KING’S CROSS CHURCH exists to glorify God and enlarge His Kingdom by gathering regularly to proclaim and celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yielding to the authority of God’s Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit and summarized in the historic Christian Creeds and Confessions, partaking together of Christ’s presence in the Sacraments, providing opportunities to love and serve one another in Community, equipping the saints for Ministry to those who are lost and hurting, both locally and globally, and preparing them to cultivate Shalom (peace and well-being) wherever God calls them to serve.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: 1 Kings 9

Christian, here’s a little thought experiment: God pulls an angel aside and begins to describe you to the angel. What do you think He would say about you? How would the LORD evaluate and speak of your service to Him? Be honest.

For some insight into these questions, listen to God’s evaluation of King David. And bear in mind that God’s description of David is after his adultery with Bathsheba, after his murder of Uriah, after the taking of multiple wives, after his faithless fathering and after his numbering of Israel. These words were spoken by God to King Solomon directly following the completion of the Temple:

(1 Kings 9:4) And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules,

The LORD described David, whose sins were many and heinous, as a man who conducted himself with “integrity of heart and uprightness”, in other words with pure motives and righteous deeds. Hmm…

Given David’s track record, the only explanation for God’s evaluation of this imperfect shepherd-king is what God has promised to do with all His people’s sins for Jesus’ sake, which is “to remember them no more” (Hebrews 8:12). And not only that, but to reckon to our accounts the very righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:9).

So, thusly informed, let’s return to our thought experiment. How would God speak of you, Christian? Well, please forgive my irreverence, but something like: “Angel, let me tell you about my servant (insert your name here) who walks before me day after day with integrity of heart and uprightness. Oh, how I love that child of mine…”

Too glad to be true, and true nonetheless. Washed in Christ’s blood, you are forgiven. And dressed in his righteousness, you are faithfully obedient in Christ. All praise be to God!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: 1-2 Samuel

In 1 Samuel 17:40, the prophet records that David “chose five smooth stones” as he prepared for battle with Goliath. Have you ever wondered why David thought he need five stones? In 2 Samuel 21:19-22, the prophet records that David and his men killed five giants; one giant man and his four giant sons, one of which was Goliath.

Two things seem unlikely. 1) That five stones and five giants is just a coincidence. And 2) that Goliath’s super-sized kin were unknown to Israel and David. It’s kinda hard to keep something like that a secret.

So, it would seem that David selected five stones from the brook thinking that it was very likely that he would have to face Goliath’s four avengers-of-blood after he had dispatched the Philistine’s champion.

In this narrative, as Jesus asserted in Luke 24, Jesus is the one pointed to in David’s faithful warfare. Jesus who defeated the giant of sin/death on our behalf, and then immediately readied himself to go after lust, injustice, racism, poverty, disease, demon-possession, etc.

Samuel records that David ran to meet Goliath in battle. And so it is with your Savior, Christian. Jesus runs to meet and defeat your enemies. All of them. So simply look to him and believe. It’s not your place to be a modern-day David. But it is your place to trust in the victory that Jesus secured in his death/resurrection and continues to work out by the power of his Spirit.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The "Get To" of Psalm-Singing

Sadly, many Christians today turn the glad "get to" of psalm-singing into a grumpy "got to." My good friend Derek Hale asks the question, "If God Himself gave you a songbook that was Spirit-breathed and infallible, would you spend your life learning to sing those songs back to Him? Would you memorize the 'lyrics' to those songs?" Hmm. Good question, Derek.

Please take a moment to read a couple of quotes that Derek posted on his church's blog, one from Luther and one from Bonhoeffer here. Then grab your psalter and sing a couple of psalms with your loved ones this evening.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Go Therefore...

Every Sunday sermon that I preach begins with these words, "Will you please turn in your Bibles with me to..." And for over 120 Sundays that phrase has continued with "...Matthew's Gospel..." This Sunday will be the last sermon in the series entitled "Thy Kingdom Come." And fittingly, as the culmination of all that we have read and studied together, we will hear King Jesus give us our marching orders in what is known as "The Great Commission."

Here are a few quotes from John Piper to begin our meditation on the last few verses of Matthew's Gospel:

"Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God's delight in being God."

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't.”

"To belong to Jesus is to embrace the nations with Him."

"God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose." 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Bro-Deal

We lived in Quincy, WA for ten years and regularly shopped at the local "Coast to Coast" store there. The owner of the store at that time was a solid Christian man who was often discouraged by the seemingly endless line of Christians who came into his hardware store looking for the "bro-deal", i.e. a discount because they were, you know, his brothers-in-Christ.

On hearing about this, I was thankful for the teaching of my former-pastor, Jim Wilson, who encouraged us cash-strapped college students to think of the "bro-deal" in just the opposite terms, i.e. to think of blessing Christian merchants and service providers with whatever extra we could afford, because you know, they were our brothers in Christ. As Paul neatly put it, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

For some more insight into this habit of grace, here's a quote from an extended article by Douglas Wilson, "Expecting a Christian professional to give you a discount because you are a brother is equivalent to him charging you 5% more because you are a brother. It makes no spiritual sense in the world whatever.”

And just in case you're thinking you can't afford to do this, according to Jesus you really can't afford not to. For our Savior promised, “...give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Have you freely received? Then freely give.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Stop the Revolution, Join the Plodders

"Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me. Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders. Fifty years from now you’ll be glad you did." (A quote from Kevin DeYoung's excellent article at Ligonier Ministries website)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: September 8

1 Tim. 3:1-16

Paul is writing to equip the young Timothy for pastoral ministry. But his words are not just beneficial to pastors. As members of a local church, we are part of a denomination that calls us to submit to those who have been called to serve in positions of authority in the church. Our church polity follows a more presbyterian form of government. We are called to sit under the authority and discipline of our elders. This kind of submission is extremely suspect in our culture which prizes individual autonomy above all else. We have been raised in the midst of a worldview that has taught us to think we can be a law unto ourselves, no one having the right to impose things that seem to limit our individual freedom to think and do what we want. This seeps into the church very easily, and the plethora of local church options make it easy to jump from one church to the other without the need to make a serious commitment or submit to any kind of church overseer.

But we can see by the qualifications Paul lists out for overseers that it is an extremely serious office to hold in the church. Those called to serve in these positions must be above reproach and be examples to those put under their charge. God intended to organize his church in such a way for the spiritual benefit of His people. Those ordained as office bearers in the church are meant to serve the church after Christ’s example, as servant leaders. If they are to be effective overseers, they must have people to oversee. If they are to care for their flock like they do their family, there must be some commitment and connection on the part of a congregant. And when they are called to discipline and correct, they can do so as a father does his child, in a familial relationship rooted in love. 

Pray for our overseers, that by God’s grace they may be built up and encouraged to fulfill their office and be a “buttress and pillar” for the truth. Pray for congregants, that they may be willing to submit themselves to those God has called to exercise authority and care over them.