"It's All About Jesus" or “Identity in Jesus” or “Union with Christ”: What Do These Phrases Actually Mean?

"It's All About Jesus" or “Identity in Jesus” or “Union with Christ”: What Do These Phrases Actually Mean?

It is one of the most important ideas in the New Testament. Being “in Christ.” Unified “with Christ.” Paul alone uses the phrase “in Christ” (or some variation, like “in Jesus” or “in him”) over 160 times. And as we’ll see below, we can sum up Christianity with these words “in Christ.” What I’ve noticed, however, is that we Christians, especially in today’s gospel-centered circles, use this terminology a lot, but we rarely explain it…

Help for When We're Feeling Overwhelmed

Help for When We're Feeling Overwhelmed

Psalm 102 begins with this introduction (and these psalm prescripts are inspired and part of Scripture), “A prayer of one who is afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD” (Psalm 102). “Afflicted...faint.” The New Living Translation translates it to simpler speech: “A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble.”…

You Don’t Know How You’ll Influence Someone

You Don’t Know How You’ll Influence Someone

Johann von Staupitz. Have you heard his name? Unless you’re a church historian, probably not. But as we’ll see, he’s a hero. And his unsung influence can teach us an encouraging lesson. Christians know the tale about Martin Luther and his 95 Theses he nailed to the church door. We’ve heard how Luther discovered the gospel afresh, finding peace in justification by faith alone through Christ alone. But honestly, we often oversimplify the story…

Finding Daily Purpose in the Gospel

Finding Daily Purpose in the Gospel

“What am I doing?”

It’s a question we ask ourselves from time to time. Confused and muddled—straying from purpose and direction—we continue tasks and work, but we often feel ‘off’ doing so. Funks, moods, and weariness can set it, and we feel lost. We know we were made for purpose. We sense it in our bones. But it is not just any purpose. God tells us that he created this world and has each of us here for a reason. He knows what he’s doing, and we’re a part of something grand. Considering this purpose is no mere theological debate. It’s of ultimate significance and it impacts daily life…

Into the Cloud: What Happened to Jesus After He Ascended?

Into the Cloud: What Happened to Jesus After He Ascended?

What happened to Jesus right after he ascended to go back to his Father? “And when [Jesus] had said these things, as [the disciples] were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). What happened then? For the disciples, they kept staring (of course!), and two men told them that he’d return in a similar way (Acts 1:10-11). But what about Jesus? What happened to him?…

Historical Proof Jesus Rose from the Dead

Historical Proof Jesus Rose from the Dead

People from all over the world are celebrating the coming back to life (or “resurrection”) of Jesus of Nazareth this Sunday. I wrote a post last year explaining why this resurrection happened, giving four reasons for the resurrection. This year, I want to briefly look at historical proofs for this. The Christian faith is based on history. It is not merely historical—believing that Jesus rose in history does not necessarily make you a Christian. But it is historical…

Unbelief in the Triumphal Entry

Unbelief in the Triumphal Entry

What do we do with the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem? It’s a question I’ve always asked myself, especially growing up singing the worship song “Hosanna” which has a chorus consisting solely of the words from the people in the story. For years it’s been a bit jarring for me to sing that song (and others like it) because it’s very clear that in the story these same people are soon to change their “Hosannah” to “Crucify him! Crucify him!”…

What If Christians Do Love the Lord Their God With All Their Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength?

What If Christians Do Love the Lord Their God With All Their Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength?

What if all Christians do love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength? (Before you close this window with accusations of heresy, I encourage you to stick with me for a minute.) Many of us know the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisee: "'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And [Jesus] said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'" (Matthew 22:36-37). Jesus is citing a famous Old Testament text…

Considering in Christian Living

Considering in Christian Living

It's simple to see change in our actions and behavior. And because of this we can begin to think our Christian life and growth consists mainly in our actions. We can think the Bible is a list of do's and do not's, of actions we are too perform or avoid, and that adhering to these is how we bring about change. But what if we're more complex than that?…

Looking to a New World

Looking to a New World

Look around today. Look at the world. Look at the people, cars, businesses, and houses. Look at the sun, trees, and animals. Look at culture, entertainment, technology, and news. This is our world. This is the beautiful and broken, the lovely and languishing. This is the place we live. There’s sin here. We can feel it. We know it. It’s a personal issue for us and everyone we see, but it’s also a cosmic problem...

"Natural" Analogies Illustrate God

"Natural" Analogies Illustrate God

God organized nature in certain ways to teach us about who he is. Specifically, the reason I'm writing this post is thinking about the contrast between light and darkness. I meditated a bit on this idea in a previous post, but here I want to consider that God is the one who invented light and it's counterpart, darkness, for a reason. Such inventions illuminate…

Who is God? Look to the Story, Not Speculation

Who is God? Look to the Story, Not Speculation

God in his Book does not reveal himself in the way of the philosophers. The vast majority of people in human history have agreed that there is a Supreme Being, a God or gods. And most have tried to philosophize about who he is like. It's been common from ancient times until today. We can describe this type of thinking about God as 'speculation'…