April 2022


There is a revealing moment at the center point of Paul’s letter to Philemon. It comes in verse 9, “…yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus…” Right in the middle of the […]

March 2022

Leadership and Influence

I think one of the most eye-catching and thought-provoking things that God ever says to anyone in His word is found in Numbers 27:16-17, when He tells Moses, “Appoint a man over the congregation, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that […]

Baptism and Membership

A number of years ago, my brother, Joel, who pastors a church in Vermont wrote a piece entitled “In Praise of a Strange Tribe,” in which he reminisced about the church he and I grew up in outside Washington D.C. He wrote, “There was the homeless cab driver who worshiped with manic intensity. The bachelor […]


I think it was Vance Havner who used to tell the story of two men who were going up a steep hill on a bike built for two. It was hard work, and when they got to the top they had to stop and catch their breath. The guy at the front turned to his […]


There are few moments in the Bible that crackle with electric tension as much as when two estranged people come together again. I’m thinking of when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, or when Jacob and Esau met on the plain, or when David called out to Saul from the cave. The Bible is full […]

February 2022


The African slave trade that was practiced in the early part of America’s history has cast a long shadow over our national psyche, and the scar of that evil practice has never really healed among the American people. The legacy of slavery in our own country also potentially makes the reading of Philemon uncomfortable because […]


At the heart of the Gospel is the idea that fallen human beings need God to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. A Gospel-shaped heart and mind is one that looks to God in trust to provide what is needed. This spirit of dependence on God is often expressed in a believer’s […]


This message is the first in a series through the New Testament book of Philemon. The main, overarching thread that will link this series together is the way that Philemon demonstrates how the Gospel should be lived out amidst the messy reality of our lives. Other letters written by Paul make the Gospel (both what […]