When the Spirit Moves – Part 2

This is part two of a four-part series on the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts 

Part One

Zealous and pious Paul did not stand a chance against the Holy Spirit. The brilliant reality of Jesus struck Paul blind and upon receiving his sight back in Damascus he is filled with the Spirit. The effect of Paul’s dramatic conversion brings peace to the church and as it increased in number the believers were “encouraged by the Holy Spirit.”

Continue reading “When the Spirit Moves – Part 2”

When the Spirit Moves – Part 1

This is the first of a four-part series on the Spirit of God in the book of Acts 

The book of Acts is a thrilling account of gospel advance in the years following the ascension and session of Jesus.

After Jesus’ short, but powerful ministry on earth he departed to take up his rightful place at the right hand of God the Father. While on earth, Jesus had declared and demonstrated his righteous reign as king and saviour of the world, yet there was still much work to do. Continue reading “When the Spirit Moves – Part 1”

Not A One-Time Thing

Let us run with endurance…

– Hebrews 12:1

The Christian life is not a one-time decision for Christ or a profession of faith. Rather, it is a holding fast until the end. It is a persistence; a continual turning to God and pleading before his throne of grace. Any faithful reader of God’s Word will understand this basic truth. As we follow Jesus and seek to shape our lives according to his, there can be no delusion that we have arrived and only need to maintain the status quo. Continue reading “Not A One-Time Thing”

Barabbas and the Great Exchange

Mark 15:1-15 

But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead. 

As the sun slowly crept over the horizon on the morning after Jesus’ trial, Barabbas was bound as a prisoner with a bleak future in front of him. Perhaps he was hoping against hope that he would benefit from the governors custom of releasing a prisoner at the Feast. Or maybe he had given up hope and was trembling at the thought of being hung on a wooden cross. Whatever was going through his mind, surely he was not expecting to find freedom at the expense of his Messiah. Continue reading “Barabbas and the Great Exchange”

Grace on Display

I will take you to be my wife in faithfulness, and you will know the LORD.

~ Hosea 2:20


Grace is not simply getting what you do not deserve, rather, it is getting the good you do not deserve instead of the bad that you do deserve. It is receiving honour and favour when you deserve shame and disdain. It is receiving freedom and life when you deserve bondage and death. Countless times in the history of God’s people we see this definition of grace being unpacked and put on display. The opening chapters of the prophet Hosea are just one example of this. Continue reading “Grace on Display”

Blessed To Be A Blessing

May God be gracious to us and bless us;

may he make his face shine upon us


The opening words of Psalm 67 echo the priestly blessing found in Numbers 6 and are thus familiar to many of us. Over the centuries these words, originating in the tabernacle worship of ancient Israel, have been used countless times as part of the Christian worship service. Perhaps as you read this verse you imagined yourself standing amongst the congregation and hearing the preacher pronounce the Aaronic benediction with uplifted hands.


Continue reading “Blessed To Be A Blessing”

Bringing a Sword to a Spiritual Fight

Mark 14:43-52 

When Jesus came to earth to battle with the forces of evil and put an eternal end to sin and Satan, his choice of weapon is telling. Many in Jesus’ day, his disciples included, were expecting him to wield a lethal weapon and lead a mighty army. 

In his gospel, Mark recounts how Judas the Betrayer came to Jesus to arrest him. As his disciple, Judas had been a close companion of Jesus and knew of his “battle-plan” against evil: Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection as the path to victory. Yet, on that dark night, Judas approached Jesus accompanied by a mob armed with swords and clubs, a clear indication of the type of fight they were anticipating. Continue reading “Bringing a Sword to a Spiritual Fight”

Why Jacob?

In his sovereign freedom, God chose to love Jacob, but not Shechem. But why Jacob?

Malachi, and later the apostle Paul, make it plain that Jacob attained salvation because of the brute fact of God’s absolute grace and free choice to do so (Malachi 1:3 and Romans 9:13). If we take Scripture seriously, we realize God had chosen to love Jacob from before the foundation of the world. From the perspective of eternity, Jacob was chosen by God simply because of God’s sovereign grace. Nothing in Jacob attracted God to him and there was no spark of potential goodness in Jacob waiting to be stoked by the living breath of God. God makes it clear that we are born dead in our sins and our free-wills are locked in rebellion-against-God mode. God does not give us a helping hand or a boost of grace to get us going on the right track. He takes a pile of dry, decaying bones and breathes life and soul into them. Continue reading “Why Jacob?”

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