How Does Salvation Work?

Two Short Videos on How God Saves Us

Ordering coffee at Starbuck’s is a complex process packed with a bunch of micro decisions–each of which requires a level of coffee knowledge far beyond anything our grandparents possessed.
Still, millions of people successfully do it every day.

There’s a spiritual lesson there: if we can train ourselves to navigate the Starbuck’s counter, then we can also train ourselves to use a few theology words properly.

If I could pick only three words every Christian needs to have in their theological vocabulary, those three words would be: Salvation, Justification, and Sanctification.

Salvation = Justification + Sanctification

Adoption Day Finally Arrived!

Gotcha Day (round 1)

After many years of prayers, Hannah and I felt called to the ministry of adoption.  (OK, Hannah has always felt called to adoption.  It took her a decade to bring me around.)  I finally agreed for reasons I’ll cover in depth via another post as well as a dedicated sermon (most likely on Mother’s Day of 2017).

For now, the short answer to: “why are you adopting 3 kids when you already have 3 kids?” is: the gospel.

Adoption is how I got into God’s family.  Jesus saw fit to irrecoverably adopt me into His eternal family.  For me and mine, it only seemed appropriate that we go and do the same.

So, we adopted.  Yesterday.  3 kids, which doubled the amount of little people who drink milk out of my fridge.


Gotcha Day! is Finally Here

Everyone is Invited

After 900+ days in the foster system as wards of the State of Oklahoma, 3 young children will forever change our lives this week.

At 10:30 am on Tuesday, 14 March 2017, our entire family (all 8 of us) will stand before a judge at the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice courthouse to legally adopt two boys and one little girl.

Baptism Revisited

From the New Testament to the Jordan River

I often receive questions about salvation, faith, baptism, ministry, and how they’re all connected.  During our 2017 Pilgrimage to Israel, I had the amazing opportunity of baptizing 11 people in the Jordan River! [see the embedded video just below]  

So, I thought I’d update a previous blog post about baptism that addresses the Bible’s teaching in this area.

Christian Baptism was established as the entrance into God’s New Testament (NT) Christian Church.  That New Testament church was built on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Until those events occurred in their entirety, the world was living under the Old Covenant; aka: the Old Testament/Old agreement/Old “will” (see Gal 4.4 and Heb 9.16-17).

In other words, baptism is completely Christian in nature.  We should not attempt to force it through an Old Testament event or counterpart.  When God started something entirely new in His Church, He also created a new way for us to respond to Him spiritually.

Be Ready. Stay Ready.

Wearing the Armor of God's Righteousness

Everyone has had some version of that awkward dream where you show up to school or work without any clothes on.  It’s horrifying–for you and the people in your dream!  Psychologists tell us the dream is about vulnerability.  Our psyche is reminding us to properly prepare–lest we show up to algebra class without pants.  I don’t know much about dreams or psychology, but I do know I dislike being unprepared.

Play

Knowing that William (our eldest) has “words of affirmation” as his love language, what better way to honor and praise him than through a video full of affirmation?  So, I  dug through our archives and pulled out one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time: Dr. Seuss’, Oh, The Places You Will Go.

How many kids possess their own personal reading?–set to music?!



Hannah and I try to “catch our kids” in the act of doing something good.  By the grace of God, our children give us many opportunities to do that (and, yes, a few opportunities of the other kind as well!).  William is forever looking for ways to give of his time, talent, and treasure to those in need.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


If you haven’t read it (why not!?), please withhold your condescension.  Don’t let the rhyming and silliness and vibrant pictures fool you: this book is brimming with sound, earthy wisdom capable  of carrying us far into adulthood.  I offer you my favorite line from the entire tome:

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

What adult can’t relate to that?  Be it pride, depression, greed…the list goes on.

Through a book simple enough to captivate a child, the good Dr. Seuss also writes profoundly enough to touch each and every one of us.  His genius has no equal.

So, I got the book, went behind a closed door, and I read the entire thing into a voice recorder.  We then applied some voodoo magic of digital imaging and video editing software. [1]  The final product might not have impressed Spielberg, but it thoroughly warmed the heart of my son.

Mission accomplished.

Dads–be on the lookout for specific ways to reach your child’s heart.  Your return on investment will be immeasurable.

-bill

 

[1] Incidentally, this project caught on across all of Mesaeh Manor.  It won’t be long before we’ve all produced a “book set to movie” as an act of love and service to our fellow Mesaeh.  Stay tuned.

 

I recently had the honor of leading our chapel’s Ash Wednesday service. If you know me well, you probably realize how much of a stretch this was for me. No theological barriers–just something I’m not used to.



[confession: I had to do quite a bit of research about the litany of Christian holy days leading up to Easter. Coming from a guy who forever thought the Easter Bunny was the King of Spring, I’d say I’ve come a long way. Regardless…if you, too, need assistance sorting out the myriad duties Christians feel obliged to perform now that Jesus has freed us from the Law, feel free to check out the final 3 minutes of this video. It’s got a summary rundown of everything I now know on the topic.  I’m also working on a stand-alone video addressing Easter FAQs.  It’s certain to become an overnight sensation.]

Historic cross hanging at the front of our chapel

I don’t preach nearly as much as I used to–nor half as much as I’d like. But I think William (my 10-yr-old minion mastermind) and I devised a way to capture future messages with both video and sound.  So, to the both of you who haven’t yet grown tired of my voice…well, I’ll try to post more often.  Admittedly, today’s post is probably one of my more somber (perhaps even dry?) messages.  It’s hard to preach Psalm 51 on Ash Wednesday with a bounce in your step.

Going forward, I’d appreciate your feedback about this new video format. I’m experimenting with adding on-screen notes and Scripture references throughout the sermon’s entirety.

  • Is it worth it?
  • Does it pose more of a distraction?

Honest evaluations are cordially requested.

Audio-only version available below.

Play