Advent Thoughts and Christmas Musings
A collection of devotions for the Advent and Christmas seasons. The Advent devotions focus on Old Testament promises of the coming of Christ the Lord, while the Christmas devotions approach the twelve days of Christmas in light of the traditional feasts and festivals of the season (such as St. Steven’s Day and the Circumcision and Naming of Jesus).
Blessed with Perfect Righteousness: Finding the Gospel in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount
The teachings of Jesus in Matthew chapters 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount) are often treated as guides for Christian living. These teachings actually contain much Gospel—many teachings about the promises fulfilled in Christ our Savior. Living the Christian life is impossible for those who have not been reshaped by the Gospel of Christ.
The Child of Light and the Black Dog: Depression and Christian Faith
In a world polluted by sin, Christians must often deal with the symptoms of depression. Although we are children of God, called to walk in the light, yet we still suffer the burdens of this world and the attacks of evil around us and against us. Accepting the reality of depression, Christians can still find strength in their faith, in the promises of God, and in the examples of Job, of Paul, and of Jesus Himself.
The entire Bible is about Jesus. Accepting that, we seek Jesus in the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis. We find clear promises telling the people of God that a Savior will come. We find people acting out the plan of salvation in their lives. We even find Jesus himself personally visiting his people: wrestling Jacob, eating with Abraham, and even shaping the clay in the Garden of Eden to form the first man, all while bearing the scars of the cross in his body as our Lord is active in Old Testament times.
It’s All About Jesus: A Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Bible
A textbook on hermeneutics, the proper understanding of the Bible. The main message of the Bible is clear: we are sinners who need a Savior, and Jesus is the Savior we need. Our understanding of this message is enriched when we learn to follow Christian hermeneutics and perceive more of the things God would have us know, the Word revealed through his prophets and apostles.
Martin Luther’s Small Catechism with Additional Commentary
In 1529, Martin Luther published a Small Catechism and a Large Catechism to help children and adults understand the message of the Bible. The Small Catechism was meant especially for families, for parents to instruct their children in the Christian faith. Luther explained the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments of the Church in simple language. But what was simple then might not seem so simple today. This edition of the Small Catechism adds additional commentary to help readers understand what Luther was describing and how God’s Word applies to life in the twenty-first century.
My Best Friend’s Rotten Wife (and other thoughts about living as a Christian)
A collection of essays that first appeared on this Salvageable blog, these essays apply to the life of Christians in this sin-polluted world. We struggle with spiritual enemies—with the devil, with sin in the world, with sin in our lives, and with the reality of death. We seek to find meaning for our lives, like square pegs shoved into round holes. And we live in a Church that is not always the perfect Bride of Christ but which sometimes gets in the way of our Christian living, even though Christ loved the Church and has redeemed her and purified her.
When Jesus taught through parables, he was not necessarily making his lessons easier to understand. The Gospel writers who recorded his parables also reported that Jesus wants his disciples to interpret those parables through the Secrets of the Kingdom—namely, the identity of Jesus and his mission to defeat evil and rescue sinners. Comprehending these secrets and applying them to the parables can turn them upside down for us, as we see the true Gospel of Jesus revealed rather than lessons about how we should be living today.
Seven Mysteries of the Christian Faith
We do not understand everything we believe about God. The Trinity is a mystery—God is one God, yet three Persons. The Incarnation is a mystery—Jesus is completely God, yet completely human. Reason and logic cannot handle these paradoxes. God is not smaller than our reason—he is bigger than our reason. Some mysteries we accept because God revealed them to us. Yet, accepting the reality of these paradoxes, we use reason and logic to perceive their truth and understand what God has said about himself and about our salvation.
Unvarnished Arkansas: The Naked Truth about Nine Famous Arkansans
Charlie McDermott almost invented the airplane. Bernie Babcock lived in the basement of a museum. John Brown Watson was put in charge of a vocational school for black students and turned it into a quality college education. All the people in this book helped to shape the history of the state of Arkansas, yet they are mostly forgotten today. These mini-biographies help to unfold the life and times of our nation’s twenty-fifth state.
The last book of the Bible confuses and perplexes readers more than the other sixty-five books put together. But some sense comes from seeing the writings of Revelation in light of the rest of the Bible. As Jesus reveals to his apostle John what is happening in the world today, what has happened, and what is still to come, readers find comfort in the victory of Christ over all evil and in the good news that we belong to Christ and we share in his victory forever.
From Your Friends at FirstChurch
A parody of life in the modern congregation: to show how to build a modern church, the pastor collects the reports and minutes of various organizations in the congregation, documenting the choir’s quest for a summer Christmas concert while trying to purchase new robes (but what color should they be?), the women’s group struggles to pay its expenses while maintaining an emergency fund should it ever be needed, and every other group also goes its own direction, for better or for worse (mostly for worse).
Two lives meet in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1985. He is older and lost his wife and children in a tragic accident; she is younger but has nowhere else to turn for help. He allows her to live in his nearly empty house, but only as a maid. Can she claim her identity and find a place in his heart? Or will their differences sooner or later force them apart?
Salvageable: A Collection of Short Stories
An amateur author since high school, Salvageable collects his better short stories and shares them in a single volume. Many of them are romances—stories about love—although they also include crime, adventure, mental health issues, science fiction, and even a ghost story. The final story in the volume contains four alternate endings, demonstrating that no story ever really ends.
To Keep a Promise: A Love Story
Larry was a young pastor, still getting settled in his first congregation. Crystal had been his high school sweetheart, the only girl he ever wanted to marry. When she calls him for help, her request involves counseling to save her marriage. Years earlier, Larry had promised Crystal that he would always do whatever she asked of him. But can he give her the help she needs to preserve her marriage? And how will that counseling affect his own efforts to live a holy Christian life?