Worthwhile October 4, 2019

The first week of October not only brought cooler temps to SoCal (do’t worry it warms up tomorrow) but a sense that people are exhausted. We are in need of rest, in need of the enthusing only God can provide.

I am praying that you find that rest and renewal this weekend. Endeavor toward it. Slow down. Sit around a table with friends and laugh. Eat delicious food. And take naps. I will try to do the same!

For your reading we start with darkness and tend brighter with three bits to check in on.


This week the New York Times posted an in-depth report on the prevalence of imagery and exchange of child sexual abuse. Technology has made it easier and the sickness has spread over the last decade. It is gross. If anyone suggests evil does not exists ask them what they would call torturing children for pleasure.

It is a dark reality that our law enforcement needs more resources to attack. We also need spiritual conviction and repentence… revival in our land. As I engage with books lamenting the loss of free play for kids and unsupervised decision making, I get excited to give my kids more freedom, then I read reports like this and I won’t let them out of my sight.

Read it. Pray. Think of how you can act for change.


Next is how we contribute online. At a meeting last night a colleague mentioned that she has a staff member who left Facebook because she was only using it to be angry and stir up strife.

Justin Taylor has shared some tips from Paul D. Miller, a professor at Georgetown University who too k party in a significant study.

We sketch here an initial draft of recommendations to structure future conversations. We do not mean to bind the conscience of any believer and we recognize that most of the issues we address here lie in the realm of wisdom and prudence. We put forward these ideas as the best practices from what we have seen, observed, and heard during this project. These are not rules for righteousness, but practices of discipleship and character formation we think are uniquely suited to the challenges of the age we are living through.

The tips are in line with where we get news, seeking out difference and attending church. See all seven here.


Finally, a really good sermon from Andrew Wilson. He was at The Villiage Church in Dallas and spoke on life in the Spirit. I have had a few conversations about this very thing this week and I thought he gave great clues and encouragement toward yielding to the Spirit for all of life. Give it a watch or listen.


Enjoy the weekend. Run to Jesus. Rejoice. See you soon.

Reclaiming a Biblical Pattern of Worship?

Last week Andrew Wilson’s latest book on the merger of eucharistic and charismatic worship landed in the mailbox and I think it presents a clear, if brief, argument for a wise way or pursuing a biblical expression of the church.

Wilson, well known to those in the “Reformed” and continuationist camp (holding to more Calvinistic theology and the belief that the miraculous gifting of the Holy Spirit continues today), invites the church to go both deeper and higher in a way that sounds nearly unfeasible but is actually quite intriguing.

Spirit and Sacrament is a “theological vision for the church that treasures all of God’s gifts, the eucharistic and charismatic, beginning with charis (grace) and culminating in chara (joy).” Marrying the passion of the church for the sacraments (communion, baptism as examples) along with historic creeds and prayers of the church with “low church” expressions where the gifts of the Spirit are passionately pursued.

Given my background and doctrinal positions, the book speaks to my desires in the life of the church but to be fair, it has enough to make each side anxious toward what could come of such a vision.

Wilson warmly persuades those unlikely to call their way of doing church “liturgical” to recognize their own liturgy and inject more of the tested and biblically taught things that adorn the gospel. A call to worship, reciting a creed, call and response, the reading of Scripture (apart from the sermon), and confession etc.

At the same time, he attempts to bring an embrace and fervent pursuit of supernatural gifts to places typically more reserved and cautious.

While ardent cessationists (those that presume the gifts ended with the end of biblical canon or ministry of the original apostles) will not be convinced, since Wilson takes just a brief moment to present a Charismatic basis, the interaction with the church fathers’ experience of the miraculous is worthwhile.

Throughout I was struck that what Wilson is presenting is a full-bodied biblical church. This is the model of the New Testament and should be a rich way forward for the church.

Wilson says this way of worship is aspirational, not descriptive, and aspire toward it we should. All said I imagine this little book will become the start of an increasing call to such things and it is something that I welcome with expectancy.

Here are some key quotes from the book:

“The historic church has always been more “charismatic” than either the cautious conservatives or sectarian enthusiasts have been willing to admit.”

“It must be possible to lament and celebrate, be serious and joyful, at the same time. It is important to consider how this kind of both/and can be cultivated and how being Eucharismatic can help us.”

“Gifts… are like vessels that carry us back to our homeland; they should be enjoyed, but only in that they are taking us to our true source of joy and our true love.”

“We need to plunge ourselves into the depths of our tradition, so as to spring to new heights. Down, into historic prayers. Up, into spontaneous ones. Down, into confession of sin. Up, into the celebration of forgiveness. Down, into the creeds. Up, into the choruses. Down, into knowing God’s presence in the sacraments. Up, into feeling God’s presence in song. Call, and response. Friday, then Sunday. Kneel, then jump.”

“The sacraments should be at the heart of our corporate worship, not peripheral and occasional interruptions to it.”

“If you want to be gospel-centered, be Table-centered. If you want to be truly evangelical, be eucharistic.”

“The chief actor in the sanctification of the believer is not a message, but a Messenger: a person who can be grieved or honored, not just a word that can be rejected or believed.”

“We are under the same covenant as our first-century brothers and sisters, and as such, we should assume that what the apostles taught them, they would also teach us.”

“It is possible, and in fact required of us, both to earnestly desire spiritual gifts – knowledge, wisdom, faith, prophecy, languages, interpretation, distinguishing spirits, teaching, healing, miracles, helping, administering, leading, giving, showing mercy – and to do so with scriptural wisdom, so as to build us the body, serve the common good, love one another, and exalt the risen Christ.”

Worthwhile January 11, 2019

Into the New Year we have sprung. Funny how it feels a lot like the last year. Political division. Work to be done. Schedules that keep us inundated. And of course the only real place of refreshment and peace, the gospel of grace.

This week two articles worth your time and thought. Both on similar perspectives. One on prayer and what one church, and maybe all of us, mean when we seek God. The second on a new move afoot to move from mere theological continuationism (believing the Holy Spirit works miraculously still today) to the actual experience of it in our churches


From Sam Storms, a reflection on his church’s days of fasting and prayer. At Reservoir we used a couple of quotes from Sam in our weekly prayer meeting as we desire the same things. One key quote:

By saying we seek “God himself” I mean greater manifestations of his presence, a tangible sense of his nearness, deeper and sweeter fellowship and communion with him, a heightened capacity to hear his voice, a movement on our hearts to feel and enjoy his affection for us, and an expanded power in us to enjoy and adore him with greater fervency. In seeking “God himself” we long to know him better, to understand his will and ways with greater clarity, to go deeper and deeper into the character of God, to be set on fire with a more passionate commitment to him and adoration of him. In seeking “God himself” we long for a satisfaction in our souls that is so rich and powerful that it drowns out the alluring and seductive appeal of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Sam Storms

Read the whole piece here.


Next is a quick note from Andrew Wilson about a comment from Tim Challies about the move afoot for Charismatic experience in our churches. Typically Calvinistic churches that believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue today have been reserved at best in the expression of these gifts or even the pursuit of them. But the wind is blowing. Times are changing and more and more leaders are moving from holding a theology to experiencing it.

This is something we have expressed at Reservoir, the desire to be Word and Spirit people not merely holding a doctrinal belief but living in light of it. Come Holy Spirit come.