“Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God. But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.”

John Calvin in preface to 1534 French translation of the New Testament

Some Onez Got ta Lead

“Leading is very likely the most costly thing you will ever do. And the chances are very good that it will never bring you riches or fame or praise in exchange for your great sacrifices. But if you want to love God and others, and if you long to live your life now for the sake of eternity, then there is nothing better than being a leader.”

Allender, Dan B.. Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness (p. 2). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When Gender Identity is Regarded as Meaningless

In April 2015 Dennis Prager wrote in National Review: “The End of Male and Female: Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage, one must acknowledge that at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter.

Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa. Why? Because — for the first time in recorded history — gender is regarded as meaningless.

Indeed, increasingly gender doesn’t even exist; it’s merely a social construct imposed on children by parents and society based on the biological happenstance of their genitalia. When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416543/americas-decay-speeding


Seek the Lord While He is Near

“Lord of creation, you are everywhere, but there are certain places where the dividing wall between heaven and earth feels wafer thin. That notion tempts me to pack up for a faraway pilgrimage to find you, but you meet me where I am. Wake me up to your kingdom of grace and goodness through your presence in your Word and sacraments. Amen.”

Reinders, Philip F. Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible Through the Year (p. 579). Faith Alive Christian Resources. Kindle Edition. (Heidelberg Catechism 66)

Staying Warmly Present

On the present moment

“Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By

The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.






A Page on Identity from Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

Danish Philosopher-Theologian Soren Kierkegaard’s Definitions of “Sin”

  • “Sin is: in despair not wanting to be oneself before God. . . . Faith is: that the self in being itself and wanting to be itself is grounded transparently in God” (The Sickness Unto Death, 1849, 162).


  • “Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from him” (TRFG, 162).
  • “Sin is building our identities and self-worth on anything other than God” (162).
  • “It is seeking to establish a sense of self by making something else more central to your significance, purpose, and happiness than your relationship to God” (162).
  • “[Kierkegaard means that] everyone gets their identity, their sense of being distinct and valuable, from somewhere or something . . .“Sin is the making of good things into ultimate things” ” (162).

Hypocrisy is Laying Aside Your True Identity for a False One – John Stott

As I sat at a memorial service in Wheaton for Rev. John Stott with Karen and our friends the VanGemeren’s, Michael Card was singing before Pastor Tim Keller came up to speak. Card sang about coming as we are to Jesus in worship by lifting up our sorrows and offering our pain – with honesty and in our true identity as sons and daughters of the Father. Michael Card’s “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows”

In Matthew chapter six Jesus teaches us to be honest with people and God, especially in giving alms, prayer, and fasting. John Stott, it seems to me, was the best expositor of scripture in the 20th century. Stott warns us against laying aside our true identity in Christ:

“Our good works must be public so that our light shines; our [Christian] devotions must be secret lest we boast about them.”  Practically speaking, we are to show what we are tempted to hide; we are to hide what we are tempted to show.

Stott defines what a hypocrite is:

“In classical Greek the hupokritēs was first an orator and then an actor. So figuratively the word came to be applied to anybody who treats the world as a stage on which he plays a part. He lays aside his true identity and assumes a false one. He is no longer himself but in disguise, impersonating somebody else. He wears a mask. Now in a theatre there is no harm or deceit in the actors playing their parts. It is an accepted convention. The audience knows they have come to a drama; they are not taken in by it” (italics mine).

Later Stott writes: “He is like an actor in that he is pretending (so that what we are seeing is not the real person but a part, a mask, a disguise), yet he is quite unlike the actor in this respect: he takes some religious practice which is a real activity and he turns it into what it was never meant to be, namely a piece of make-believe, a theatrical display before an audience. And it is all done for applause.”

We thank God for the life and ministry of John Stott.

John R. W. Stott The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1978), Kindle Locations 2045-2046, 2049, 2051.

Pondering Gospel Quotes

Personal-library-of-Richard-A-Macksey“We may dare assure ourselves that eternal life, of which He is the heir, is ours; and that the Kingdom of Heaven, into which He has already entered, can no more be cut off from us than from Him; again, that we cannot be condemned for our sins, from whose guilt He has absolved us, since He willed to take them upon Himself as if they were His own. This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, He has made with us, that, by His descent to earth, He has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, He has conferred His immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power; that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself (which oppressed us), He has clothed us with His righteousness.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John T. McNeill, ed, Ford Lewis Battles, trans, Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960 [1559]), 4.17.2. p. 1362.