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Psalm 126 (part 1): The laughter of the liberated

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 126.

Walking into a new year of wicked days

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 121.

Liturgical conquest through celebrating Christmas

Bnonn Tennant

Since Christ is Lord over time as well as space, and the church is authorized to act on his behalf to establish his reign on earth, it is our responsibility to determine the liturgical times and seasons to observe. The church throughout history has included Christmas in this.

How we participate in Christ through gift-giving and Christmas trees

Bnonn Tennant

Since we should be celebrating Christmas, the question is how. Are the forms of our celebration good? What spiritual patterns do they embody? We examine the scriptural symbolism of gift-giving and Christmas trees, to show that they are indeed good forms of liturgical practice that involve us in the incarnation of Christ.

Psalm 121 (part 2): Who does God keep?

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 121.

Vocation, part 13: the call to rest

Bnonn Tennant

Because sacrifice is built into creation, we are always living sacrificially. But what are we giving up, and to what? Christians are called to live in a way that puts the right things in the right places, and gives up the right things in the right way. This can only be done by placing God in his proper place.

Psalm 121 (part 1): The Wisdom of Faith in the Invisible

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 121.

Vocation, part 12: living sacrificially

Bnonn Tennant

Because sacrifice is built into creation, we are always living sacrificially. But what are we giving up, and to what? Christians are called to live in a way that puts the right things in the right places, and gives up the right things in the right way. This can only be done by placing God in his proper place.

Psalm 120 part 1: A Song for the Christian in a Lying Land

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 120.

Vocation, part 11: the calling to sacrifice

Bnonn Tennant

Although we tend to think of sacrifice in terms of atonement, it is actually built into the nature of creation before the fall. The pattern of giving something up to a higher thing is found in everything from seeds to offerings.

Psalm 129 part 3: Fruitfulness from Flogging

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 129.

Psalm 129 part 2: Voting in Gutter Grass

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 129.

Vocation, part 10: the calling of mothers

Bnonn Tennant

If women image God especially by being life-givers, how does this affect how they live? Is it just a question of having babies, or are there implications that should direct how they order their whole lives?

Vocation, part 9: how God calls mothers to image him as life-givers

Bnonn Tennant

If men image both the Father and the Son as name-givers and dominion-takers, how do women image God? When we examine Eve's creation and naming, we find patterns that strikingly resemble the Holy Spirit's eternal procession and economic work.

Psalm 129 part 1: Kids and Covenantal Identity

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 129.

Psalm 130 part 3: The Sanctification of Israel

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 130.

Vocation, part 8: how God calls fathers to image him as name-givers

Bnonn Tennant

Just as the Father gives his name to the Son, so human fathers confer identity and meaning upon their children—and the name of Christ himself, the greatest inheritance possible.

Vocation, part 7: how men are to rule their houses

Bnonn Tennant

Knowing how sin wars against our calling to image God as Father, ruling over our houses on his behalf, we now turn to the positive vision that scripture provides of how to do this, by learning to rule over ourselves.

Vocation, part 6: obstacles to husbands obeying their calling

Bnonn Tennant

Like women, men are cursed by God, and that curse combines with their fleshly desires to war against ourselves and our households. We must know our enemy to defeat our enemy—so we must understand all the ways in which sin tries to sabotage us in obeying our calling as men.

Vocation, part 5: obstacles to wives obeying their calling

Bnonn Tennant

Because Eve comes from Adam, and is called to help Adam, when God curses her, he curses that work. Just as he made Adam’s work toilsome by setting the ground against him, he makes Eve’s work toilsome by setting her against him. The curse creates a paradoxical ambivalence in woman: by nature she desires to serve her husband, but in the flesh she is no longer willing to give herself up to him. Fortunately, scripture gives us guidance to understand what this looks like, so as to avoid it, and models virtuous women like Abigail, so that wives may know what to strive for instead.

Vocation, part 4: household calling

Bnonn Tennant

If a wife is to glorify her husband, there must be something he is doing for her to glorify. How can a husband know God’s particular calling for himself and his household—and how can he cast a vision for that to his wife and children?

Psalm 130 part 2: Eagerly Waiting for Final Salvation

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 130.

Psalm 130 part 1: Out of the depths to mountain air

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 130.

Vocation, part 3: the calling of women

Bnonn Tennant

While the vocation of mankind is to glorify God in the work of dominion on his behalf, women have a special place in this, as they are called to be the glory of their husbands. While the vocation of men is focused outward to building the world, the vocation of women is focused inward to building their own houses.

Vocation, part 2: the end of our work

Bnonn Tennant

Contrary to common pop-theology, what God is preparing us for in glory is not a purely spiritual state, but a complete, embodied joining of heaven and earth. In eternity, we will continue to participate with God in the work of stamping his will into the world—a work no longer cursed by toil, but restful, blessed, and fruitful.

Vocation, part 1: the calling of mankind

Bnonn Tennant

Mankind through Adam, and redeemed in Christ, is called to exercise dominion on God’s behalf, impressing the heavenly pattern into the physical world, so that his will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. Yet this grand, cosmic vision is fulfilled through ordinary, daily work.

Psalm 127 part 5: Open Carry with a Full Quiver

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 127.

Psalm 127 part 4: The Renovations of Sanctification

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 127.

Hermeneutics and Christianese

Bnonn Tennant

In obeying our duty to read scripture well, we must sometimes identify key points at which translators obscure the text, rather than clarifying it. Certain terms have become like jargon in modern Christianity, with their own meaning which we import to them. Using these terms in translation can skew our understanding, or even obliterate how the text would have been understood by its original audience. Two examples of this are the words Christ and baptize.

Psalm 127 part 3: Building a Lasting Heritage Through Babies

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 127.

Psalm 127 part 2: Security in Yahweh or the State?

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 127.

Psalm 127 part 1: The Beams That God Builds With

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 127.

Psalm 131: Having faith with an uncertain future

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 131.

Psalm 123: Singing with Eyes to the Skies

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 123.

How should we worship? Part 14: song and warfare

Bnonn Tennant

We conclude our series by looking at how, as earthly members of the heavenly host, God fights for us, and with us. We especially look at the unique role that music plays in this, and how our own songs seem to affect the spiritual realm, repelling evil spirits, and rousing righteous ones.

How should we worship? Part 13: the Lord's Day as the Day of the Lord

Bnonn Tennant

From the voice of God walking in the garden in “the spirit of the day,” to John hearing the same voice when in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, the pattern of the Sabbath has always included the fear of judgment to those who are unfaithful. Despite the obfuscation of English translations, scripture uses the same term for “the Day of the Lord” and “the Lord’s Day,” which means that worship is not just about praise, instruction, and communion—it is also about judgment and punishment. God summons his church to participate in this as heavenly council members.

What makes a church a church? Part 6: Christians as divine council members

Bnonn Tennant

In the Old Testament, God divided up the kingdom of Adam into nations, and placed them under members of the divine council. But these angelic princes were more interested in receiving worship than in ruling on God’s behalf, and so God raised up the Lord Jesus to replace them. Through Christ, these heavenly powers are disarmed, the nations are re-inherited, and the church becomes the earthly contingent of the divine council in heaven.

How should we worship? Part 12: worship as divine council meeting

Bnonn Tennant

Most of scripture’s depictions of the heavenly court involve deliberations between God and his angelic princes, the divine council. Since we enter the heavenly court in worship, it is important to understand this aspect of its function—and when and how human beings are also involved in it.

How should we worship? Part 11: covering our glory to magnify God's

Bnonn Tennant

The central logic of 1 Corinthians 11 is that only one glory should be on display in worship: God’s. Veiling still matters in the modern day because God’s glory still matters in worship—and that is what is at stake.

How should we worship? Part 10: the sacrificial significance of bread and wine

Bnonn Tennant

Why did Jesus choose bread and wine as the elements of the Lord’s Supper? Although some of the symbolism is obvious, understanding the sacrifices of Moses reveals a great deal more about the nature of the Eucharist; especially about the wine, and why we symbolically drink blood—something always forbidden, even to the priests, in the old covenant offerings.

How should we worship? Part 9: the Lord's Supper as the center of life

Bnonn Tennant

If life flows out from worship, and worship culminates in communion with God, then the Lord’s Supper in some deep sense is the pinnacle and center of Christian existence. Correctly participating in the form and timing (liturgy) of the Lord’s Supper is not only critical to right worship, but to right living. This involves a sixfold liturgical pattern—rougly: taking, thanking, breaking, giving, judging, and integrating.

How should we worship? Part 8: the Lord's Supper as covenant remembrance

Bnonn Tennant

Although the Lord’s Supper is a deep mystery, Christ’s words of institution make it plain that it is a mystery of remembrance. When we trace the use of such language throughout scripture, it becomes clear that the Eucharist gathers up all of the feasts and sacrifices of the Old Testament into a single sacrament that brings God’s covenant to his remembrance, and reaffirms it between him and his people.

How should we worship? Part 7: the covenant logic & obligation of infant baptism

Bnonn Tennant

The covenant with Abraham finds its fullness in Christ: both the sign and the promises are fulfilled in the church. Since the sign and the promises are universally given to children in the various administrations of the old covenant, certainly they are given to children under the new—unless otherwise rescinded.

Psalm 20: Sing for Your Kings

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 20.

How should we worship? Part 6: worship as the center of life

Bnonn Tennant

Scripture views all of life as worship—it is impossible to avoid religious service to some god or other in everything we do. Although Christians think of worship exclusively in terms of the Lord’s Service, this is really the pinnacle from which weekday service to God flows. All of life is liturgical, with Sunday worship at the center. The Lord’s Service teaches us how to participate in the heavenly patterns, so that we can embody those patterns in our own everyday service, fulfilling “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Psalm 29: The Glory of Wild Weather

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 29.

How should we worship? Part 5: body language & song

Bnonn Tennant

What we do with our bodies always communicates something, and so our body language in worship matters a great deal. Even the word that we translate as worship in scripture really means to prostrate or bow down, and this is an essential posture toward God that we need to recover. Similarly, men should be lifting their hands in prayer.

Psalm 18: Coming on the Clouds Once More

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 18.

What makes a church a church? Part 5: enrollment by covenant

Bnonn Tennant

Scripture models for us in many places that there is an enrollment in heaven—a book of life consisting of all the members of God’s covenant people. As in heaven, so on earth: in the New Testament, elders are required to know who is enrolled under their care, and church members are required to submit to their elders. The only way for this structure to have moral force is through membership vows.

Psalm 104: Let Creation Please Its Creator

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 104.

How should we worship? Part 4: the meaning of what we wear

Bnonn Tennant

Clothing is a kind of language, and we cannot avoid speaking it. God provides careful patterns and instructions about fitting attire for worship. We must honor and revere him with our clothing, without magnifying ourselves against his own glory, or other brothers. Dressing for worship therefore requires a balance between modesty, and bringing the best of our substance before God’s throne.

How should we worship? Part 3: liturgical order of worship in scripture

Bnonn Tennant

The Bible reveals a clear sequence to how we should worship, which has been used as a general structure for Lord’s Day services throughout the history of the church: call; cleansing; consecration; communion; commission.

Psalm 19: The Perfections of God's Speech

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 19.

How should we worship? Part 2: liturgy as true magic

Bnonn Tennant

Arranging our worship to mimic and echo the heavenly reality is critical, because it creates a kind of “resonance,” where by expressing and embodying spiritual patterns, we actually enter into them.

Psalm 2: Fitting Kings with Fetters

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 2.

Why Christmas carols are so postmillennial

Bnonn Tennant

We divide history into BC and AD—Anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord.” But is Christ currently reigning—and if so, why do we mark the beginning of this “year,” this age of Christ, from his birth, rather than his resurrection or ascension? It is because his reign, carried out through his body on earth (his church), is not like the heavy-handed lording of the gentile rulers. It follows the same pattern in the whole world as it does in the life of the individual believer: tender sanctification unto maturity and perfection.

How should we worship? Part 1: the regulative principle

Bnonn Tennant

When we come to our Father’s house, we ought to greatly fear transgressing the rules for appearing before him. Lest we worship presumptuously, we must be careful to pattern everything we do after what is laid down for our instruction in the Bible. Scripture alone must regulate our worship.

Psalm 128: Praise Yahweh for The Patriarchal Blessing

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 128.

What makes a church a church? Part 4: communion with God

Bnonn Tennant

Since the church is the house and temple of God, a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices, its ministry is actually the substance of the shadows modeled in the temple worship of the old covenant. The nature of Old Testament sacrifices are therefore of great importance for showing us that the very end and purpose of worship is table fellowship with God himself—fellowship that we have by entering into heaven itself through Christ and the Holy Spirit.

What makes a church a church? Part 3: key ingredients

Bnonn Tennant

There are certain fundamental elements, without which a church cannot be (or fails to properly be) a church at all. Three of these elements are: (1) Gathering together physically on the Lord’s Day; (2) Holding fast to and instructing its members in the full counsel of God; (3) Discipling its members to apply that counsel to all of life.

Psalm 125: Saints as an Immovable City

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 125.

Psalm 122: Praise God for Christian Prosperity

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 122.

What makes a church a church? Part 2: duty & jurisdiction

Bnonn Tennant

Although the church is exclusively governed by Christ, and is commissioned to disciple and train the nations in righteousness, it is not the only authority that Christ has instituted in the world. It must co-exist with, and uphold the lawful authority of, the natural institutions of household and state.

Psalm 133: The Blessing of an Oily Beard

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 133.

What makes a church a church? Part 1: governance

Bnonn Tennant

A church is a body that participates in the universal church—a body, a self-regulating nexus of powers, governed exclusively by Christ, its head. This exclusive government, and all that it implies about who does not govern us, is foundational to our existence.

Psalm 17: The Pleas of a Righteous Man

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 17.

Scriptural patterns should shape our thought patterns (John 3:22-4:3)

Bnonn Tennant

We are taught to listen to what Scripture says, but we are not generally taught to listen to how it says it. But the structure of Scripture reflects the mind of God just as much as the content, and we should be paying careful attention to both. The ending of John 3, for instance, “rhymes” or “resonates” with many themes developed in the beginning of the gospel, and teaches us how to discern patterns between like ideas.

Psalm 14: Fools that Deny the Obvious

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 14.

Psalm 13: Singing of Someone Else's Sorrow

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 13.

Psalm 100: Marked by Thankfulness

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 100.

Psalm 65: Breaking the Untenable Silence

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 65.

Psalm 12: In the Midst of Apostates

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 12.

Psalm 29: Praise God for Destructive Weather

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 29.

Qualifications for pastors that pastors won’t preach

Bnonn Tennant

The biblical qualifications for elders in the letters to Timothy and Titus are well-known—but some of their implications are carefully avoided by the many preachers who don’t meet them. The requirements for rulers in the church were not invented out of whole cloth in the first century. They are grounded in the law of Moses.

Psalm 15: The Works of the True Worshipers

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 15.

Guardian angels & ghosts

Bnonn Tennant

The common assumption that Matthew 18 and Acts 12 give us glimpses of guardian angels is probably mistaken. Rather, the term angel in these passages is referring to human spirits.

Psalm 119: Loving a Minister of Death

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 119.

Psalm 96: Singing Outside the Church

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 96.

Psalm 11: A Remedy for Escapism

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 11.

Psalm 6: How to Sing Through Troubles

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 6.

Psalm 1: A Song that Teaches Happiness

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 1.

Psalm 9: Nations Sinking into Their Own Pit

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 9.

Psalm 8: The Intangible Strength of Children in Church

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 8.

Psalm 7: Give Me Justice, Even if it Hurts

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 7.

Psalm 5: The Hatred of God Toward Sinners

Jared

An exposition and application of Psalm 5.


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