The Last Days

The LAST DAYS are generally referred to in the Bible as the time between the first and second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But more specifically, the Bible indicates that prior to the Lord’s second coming (the LAST of the LAST DAYS) there will be rampant lawlessness, blatant idolatry, and pervasive deception. This is probably why nearly every generation of Christ-followers have eagerly anticipated the Lord’s return in their own day; each saying, “It’s never been this bad.” So, are we living in the LAST DAYS? Yes. And yet we cannot know the day or hour of the last day (Matthew 24:36).

According to the Apostle Paul, one of the distinct features of the end of human history will be utter confusion about truth and reality. He wrote that just prior to the Lord’s return the world would be marked by a wicked deception on those who are perishing because they refuse to love the truth and instead take great pleasure in all kinds of unrighteousness. They will wistfully call evil good, and good evil. They will deny what is true and promote abominable lies. As a judgment, God Himself will send a strong delusion on them so that they will believe what is false (1 Thessalonians 2).

How do the people of God fortify themselves against the whelming flood of lies and deception of the LAST DAYS? Only one way. While resting in the grace of God to save us through Christ alone and to protect us through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our part is to love and obey His word. Paul told the Thessalonians to stand firm in what they were taught. Stability in a world of deception depends on a foundation grounded in the Word of God.

Jesus’s prayer to His Father in John 17 reflects a similar theme for His disciples who would soon face crushing tribulation and martyrdom: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  He faced his own trial of temptation with the words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  He knew “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

Too many professing Christians do not know – or believe – this. And I worry that the church is unprepared to withstand deception on such a scale. As evidence of a prolific demise in biblical literacy, the Barna Research Group reported in recent years that only 60 percent of American adults can name even five of the 10 Commandments; 12 percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife; and 50 percent believe Sodom and Gomorrah were married.  We’ve become a society that prefers to swipe screens more than read a Bible.  This ignorance won’t end well.

Of course, the point of this is not to simply know the facts of the Bible, but to be shaped by it. To let it be a lamp to our feet and light to our path. To see it as a source of spiritual nourishment for growing up in respect to our salvation. We need the Bible because it leads us to God. Neglecting it, we will drift.

Here are three simple suggestions for restarting your Bible reading plan:

  1. Read a chapter of Proverbs daily. 31 days a month; 31 chapters of Proverbs. The wisdom gained in this brilliantly inspired poetry will help you not be fooled in life.
  2. Read the Psalms, two a day, to give voice to your joys, sorrows, laments, and praise.
  3. Read the four gospels. One a month, three times a year, traveling through the life and words of Jesus, who told us to observe everything he commanded.

The Old Testament prophet Amos said: “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”    Is there a worse predicament than not being able to hear a word from God? Let this judgment not be true of us. We cannot live without God. We cannot be grounded in what is really real – without His truth. Let us be as the Bereans, who were “were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (Acts 17:11).

With you on the journey!











Worthy is the Lamb

Our study in the book of Revelation has been a rich examination of the glory and worth of Jesus our Savior.  The book is an unveiling of Him, by Him. We have seen Him in the midst of the Church, ruling over the Church, instructing and correcting the Church. His titles declare His supremacy over all things:  faithful witness, firstborn of the dead, ruler of the kings of the earth, Alpha and Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come. The Almighty.

Now we move to more complex sections of Revelation and see that He is worthy to judge the world. This is His right because He is holy. Jesus Christ exists in a category with our Father in heaven.  He stands next to the throne of God and from that vantage point He exercises His rightful rule over His creation. He is sovereign in His reign; all the kingdoms of this world are accountable to Him. Yet in the most surprising image, He exercises His judgments as the Lamb who was slain. It is His sacrificial death through which He has conquered sin and will conquer all evil. He is worthy of praise, worship, and our surrendered life.

Remember we began our study with the promise that there was blessing for all who would read the words of this prophecy, and really hear them, and keep what is written. We hear it. We respond to it in obedience. We love and long for His appearing. And there is blessing from God.

One of the blessings we can experience now is the rock-solid, heartfelt conviction that the Lord is coming back to make all things right. This certainty is meant to orient our lives to be worshippers and witnesses. His worth evokes worship; His sovereignty produces peace. During the next two months I would encourage you to meditate on Psalms 96, 97 and 98. They are psalms that call for gladness and hope at the return of Jesus to judge the world.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!

Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord,

for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness,

and the peoples with equity. Psalm 98:7-9

 The world today seems out of control. Everywhere we look there is violence, wars, corruption, and evil of every kind. The kingdoms of this world are in chaos. Our own nation is mired in division, dishonesty, and moral decadence. It is easy to become discouraged and disoriented by our troubled world. Does God still reign? Oh yes, He does. Will Jesus make all things new? Oh yes, He will!

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Revelation 7:17

Until that is our eternal reality in the kingdom to come, we say confidently here on earth:  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”

With you on the journey,








An Exalted Vision of Jesus

If your only vision of Jesus is Him gently holding a lamb in his arms, or looking compassionately over a hillside feeding the 5,000, or worse, of a dashboard bobblehead good-luck charm, you definitely need a new vision of the living Christ!  They say familiarity breeds contempt, and I worry there is a tendency to reduce our ideas of Jesus only to what we appreciate most about Him for our own comfort and consolation.

Sure enough, the gospels show us a Jesus who is humble, gentle, and loving to a degree never known to mankind. From birth to death His existence was marked by humiliation, service, and suffering. And this, all for our gain. Thank you, Lord Jesus. But we should remember that there is more to Jesus than our vision of His life on earth. He is coming again a second time in glory and exaltation as a conquering King to be served and worshipped by all the kingdoms of this world.

Revelation chapter 1 gives us an apocalyptic picture of who Jesus is today in heaven. Face to face with the Ancient of Days. Of the same power and authority as God our Father, because He too is God. He is dressed in royal and high priestly garments. His white hair speaks to His ageless wisdom and knowledge of all things. His eyes like a flame of fire pierce every darkness and perceive every reality. His feet are burnished bronze, conveying the authority of his judgments. His voice drowns out all other voices. His Word goes forth with unstoppable power to accomplish both salvation and judgment. He radiates the glory of God as the sun shining at full strength.

No wonder John collapsed to the ground at the sight of Him. He is the Alpha and Omega. Who is and who was and who is to come. He is the Almighty. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen!  We need this vision of Jesus today.

But not to make us fearful. Jesus reached out His strong right arm and touched John, lifting him back on his feet. He remains gentle. Then He spoke kind words to him: “Stop being afraid. I am who I am. The eternal One. I am alive forevermore. You must fear nothing, not even death itself. I have authority over all things. Over you. Over my Church. Over all the world.”

This Jesus, standing among His churches, gives a word to them in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. He sees them as they are, and knows what they are going through, and instructs them how to remain faithful until He comes. We must worship each week believing that Jesus is with us. We are His church. What might Jesus say to us? How would He encourage us? Correct us? Strengthen us?

Let’s pray together for Calvary to be faithful to our Living Christ. And let’s keep alive and fresh the exalted vision of His majesty and authority over our lives. He’s coming soon!

With you on the journey,









Always Pray, & Don’t Lose Heart

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2.

Last week at Calvary two of our families suffered the death of a child. It is impossible to appreciate the crushing grief or to feel the full weight of an inconsolable anguish. Unless of course, you’ve been there yourself. And sadly, many in our church have traveled the journey of this lonely road. We weep with you who weep. Yours is a suffering for which no human words fully help. But is there anything we can do? 

We can recall that God cares about the brokenhearted. For purposes not known to us, God does not prevent all suffering and loss, but He is always there in the midst of it and on the other side of it. It is one of the most astounding features of Christianity that God cares so much about our pain He entered into it. Jesus took upon Himself humanity and then suffered injustice, violence, and death. Throughout His life He searched for the hurting, the outcasts, and those who had been deeply broken by the world around them. He invited them to put on His yoke – to be united with Him – that He might lift their burdens and give them soul satisfying rest. He invites us now to do the same.

We can pray to our caring God on behalf of those who mourn. This is one of the ways we bear the burdens of the weak. Searing loss tempts us to give up all hope. Prayer replenishes hope.  That’s why Jesus taught his disciples to always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). In the first century church at Colossae, the Apostle Paul commended an ordinary church member named Epaphras because he was “always struggling on their behalf in his prayers, that they would stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”  Prayer is a labor of love to those who suffer.

We can be the church in times of hardship. There is no better resourced community to help hurting people than a band of Bible believing, Spirit anointed, love-fueled, praying Christians. Christians who love one another; serve one another; encourage one another; forgive one another; bear with one another; build up one another. This is our time to be the church: a Christ-centered community of people fully devoted to loving God and loving others.

With you on the journey,













Six Reasons We Need Biblical Theology

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20, 21.

Today is not a day for spiritual wimps. It is a day that demands strength of mind, a resolved will, and deep spiritual conviction. The little New Testament letter of Jude reminds us that it takes Spirit-anointed prayer and the crucial foundation of biblical theology to thrive in our life with God until He returns. We need sound doctrine. Here are six reasons why it is vital, and why it is hard.

  1. Fewer and fewer people know the story line of the Bible, and biblical illiteracy appears to be at an all-time high. Does anyone even read the Bible anymore?!  A 2022 American Bible Society report indicated that roughly 26 million people had mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible after COVID. It is not possible to build up the faith apart from Bible engagement.


  1. If the Bible is being neglected, entertainment-news and ninety-second social media posts are being ferociously consumed. Ratings-driven media endlessly feature the most repugnant violence, blatant immorality, systemic corruption, and all the worst things happening around the globe. The aim is to so rile the listener that we must continue watching. Besides diminishing attention spans to mere moments, this saturation of crisis upon crisis diverts us from our gravest predicament: estrangement from God.


  1. The United States Surgeon General recently announced the newest and fastest growing health epidemic of 2023: Loneliness. Prolific social media connections have not produced sense of community, belonging, or meaning for life. People feel alone and disconnected without answers to the questions: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is the meaning of life?” Each of these are most fully answered with a robust biblical theology.


  1. The world is filled with lies from the pit of hell; the entire world system is now under a massive cloud of deception about what is true and right. Jesus called the devil a liar and the father of lies. The Apostle Paul called him the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Further, Paul prophesied that in the day of the Lord, a lawless one, in the activity of Satan, would deceive the world to believe what is false and reject God’s truth. The most powerful antidote to deceptive counterfeits is the inerrant Word of God.


  1. Biblical theology is hard because it is thought to be foolishness by those who reject it. There is a growing hostility for Christian doctrine that defines anything about reality as emerging from or answerable to Another beyond us. Yet, the Apostle Paul embraced that very label in his letter to the Corinthians: “We are fools for Christ’s sake.”  He knew that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  He taught that “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”  Being thought of as foolish is not the same thing as being foolish.


  1. Because of a diminished understanding of biblical theology many have labeled our world as “post-Christian.” Fair enough. But that could also mean it’s now “pre-Christian.” With so little knowledge of the Bible and theology, this could be our best day to tell the perfectly redemptive story of how God is working in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit to rescue broken humanity and renew all things for His Glory. The bedrock theology of the gospel is still the best news the world has ever heard. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

Today is not a day for spiritual wimps. We need to be built up in the faith, rooted and grounded. Mature, not children. Anchored, not tossed by every wind and wave. That’s why “This We Believe” is our summer series. Let’s keep ourselves in the love of God!

With you on the journey,


This We Believe

Core beliefs govern core behaviors. How we think determines how we live. Or at least that’s the way it should be. Sadly, not all beliefs are consciously perceived, but instead somewhat passively assumed. For example, it is possible to assert with confidence the sovereignty of God over all things as a theological truth, but live as though God were not involved in the day-to-day details of one’s life. Professing to affirm a theistic worldview but living as a practical agnostic is rather an incoherent way to live.

A 2022 survey conducted by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research indicated that the theological convictions of professed evangelicals are slipping away from the historical, orthodox teachings of the Scripture. 38 percent of respondents said they were more likely to consider religious belief to be “a matter of personal opinion” rather than “about objective truth,” up from 23 percent in 2020. According to the researchers, “This view makes it easy for individuals to accept biblical teaching that they resonate with while simultaneously rejecting any biblical teaching that is out of step with their own personal views or broader cultural values.”

Consequently, we thought it would be helpful to take the weeks of summer to lay down some fundamental and foundational building blocks on the theological convictions we affirm. THIS WE BELIEVE is our summer series to refresh our core commitments to the truths we assert – and by which we live. Rooted in the Scriptures, revealed by God, we hope to answer the questions that will ground us to live in our confused day. Who is God? Who is Jesus and why did He come? Is the Holy Spirit real? What does it mean to be human? What is God’s purpose for the church?

In Psalm 11, David asked the question: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Well, in fact, the world is crumbling with confusion, deception, despair and loneliness. Without reliable answers to these questions, we simply can’t experience lasting joy and meaning. Since thinking leads to living, we’re going to build the infrastructure of our minds with the truths of God, praying together that….

Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. -Ephesians 3:17-19

With you on the journey,