Tough times and Christian identity

I have experienced a series of unfortunate events in the past few months.  Bad things have happened one after another, and it has caused me to rethink my situation. Some of us are wondering whether our church is going to survive, as domino after domino keeps toppling.  Personally, I have had all kinds of bad […]

Eternity somewhere

John the Baptist had given his listeners a pretty good overview of the gospel message. His proclamation in the Judean wilderness had eight major components: God’s kingdom is coming down from the sky soon (Matthew 3:2). The world is not ready for that kingdom, so people must make it ready (Matthew 3:2-3; Mark 1:3; Luke […]

Are there degrees of hell?

Even among those who believe in conditional immortality, some say the New Testament teaches that there will be degrees of suffering in hell throughout eternity. In the traditional vision of hell as a torture chamber of fire and sulphur, you could think of some people being roasted at 500 degrees Celsius, while others are merely blistering […]


First published on gracEmail 21st August 2016. A preacher spoke about Jesus’s parable of the sower (Matt. 13). Jay had two questions, which he asked his mother Marti. Marti was emailing my mother and casually mentioned Jay’s questions to her. Mom was writing to my wife Sara Faye and, by the way, asked her to […]

the Lamb has arrived

A survey of John the Baptist’s gospel message from the synoptic Gospels shows a mixed emphasis on both eschatology and soteriology: God’s kingdom is coming down from the sky soon. The world is not ready for that kingdom, so people must make it ready. People need to repent of their sins to make the world ready […]

Five questions to ask while reading the rich man and Lazarus story

off target Five questions to ask while reading the rich man and Lazarus story. I love the story of the rich man and Lazarus, but not for the same reason that many others do. It is a story that we can all easily picture. We see a fat rich man, clothed in a purple robe, […]

embarrassing lessons in ministry – part 3

Understanding the lessons of Mark 9:33-50 requires that we keep in mind the backdrop of that embarrassing question Jesus had asked the apostles. He had asked them what they had been arguing about on the road to Capernaum. This was an embarrassing question because they had been arguing over who was the greatest among them […]

embarrassing lessons in ministry – part 2

There were other disciples of Christ besides the famous twelve, whom he called as apostles. Mark 9:38-42 gives us some insight into how the twelve viewed those others. They were tempted to treat them as competition. But Jesus gave them another embarrassing lesson in ministry by warning them not to do that. He knew that […]

embarrassing lessons in ministry – part 1

Mark’s Gospel as a whole serves as an excellent manual for ministry. But Mark 9:33-50 is especially suited to teach those who aspire to serve Christ. This section of the Gospel focuses on the relationship of the twelve apostles of Jesus with other followers of Jesus. The apostles learned the lessons described in this section […]

throwing away the old tent

Like we did so many times before, my wife and I packed up our cheap, five dollar tent in my expensive backpack, and headed out for a day of tramping and camping. Our favourite place to do this is the Appalachian Trail, over 3,500 kilometres of amazing wilderness, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount […]