing conscious torment. It is not an escape from God but a place where the wrath of our Holy God is justly endured for all eternity. It is a place where both the body and soul are constantly punished...

The Authority of Scripture (book excerpt)

The Authority of Scripture (book excerpt)

Work continues on my evangelistic book. While you wait, here's another sample chapter as it currently stands. I'd love to get your feedback. All biblical translations here are my own. —GPO Since you’re this far in the book, why should you listen to me? Sure, I do have...

The Necessity (or Lack Thereof) of Seminary

The Necessity (or Lack Thereof) of Seminary

Some no-longer-recent Twitter discussion on at least two different threads centered around the necessity or usefulness of seminary. As one who has gone through an entire Th.M. program without a call to ministry, let alone ever being employed by a ministry, I thought I...

Why You Should Preach Dressed Up

Why You Should Preach Dressed Up

I'm sort of snickering as I write this because I know you probably clicked this link thinking I was going to write a post about why you should wear a suit and tie to preach in. As an aside, I don't think you should look like you just rolled out of bed when you preach....

Balaam and His Donkey as a Historical Event

Balaam and His Donkey as a Historical Event

In the 22nd chapter of the book of Numbers, we find the story of Balaam and his talking donkey. I want us to think of this portion of Scripture as a piece of actual history. We hear about beasts of burden speaking to humans and we get the urge to chalk this up as a...

Before The Throne Book Review: Exalting God’s Holiness

Before The Throne Book Review: Exalting God’s Holiness

I’m happy and blessed to have read Allen Nelson’s book, Before the Throne. There aren’t many books about God’s holiness that accurately convey the wondrous truths of God’s manifold holiness in 12 readable, bite-sized, yet satisfying, chapters. It was a breath of fresh...

Book Review and Giveaway: CSB He Reads Truth Bible

Book Review and Giveaway: CSB He Reads Truth Bible

The CSB has fast become one of my favourite translations of the Scriptures. Combining accuracy to the original languages of the Scriptures with clear readability, it's become my go-to for reading, study and public ministry of the Word. The CSB He Reads Truth Bible,...

Six Friends You Need

Six Friends You Need

One of the things that is most helpful to me is hearing different perspectives from friends and acquaintances. We are constantly opining about the world around us and it is in a multitude of counselors that we find victory (Proverbs 24:5). With that in mind, here are...

Christians and the Enneagram

Christians and the Enneagram

Christians are notorious for following the whims of the culture. If you want to imitate prophecy, all you have to do is look at what the hot button issues are in the world today and then predict that the church will be preaching on that same topic in 3-5 years. One of...

Lawsuit: Pastor Suffered Severe Burn after Stepping on Logos

Lawsuit: Pastor Suffered Severe Burn after Stepping on Logos

GARLAND, TX — A local pastor is taking legal action after he suffered a second-degree burn on his right foot after accidentally stepping on Logos. Unlike a typical dad who might occasionally step on his kids' wayward toys, Pastor Jimmy Watts says he was walking last...

Psalm 119:65-68 — Afflicted by God

Psalm 119:65-68 — Afflicted by God

Here is where we arrive at meat and potatoes of Psalm 119: the Teth octave. Why do God's people suffer affliction? Are they not to be rewarded for their love and devotion to Him? What message does it portray to the unbelieving world when God cannot even protect His...

Book Review — None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God

Book Review — None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God

Barrett, Matthew, None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God. (Publisher: Baker Books), 2019. 283 pp. $16.99 Biographical Sketch of the AuthorMatthew Barrett serves at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as associate professor of Christian theology. He is...

Sweat Shops

Sweat Shops

All of us have looked at a tag on a piece of clothing and found the words Made in _____. Typically the name of the country printed on the tag is not the United States or even Canada. It's China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam or some other far away country. Companies...

Ekemini Uwan, Part 2: The Critical Race Theory Leaven

Ekemini Uwan, Part 2: The Critical Race Theory Leaven

The 2019 Sparrow Conference feels like ages ago at this point though it's only been since late March of this year. The conference's own published materials should have been warning enough, but greater public controversy erupted when Ekemini Uwan stated, "Whiteness is...

Psalm 119:61-64 — Companionship

Psalm 119:61-64 — Companionship

The Cords of the Wicked Psalms 119:61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law. We have seen the psalmist proclaim the excellencies of loving God's law even in the midst of trouble (Psalm 119:23). Now we find language reminiscent of Psalm...

Tips for a Money Marriage

Tips for a Money Marriage

My wife and I do not have a perfect marriage. We have, however, done some things well. Money has never been a real issue in our marriage. Perhaps it was because when we first got married we didn't have any money to fight over. The first few years of our marriage we...

The Religious Affections and Pastoral Ministry

The Religious Affections and Pastoral Ministry

Recently, I had the opportunity to preach a message at a Jonathan Edwards conference on The Religous Affections. I'd like to share a few practical applications for pastors when it comes to religious affections. But first: What are Religious Affections? One of Edwards'...

I’m Sorry You Were Confused

I’m Sorry You Were Confused

On the daily, there is an instance where a social-justice-oriented famous "Christian" says something borderline heretical, completely asinine, or self-contradictory and then, after the backlash, tries to walk back what they said. During this walk back they try to...

The Essence and Effects of Sin

The Essence and Effects of Sin

In 2017 I had the joy of preaching through the book of 1 Peter at our church. It is amazing how Scripture continues to shape and transform us as we gather around it each week eager to hear from God’s Word. We were going along at a pretty good pace until we hit 1 Peter...

A Letter to a Soul Seeking Jesus: #2

A Letter to a Soul Seeking Jesus: #2

This series is a group of six letters written by Robert Murray M'Cheyenne contained in The Memoirs and Remains of Robert Murray M'Cheyene by Andrew Bonar. I first heard about these letters on the Behold Your God podcast. I have adapted these letters (as in updating...

Psalm 119:57-60 — What’s Your Portion?

Psalm 119:57-60 — What’s Your Portion?

ou would spit out foul tasting food the moment it touched your tongue. You’d remove your hand from a fire before you could feel the heat. Without planning, we rarely go more than a few hours without a meal. We naturally recoil from things we dislike and naturally crave that which will nourish us when we need it. So why is it that you are able to go so long without feasting on God’s Word? Why do you linger so long with sin and temptations to sin? Why does your mind not recoil from wicked thoughts as your hand from a hot flame? The answer is that a part of us still likes the sin, still finds enjoyment there rather than in Jesus.

Avoiding Scams

Avoiding Scams

When God commanded, "You shall not steal," (Exodus 20:15) He knew the human heart would be predisposed to covetousness. You could argue that one aspect of the first sin was stealing, as Adam and Eve took from God what He told them was not theirs for the taking....

A Letter to a Soul Seeking Jesus: #1

A Letter to a Soul Seeking Jesus: #1

This series is a group of six letters written by Robert Murray M'Cheyenne contained in The Memoirs and Remains of Robert Murray M'Cheyene by Andrew Bonar. I first heard about these letters on the Behold Your God podcast. I have adapted these letters (as in updating...

Tossed by the Waves, Part 1 — Why I Drifted from Creationism

Tossed by the Waves, Part 1 — Why I Drifted from Creationism

In episode 19 of the Roundtable, Michael and I interviewed Dr. Anthony Silvestro, co-author of On the Origin of Kinds, By Means of Creator God And The Preservation of Souls in the Struggle for Eternity. A portion of the discussion mentioned how I had once drifted on...

An Appeal to those Contemplating Suicide: There is a Redeemer

An Appeal to those Contemplating Suicide: There is a Redeemer

Despair. Failure. Depression. Loss. Guilt. Apathy. Pain. Anything you could possibly think of that makes you think this life isn’t worth living. At the very least, that makes you feel like it’s better off without you. I get it. I’ve been there. The trials we...

Love Hopes All Things

Love Hopes All Things

Forgive this post ahead of time. I don't want you to feel dizzy. I'm truly wrestling here, friend. I'm sifting, filtering, nuking thoughts as they enter my mind. Here's where we'll begin: What now? This is the question I keep asking myself as I watch our Evangelical...

Ep. 018 | Persecution — TAU Roundtable

Ep. 018 | Persecution — TAU Roundtable

In this episode, the guys welcomed our newest TAU member, George Alvarado, and discussed the recent events concerning a Rugby player whose life has been altered because of some biblical comments he made. See the article discussed here:...

Psalm 119:53-56 — Righteous Anger?

Psalm 119:53-56 — Righteous Anger?

The goal of growing in godliness is to become more like Christ and think His thoughts after Him (2 Corinthians 10:5). But what many of us do is to become so committed to “never getting angry anymore” that instead of avoiding anger because it’s sinful and we hate it, we simply avoid the thoughts or emotions that ever even evoke anger from us. We become stoics out of strict pragmatism. We have traded sinful anger for sinful legalism. When what we ought to do is follow the man, Jesus Christ, who experienced all the temptations we do, yet exercised perfect anger, never sinning as the result. Avoiding anger altogether because you indulged too deeply in that sin before conversion is akin to avoiding church because you were a religious zealot before Christ. Put away the old—but put on the new.

Serving Two Masters: STTA!

Serving Two Masters: STTA!

Something To Think About! I believe most Christians understand Christ's teaching about serving two masters. Jesus says "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot...

God Hears Your Prayers: STTA!

God Hears Your Prayers: STTA!

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The first verse of the Bible as well as basic reasoning each point to God as the creator of the world. Nothing exists without Him. He is all-powerful. There is no being greater than He is. No being...

Particular Effects of Particular Atonement

Particular Effects of Particular Atonement

What? Particular atonement is the historic Christian doctrine that Christ only effectively satisfied the wrath of God toward sin on behalf of His people. In other words, anyone who is thrown into hell cannot say, "But Jesus paid for my sins." This is a staple belief...

Psalm 119:49-52 — Comfort Amidst Affliction

Psalm 119:49-52 — Comfort Amidst Affliction

when we are confronted with the temptation to be ashamed of God or His law, our only hope is to continue to trust in God and His Word! Christian, have you ever felt the need to apologize for God? How about when nonbelievers accuse God of evil because He judges His own creation? Or when God has provisions for slave owners in His Word? What about severe penalties for seemingly minor sins in Israel’s civil law? It is precisely because God’s ways are so different from ours that the wicked scoff at Him and His ways. Flee the temptation to apologize for God and to present Him as more palatable to the unregenerate heart—do not turn away from His law and His Word!

Book Review — The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption

Book Review — The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption

The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption by J. V. Fesko, 414 pages. Publisher: Mentor. Overview Rating: 4/5. The main point: The gospel was always the triune God’s plan 'A' for the salvation of sinners. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit made a covenant in eternity...

You Don’t Know What It’s Like

You Don’t Know What It’s Like

During my unintentionally extended tenure as a college student, I recall hearing this quote attributed as an Indian proverb: Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins. I have never walked a mile in anyone's shoes but my own. I have three sisters...

Book Review: Brave Dad by John MacArthur

Book Review: Brave Dad by John MacArthur

While John MacArthur is usually first on my lips when recommending a Bible teacher, I'm not the biggest fan of MacArthur's writing. The eminently gifted preacher isn't a bad writer. In fact, he's written several things that are quite good including a few books that...

Psalm 119:45-48 — A Wide Place

Psalm 119:45-48 — A Wide Place

In verse 48, notice the repetition of the psalmist’s love for God’s commandments with is a little detail added. For what we find our delight in we will soon find ourselves giving our lives to. Is it not so with you, dear saint, that you dedicate the most time, effort, and energy toward that which you love the most? You want to know what a man loves? Direct your attention to where he spends his money, his time, and his gaze, and you will quickly know!

Careful With Your Mocking: STTA!

Careful With Your Mocking: STTA!

Something To Think About! There is no excuse for mocking someone's God-given looks, disabilities or impediments, or incidental things like the name their parents' gave them. It is not only ungodly behavior, but it is ineffective even from a pragmatic point of view. It...

Christ’s Preserving Prayers: The Reason for Our Perseverance

Christ’s Preserving Prayers: The Reason for Our Perseverance

From the world's perspective, there isn't any beneficial reason to continue in the faith. I mean, why would anyone want to swim against the constantly swelling tide of persecution knowing full well it may cost us our friends, family, jobs, and yes, perhaps our very...

Bigfoot, Nessie, and Pastorless Christians

Bigfoot, Nessie, and Pastorless Christians

Boy. Guess I sort of tipped my hand right there in the title, didn't I? I mean, unless you stumbled upon this post because you thought I was about to make the case that Bigfoot really does exist. Well, I'm not. He doesn't. Neither does the Loch Ness Monster. And...

Psalm 119:41-44 — Answering the Taunter

Psalm 119:41-44 — Answering the Taunter

Secondly, we are reminded that the God of the Old Testament is the same God as the God of the New Testament and that He is a God of love. But not only is God love, what is striking is that He loves me. It is God’s love that is on display at the cross, and David well knows that he has no hope of delighting in the path of God’s commandments (Psalm 119:35) or keeping God’s law (Psalm 119:34) unless God “makes the first move.” We love because He first loved us! In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son to be a propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:19,10)!

Next Pitch

Next Pitch

It’s springtime and that means Baseball season in America. I thought I’d share an analogy today from baseball for the Christian life. A couple of years ago I had the joy of coaching my sons' baseball team which consisted of mainly 9-year-old boys (the exception being...

How I Met George

How I Met George

The Introduction In early 2016, my friend Ricky Gantz of G220 Radio asked me if I would like to talk on his radio show about whether a person should continue to do evangelism if their local church tells them not to. It was a casual conversation with a guy named George...

Should You Attend a Catholic Wedding or Funeral?

Should You Attend a Catholic Wedding or Funeral?

It's a question which many Christians face: Should I attend my friend or family member's Catholic wedding or funeral? Is that the same as being unequally yoked with non-believers? What if someone there gets the wrong idea about what I believe? Does my presence there...

Forgive Those Who Have Wronged You

Forgive Those Who Have Wronged You

Matthew 6:14-15  (NASB) 14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Forgiveness is a word that gets a lot of use in the...

Giveaway and Review: The Pilgrim’s Progress

Giveaway and Review: The Pilgrim’s Progress

Movie Review I count it a great privilege that bloggers are asked to review movies and books. It gives me an opportunity to preview things before the general public, and in many cases, I probably wouldn't spend the money, so it allows me to enjoy something I otherwise...

Pastors, Preach God

Pastors, Preach God

The following is an excerpt from Before the Throne: Reflections on God's Holiness. You can go here for ordering information. Lewis Allen both encourages and challenges pastors when he writes, Preachers have a single calling, to express who and what God is. This is our...

1 Timothy 2:12 Revisited — The Authority Word Problem

1 Timothy 2:12 Revisited — The Authority Word Problem

In How to Use a "For" Clause: 1 Timothy 2:12 and Egalitarianism, I explained how the two phrases in verses 13 and 14 should guide our understanding of how Paul uses the verb "do not permit" in verse 12. More recently, I came across Defusing the 1 Timothy 2:12 Bomb, an...

Ohio State House Heartbeat Bill Testimony

Ohio State House Heartbeat Bill Testimony

Skip to the video Today, March 26, 2019, Lord willing, I will have an opportunity to speak for up to 5 minutes before the Ohio State House Health Committee regarding a "heartbeat bill" they will be voting on soon. A heartbeat bill is a pro-life bill which seeks to...

3 Ways to Misuse Wealth

3 Ways to Misuse Wealth

We’ve been walking through the book of James at Perryville Second Baptist Church in 2019, and we’ve finally arrived at chapter 5. In this passage, James gives a stern warning to the rich. His point is not that being wealthy in and of itself is sinful, but that there...

Psalm 119:37-40 — Behold God’s Promise

Psalm 119:37-40 — Behold God’s Promise

Turn My Eyes Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. David has prayed throughout this Psalm, and particularly in the first half of the He octave, for a heart that truly delights in God's ways (Psalm...

Psalm 119:33-36 — Seeking The Way

Psalm 119:33-36 — Seeking The Way

Seek Him Psalm 119:33 He Teach me, O Yahweh, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. As we begin the fifth octave, we find the psalmist repeating the desire to be taught by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Knowing that we have no hope apart from the...

Guest Book Review of Before the Throne

Guest Book Review of Before the Throne

Before the Throne: Reflections on God's Holiness is scheduled to print Spring 2019. Dr. David Steele, who also reviewed From Death to Life, graciously agreed to write a review for my new book. I thought I'd share it in hopes of building a bit of anticipation and to...