Prayer as Incense

Three times in the Bible, prayer is likened to incense.  We see it at the beginning of Scripture, in the very middle, and at the end of the Bible. 1.  This subject is introduced in Exodus 30, when God commands that an altar of incense be made for the tabernacle, and at the end of […]

“Only Begotten” or “One and Only”

Many of us who memorized John 3:16 as children struggled with the phrase His only begotten Son.  It often came out “only forgotten,” to the amusement of our parents.  Most modern translations have replaced only begotten Son with phrases like one-and-only Son. Why is that? The Greek adjective monogenas (mon’-o-ga-nase’) occurs nine times in the […]

Coming Back from the War

Here’s a story I used in last Sunday night’s message.  It illustrates two things:  The evil of prejudice and the value of being appreciated or welcomed home. In her book, We Were There, journalist Yvonne Latty tells the stories of African-American veterans who fought in America’s wars.  For example, James Tillman was a member of […]

The Fatigue of Preaching

There are two draining aspects of preaching—preparing the sermon, and delivering it. Unfortunately, I’ve always prepared my messages (the morning messages at least) in the most laborious and exhausting way possible, by scripting them out. After pouring over the text or subject as thoroughly as time will allow, I develop an outline, craft an introduction, […]