Category Archives: Giffones in Lithuania

Our journey to LCC International University in Klaipėda, Lithuania

Love of Wisdom

This is the next in a series of pastoral reflections from 2020 about academic research: “Researching Christianly.” Read the first post, “It Must Not Be This Way Among You.” The terminal degree in most of our fields is doctor of … Continue reading

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Sermon: “I Have Dealt With You for My Name’s Sake” (Ezekiel 20:30-44)

The elders in Ezekiel’s day were at a loss as to how to approach God. Their guilt was before them, and everything that YHWH said through Ezekiel was abundantly true. Continuing to the time of Jesus: How did God deal with his sinful people, still in exile, still oppressed by the Romans and their gods, and victims of their own sinfulness? There seemed to be no way out.
But God, who was rich in mercy, provided a solution for his people, in Christ. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, as Israel was for 40 years. Jesus went into “exile,” the death of a cross, separation from his father. Not because he deserved it, but because he chose to take our sin upon himself. Jesus “passed under the rod of the Father’s anger” for us! Jesus did so, so that he could bring his people into the land, that we would be fit to bear the name of YHWH God! And, he gave us his body and blood, continuing offerings so that we can be in fellowship with God! Continue reading

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It Must Not Be This Way Among You (Series: Researching Christian-ly)

These words in particular stand out to me: “…but it is not this way among you.” In our profession, more so than in others, projecting confidence and authority tends to be rewarded; we stand in front of our students and tell them truths that they need to remember and regurgitate in order for us to authorize them to continue on in their studies. But Jesus says that the authority among the community of his followers must be exercised differently. It requires humility, sacrifice, and service. Continue reading

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Sermon: “Shame Rolled Away” (Ezekiel 20:1-11)

Each of us here today still lives with the scars and the effects of sin in our life: the sins that we have committed, and the sins committed against us. That is a reality of life in this fallen world. But the good news is that because of Christ’s death and resurrection, for those who believe and turn to God in repentance, we are no longer defined by our past sins. Continue reading

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Pandemic Sermon: Job 42:10-17 and Isaiah 49:14-23, “Receiving Double from YHWH’s Hand”

COVID-19 and the reaction to it has caused deep divisions in our societies, and right down the middle of Christian communities as well….When we come back to meeting together, as a full church, or as an LCC family, or as societies reckoning with the effectiveness of policies (as I hope there will be investigations and evaluations, based in actual scientific understandings of how these viruses work that we had at the time), there will be anger and resentment that has to be dealt with….If we don’t, we could have a permanent division in our communities, which would be tragic.
…As we build back our lives, and build back our church community, can we think of our process as parallel to this—and also see it as an opportunity? Can we articulate our losses, express our anger and our sorrow, hear the anger and sorrow of others, and pray that God would help us to direct it and deal with it appropriately? Can we accept that nothing happens outside of God’s knowledge or control? Continue reading

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Sermon: Acts 2 and Isaiah 28:5-13, Pentecost

This is the audio (40:21, 36.9 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on May 23, 2021: Pentecost. The main text is Acts 2; I also make reference to Isaiah 28:5-13. Continue reading

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Sermon: Called to Community (Philippians 4:10-20)

This is the audio (50:10, 38.1 MB) of a sermon preached at the Kaunas Free Christian Church, on May 16. The main text is Philippians 4:10-20. Continue reading

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Sermon: A Testimony to the Powers (Ephesians 3:1-13)

This is the audio (41:27, 37.9 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on April 18. The main text is Ephesians 3:1-13. Enjoy hearing the sermon in both English and Lithuanian (back-and-forth)! You … Continue reading

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Sermon: Matthew 21:1-11, Palm Sunday

This is the audio (31:21, 28.7 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on March 28, Palm Sunday. The main text is Matthew 21:1-11; I also make reference to John 1:9-13 and Zech … Continue reading

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Reading Scripture with the Chronicler

On March 3, 2021, I had the honor of presenting a talk to the faculty and students of Spurgeon’s College (London), as part of their weekly postgraduate seminar. (As is seemingly every academic event these days, the seminar was conducted via Zoom.) My presentation was entitled, “Scripture Reading Scripture: Can the Chronicler Teach Us How to Interpret and Apply the Bible?” Continue reading

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