Wolfhart Panneberg on What Is and Isn’t a Church

With special reference to issues related to same-sex marriage.

The following is from Kairos Journal. I will be busy packing and organizing to get our house on the market, but here is an article worth reading and thinking about. Tomorrow I will try to post on t…

Source: Wolfhart Panneberg on What Is and Isn’t a Church

The Tidal Wave Coming to the American Church

The Tidal Wave is coming. It may already be here. [Repost from 5 years ago.]

I am becoming more and more convinced that there is a tidal wave coming to the American Church. It is doctrinal in nature and unless pastors and church leaders are released from t…

Source: The Tidal Wave Coming to the American Church

When Repentance Isn’t Repentance


For the past five days, I have been meditating on this haunting text in Jeremiah 4. Three days ago I took a 16-mile ride with verses 1 and 2 echoing through my spirit as I rolled by farmers bringing in their soybeans and corn. Honestly, it was hard to get away from the first two lines. 

The implication of YHWH’s declaration/invitation is that there is a way of “returning” that is NOT a returning to God.

Is it possible that a people could be called to repent, hear that call, know that they needed to repent, begin to move in the direction of repentance, change their behavior in some discernable way, return to some more overtly “religious” patterns of devotion, think that they are somehow doing something good and yet, . . . it all be false, a turning that is for naught, unproductive, even counter-productive?

Listen to Jeremiah’s text. 

1 “If you return, O Israel,” declares the LORD,
.  “Then you should return to Me.
.   And if you will put away your detested things from My presence,
.   And will not waver,
2  And you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’
.   In truth, in justice and in righteousness;
.   Then the nations will bless themselves in Him,
.   And in Him they will glory.”
3  For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
.   “Break up your fallow ground, 
.   And do not sow among thorns.
4  “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD
.   And remove the foreskins of your heart,
.   Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
.   Or else My wrath will go forth like fire
.   And burn with none to quench it,
.   Because of the evil of your deeds.”

jeremiah-2The nation was far from God. Israel had turned from God and lived in idolatry, apostasy, and become hardened in heart toward both truth and justice and as a result, righteousness was not a high priority. As a judgment, God was about to send the nation into exile in Babylon. And He told them that when they returned to the land at the end of the exile it was imperative that they also return to Him. So even before they go into their 70-year exile, God pleads with Israel to repent and return to Him.

In fact, the whole chapter is an earnest plea for the nation of Israel to get serious about repentance. And that earnest plea seems particularly relevant not just for ancient Israel but for 21st Century America as well. And what would that look like? The second part of verse 1 tells us.

  • We will put away detestable practices to God.
    (That will require understanding what is detestable to Him).
  • We will not waver in our commitment to irradicate these things from our lives.
  • We will swear as God is our judge.

Just as with Israel, 2,600 years ago, God is calling His people to put away detestable practices and declare our allegiance to Him as our sovereign and only Lord.

He is calling us to put away anything that stands in the way of obeying Him. He is calling us to love truth, justice, and righteousness. He is calling us to swear by His name that we will live lives that are pictures to the world of an earnest pursuit of God, and His Kingdom and His righteousness.

Israel did not heed the call. 

Will the church of America in 2016?

Will you? Today?

Getting Something for Nothing and What God’s Word Says (Video)

This: From 4 years ago

Weekend Musing The Week after the election I did a message on the book of Habakkuk. In the second service, I did a mini message on “Habakkuk’s First Woe” (Hab. 2:6-8) that I wish …

Source: Getting Something for Nothing and What God’s Word Says (Video)

When Waiting On God is the Purpose

The Poetry Project

waiting-on-godIn December of 2009 or thereabouts, my son, Marty Schoenleber III, (aka, Marty S. Dalton) put a video up on Youtube.com. It inspired me to keep working on a project I thought of a couple of years ago. The idea is to write a poem of personal reflection for each Psalm in the psalter. Here are some of the offerings so far. Some of the poems are preceded by a brief commentary.

Don’t think of any as high art. Think of these offerings as one poor man’s desire to draw nearer to Christ. 

One more thing: It is always best to read the psalm or the verses being commented on first.

Read Psalm 130:1-8  (esp. vs. 6)

We have been watching and waiting on God’s call for the next season of life. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes, however, I think I am more anxious than I care to admit. Which is probably why God led me to Psalm 130 today in my devotions. Our wait may be coming to an end but we hope the lessons learned will make a difference in the path ahead.

There is a Waiting

There is a waiting,
That is not waiting at all.

There is a waiting that is all busy, movement, and anxiety
..             and preoccupied struggle,
..             and distracted waste,
..             and time filled with impatience
..                                           and complaining
..                                           and self-pitying angst.
There is a waiting that doesn’t wait at all.
It just watches time pass.

But there is a waiting that waits.
Its hope is deep.
Its confidence is not easily shattered.
Its fulfillment is a joyous relief.
It anticipates.
It longs.
Its tears are not in vain.
Its vindication is sure.

My soul is being trained for this waiting.
My soul is being trained by this waiting.
“My soul waits for the Lord,
..         more than the watchman for the morning.
Indeed, more than the watchman for the morning.”

Go to Psalm 131

What Does It Mean to Bless the Lord?

Church of East Corinth among trees in fall color. Vermont, New England, USA
Church of East Corinth among trees in fall color. Vermont, New England, USA

In 40 years of ministry, I had never spoken on psalm 103. Glad to have finally had the opportunity. Here’s the audio link to yesterday’s message in South Carolina. Loved our time with the family of God at Manchester Creek. 

The text is Psalm 103.

David commands his soul to bless the Lord.

That’s what I am doing today–commanding my soul to bless the Lord. 

Audio Link Here

I hope this encourages your heart to trust Christ more deeply than ever before.

John Piper’s Advice for Pastors (or anyone who teaches the Bible)


Good teaching is not an accident. It is part of a process that begins in a bowed spirit, proceeds through a rigorous process of study, bathed in a spirit of prayer, and anticipating the empowering of God. John Piper’s advice has always been helpful. Pray with me and for all those around the world burdened with the task of opening up the word of life to hungry hearts. Pray that we would be diligent, faithful, humble and bold. Pray that we would depend upon the Spirit of God to change lives.

“Gladness and gravity should be woven together in the life and preaching of a pastor in such a way as to sober the careless soul and sweeten the burdens of the Saints.”

—John Piper, in The Supremacy of God in Preaching, 52.

John Piper’s advice for pastors (or anyone who teaches the Bible)

  1. Admit your utter helplessness not only for the task at hand but even to breathe without Him.
  2. Pray for help. Beg for insight, power, humility, love, memory. (Pastor John rises 3.5 hours before worship and then spend two hours reading and praying over the text again.)
  3. Trust God to empower for His glory based upon some specific promise in His word.
  4. Act in confidence that God will be with you to fulfill His word for His glory.
  5. Thank God for the privilege of preaching His word.