Power vs. Weakness

Jesus once said to the Apostle Paul that “my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This principle is the central paradox of the Christian faith: God’s power works through human weakness. Paul goes on to say, “therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Yet at the same time, the Bible repeatedly asserts that human beings have real authority over all creation (Gen 1:28), in marriage (Eph 5:22-24), in parenting (Eph 6:1-4), in government (Rom 13:1-8), over demonic spirits (Luke 10:20), and in the church (Heb 13:17). Exercising authority is exercising power, yet we are simultaneously called to a life of weakness. How can this be? Definitions are important, and in this case we need to understand what weakness means. Weakness is not the same as being passive, a push-over, timid, indecisive, ignorant, or unprepared.…

Continue Reading

The Bible’s Instruction Manual for Parents

A few weeks ago at my church, I concluded a preaching series called Father Hunger. This series was about how God is the true Father and all Fatherhood is a reflection of his ultimate love and authority. The final sermon of the series (The Father’s Legacy) focused on how dads need to do more than merely protect and provide for their kids, but instill a biblical worldview in their hearts (Deut 6:4-9). In Ephesians 6:4, Paul says “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (ESV).” The word for “discipline” here is important. It means much more than merely keeping kids in line through various disciplinary methods. The Greek word here is “paideia,” which does not have direct English counterpart. It is also translated “training” in the NIV and “nurture” in the KJV. To bring up a child…

Continue Reading

Thoughts on my 40th birthday

I turn 40 today. That means, 40 years ago I was doing this. I’m the one in the diaper. My 30’s have evaporated in a fog and now they’re gone. I remember being a kid and having my parents’ friends over at my house for someone’s 40th birthday party. Black balloons. Over-the-hill hats. “That seems like a lifetime away,” I thought to myself. No, only about 30 years away, as it turns out. As I saw this day approaching, like watching a ominous clouds hovering in a dark sky, I thought I’d be curled up into a ball and spending the day binging on junk food, watching Meryl Streep movies, and crying myself to sleep. So far, that hasn’t happened, but I did enjoy watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure on Netflix yesterday. Strangely, I feel great. Better than I would have thought I would feel, now that I’ve been…

Continue Reading

Another voice

I started this blog about 8 years ago in 2006 while I was in seminary and working for CRU at the University of Louisville. When you’re in a ministry vortex like that, you’ve got a lot of thoughts and opinions that need to get worked out and this blog was my venue. But then, four children and a church plant happened. Life got crazy and blogging took a back burner for a long time. Since then, many other gifted writers, pastors, and theologians have started excellent blogs and I didn’t sense a burning need to add anything to the online discussions. There were simply too many other more pressing priorities that demanded my attention. Recently, however, I have sensed a desire to publish my thoughts on theology, church ministry, and current events from time to time because God has given me a platform as a pastor and ministry leader in Cincinnati.…

Continue Reading