Posts by Grant Van Leuven

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I’m not a morning person: I struggle to sit up, let alone stand up—and to think, let alone thank. My wife is similar. She jokes that she was known in college (due to long days and nights studying) to grumble back at “Good morning!” with, “Good morning for you , not for me !” I too often roll out of...
When I see the Ten Commandments summarized artistically and framed for purchase to hang on the walls of a Christian home, I often wonder if the Fourth Commandment, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8), ought not to be chiseled out. Christians will for the most part acknowledge...
Contemplating the question, “If you could preach only one sermon, what would it be?” the thought that keeps returning is, “Love God.” Perhaps this focus of proclamation comes to mind because our church’s men’s study is going through Jonathan Edwards’ Charity and Its Fruits based on 1 Corinthians 13...
What season did we recently enter? Spring. What comes next? Summer. Then what? Fall. Then what? Winter. And then? Spring. And so on until Christ’s Second Coming. The year’s seasons are cyclical—and somewhat predictable. So the seasons of our years should not surprise us but rather inspire our...
During the ancient Apostles’ Creed’s [1] development over time into one of the Church’s first sanctioned statements of faith some of its phrases were inserted along the way into the completion of its final form; yet the belief of “the forgiveness of sins” was an initial part of this earliest...
Discussing the three marks of a true church during a seminary class (preaching the Word, administering the sacraments, and disciplining members), our professor emphasized the third by rhetorically asking, “How many true churches are there today?” His implication was, where are authentic churches to...
A fashion designer goes about creating clothes for people with a keen sense of how the parts and the whole will best fit together. The designer does not just throw fabric, thread, and needles into the wind but carefully draws patterns and then every stitch brings the pieces together. So ... God is...
We often pray the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer after sinning. We should learn to pray the sixth petition before similarly sinning again, remembering, ye have not because ye ask not (James 4:2). The essence of the sixth petition, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (...
If all your paperwork rolled like a sea over your desk, you’d struggle to navigate and prepare your tax returns. If you blanketed your computer’s desktop with all your digital files, you’d smother the writing of a departmental report. So is any unorganized library a maze of confusion. This is why...
In her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert , [1] Dr. Rosaria Butterfield compares her Christian conversion experience to "an alien abduction or a train wreck." As she shares about her very public Christian "coming out" while a tenured university English professor specializing in "Queer...
To guide God’s saints in readying themselves for the reception of His preached Word each Lord’s Day, this earthen vessel shares his own weekly preparation to proclaim it to them as a model to modify and use. Prepare through Prayer With an intense sense of the responsibility of the task and a desire...
Jennifer Marie, my dear wife, died on the fourteenth of September last year. [1] She was thirty-eight. We had barely made it to our eighteenth wedding celebration the month before. Our four young covenant children prepared and served us a special meal that she could eat. We dined together beneath...
If all your paperwork rolled like a sea upon your desk, you’d struggle to navigate and prepare your tax returns. If you blanketed your computer’s desktop with all your digital files, you’d smother the writing of a departmental report. So is any unorganized library a maze of confusion. This is why...
Let us meditate on what Jesus said to the thief next to Him on the cross, as recorded in Luke 23:43: “Verily … Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise”. [1] In union with Christ by faith, we will go immediately to a blissful place upon our death. We will leave this world of sin and misery behind us...
In her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert , [1] Dr. Rosaria Butterfield compares her Christian conversion experience to "an alien abduction or a train wreck." As she shares about her very public Christian "coming out" while a tenured university English professor specializing in "Queer...
Several people have told me they were first truly converted Christians upon becoming Calvinists. Finally, the Bible made sense when the Spirit enlightened them to see, caress, and smell TULIP’s five lovely petals of God’s sovereign embrace from regeneration to glorification. [1] Thus, as the...
My seminary professor of missions emphasized what is often glossed over when discussing and doing mission work: the Bible not only presents a message but a method of its delivery. [1] Similarly, the Bible has its own method of apologetics (self-defense) to which we must defer: it presents itself as...
Just as bottles of distilled water offer drink that is free of poisonous chemicals and clogging minerals, so the Church’s confessions provide boiled-down, condensed, purified orthodoxy for healthy Body life systems. For instance, a seminary student being examined on the floor of Presbytery with...
It is not uncommon for our church to receive protests for being careful adherents to the historic Westminster Standards; thus, I have developed a confessional apologetic that boils down to these modern proverbs: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”; and, “Don’t try and reinvent the wheel!” B. B...
In the context of conforming more consistently to the Westminster Confession of Faith , our Session revisited re-baptism while studying sections 27:3 and 28:6-7, especially pondering these closing words: “The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.” This led us to...
I have the privilege of ministering mainly to saints in their golden years. So as I preach through Leviticus 19, I am eager to reach verse 32 and lead my fellow greener brethren in reverencing our senior saints with these words: Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the...
Just as it revives the Body of Christ when schooled in the classic theology and pious character of the good old Puritans, so we may be renewed by “going old school” with The Log College. Considering that the prominent eighteenth century evangelist George Whitfield referred to what would later be...
In church, do you swagger with solemnity? Does a heavy countenance fall like a cloud over your pew? Are you so austere in worship that the children and babes in Christ near you know they best keep their mouths shut? In Matthew 21, the chief priests and scribes prove to be God’s enemies by not...
I once saw a sobering reminder of our mortality and need for the Son of David. A missionary shared his video of a dead Jamaican man lying in a simple wooden box in a walk-in freezer. Another man hammered nails into the box’s top as casually as one might prepare freight for shipping. The dead man...
The subject of a picture is determined by how it is cropped. So Systematic Theology guides the minister’s eye in preaching Christ through the Scriptures. And for a Presbyterian, the Westminster Standards are the thematic writings that aid his thinking through the presentation of the Bible to his...
In Colossians 2:8, Paul warns Christians to, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Does this command preclude philosophizing? That is, does God forbid “the love of wisdom”? Hardly! The...
When a character keeps popping up from cover to cover, you know that by his recurring presence the author is binding the whole book together. So the Holy Spirit shows Adam’s real historical existence as really important to the true story of sin and salvation by his protagonist role throughout...
How should you listen to a sermon? First, realize that you are responsible to actively (and thus, actually) listen. Like anything, you get personal benefit out of the preaching by what you put of yourself into the listening. Such self-accountability applies equally to the pastor. I often say to the...