Sinning Into Our Day of Grace (and God’s Joy in it)


One of my favorite bloggers, Lore Ferguson of the blog Sayable, has taken a sabbatical from her writing for the month of May, and asked me to write a couple of guest posts on her site about grace. My first one is up todaythe second will be up tomorrow (Update: the second post is up). Feel free to read my and comment there. And be sure to follow her blog. She’s an amazing writer that can find God and beauty in the most seemingly mundane of things. Here’s a taste of my post today (it touches on some similar ideas as yesterday’s post):

Pharisees grumble: why do you eat with sinners?

He tells them a story about a lost coin and the joy one has when they find it. He then goes on to tell similar stories about a lost lamb and a lost son.

We love to jump from the coin to the lamb and the son, but Jesus says something very interesting between those sections. He reminds the Pharisees of a central truth to the heart of God:

“there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine persons who need no repentance.” (lk15.7)

Did you catch that? He doesn’t say: “there’s more joy over one sinner who repents over ninety-nine that do not repent.” He focuses not on our action, but on our need.

It seems there is more joy in the heart of God over his creation needing forgiveness than if it had never needed forgiveness at all. God takes joy in forgiving and being gracious, but this implies there needs to be sin to graciously forgive.

Perhaps our sin can be good news to God.

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My First Sermon Ever


For my first homiletics class at Westminster, called “Gospel Communication,” we were all put in different groups, each dealing with a certain type of text.  Everyone was to write up a sermon on their text and one person from each group actually preached their sermon to the class.

Well, I preached my first real sermon ever this past Thursday.  It was recorded, so I’ve decided to share it along with the manuscript.  It’s on “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” in Matthew 18 and deals with forgiveness.  It’s about 30 minutes long.  Personally, being my own worst critic, I see many flaws in it (the structure was somewhat muddled, I talked too fast, and I somewhat went against the traditional interpretation of the text), but overall I was pretty happy with it.  It seemed like the class was as well.

If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, just listen to the last 8 minutes or so.  I think that’s the point I hit my most significant “flow.”

Two more personal notes: first, I know I haven’t blogging much recently.  Things have been nuts and Seminary’s been kicking the trash out of me.  As the semester gets closer and closer to finishing, you’ll see more posts again.  Secondly, I have no idea how the pictures below will look on facebook.  They will either not show up, be really big, or be fine.  I don’t know, so I apologize for any formatting issues.

Here’s the audio and manuscript:

itunes_7

Click for Audio: Faithful Forgiveness.mp3

Faithful Forgiveness.pdf

Click for Manuscript: Faithful Forgiveness.pdf