What I Am Not Ashamed Of

I Am Not Ashamed Of JesusMy sermon for tomorrow is Gospel Power based on Rom 1:16. These are my rambling thoughts as to what I might preach extemporaneously tomorrow, which may change by tomorrow!

Paul says emphatically, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” This is the explicit reason why he had Gospel Enthusiasm and excitement and energy and eagerness to preach the gospel to the Romans (Rom 1:15).

I wondered to myself, “What am I NOT ashamed of?”

Two things immediately come to mind: my wife and my cats! I simply love to talk about them at every opportunity. I can hardly get through any sermon, or Bible study, or a casual conversation, or even a UBFriends post or comment, without talking about either my wife or my cats or both! Continue reading →

My Gospel Story of God’s Grace

gForgiveness. I extemporaneously shared my story of God’s grace in my sermon last Sun: Gospel of Grace. I have previously shared parts of this before. I first understood the gospel in 1980 through my magical mysterious mystical conversion. At age 25 I realized for the first time with great awe and wonder and with many tears of gratitude that God forgave all my sins completely through Christ, despite myself. I experienced a peace and a wholesomeness (shalom) that I had never ever previously known (Phil 4:7). My life has never been the same for the last 34 years since that great, gracious and glorious day of my conversion. Continue reading →

Galatians Set Me Free From Legalism – Part 2


As a follow up to an article I didn’t write I think it only apt to say that Galatians Set Me Free From Legalism was the best article I never wrote. That aside, I brought this up with my friend Steven, a seminary graduate. We had a long conversation about my time in UBF and I discussed how I believed that my chapter supported a legalism that was not in line with Paul’s letter to the Galatians. I did not expect him to disagree with me.

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Rest Unleashed – Narrative 2 of 3

raven-yenser-2013-bw-red-300x246My journey continues by considering the gospel of Jesus. Narrative 2 expresses my seeking answers to one massive question: What is the gospel? I know the easy answers. I want a deeper understanding. If the gospel is so liberating, why do I feel so guilty all the time? That question spun through my mind day after day while at UBF.


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Rest Unleashed – Narrative 1 of 3

raven-yenser-2013-bw-blue-300x246Based on DavidW’s advice in his recent article, I decided to “blog my books” here. So I’ll present three articles for each of my two books over the next several weeks. Each article will mainly be a direct quote of some pages in the books. The theme of narrative 1 in my book Rest Unleashed: The Raven Narratives is forgiveness. Thus my journey begins with considering forgiveness. Enjoy.

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Book Review: God and the Gay Christian

1-86571b1c94In 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized to Galileo. 359 years earlier, Galileo and those who listened to his teachings were condemned by the church. The church said the bible clearly taught that the sun revolves around the earth. The invention of the telescope, however, and Galileo’s findings, demonstrated the opposite: the earth revolves around the sun. The centuries old teaching by the church was wrong. I think someday the church will also apologize to Matthew Vines, who steps into the epicenter of the LGBT-Christian debate with his new book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.
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Galatians Set Me Free From Legalism

freedomAre you free from legalism? Reading and studying Galatians in 2009 set me free—28 years after becoming a Christian. This freedom and exhilarating liberation came from reading John Stott’s excellent commentary on Galatians. I read Galatians dozens of times since 1980. I knew it was about freedom. I assumed it proclaimed freedom from sin. But I was stunned to discover that the freedom Paul spoke of was freedom from legalism–the idea that you must add or do something else in addition to believing in Jesus in order to be saved and to be regarded and welcomed as a complete Christian of good standing in the church.

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It’s more fun in the Philippines – Part 2

sIn Part 1 I spoke of the lead up to my trip. This story is the story of my trip so I will begin with my initial impressions. When I last left Paul had spoken to Ben. My shepherd’s last words of advice to me were to be careful not to become married or introduced. He said Filipinos were “crazy for Americans” and that “it wasn’t my time”. With that I departed for the Philippines. Although I started the story and have proceeded chronologically I will depart from this to explain some major lessons from my time in the Philippines.

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CaptivatedjLook! Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabwile was a series of Easter sermons. Like the Bible that implores us to take a long look at Christ (Isa 40:9; Ps 34:8; Jn 1:29; Mt 11:29), Anyabwile’s book (95 pages) compels us to stare into the meaning/mystery of the cross and resurrection. The five chapters are five incisive questions that help us behold Christ:

  1. Is There No Other Way?
  2. Why Have You Forsaken Me?
  3. Where, O Death, Is Your Victory?
  4. Why Do You Seek the Living among the Dead?
  5. Do You Not Know These Things? Continue reading →

Critique My Sermon on Wrath


(a sermon based loosely on Romans 1:18-32, delivered at Hyde Park on 9/22/13)

The topic for today is wrath. More specifically, the role of God’s punishment in understanding the gospel. This is a topical message, and I hope that you will bear with my ramblings, listen critically, and judge for yourselves whether or not I am being faithful to the witness of Scripture.

The gospel is summarized by John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16) The gospel is good news of love and life. But there’s a flipside to that in certain gospel presentations, that if you reject the good news, there will be “hell to pay.” Sometimes that flipside becomes the main story. As in that famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” which depicts the non-believer dangling over a pit of hellfire, held up by only a spider’s web which can break at God’s whim. The message is that, unless and until we believe in Jesus, we are the objects of God’s wrath. ”For God was so ticked off at the world that he gave his one and only Son…” Now some people will say that the Church has gotten too soft, that we have become morally lax and ineffective in our witness because we’ve stopped confronting people with their sin and no longer warn them about God’s wrath. And others will say that we should stop up talking about wrath altogether, because it gives an ineffective and misleading picture of what the gospel is about.

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