What does it mean for Jesus to be your Shepherd?

“Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20–21 CSB)

What does is mean for Jesus to be the great Shepherd of your life? Have you considered this? What does it mean for the risen Christ to lead your daily life?

Fundamentally, this means he leads us. The risen Christ is the leader of our entire lives. How we drive, how we eat, how we respond to temptations, how we react to our children—we have a Shepherd leading us.

He is the great sealer of your eternity, but he’s more than that. He’s your Shepherd today.

From the Bible, he calls out to us. His sheep hear his voice and follow him, obey him, walk with him.

“My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28 CSB).

Full Sermon Here: http://makingmuchofjesus.org/sermons/sermon/2017-05-21/now-lets-look-to-god-alone

Why We Are Moving to the CSB At Redeemer Church

On June 11, as we begin a new sermon series, Redeemer Church will be moving to the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) as our primary translation. Our RedeemerKids curriculum already uses the CSB, and on June 11 our sermons will as well. After months of review and consideration, the elders have enjoyed the CSB’s faithfulness and readability, and are excited to make the CSB known to you too.

My enjoyment of God’s word began back in high school with the English Standard Version (ESV). Before the ESV was in my hands, I was clawing my way through the New American Standard Bible (NASB). The NASB is known for being one of the more literal or word-for-word translations—and it’s also known for being one of the more challenging to read.

When the ESV hit my hands, it was like a culinary translation. Salty and sweet. Literal and readable. I love the ESV. I’m so grateful for the team of translators and the men who work behind the scenes at Crossway Publishers. It is a wonderful translation.

After fifteen-years with the ESV, the CSB has taken the culinary delights of a faithful and readable translation to another level. Faithful and even more readable. Smoother. Updated.

I’ve spent the last eight months reading the CSB in my devotional time and sermon prep, and I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I’ve been refreshed and encouraged and excited about the CSB. I think you will too.

I enthusiastically support our church’s transition to the CSB. I still use the ESV and will forever love it. A variety of translations meet my eyes during the week—NLT, NASB, NIV, The Message, PHILLIPS, and The Tanak—and I recommend people compare multiple translations as they read and study God’s word. I also think it’s wise to have a home base translation. For me, the CSB is my home base.

While we will be preaching from the CSB, if you love your translation and don’t want to switch, please don’t feel obligated. The ESV is phenomenal. If you’ve had your Bible for two decades and you don’t wanna start over and lose your notes, I understand! Keep it. The most important thing about your translation is your enjoyment of God and his grace as you take in his word—and if your faithful translation does that, hallelujah!

We are moving to the CSB for three reasons: Readability, accuracy, and how it aligns our ministries.

1. Smooth, Readable, Updated

The readability of the CSB is the first thing that strikes you. It’s smooth. No clunky word order. It reads like plain English, which is fitting for a New Testament that was written in plain Greek. As you checkout the CSB, go to some of your favorite verses and passages and check out the fresh paved roads.

Smalls things, like the removal of an extra “to” in Philippians 1 enhances readability.

  • “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21 CSB)
  • “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

One thing you’ll notice in the CSB is updated language for modern readers.

The ESV still has some outdated, KJV-style language, resulting in a more challenging reading experience as these old-school words become speed-bumbs in our reading. The CSB largely eliminates archaic and Shakesperian-sounding language, making the reading experience more enjoyable and elevating comprehension for us modern readers. I think it’s safe to say the New Testament authors didn’t talk like Elizabethan era actors.

For example, “thus” appears 9 times in the CSB but 691 times in the ESV. “Lest” appears 0 times in the CSB and 186 times in the ESV. “Shall” shows up once in the CSB and a whopping 4,107 times in the ESV.

  • “For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.” (Hebrews 11:14 ESV)
  • “Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland” (Hebrews 11:14 CSB)
  • “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 ESV)
  • “For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1 CSB)
  • “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 ESV)
  • “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31 CSB)

These kinds of updates make me excited about the CSB. Accuracy to the original languages doesn’t have to be sacrificed for the readability. For me, the CSB hits the sweet spot. I think you’ll find the CSB easier to read and understand, which will encourage you to take up and read God’s word even more.

2. Faithful & Accurate Translation

Translations typically to fall in one of the two broad categories based on the translation practice: Formal Equivalence (literal, word-for-word) or Dynamic Equivalence (paraphrase, thought-for-thought). But the CSB’s translation philosophy is Optimal Equivalence. Meaning, most of the time the CSB is going to be word-for-word, but when a word-for-word rendering clouds the meaning for today’s readers, a dynamic translation is used, often with a footnote explaining the literal translation. The CSB is in the family of word-for-word translations (ESV, NASB, NKJV) and is not the paraphrase camp (The Message, NLT, etc.).

Psalm 147 is a great example of using a dynamic translation to communicate the meaning.

  • “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man” (Psalms 147:10 NASB)

The literal translation is what the NASB has here, but the meaning isn’t clear to us modern readers. The CSB reveals the meaning: God’s assessment of a military’s might.

  • “He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; he does not value the power of a warrior.” (Psalms 147:10 CSB)

There are times when literally translating a phrase doesn’t communicate the meaning. If I say, “It’s raining cats and dogs”, you get what I’m saying. It’s raining a lot. But if you translate that literally to Thai, you are going to have a confused—and maybe worried—Thai person on your hands.

One translation choice I love in the CSB is the rendering of “brothers and sisters” rather than a solitary “brothers”. The Greek word literally translated is “brothers” but is understood to include our sisters in Christ. But a newer Bible reader may not know Paul is speaking to the ladies in the church too. When most of our churches have more women than men, employing “brothers and sisters” is a welcomed translation choice. I want the women in our church to plainly hear God addressing them too, without the hurdle of thinking, “‘Brothers’ means me too.”

  • “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
  • “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 CSB)

While preaching through Hebrews, I’ve been comparing the passage I’m preaching every week in the CSB and the ESV, and each time I’ve walked away from my desk thinking, “Man, the CSB is so much easier to read. Smoother. I wish I were preaching out of it this Sunday.” A faithful and highly readable translation is super exciting.

3. A Translation for the Whole Church

One of the benefits of moving to the CSB is that the curriculum for RedeemerKids, The Gospel Project, uses the CSB as its default translation because it is easily readable for our children. The CSB harmonizes our ministries.

When I gave my eight-year-old daughter her CSB, she loved it. She is able to read it with ease. As we focus on family discipleship at our church, the CSB will help us declare God’s grace to our kiddos—and we can watch our kids declare God’s glory to us too.

We are moving to the Christian Standard Bible because of its faithfulness and its readability. The CSB is a great translation for our whole church. New Christians, young, and old will all benefit from reading a rigorously faithful and highly readable translation of God’s word. The refreshing readability of the CSB will serve us in our mission to make disciples and make much of Jesus. I’m excited about this Bible, and as you read it, I think you will be too.

If you want to learn more about the Christian Standard Bible, click here. You can also check out the frequently asked questions, the translation philosophy, the translation committee, and the endorsements (David Platt, Alistair Begg, Eric Mason, and more) all on the CSB website. And, as always, please feel free to reach out with any and all questions you may have.

“Give me life through your word.” (Psalms 119:25 CSB)

In Christ,

Jeff Medders

Jesus And The Past Tense

When we are writing and talking about Jesus of Nazareth, our gospel compels us to write in the right tense. Present.

Together, let’s avoid speaking of Jesus in the past tense as much as we can. I cringe when I read, “Jesus was kind.” Is he not kind today? He is alive, let’s speak of him as though he is still kind—because he is.

It’s not uncommon to find prominent authors, well-meaning preachers, and social media sharers speaking of Jesus this way. I heard a man say in his sermon, “Jesus was God.” I get what he was trying to say. You do too. He’s trying to communicate the non-diluted deity of Jesus. But the problem is in the was. Jesus hasn’t stopped being God. In fact, Jesus never started being God—he’s always been. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Tense matters.

N.T. Wright in his book, Simply Jesus, makes this oversight too. The subtitle—on the cover!—reads, “A New Vision of who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters.” See what I’m saying? Who he was? No, no. Is. Don’t forget the is. I know N.T. Wright believes Jesus is alive. He wrote a heavyweight book on it. But subtleties in our sentences matter. Contrast Wright’s book title with Greg Gilbert’s book on Jesus, Who is Jesus?—“is” for the win.

Right theology requires right grammar. Our gospel has a radical grammar to it: He is.

It’s right to speak of Jesus in the past tense when we are looking at events fixed in the past, namely the Gospels. “Jesus was kind to the woman at the well”, “Jesus was gracious to Nicodemus”, or “Jesus had power over the wind and waves.” No qualms. But, there is great power in reminding the reader or listener that Jesus still has power over the wind and waves, he is still gracious and kind.

In Reading The Bible Supernaturally, John Piper says about Jesus, “Jesus was a person of unwavering and incomparable love for God and man” (27). Now, in context he is talking about the portrait we see of Jesus in the Gospels, and he goes to list examples from New Testament of the heart of Jesus. But this section could be strengthened by something as simple as, “Jesus was—and is—a person of unwavering and incomparable love for God and man.” This helps us see the heart and character of Jesus displayed in the Gospels, is the same Jesus for us today.

There is a gigantic difference in the tenses we use. Mind your tenses when you speaking of the King of kings—it reminds us of the risen Lord.

Ask More Than “Is It Sin?”

Is it wrong for me to binge watch Netflix? What about putting my kids on a select soccer team that plays on Sunday mornings? Am I spending too much time at the gym?

The Bible doesn’t have specific answers for these kinds of questions. But this doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t have something specific to say.

Run The Race

If we are going to run the race of the Christian life with endurance, there are things we must lay aside—if they are hindering us, tripping us, restricting our movement.

Netflix may or may not be tripping you up. It might be enabling you to lust, shirk responsibilities, neglect rest and neglect enjoying God and his word. Or, it might be a proper way to rest and enjoy God’s world. Your hobbies, while good, can get out of control and start to control you—or they can be what God intends.

The writer of Hebrews tells us to act like marathon runners, chunking the items weighing us down so we can plow forward looking to our crucified and risen Jesus.

“Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus the source and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1–2).

Two Categories

I love how the writer of Hebrews gives two categories, sins and hindrances.

Sins are the obvious—from the Bible—category, non-arguable things in our lives we must kill and lay down. Lust, envy, lying, drunkenness, pornography, greed, gluttony, fear, etc.

Hindrances are the non-obvious category. They aren’t blatantly clear in God’s word. Social media usage isn’t lined out by the Apostles. But God gives us the Spirit, his word, and his wisdom to assess our running.

Your budget, movies, and hobbies may not be sinful, but it’s possible to sin with them. This doesn’t mean we need to pursue modern-monkery. No way. This is about whether we are eating, drinking, reading, playing, working out, or Netflixing to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

This is tricky too. These hindrances aren’t universal. Sins are universal; if the Bible says this is sin, it’s true for all of us. There is no, “Oh, maybe for you, but I can do this.” But with the weights/hindrances, these are not standard. What is a hindrance to me may not be one to you. So we have to be honest and assess our own running before the Lord.

Is It Helping?

Hebrews is elevating the cost of discipleship. We want to do more than meander through life. We want to run for Christ.

So, the question is: Is this helping or hindering me? Does this help me run the race, living with an unfazed focused on Jesus Christ? Is this hindering me? Is this a good thing that I’ve allowed to distract me? If we are sinning, we cease and desist. If we feel distracted, unsure, restricted, we should ask for example:

  • Is the way I’m using Twitter helping me run the race with endurance, keeping my eyes on Jesus?
  • My eating habits, are they helping me run the race with endurance, keeping my eyes on Jesus?
  • My spending, is it helping me run the race with endurance, keeping my eyes on Jesus?
  • My downtime at night, is it helping me run the race with endurance, keeping my eyes on Jesus?

We either need to dial back, putting things in their proper orbit—or, we lay it aside altogether so we can run with endurance.

Stop Calling Hebrews 11 The “Hall of Faith”

Abraham, Noah, Moses, and the saints of old walked forward with God in head-scratching obedience. Noah builds an ancient Titanic. Abraham logs more steps than a Fitbit can handle. Moses stood up to a political superpower. How? By faith.

Hebrews 11—The Hall of Faith—catalogs for us the ways our biblical ancestors lived by faith with our great God and Savior. But, I have a quibble.

Let’s stop calling it the Hall of Faith.

It’s plain to see the connections. Hall of Fame, ah, Hall of Faith. But a Christian-spin-cycle on a cultural shrine and a low-hanging play on words isn’t always helpful to understanding the Kingdom of Christ. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are those who take the seat at the end of the table, and the ones who aren’t always yelling shotgun in the parking lot of the world.

A Hall of Fame riff toward a Hall of Faith doesn’t compute with the ways of our meek Messiah. It smells clever but is undercooked in its meaning.

Why Halls Exist

The problem with the comparing a basketball, baseball, or football, or rock-and-roll Hall of Fame with Hebrews 11 is that Halls of Fame exist to elevate and separate. Halls of Fame extract the best from the ordinary, the unimpressive, the forgettable, the duds. This is fine for sports and music but not fit for the Kingdom.

The Hall of Fame doesn’t exist to inspire your imitation. It reminds you of someone else’s greatness, their accomplishments, and how only an elite few can ever reach this status. I can’t imitate Michael Jordan. I can try but I look silly jumping to the rim net with my tongue out.

Why Hebrews 11 Exists

But, Hebrews 11 exists for your imitation. God didn’t give us this section of the Bible for us to think, “Look at these great followers of God. I’ll never be like them.” Chapter 11 is filed for our imitation. The barrage of by faiths is there to weave us together, join us in the story of God’s glory—not bronze the heads of saints before our eyes.

Hebrews 11 doesn’t exist to museum-ify those who came before us. It is there to motivate and encourage us that if these folks could live by faith, so can we. We know Christ! Our biblical ancestors and their stat lines show us that by faith, we too can endure and walk with God—we can look to the crucified and risen Lord Jesus and endure with him till the end.

Since we have this cloud of witnesses as our pedigree, our family tree, “Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1–2 CSB). The Hall of Fame doesn’t move me toward holiness—but faith in Jesus does. It changes us forever.

The Hall of Fame, in every sport, is an incredible but temporal accomplishment. By faith we look to a heavenly city where duds, the forgotten, the overlooked, are welcome by faith in Christ’s accomplishments. His and his alone.

Confessing The Sin of Platforming

“Let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4).

This is my confession. I’ve dabbled and stumbled into the sin of self-importance, ego, vain glory, and tooting my own rusty horn. I’ve wished for a platform—not a soapbox on my corner of the web. Who doesn’t want to be noticed? Who doesn’t want their peers to think you’re a go-to kinda person, a savant who’s able to smash words and ideas together—tastefully—like a veteran Marble Slab manager?

So, who? Well, off the top of my head: John the Baptist. He’s such a rascal isn’t he? He really gets under the skin, irritating what our flesh wants. We must decrease. Christ must increase.

Babel Versus The Baptist

Babel and the Baptist are at odds. Let’s make a name for ourselves. Let’s not. Let’s increase our following. Let’s decrease, dwindle to peanuts, and baton everything toward Christ. How can we increase our social media buzz? How can people see more of Christ by what I do?

There’s a fuzzy tension here. It’s possible to want to help others think biblically, to look to Christ, to learn God’s word, and also “market” or strategize or share online. Martin Luther and George Whitefield utilized the technology of their day to spread the gospel and God blessed their ingenuity. It is possible.

Maybe the only way to navigate this area is to proceed with caution. Warning: Live Minefield. Go slow. Be mindful. Consider every step. Listen to counsel.

The challenging part here, at least for me, is the writing and publishing industry makes this super-duper tough.

The Platform at Babel

As a young and unknown writer, I’m presented with challenges in publishing. My first book was published a couple of years back with Kregel. As time passed, and my agent sent out new book proposals, we kept hearing the same thing. “We love Jeff’s writing. He’s a great communicator. Clearly, Jeff has a bright future in writing. However, we have to pass on this proposal since his platform isn’t where it needs to be.”

Ouch.

I’d rather learn, “Hey, you aren’t a good writer. Work on that, mkay?” Amiright? Growing as a writer, I can work on that. But increasing my platform without losing my soul—when God hasn’t given it—is a mistake. Forced popularity is the lamest of all.

After hearing this statement from some of the most respected publishers in Christianity, I grew discouraged, jaded, bitter. My pride was shattered. And for that, I praise God. Hitching my joy to a collection of glued papers with my name on the front is a destination of disappointment. Especially when the horses don’t show up for work.

In the midst of the discouraging rejections—encouraging rejections do exist in this universe—I felt my flesh scheming. My heart hatched plans to artificially build a platform, increase my influence, and widen my readership. The blueprints for the tower were coming together. And then, conviction came right on time. Freedom rang too. God exposed the slimy residue of my heart. It wasn’t fun. It was quite embarrassing to admit—to tell my wife, my elders, and my agent—and now you. A blessed embarrassment.

I believed the lie I could make a name for myself for the sake of Christ. Baloney. That’s not how the Kingdom works. Sure, it might be how some Christian publishers work, but it’s not the way of Christ. During his earthly ministry, Jesus constantly sought the background, never parading his importance. The meek may not get a book deal, but they will get the earth. God has raised up some of his servants, bestowing influence, leadership, and a wide megaphone for the gospel. God did it.

I’m Free

I’m so happy for my friends who publish helpful, gospel-rich, joy-igniting books. Godly people publishing wonderful books. The book world isn’t all gloom and doom. New authors are rising and established authors still churning out solid work. Publishing is a business and a ministry. I understand publishers can’t go out and lose money. Consumers want what they want too. I’m not saying who all is to blame, except for the brick layers, for the widespread Babel’ing of our day.

I’ve found freedom in rejection. The silence revealed the chains. I hadn’t heard the clanging while I’ve been typing. Now, even as I write this article, there’s a swiftness in my heart and soul and mind.

Don’t read this as a jealous, petty, embittered, wannabe or wish-I-was-something writer. This is a tale of deliverance. And with every deliverance narrative, there are shrieks and goosebumps. It ain’t all pretty.

I’m content where God has me. My identity is in the crucified and risen Christ. I’m crucified with him. Crucified to this world. Crucified to a book contract. Raised to be a coheir of the cosmos.

I’m not a great writer. Okay. Writing the occasional article for other sites, writing on my own blog, if it encourages others, praise God. This is good. Clearly, I shouldn’t haven’t published another book yet. God is sovereign. All’s good. If I never sign another contract, never see my name on another cover, and never find myself on a platform—sounds good. The Lord knows. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Eph. 2:10 CSB). God has my good works scheduled. Whatever they are, and whatever they aren’t, I’m ready to walk in them. Are you?

How To Move to Weekly Communion

For four years now, Redeemer Church has been enjoying weekly remembrance of our Lord at his supper. I detailed the biblical and historical reasons why we made the switch to weekly enjoyment. Simply, I think the answer is always more gospel, not less. Why not enjoy more of the gospel? Also, with a weekly remembrance of Christ in the bread and cup, you have a guaranteed gospel proclamation. If the preacher fumbles his sermon and misfires on preaching the grace of God, the supper will preach too.

Now, after writing on why we switched, I’ve received a lot of emails from folks saying how their church decided to switch after reading my post. Wonderful. And then the other emails asking, “How can we gain support from other leaders? How should we present it to the church? Any issues you’ve seen?” Great questions. So, let’s go into the logistics of such a move.

How To Bring It Up

If you are a member of a church and wish your church observed weekly communion, I’d suggest asking God to give you wisdom on how to bring this up with your elders in way that doesn’t come off as combative, culture hijacking, or hey-you-guys-are-stupid-why-haven’t-you-thought-of-this kind of way. If you do bring this up to your elders, let your encouragement of them and honoring of them be more noticeable than what you are suggesting to them. Let it be more of you building them up than bringing something up.

If you are a pastor/elder in the church, don’t show up at the next elder meeting and lay out the new communion schedule. You need to lead others into this new culture.

The communion schedule is a part of the church’s culture. A culture change of this magnitude will need patience, agreement, and excitement. You don’t want indifferent nods to weekly communion. You want your fellow pastors/elders excited about the new practice.

So, at the next meeting, bring a proposal to move towards weekly communion, inviting the team to study the relevant passages, the historical practice, and talk about why you are convinced it is important. Assess the reasons why you haven’t already been doing weekly communion. Is it because it hasn’t been on the radar, previous church tradition, etc.? Go where the Bible takes you.

How Will We Serve The Table?

After the leadership agrees to move to weekly communion, you need to figure out how and when you will serve it. Get the kinks worked out before you roll it out.

Where will it be placed in the liturgy? And then, how will it be served? Will people come up to a table, will the elements be passed, etc.? Will people dip or sip? (We sip.) Little cups? What about gluten-free needs in the body?

Think through all of these things before you make the move to weekly communion. Rushing into remembrance sounds good, but you could cause more problems by not leading well.

You will have to experiment with worshipful and orderly ways of distributing the elements. Will there be one loaf we all tear from? One cup we all drink from? For larger churches, this would be difficult to do. Probably impossible. It’d take all morning. We need to allow for some flexiblity in the orthopraxy of our orthodoxy.

How We Serve The Table

After a batch of trial and error, here’s how we serve communion at Redeemer.

Our crackers are all free of gluten. I’ve seen where churches have a gluten-free table and then gluten-filled table. I don’t think it is a wise move. Read the communion passages in 1 Corinthians and the division and side-eyeing going on during their Supper is staggering. We don’t want to open the door to division and something as microscopic as gluten can scatter seeds of division and distinction in our hearts. We went all-in on getting gluten out for this reason. More unity. Not less.

After my sermon, I transition us into communion. I ask the communion attendants and band to come up. I’ll give a brief word about the elements, Christ’s body and his blood, and what we are remembering—and how the Lord Jesus himself is present with us as we join his table. I’ll say how this is only for those who know Jesus is their Savior, and if you don’t believe in Christ, repent and trust in him today.

I’ll then say as the elements are passed, “Let’s worship and remember Jesus together. I’ll come back up and we’ll eat together.”

Next, as the band begins to play, four communion attendants, two on the left section of chairs and 2 on the right section of chairs will each pass a tray that has the bread and the juice. The cups are stacked. (Yes, we use those teeny cups). The bottom cup has a gluten-free cracker, and the juice cup is resting on top. We stole this delivery method from The Village Church. Without a doubt it’s made the process faster, voiding people’s objecting that communion would take too long to do every week. Since the attendants each have their own tray of bread and juice, they pass their tray down alternating rows.

Now, while the elements are being passed, we are worshipping, singing a song together. We aren’t sitting or standing there quietly. We are singing our guts out. We are holding the bread and cup and lifting our voices to the Lord. You probably sing after the sermon anyways, so why not eat his flesh and drink his blood along with it?

After the elements have all been passed—usually takes two verses of the song—I get the nod from our Worship Pastor, and I come up and read 1 Cor. 11. Eating when Jesus says to eat. Drinking when Jesus says to drink. And I finish with Paul’s words, “Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns.” And then we pick up the song where we left off; it’s beautiful. And when the next verse in the song is about the return of Christ, it is so sweet to the heart.

Presenting Weekly Communion To The Church

The best way to present this change to the church is to preach on it and model it. We did a mini-series on baptism and communion. I preached from 1 Corinthians 11 on what communion is and isn’t, the benefits and joys of it, and why the elders are convinced from the Bible that we should move to a weekly “take and eat” beginning that day.

You’ll need to address the assumptions and questions head-on in the sermon. I did. You have to. A lot of them are discussed in the previous post.

Help people see their skittishness towards a weekly Supper is possibly from their background and previous traditions and not anything from the Bible.

Some folks are concerned it’ll seem too Roman Catholic to remember every week. Well, Roman Catholics pray every week in their gatherings? Should we avoid that? Our aim isn’t to avoid looking Roman Catholic but to be biblical.

Others will worry that the Lord’s Supper will lose its preciousness and power. Well, we sing every week don’t we? Should we only sing once a month? Once a quarter to protect our worship? Should we only hear sermons once a month? Of course not. Regularity doesn’t always lead to apathy. Do you tell your kids, “We’ve been playing together too much. I want to protect our times together. So, how about we play together once a month?” It’s illogical. Silly. Distance from the Lord’s Supper will not make your heart grow fonder.

However you proceed, honor the Lord. Honor your leaders. Honor one another. Bear with one another. Stumble forward together. Cherish Christ together. Do that and you can’t go wrong.

Do Not Despise Refugees

No politics. No policy talk. This is about people; this is personal. Specifically, I’m writing about you.

If you are a Christian, you are a refugee.

You Are A Refugee

Hebrews reminds us of our refugee status:

“We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us” (Heb. 1:8 CSB).

What do you call somebody who flees for refuge? A refugee. We are spiritual refugees.

The whole world is a spiritual Syria, under warfare, terrorized by the satanic forces. The gospel of grace is our transfer papers. In Christ, we have asylum—and more. Refuge in Christ gives us a home, his kingdom, a family, and an irrevocable inheritance.

The LORD is good, a stronghold in a day of distress; he cares for those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7 CSB)

The Lord cares for his refugees. He has a tender love for the rejected and powerless. Do we?

Do Not Despise Refugees

As refugees, we should have sympathetic hearts towards the refugees we see and hear about in the news. Not a cynical heart, a scared heart, or an over-Americanized heart.

“You must not oppress a resident alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be a resident alien because you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9 CSB)

When you see these widows, bloody children—kids who don’t cry anymore because war is normal to them—don’t look away. Look at them and think. Feel.

If you despise refugees, you are disconnecting from your own story. They are you. Me. Us. Hebrews reminds us, “For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come” (Heb. 13:14 CSB). We are still refugees.

We are aliens. We are foreigners. We are exiles.

“Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11 CSB)

We are refugees.


I recommend listening to Episode 609 of This American Life on refugees and their stories after President Trump’s Executive Order. Why? Perspective.

Episode 609: It’s Working Out Very Nicely