New Here?
     
Bible


A Rock that Cracked

From Lloyd Ogilvie’s Ask Him Anything:

“What can you do when you’ve failed and denied what you believe?” This question and others like it came out of the heart of a person who had stumbled badly. He felt he had no right to pray, and when he tried, he felt self-incrimination and condemnation. We all deny our Lord in so many little ways, but what do you do when the denial contradicts everything you’ve stood for and believed? Is there a way back? How does the Lord deal with failures?

The answer is vividly portrayed in the way Jesus Christ dealt with Simon Peter’s denial. Peter could not handle the anguish of his cowardly denial. He had to block it out, try to forget; but his efforts were futile. Was that why he now could not bear to look Jesus in the eye?

What adventure Peter had known following the Master! He remembered with self-affirmation how on the road to Caeserea Philippi he felt the spirit rush within him. He had blurted out the conviction, “Thou art the Christ!” He would never forget the tone of the Lord’s voice when he told him that the church would be built on the rock of his faith. A rock? The recollection reverberated with shock waves within him. “A rock that cracked!” he said to himself.

But the basic message of the story is this: the Lord’s love does not fail however much we fail him. Peter had built his whole relationship with Jesus Christ on his assumed capacity to be adequate. That’s why he took his denial of the Lord so hard. His strength, loyalty, and faithfulness were his self-generated assets of discipleship. The fallacy in Peter’s mind was this: he believed his relationship was dependent on his consistency in producing the qualities he thought had earned him the Lord’s approval. 

Many of us face the same problem. We project onto the Lord our own measured standard of acceptance. Our whole understanding of him is based in a quid pro quo of bartered love. He will love us as if we are good, moral, and diligent. But we have turned the tables; we try to live so that he will love us, rather than living because he has already loved us. 

Yeezus of Nazareth

Yeezus of Nazareth

Mockingbird has had an awful lot to say about Kanye West over the years. Nothing lately, however, which is somewhat surprising given just how prolific Kanye has become in the news cycle. The most recent example was his stunning performance of “Ghost Town” at the end of last week’s SNL, coupled with the controversy of wearing […]

Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Eighteen

Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Eighteen

From The Mockingbird Devotional, today’s entry was written by Matt Johnson. For 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. (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV) You’ve heard the spiel. It’s practically a Christian summer camp mantra: you have a […]

A  Pirate Looks at Forty-(Nine)

A Pirate Looks at Forty-(Nine)

Yes, that’s right, as of today I am officially starting to feel…old. I know there are some readers who will regard forty-nine as young, but please bear with me, because it’s still so new to me. A quick scan of the Internet this morning reveals all that I have to look forward to in the […]

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

An immense honor to put this up for online reading. This essay from Dr. Simeon Zahl was originally given at the NYC Conference in 2016 and was republished in written form in our most recent issue of the magazine, The Déjà Vu Issue. To order one for your favorite sinner, go here. And if you […]

Turnips, Kiddies, and Icons

Turnips, Kiddies, and Icons

This reflection comes to us from Kim Kaufmann, part of the team at StoryMakersNYC (our awesome new children’s ministry initiative). Hold up an old, dried, brown, and knobbly turnip to a kid, and what do they say? “That looks like Gramma!” “It smells like poop!” “I bet there’s a fairy living inside!” “It’s a tree for […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Twenty

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

– 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

The Bible declares that “the body of sin has been destroyed…. God has condemned sin in the flesh.” We don’t have to fear the Old Adam anymore…even though we still see and experience his residual phantom manifestations.

Sin has no eternal consequence anymore. Do we still sin? Of course. Do we still wrestle with sin? Yes. Does sin still have mundane experiential implications? Absolutely. But our sure confidence is in the gift of the leading of the Holy Spirit: the verdict of “no condemnation.” By his grace, through faith, we trust that we are clean, we are righteous, we are washed, we are justified…despite what the apparent evidence in our lives says.

Daily life damns us. Life consistently says “failed.” Grace faithfully says “forgiven.” Life always says “no.” God always says “enough”…because He has given us his ultimate and eternal “yes” in Jesus.

"Mercy Goes First": An Address to Seminary Graduates

“Mercy Goes First”: An Address to Seminary Graduates

[What follows is an edited version of remarks I delivered to Truett Seminary’s Fall 2017 Graduates. My talk was heavily influenced by Mockingbird, and with gratitude I post this here.] It has been about 30 years ago now that I waited to hold my seminary diploma in my hands, and I was saddened this week […]

The Weight of Living, Part 2: God Would Not Save What God Does Not Love

The Weight of Living, Part 2: God Would Not Save What God Does Not Love

Today in the Liturgical Calendar we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. Jesus and three of his disciples are on a mountaintop, and that’s significant. Think of the times we’re told that Jesus goes up on the mountain to pray. He gives his first sermon on a mountain, the Sermon Mount. Before the Cross, he […]

Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verse Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verse Nineteen

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19 (NIV)   In the verse we are considering this morning, we don’t ultimately have a prescription of how we must live, but rather a description of whom God has made […]

The Futility of Folly, the Frailty of Life, & Death’s Evening Score

The Futility of Folly, the Frailty of Life, & Death’s Evening Score

It is indisputable that Ecclesiastes is one of the most bizarre books in the canon of Scripture. This extended journal entry of sorts opens to us the mind of one of the greatest humans to ever walk this earth. Great not necessarily for his morality (which was often wanting) but for his achievements and advancements […]

Char and Steph Wander the Desert: A Flashback to Ancient Israel

Char and Steph Wander the Desert: A Flashback to Ancient Israel

The following play — a precious relic from ancient Israel — tells the untold story of motherhood in Exodus. It was published in Mockingbird’s latest book, Unmapped, a memoir duet about spirituality, family, and finding home in unexpected exile. This is Act I of IV: Char and Steph Wander the Desert A Play by Charlotte Getz and […]