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Showing posts from March, 2009

Justice and Mercy

I love this quote by Christmas Evans (1766-1838). He personifies the justice and mercy of God and how they must come together in the cross:

"An embassy of angels, commissioned from Heaven to some other world, paused at the sight; and Heaven forgave that pause. They saw Mercy standing by the gate, and they cried, ‘Mercy, canst thou not enter? Canst thou look upon that world and not pity? Canst thou pity and not relieve?’ And Mercy, in tears, replied, ‘I can see, and I can pity, but I cannot relieve.’ ‘Why dost thou not enter?’ inquired the heavenly host. ‘Oh,’ said Mercy, ‘Law has barred the gate against me, and I must not, and I cannot unbar it.’ And Law stood there watching the gate, and the angels asked of him, ‘Why wilt thou not suffer Mercy to enter?’ And he said, ‘No one can enter here and live;’ and the thunder of his voice outspoke the wailings within. Then again I heard Mercy cry, ‘Is there no entrance for me into this field of death? may I not visit these caverns of the …

The Gospel, defined

By God’s grace, I persevered through two years as a youth pastor when I began pastoral ministry. One of the great blessings of doing youth ministry was to recognize the need to be as simple and crystal clear as possible. Otherwise forget it, teenagers will eat your lunch. If I tried to skirt an issue, or beat around the bush, or was fuzzy in my own thinking, they would see it as naptime. Eventually, I learned to be direct. I would say to the teenagers, “If at the end of the day, after all is said and done, you do not know what the gospel is, I have failed you as a youth pastor. But if at the end of the day you do know what the gospel is, then I have succeeded. Yes, there is more to it than that, we are going to be learning how to love each other, and serve others, and build community together and learning how to understand the Bible, all of which are products of the gospel. But at the end of the day, the primary measure of my success as a youth pastor is whether or not you understand …