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
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.
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.
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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
I can not recommend this book highly enough: Disciplines of a Godly Man, R. Kent Hughes
Since my parents first bought it for me 20 years ago, I’ve read it at least 4 times.
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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Back by popular demand: lunch and learn with the MXG Chaplain!
We’ll continue our study of world religions by giving an in-depth look toward Christianity. You need not be a “believer” to attend. Come out to get your questions answered, or just sit in the back and observe. Lunch will be provided.
Note: Feel free to share this and invite friends, but know that this class is for active duty line badge-holders only. I am offering another version for the general public on Sundays and Wednesdays.
||Christianity 101: a lunch-time discussion class that will help you understand the foundational core of the Christian faith
||ANYONE interested in learning basic Christianity: new believers, seasoned believers, or non-believers
||Every Friday in May & June
@1200 – 1300
||Maintenance Hangar Complex (bldg. 230)
AMXS Conference Room
||To celebrate the religious diversity of the US Air Force.
This class is part of Chaplain Mesaeh’s “Lunch & Learn: World Religions” series.
||Registration is not necessary. Just show up.
‘The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.’ — St Augustine
Be a Pilgrim
These are the complete slides for part 1 of 5 in Christianity 101. In this section, we cover basic fundamental apologetics by tackling 3 crucial questions:
- Is it possible to prove God’s existence?
- Is the Bible reliable?
- Is Jesus God, or just a really nice guy?
Be sure to check the “notes” section of these slides. They’re filled with additional material, source documents, and citation work.
Note: you can also download the slides directly here.