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Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Bio



The Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a pastor, author, retreat leader, speaker, and blogger. Since October 2007 he has been the Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge, a multifaceted ministry in the Hill Country of Texas. Before coming to Laity Lodge, he was for sixteen years the Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in Irvine, California (a city in Orange County about forty miles south of Los Angeles). Before his time at Irvine Pres, Mark served on the staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood as Associate Pastor of Education. (Thanks to Janel Pahl for taking the photo to the right.)

Mark studied at Harvard University, receiving a B.A. in Philosophy, an M.A. in the Study of Religion, and a Ph.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins. He has taught classes in New Testament for Fuller Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Mark has written several books, including No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer (WaterBrook, 2005), Dare to Be True (WaterBrook, 2003), Jesus Revealed (WaterBrook, 2002), After "I Believe" (Baker, 2002), and Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Word, 1993). His most recent book is Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Crossway, 2007). He is currently working on a commentary on Ephesians that will be published by Zondervan in 2014.

Mark writes a devotional for The High Calling of Our Daily Work, a website associated with Laity Lodge. His "Daily Reflections" can be viewed online or sent as a daily email. If you wish to receive this email, just visit TheHighCalling.org and sign up.
Mark serves on the editorial board of Worship Leader magazine, where he publishes articles and reviews, including his regular column "Lyrical Poetry." Additionally, he has published dozens of articles in leading magazines and journals. He often speaks for churches and other Christian groups, and has been interviewed on over seventy-five radio programs nationwide.

Mark is married to Linda, who is a Marriage and Family Therapist, a Spiritual Director, and a retreat speaker. They have two children, Nathan and Kara.For Publicity Photos and Bio Statements for Mark, please check here.


Mark's Dossier

Professional History:

Senior Director and Scholar-in Residence, Laity Lodge, October 2007 to present.

Senior Pastor Irvine Presbyterian Church, June 1991 to September 2007

Adjunct Assistant Professor Fuller Theological Seminary, 1994 to 2007. Courses: New Testament Theology and Exegesis.

Adjunct Instructor San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1995 to 2001.
Courses: New Testament Greek and Exegesis

Associate Pastor of Education First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, 1987-1991

Teaching Fellow Harvard University, 1980-1983

Education:

Ph.D. in the Study of Religion. Harvard University, 1992. Area: New Testament and Christian Origins

M.A. in the Study of Religion Harvard University, 1984.

A.B. magna cum laude in Philosophy Harvard University, 1979. Phi Beta Kappa; Danforth Fellowship

Books:

Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Crossway, 2007

No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer. WaterBrook, 2005

Dare to Be True: Living in the Freedom of Complete Honesty
. WaterBrook, 2003.

Jesus Revealed: Know Him Better to Love Him Better. WaterBrook, 2002.

After "I Believe": Experiencing Authentic Christian Living. Baker, 2002.

Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther in the Communicator's Commentary Series. Word, 1993.


Contacting Mark:

You can reach Mark at:

E-mail:

mark@markdroberts.com
mroberts@laitylodge.org

Phone:

Laity Lodge: (830) 792-1216

Address:

Laity Lodge
719 Earl Garrett
Kerrville, TX 78028

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we […]

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Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Can We Find God in the City? Psalm 48:1-14 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future […]

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and […]

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Earliest Christian Reflection We have relatively little direct information about what the very first believers in Jesus thought about his death and its meaning. Acts of the Apostles gives us a small window into this period of time, but […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth, Part 7

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Summing Up As we have seen, Jesus not only predicted his death, but also spoke of it as being necessary (e.g. Mark 8:31). Why? Why did Jesus think he needed to die? Jesus provides several different answers to this question. […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth, Part 6

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Blood of the New Covenant As the Last Supper draws to a close, Jesus refers to the cup of wine as “my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24). This is an allusion to […]

How Does God Bring Destruction?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

How Does God Bring Destruction? Psalm 46:1-11 Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth, Part 5

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Last Supper: Megalomania or Mission? In my last post I discussed Jesus’ statement that he came, as Son of Man, to give his life as “a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Here we begin to grasp Jesus’ sense of […]

Typewriters are Coming Back!!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yes, that’s right. Typewriters are making a comeback among digital generation folks. The New York Times reports a wave of interest in even manual ones, in “Click, Clack, Ding! Sigh . . .” by Jessica Bruder. I’m not surprised about […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth, Part 4

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A Ransom for Many In my last post, I discussed the statement of Jesus: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). I talked […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth, Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Serving Son of Man In my last post in this series, I examined a passage from Mark 10 where James and John ask to be given places of honor and power in the kingdom of God. Jesus responds by […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Drinking the Cup In Mark 10 Jesus not only speaks of his pending death, but also suggests reasons for this death. In verse 33 he says to his disciples, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of […]

Massachusetts 100, Texas -100

posted by Mark D. Roberts

No, this is not some strange March Madness basketball score, though I must say I wouldn’t put anything past this year’s NCAA men’s tournament. It has to be the strangest year on record. In fact, I’m referencing the fact that […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Another Jewish Perspective . . . The Perspective of Jesus of Nazareth

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Setting Up the Problem According to the New Testament Gospels, Jesus fully expected that he would be tortured and killed. Yet he spoke of his death, not merely as something that would happen, but as something that must happen. So, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Face Down in the Dust

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Face Down in the Dust Psalm 44:1-26 We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt. Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love. Psalm 44:25-26 Has your life ever been so difficult that you […]

Something to Think About – Gadgets You Can Get Rid Of – NYTimes.com

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Spring Cleaning – Gadgets You Can Get Rid Of – NYTimes.com An article in the Times recommends gadgets you can get rid of. Hey, I don’t even have an alarm clock!

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? One Jewish Perspective, Part 6

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Summing Up One Jewish Perspective In the last five posts I’ve been examining “one” Jewish perspective on the necessity of Jesus’ death. Let me briefly summarize my findings, adding some observations along the way. 1. It’s more accurate to speak […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? One Jewish Perspective, Part 5

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Jewish Leaders Respond to Offenses Against the Temple In my last post, I suggested that one of the major causes of Jesus’ death was his “cleansing” of the temple. By interrupting the sacrificial system and by quoting Jeremiah’s own condemnation […]

Social Science Palooza II, by David Brooks

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Check out this delightful and insightful column by one of my favorite writers, David Brooks.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? One Jewish Perspective, Part 4

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The “Crime” of Jesus My last post in this series focused on the reasons why some Jewish leaders in Jerusalem believed that it was necessary for Jesus to die. The bottom line? He was a threat to their conception of […]

The Beginning of the End of Twitter?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Four years ago, at the South by Southwest music, technology, and film extravaganza in Austin, Texas, Twitter exploded into public prominence. Soon, the Library of Congress was saving all of our tweets. Yes, all of them! Before long, everybody, it […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Riding the Roller Coaster of Genuine Faith

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Riding the Roller Coaster of Genuine Faith Psalm 42:1-11 Why am I discouraged?      Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!      I will praise him again–      my Savior and my God! Psalm […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? One Jewish Perspective, Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Perspective of Jewish Leaders in Jerusalem Although the majority of Jews in Jerusalem may not have wanted Jesus to die, or may have had no opinion either way, some of the most influential Jews did see Jesus’ death as […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? One Jewish Perspective, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Why “One” Jewish Perspective?As a young Christian, I had a clear picture of what happened to Jesus in the last week of his life. This picture resulted from my knowledge of the Gospels, and, to a great extent, from images […]

In Honor of St. Patrick

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In Honor of St. Patrick READ Genesis 50:14-23 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20 Today is St. […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? One Jewish Perspective, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Placing This Conversation in Context Before I proceed to discuss one Jewish perspective on the necessity of Jesus’ death, I must say a bit about the contemporary context for this conversation. For centuries, many Christians hated Jews. Part of the […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Roman Perspective, Part 6

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you would like to read this whole series up to this point in logical/chronological order, visit this link:Why Did Jesus Have to Die?Roman, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives In my last post I began to describe Pontius Pilate’s predicament on […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Roman Perspective, Part 5

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you would like to read this whole series up to this point in logical/chronological order, visit this link:Why Did Jesus Have to Die?Roman, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives In my last two posts in this series on the death of […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Waiting Patiently for God?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Waiting Patiently for God? Psalm 40:1-17 I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,      and he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1 When I first read Psalm 40:1, I was immediately reminded of how hard […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Roman Perspective, Part 4

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As I explained in my last post, Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judea during the time of Jesus, governed his territory from Caesarea, a city on the Mediterranean sea about 75 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Immediate authority over Jerusalem itself […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Roman Perspective, Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Introduction to Pontius Pilate If we’re going to understand the Roman perspective on the death of Jesus, we need to know something of the Roman man who was legally responsible for his crucifixion: Pontius Pilate. Traditionally, Pilate has been seen […]

Do You Have to Give Up Something for Lent?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Do You Have to Give Up Something for Lent? I grew up hearing about Catholics who had to fast during the season of Lent. No meat on Fridays, only fish. This, you must understand, was a costly sacrifice in the […]

How Lent Can Make a Difference in Your Relationship with God

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Introduction to Lent Growing up as an evangelical Christian, I experienced Lent as little more than a joke. “What are you giving up for Lent?” my friends would ask. “Homework,” I’d say with a smirk, or “Obeying my parents.” Lent […]

Ash Wednesday: Practice and Meaning

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What is Ash Wednesday? What is Ash Wednesday? For most of my life, I didn’t ask this question, nor did I care about the answer. I, along, with most evangelical Christians in America, didn’t give Ash Wednesday a thought. But […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Roman Perspective, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I began to examine the Roman practice of crucifixion, arguing that if we want to understand why a Roman governor had Jesus crucified, we should first understand why Rome used crucifixion in general. What we discovered […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: God Knows Everything You Long For

posted by Mark D. Roberts

God Knows Everything You Long For Psalm 38:1-22 You know what I long for, Lord;      you hear my every sigh. Psalm 38:9 Psalm 38 was written in a time of deep anguish and exhaustion. David was physically ill, believing […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Roman Perspective, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The fact that Jesus was crucified rather than stoned, hanged, or killed in some other way means that the Romans were ultimately responsible for his death. Of course this is clear in the biblical gospels. But even if we lacked […]

Where Do We Start When Considering the Death of Jesus? Some Basic Facts

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Where should we start in our effort to discover why Jesus had to die? I propose to begin with some basic historical facts, facts that are affirmed by almost every historian and biblical scholar, even those who approach this question […]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Introduction

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As we approach the season of Lent, and then Holy Week and Easter, I propose to consider the question: “Why did Jesus have to die?” At the outset, I must say that this isn’t an easy question to answer for […]

Unbroken: The Shocking Story of the Happiest Man I’ve Ever Known

posted by Mark D. Roberts

No, I’m not exaggerating. If you were to ask me, “Who is the happiest man you’ve every known?” I would quite quickly answer, “Louie Zamperini.” As a boy, I attended the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. Every now and then, […]

The Anthropology of Lady Gaga and Ethics

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Last week I began to examine the anthropology (understanding of human beings) in the recent hit song of Lady Gaga, “Born This Way.” I began by presenting the lyrics and main ideas of the song. Then I commented on whether […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Fathoming the Unfathomable

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Fathoming the Unfathomable Psalm 36:1-12 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; ?     your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, ?     your justice like the ocean depths. Psalm 36:5-6 I’ve said “God […]

In the News: Younger People Not Reading Blogs

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The New York Times recently ran an article called “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter.”  Here’s the core of the article: Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. […]

News Flash: Caltech Gets First Conference Win Since Reagan was President

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The New York Times reports that the California Institute of Technology basketball team won its first conference game since 1985, beating nearby Occidental College 46-45. Caltech won by scoring the last nine points in a row, delighting the home crowd […]

The Controversial Anthropology of Lady Gaga Examined

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I introduced the controversial anthropology of Lady Gaga as found in her hit single, “Born This Way.” In a nutshell, her anthropology (understanding of humanity) is embedded in her title. Whatever I am, I was born this way. My […]

The Controversial Anthropology of Lady Gaga

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yes, rock star Lady Gaga has an anthropology. No, I don’t mean that she’s been digging around in the dirt, looking for remnants of ancient societies, or studying tribes in far away jungles. I’m not implying that Lady Gaga is […]

The Ten Commandments: Cowboy Style

posted by Mark D. Roberts

My friend Phil recently sent me an email featuring the “Cowboy’s Ten Commandments.” He said these were posted in the Cross Trails Church in Fairlie, Texas. Curious, I did a little digging around the Internet. Sure enough, there is a […]

The Confession App and the Ten Commandments

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A few days ago I put up some thoughts on the Confession app that had stirred the pot of popular opinion. At the center of this app is a guided reflection based on the Ten Commandments. It seems to me […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: God is Not Watching Us From a Distance

posted by Mark D. Roberts

God is Not Watching Us From a Distance Psalm 34:1-22 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;      he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 Two decades ago, the song “From a Distance” streaked to the top of […]

Know Your Limits . . . and Live Within Them

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today, I was exploring The High Calling, a website that features “Everyday Conversations About Work, Life, and God.” As I read several articles, I was struck by a curious overlap in content, an intersection of ideas that spoke incisively to […]

Resources for Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Three weeks from now, many Christians will gather for services on Ash Wednesday. Thus will begin the season of Lent, a six-week time of preparation for Good Friday and Easter. Over the years, I have produced a variety of online […]

A Deeply Moving Story: Through Pain and Grace Toward Redemption

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today, I read a deeply moving story and I want to commend it to you. It was written by Gordon Atkinson, a former pastor and engaging author who used to blog as the Real Live Preacher. It is a story […]

In the News: “Start Up Indiana Church Uses Sex to Sell Message”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yes, I admit that the USA Today headline caught my eye: “Start Up Indiana Church Uses Sex to Sell Message.” So what’s the story? New Day Church, a new church in Indiana, is using a marketing campaign that features ads […]

Feeling Cranky About 3-D Movies

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’m feeling cranky about 3-D movies. Yes, I know they’re the latest fad. But I’m hoping, like most fads, this one will soon pass away. I’ve never been a big fan of 3-D movies, ever since I saw Jaws 3-D […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: The Best Hiding Place of All

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Best Hiding Place of All Psalm 32:1-11 For you are my hiding place;      you protect me from trouble.      You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:7 When I was a boy, one of my favorite games […]

In the News: “Doing God’s Work – At the Office”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured an article called “Doing God’s Work – At the Office.” It examined the growing movement among Christians to see their work, yes, even their work in secular business, as an opportunity to serve God.  Their […]

More on the Confession App: Are You Getting Tired of Technology Hype?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Are you getting tired of technology hype? I am. What am I talking about? The tendency for people – especially those in the media, both old and new – to get overly excited about new technologies, losing perspective in the […]

Visiting My iPad Confessional

posted by Mark D. Roberts

An op-ed piece in the New York Times alerted me to a new iPhone/iPad app. In “Forgive Me, Father, for I Have Linked,” Maureen Dowd describes one of the newest and most popular apps. It’s called Confession: A Roman Catholic […]

Is Digital Technology Making Life Better . . . or Worse?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Is digital technology making your life better . . . or worse? Is work invading your personal life, if you have a personal life left? Is your personal life interrupting your work, making you more distracted and less effective? A […]

Will Facebook and YouTube Lead to Freedom? A New Book Says “No”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I blogged on a recent article in the New York Times that points to the extraordinary influence of Facebook and YouTube in the protests in Egypt. Is this time to celebrate the power of the Internet to bring political […]

In the News: Facebook and YouTube Fuel Egyptian Protests

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The New York Times has run a fascinating story on the impact of Facebook and YouTube on the protests in Egypt: “Movement Began With Outrage and a Facebook Page That Gave It an Outlet.” According to this story, last June, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Avoiding the Trap of Self-Reliance

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Avoiding the Trap of Self Reliance Psalm 30:1-12 When I was prosperous, I said,      “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O LORD, made me as secure as a mountain.      Then you turned away from me, and I […]

Great Deal on True Grit Soundtrack

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Last month, I wrote about the soundtrack from True Grit (Jan 11; Jan 12) focusing on its creative use of classic hymns, especially “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” I mentioned how much I have enjoyed this album by Carter Burwell. […]

Winter Along the Frio River

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Like most of the U.S., the Texas Hill Country has had some impressively low temperatures in the last few days. Out at Laity Lodge, which sits next to the Frio River, the temp dropped into single digits at night. That’s […]

In the News: Pepperoni Pizza

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In May of 1985, my wife and I traveled to Italy. It was my first time there, her second. When we arrived in Firenze (that’s Florence, to those of use who speak English), I was thrilled to see some of […]

In the News: Breakfast Doesn’t Help Dieters

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So, once again the experts have me confused. For years, I’ve read that if you want to lose weight, you need to eat a substantial breakfast. Skipping breakfast, we were told, makes you hungrier later in the day, so that […]

In the News: Does Facebook Make Us More or Less Social? (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I noted a recently released study of Facebook. S. Craig Watkins and H. Erin Lee of the Department of Radio-Television-Film of the University of Texas at Austin have published “Got Facebook? Investigating What’s Social About Social Media.” (You can […]

In the News: Does Facebook Make Us More or Less Social?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The hit movie, The Social Network, paints an ironic, sad picture of relationships in the age of Facebook. The creators of the most powerful social media website in the world, one that focuses on having lots of friends, are utterly […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Reaching Out to God for Mercy

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Reaching Out to God for Mercy Psalm 28:1-9 Listen to my prayer for mercy      as I cry out to you for help,      as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. Psalm 28:2 In the church where I […]

Words for the Ages, Words for Your Soul: “Jesus, I Come”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

At a recent Laity Lodge retreat, our musician/worship leader was Sandra McCracken. Sandra, a popular singer/songwriter, has released several solo albums and participated in many others. Her lyrical depth and engaging voice have made her one of the most sought-after […]

Should the Government Crack Down on Pedestrians Who Use Earbuds?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

According to the New York Times, lawmakers in several states are trying to limit the use of earbuds by . . . not drivers . . . but pedestrians: “In New York, a bill is pending in the legislature’s transportation […]

Buffalo Consumption at All-Time High

posted by Mark D. Roberts

According to the New York Times, more Americans are eating buffalo meat today than ever before. Why? Mainly because buffalo meat is high in protein and low in fat. And the fat in a buffalo is the good kind. “People […]

Billy Graham on Doing Things Differently and Evangelical Challenges

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Christianity Today online is featuring an interview with Billy Graham. This is really quite exceptional, since he doesn’t do many interviews anymore. The first part of the interview has to do with aging. I encourage you to read it, no […]

Oh-oh! Sleeping Next to Your Pet is a No-No!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you like curling up with your dog or cat when you sleep, USA Today has bad news for you:  “Sleeping next to pets could be harmful, study says.” According to professors of veterinary medicine, there is a chance that […]

NIMBYitis Alert: Not In My Back Yard!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Most Americans want things to get better in our nation. We want the economy to flourish. We want the government to be solvent. We want affordable, excellent medical care. We want clean energy. We want all of these things . […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Standing on Solid Ground

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Standing On Solid Ground Psalm 26:1-12 Now I stand on solid ground,      and I will publicly praise the LORD. Psalm 26:12 We don’t know the exact context for Psalm 26. It could be that David was impressed with the […]

Leading a Church in Challenging Financial Times

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This is the topic of my latest entry in the Patheos Preachers Portal. It’s appropriate for all church leaders, I believe, not just for “preachers.” Here’s the beginning of the article: In the last month, I’ve spoken with several pastors […]

The Social Network, The King’s Speech, and the “Homosexuality” of King David

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yes, there is a connection between these three topics. The connection is friendship. Please allow me to explain. The Social Network, which recently won the Golden Globe award for the Best Motion Picture (Drama), tells the story of the founding […]

Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think

posted by Mark D. Roberts

You hear a lot these days about science and religion. Most anti-religious folk claim that science undermines or even contradicts religious faith. As evidence for this claim (which, by the way, is not scientific, but philosophical), they point to the […]

Leadership and Corporate Culture

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’ve been thinking recently about corporate culture. If you’re not familiar with this phrase, let me explain that corporate culture has to do with the basic identity and personality of an organization (business, church, family, school, etc.). Corporate culture, or […]

The High Calling: Emulsification, the Minister’s Morgue, and Wearing the Skin of Jesus

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today I want to highlight three articles on The High Calling website. This website, to which I am connected through my work at Laity Lodge, offers a fascinating collection of diverse columns, all of which reflect the themes of work, […]

Movie Recommendations: The Social Network and The King’s Speech

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I saw two fine movies this weekend, The Social Network and The King’s Speech. These films have much in common: wonderfully written, directed, and filmed; outstanding acting performances; not much action, but plenty of gripping relational tension. Both movies are […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Open the Doors!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Open the Doors! Psalm 24:1-10 Open up, ancient gates!      Open up, ancient doors,      and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory?      The LORD of Heaven’s Armies–      he is the King of […]

Amazon Cann’t Spell or Use Decent English,

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I just got an email from the Customer Service Department of Amazon.com. It seems they’re concerned about account and need my financial information. I’m a big fan of Amazon and buy lots of books from them, but I must say […]

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms: Thoughts About Shared Songwriting

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Two days ago, I posted the story of the history of the hymn that forms the musical basis of the soundtrack for the recent film version of True Grit. In short, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” was co-written in the […]

Thinking of Haiti

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As we recall the earthquake that devastated Haiti one year ago, let me point you to two wonderful pieces at Patheos. Kent Annan, who have lived in Haiti and continues to serve, there, has written a profound, heartfelt “Prayer for […]

The Music of True Grit: “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I gave the back ground to the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” which permeates the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers’ film, True Grit. It is not actually sung until the end of the movie, when a […]

The Music of True Grit: Some Fascinating History

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I recently saw the new version of True Grit. Once again, the Coen brothers have written and directed an engaging, thought-provoking, and cinematically stunning movie. But, for me, one of the most striking parts of True Grit was not its […]

Experience Laity Lodge! You’ll Be Glad You Did

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As most of my readers know, blogging is not my day job. My official title at work is “Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge.” I have served in this role for the last three and a quarter years, after […]

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling: An Expansive Vision for Family Worship

posted by Mark D. Roberts

An Expansive Vision for Family Worship Psalm 22:1-31 The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.      All the families of the nations will bow down before him. Psalm 22:27 Many years ago while on a sabbatical […]

When Should a Preacher Mention “The Rabbit of Caerbannog”?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

My latest article at the Patheos Preachers Portal focuses on “Exegeting Your Congregation.” I was motivated to write this article by a Christmas Eve sermon that included a reference to “The Rabbit of Caerbannog.” You get extra credit if you […]

In the News . . .

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Three recent articles in the news caught my eye. New Edition Cleans Up Huckleberry Finn A new edition of Mark Twain’s classic novel, Huckleberry Finn, is being published. This version cleans up the text, replacing the N-word (used 219 times) […]

Epiphany: What is It? How Can We Celebrate It?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today is Epiphany, the day after the twelve-day celebration of Christmas (or in some liturgical calendars, the twelfth day of the Christmas season). The English word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word epiphaneia, which means “appearing” or “revealing.” Epiphany focuses […]

Fish Like Christmas Trees! Really!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Check out this fascinating little article in the New York Times. Who’d a thunk it?

Christmas According to Dickens: What Transformed Ebenezer Scrooge? What Transforms Us? (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I began to gather together the strands of this series and weave some conclusions about what transforms us. I suggested that: • Transformation begins when something interrupts our ordinary experience.• Transformation comes through pain.• Transformation comes through children. Today […]

The Predominance of the Visual on the Internet

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today’s New York Times features an article entitled: “Graphics Ability Is the New Goal for Chip Makers.”  Consumers, it appears, are less interested in light, svelte laptops and more interested in graphics power. One striking excerpt: By some forecasts, video […]

Christmas According to Dickens: What Transformed Ebenezer Scrooge? What Transforms Us?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’m finally ready to answer the question that has guided most of this series on A Christmas Carol: Why did Ebenezer Scrooge change? Today I want to sum up what we’ve discovered and make some connections to our own experience. […]

Want to Live a Long, Healthy Life? “This Year, Change Your Mind”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Oliver Sacks, a physician and bestselling author, has written an intriguing piece in the New York Times. “This Year, Change Your Mind” suggests ways we can keep our minds healthy and alive, even as we age. Here are some excerpts: […]

Christmas According to Dickens: Evidence of Scrooge’s Transformed Life: Stave V

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When we left Ebenezer Scrooge in my last post of this series, he had come to the end of the visits by the Spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. In response to these visits, he promised to be a […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Renew My Life!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Renew My Life! Psalm 119:33-40 I long to obey your commandments!      Renew my life with your goodness. Psalm 119:40 Today is the first Sunday of the new year. Thus, before we return to our normal walk through the Psalms […]

Jesus Appears at the Rose Parade!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This morning my family and I made our annual trek to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. We don’t actually watch the parade, however. Rather, we come early in the morning and view the floats close up. Then we watch […]

Christmas According to Dickens: Why Did Ebenezer Scrooge Change? Stave IV

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The final Spirit to visit Ebenezer Scrooge is the “Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come” or simply the “Ghost of the Future.” This silent Spirit, shrouded in black, takes the mythic form of death. Not surprisingly, the visions it reveals […]

Why Did Ebenezer Scrooge Change? Stave III, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I began considering what in Stave III contributes to the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge’s heart. I summarized the events of Stave 3, focusing especially on Scrooge’s response to children in need: Tiny Tim of the Cratchit family […]

Why Did Ebenezer Scrooge Change? Stave III

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When we last left Ebenezer Scrooge, he had just finished being visited by the first of three Christmas Spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past. He fell into bed, exhausted. At the beginning of Stave III, Scrooge awakes, ready for the […]

Why Did Ebenezer Scrooge Change? Stave II

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post, I began to examine A Christmas Carol to discover why Ebenezer Scrooge changed so dramatically. I showed that we see the tiniest hint of his transformation in his interaction with the ghost of Jacob Marley, whose […]

Christmas According to Dickens: Why Did Ebenezer Scrooge Change? Stave 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As A Christmas Carol begins, Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most unlikable characters in all of literature. Here, once again, is the full version of Charles Dickens’s classic description: Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Peace on Earth!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Peace on Earth! Luke 2:8-14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,      and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14 Merry Christmas! Yes, I know it’s the day after Christmas. But many Christians think of […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 25

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Another Christmas Miracle?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I shared the story of my daughter Kara’s “miraculous” silence when, as a seven-week-old baby, she played the baby Jesus in our church’s Christmas Eve pageant. No crying she makes? Indeed! There’s another chapter in that story. Except for […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 24

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

A Christmas Miracle?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I expect you may have heard your pastor complain about the line in “Away in a Manger” that proclaims, “The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” I admit that I have been one of those pastors. Though I did […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 23

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Christmas According to Dickens: What Made Scrooge Scrooge?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you call somebody a Scrooge today, everybody will know what you mean. You’re implying that someone is miserly, grumpy, and selfish, especially but not only during Christmastime. Soon I want to examine what made Ebenezer Scrooge change from being, […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 22

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Good Will Toward Whom? All? Or Only Those With Whom God is Pleased?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Cathy Lynn Grossman, religion writer for USA Today, raises an intriguing issue in her blog, Faith & Reason. In her post, “Christmas cards wish good will toward (mostly) all,” Grossman notes that some Christmas cards offer peace and goodwill, following […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 21

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Christmas Links: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A Tough Season for Believers Ross Douthat, columnist for the New York Times, suggests that Christmastime is, in fact, a “Tough Season for Believers.” Here’s how his recent Op-Ed Column in the Times begins: Christmas is hard for everyone. But […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 20

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

“Ebenezer Scrooge” – The Meaning of the Name

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As a first step in our consideration of the question “Why did Ebenezer Scrooge change?” I want to examine the character’s name. Charles Dickens was an author who paid attention to the tiniest details of a story. Surely he chose […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 19

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Where is God’s Unfailing Love?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Where is God’s Unfailing Love? Psalm 89:1-52 Lord, where is your unfailing love?      You promised it to David with a faithful pledge. Psalm 89:49 Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, a day to remember how much we need […]

I’m All for Keeping Christ in Christmas, But . . .

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Hey, I’m fully aware and supportive of the fact that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And I’m all for keeping Christ in Christmas, but somebody in my local Blockbuster video store might want to think twice about how […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 18

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Are We Watching the End of Christianity in Iraq?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Catholic News Agency published an article today that deserves our attention, our sadness, and our prayers. Here’s the beginning: Persecution leading Iraqi Christians to draw harsh conclusionsBy Alan Holdren, Rome Correspondent Rome, Italy, Dec 17, 2010 / 02:40 pm […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 17

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Christmas According to Dickens: The First “Ebenezer Scrooge”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If I were to tell you that Charles Dickens wrote a story about a solitary, crotchety old man who despised both people and Christmas until some supernatural visitors came to him on Christmas Eve and taught him to have a […]

Little Star: A Delightful Christmas Book for Children

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Sometimes it seems like the Christmas children’s stories mostly have nothing to do with Jesus. There are some wonderful exceptions, of course, like the story told in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Now I have nothing against the secular tales for […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 16

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Christmas According to Dickens: The Real Business of Christmas

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In Monday’s post I began to explain the impact of Charles Dickens, especially through A Christmas Carol, upon our celebrations of Christmas. In fact, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to describe him, in the words of the London […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 15

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Online Advent Calendar: December 14

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In 1988 the Sunday Telegraph of London gave Charles Dickens the title of “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” If you’re not familiar with the history of Christmas celebrations, this may seem like an enormous exaggeration. But when you look more […]

USA Today Stirs the Pot of Advent Controversies

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In its Opinion Section today, USA Today includes two articles focusing on Advent. Now that is notable all by itself. I can’t remember when a newspaper had two, count ‘em, two Advent themed articles. But it’s not all sweetness and […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 13

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Our Favorite Christmas Carol?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What Is Your Favorite Christmas Carol? If you were to ask people “What is your favorite Christmas carol?” you’d get a wide variety of answers. Many would offer up “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World.” Folks who count all […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 12

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Advent Inspiration from The High Calling: Streams in the Desert and Shouts of Joy

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Streams in the Desert and Shouts of Joy Psalm 126:1-6 Restore our fortunes, LORD,      as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears      will harvest with shouts of joy. Psalm 126:4-5 Where I live in the Texas […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 11

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Paying Attention to the Neglected Christmas Story

posted by Mark D. Roberts

We’re all familiar with the Christmas stories in the biblical Gospels. We know well Matthew’s story that focuses on Joseph and the visit of the Magi. And we love Luke’s narrative with Mary, a manger, and the shepherds. But there […]

Liam Neeson: More About Aslan’s Meaning in a Beliefnet Interview

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Check out this video of an exclusive Beliefnet interview with Liam Neeson. Very interesting! Here’s what Neeson has to say about Aslan and his meaning: Question: What is the takeway message with Aslan from the movies? Neeson: “I don’t like […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 10

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

The Christian Year and the Textures of Worship

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In this post I want to pursue a bit further how the Christian year can enhance our worship and therefore our relationship with God. As Christians we worship in light of the Gospel. Our worship is a response to the […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 9

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Could Aslan Symbolize Mohammed and the Buddha? A Response to Liam Neeson and the Christian Community

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As I explained in yesterday’s post, Liam Neeson, the actor who provides the voice for Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia films, has recently expressed his opinion that: “Aslan symbolizes a Christ-like figure but he also symbolizes for me Mohammed, […]

Could Aslan Symbolize Mohammed and the Buddha? Aslan’s Voice Says “Yes”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Actor Liam Neeson, who does the voice of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia films, including the forthcoming The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has upset fans of Narnia by claiming that Aslan represents, for him, a wide variety of […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 8

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Liturgical Colors and Visual Art in Worship

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I gave an overview of the Christian year, including a chart that listed key themes and colors. Today, I want to talk a bit more about liturgical colors and their meaning. The use of color and visual […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 7

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

The Colors of the Christian Year

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Part of what makes observing the liturgical year special is color. Different events and seasons are reflected in a variety of colors, including purple, white, green, black, red, pink, blue, gold, and some other colors as well. The seasonal color, […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 6

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Overview of the Christian Year

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In last Friday’s post, I began describing the Christian year (or liturgical year, or church year). Today, I want to provide an overview of this year in case you are not familiar with it.Before I do this, however, I should […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 5

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Advent Inspiration from The High Calling: Waiting for Forgiveness

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Waiting for Forgiveness:A Devotion for the Second Sunday of Advent Psalm 130:1-8 LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,      who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness,      that we might learn to fear you. […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 4

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Click on thumbnail to left to enjoy today’s Advent Calendar Scripture passage and photo. To view the rest of my Online Advent Calendar (so far), click here.

Online Advent Calendar: December 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Each year, I put up an online Advent calendar, with photos and brief passages of Scripture. The pictures vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. This is meant to enhance your celebration of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the […]

Happy New Year!?!?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Happy New Year! Are you having a Happy New Year? Yes, I know it’s early in December. Yes, I know we’re still in 2010. And, yes, I know that the giant crystal ball in Times Square hasn’t yet fallen. Of […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Each year, I put up an online Advent calendar, with photos and brief passages of Scripture. The pictures vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. This is meant to enhance your celebration of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the […]

Is Advent Biblical?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Earlier in this series I mentioned the fact that many Protestant Christians reject Advent because they consider it to be a Roman Catholic practice. For most of these people, it isn’t so much the Roman Catholic aspect of Advent that […]

An Advent Column Worth Reading: “A Counter-Cultural Quiet in Advent”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Adam McHugh, who has become one of my favorite writers, has just put up a thoughtful column on Advent at the Patheos website. I encourage you to check out “A Counter-Cultural Quiet in Advent.” Here’s how Adam’s column begins: For […]

Online Advent Calendar: December 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Each year, I put up an online Advent calendar, with photos and brief passages of Scripture. The pictures vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. This is meant to enhance your celebration of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the […]

Sharing My Greatest Advent Discovery

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Earlier in this series I spoke of discovering Advent. Of course I didn’t discover it in the way an explorer discovers a place no one has been before. Millions upon millions of Christians have observed Advent for centuries upon centuries. […]

Growing Closer to God in Advent: Some Practical Suggestions

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series I’ve explained what Advent is and why I have found it helpful to observe Advent. If you’re at all convinced, you may wonder what to do about it. In this post and the next in […]

Recommended Christmas Music: Under the Wonder Sky

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I have a new collection of Christmas music and I love it. Jeff Johnson and Brian Dunning have teamed up once again to produce a stellar album of Christmas music. Their earlier Christmas collections, A Quiet Knowing Christmas and Stars […]

Why I am an “Adventophile”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post in this series, I told the story of my Advent beginnings. When I started out as pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in 1991, for the first time in my life, I began to see Advent as […]

Advent Inspiration from The High Calling: Waiting for the Shepherd

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,     you who lead Joseph’s descendants like a flock.O God, enthroned above the cherubim,     display your radiant glory     to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.Show us your mighty power.     Come to rescue us! Psalm 80:1-2 Introduction to […]

How I First Learned About Advent

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I explained the timing and purpose of Advent, as well as its unexpected color scheme. I closed by noting that Advent is growing in popularity, especially among Protestant Christians who, in many cases, did not grow up […]

The Advent of Advent

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This coming Sunday is the first day of Advent. If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a year, you know that I generally make a big deal out of Advent. If you’re new to my blog, however, you […]

Inspiration from the High Calling: Thanksgiving – Not Just a Day, But a Way of Life

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Colossians 3:12-17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17 Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a day set apart by […]

But How Can I Be Thankful When . . . ?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Bible instructs us to be consistently thankful. In writing to the Thessalonian Christians, the Apostle Paul said, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:18). This sounds […]

Remember to Thank Other People Too!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’ll never forget something I heard at the baccalaureate service that was part of my graduation from college. As I sat in the Memorial Church of Harvard University, the President of Radcliffe College (part of Harvard) said something like, “The […]

Finding the Heart of Thanksgiving

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As you know, this coming Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Yet for many of us, that day is so full of activity that we actually have little time for intentional, extended giving thanks to God. So, as has been my […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Is God a Dragon?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Is God a Dragon? Psalm 18:1-50 Smoke poured from his nostrils;      fierce flames leaped from his mouth.      Glowing coals blazed forth from him. Psalm 18:8 Psalm 18 celebrates God’s deliverance of David from danger and distress. “The ropes […]

Bible Cut from Harry Potter Film!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Okay, I’ll admit that my headline is more suitable for a tabloid than my blog. But, hysterics aside, what I’ve just proclaimed is true. The Bible was cut out of the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. […]

Thankful for Autumn

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Growing up in Southern California, I never really experienced autumn. Yes, a few trees in our neighborhood changed colors as the weather got a bit cooler. But there just isn’t much seasonal variation in Southern California. When I went to […]

A Brief History of Thanksgiving

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Several years ago, I asked my six-year-old nephew, “On Thanksgiving, to whom do we say thank you?” He quickly responded, “To the native Americans.” (No, I’m not kidding.) “Do we say thank you to anybody else?” I queried persistently. “To […]

Meals That Change Your Life

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As we approach Thanksgiving Day and its famous meal, Adam McHugh shares some thoughts on how meals can change your life. Check out his article in Relevant Magazine. 

Thoughts on Thanksgiving: Introduction

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yes, I know that today is not Thanksgiving Day. Yes, I know that the official American holiday falls on the fourth Thursday in November, not the third. So, yes, I know that I’m a week early. But I’d like to […]

Was Jesus Divine? Early Christian Perspectives – Interim Conclusions (Part 4)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I summarized several key factors in the early Christian discovery of the deity of Jesus. These were: Jesus Spoke with God’s Own AuthorityJesus Forgave Sins as if He Were GodJesus Assumed the Character of Divine WisdomJesus […]

Was Jesus Divine? Early Christian Perspectives – Interim Conclusions (Part 3)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post, I argued that the resurrection of Jesus, though not proving that he was God, did vindicate him and his ministry. Through the lens of Easter, the early Christians began to see things about Jesus that they […]

Was Jesus Divine? Early Christian Perspectives – Interim Conclusions (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

No matter how Jesus lived, no matter what he said or did, if he had simply died on a Roman cross like so many other Jews in the first century A.D., then that would have been the sad ending to […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Where Have You Fixed Your Attention?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Where Have You Fixed Your Attention? Psalm 16:1-11 I know the LORD is always with me.      I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalm 16:8 Psalm 16 begins with a cry for divine help: “Keep […]

Big Birds in My Back Yard

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Recently, I’ve been fascinated by big birds in my back yard. No, no, not the Big Bird from Sesame Street (pictured to the right). Rather, I’m talking about hawks and vultures. A certain hawk, at least I think it’s one […]

Was Jesus Divine? Early Christian Perspectives – Interim Conclusions (Part 1)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

After spilling ample ink (well, pixels) on the subject “Was Jesus Divine? Early Christian Perspectives,” I’m finally ready to begin to draw some interim conclusions. I call these “interim” conclusions because I believe that what I’m proposing here is not […]

Now That’s What I Call Putting Up Christmas Lights!!!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Okay, okay. I am usually pretty cranky about businesses that put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. But yesterday I saw something that deserves some attention. I was at a business meeting at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, near […]

Sometimes Life is as Strange as a Porcupine

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A few days ago I was driving along a country road in Texas when I saw a dead porcupine by the side of the road. I seem to come across porcupine-shaped road kill about once a year since moving to […]

Jesus the Son (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I began looking at how Jesus referred to himself as simply “the Son” in relationship to God, whom he called “Father.” Jesus’ language suggested an unprecedented intimacy with God. Such intimacy was also implied in the baptism of Jesus. […]

Jesus the Son (Part 1)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As we have seen, Jesus regularly referred to himself as the “Son of Man.” “Son of God,” on the contrary, appears on Jesus’ lips only twice in all of the gospels (John 5:25; 11:4). Not only did Jesus seem to […]

No One Does Good? Really?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Psalm 14:1-7 But no, all have turned away;      all have become corrupt. No one does good,      not a single one! Psalm 14:3 I remember when I first resolved to read through the whole Bible. I was in high […]

Strange Stories Related to Food and Drink

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Check out these stories: U.S. Appeals Court Dismisses Suit Against StarbucksRachel Moltner sued Starbucks because she spilled a cup of Starbucks tea on herself, causing burns and related problems. She sued for $3 million, arguing, among other things, that Starbucks […]

What Do Anorexia Nervosa, Zombies, Ambition, and a Tractor Seat Have in Common?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What do anorexia nervosa, zombies, ambition, and a tractor seat have in common? Answer: They are featured in recent posts at The High Calling: Everyday Conversations About Work, Life, and God. “So I Stopped Eating” is the first post in […]

Jesus, the Unexpected Son of Man (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post I showed how Jesus startled his disciples by claiming that he, as the Son of Man, would suffer and die. Though Jewish visions of the Son of Man pictured him as receiving honor and glory, Jesus said […]

Jesus, the Unexpected Son of Man (Part 1)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I showed how some of what Jesus said about the Son of Man was drawn from Jewish speculation about the future. Even as Jewish visionaries in the time of Jesus looked forward to the coming of […]

The Son of Man in the Judaism of Jesus

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I began to examine Jesus’ use of the self-designation “Son of Man.” I noted that although this was Jesus’ preferred title for himself, his followers have generally been confused by what Jesus meant when he called […]

Jesus and the Perplexing Son of Man

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post, I noted that Jesus rarely referred to himself as the Son of God. Yet he frequently spoke of himself as the Son of Man. This title, rarely used by Christians today when we speak of Jesus, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: What To Do When Things Keep On Getting Worse

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What To Do When Things Keep On Getting Worse Psalm 12:1-8 Help, O LORD, for the godly are fast disappearing!      The faithful have vanished from the earth! Psalm 12:1 Psalm 12 begins with a dire description of a culture […]

Jesus as the Son of God

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I showed how the picture of Jesus in the prologue of John’s Gospel was drawn on the basis of the Jewish figure of divine, yet with a striking innovation. Whereas the Jewish sages envisioned Wisdom as […]

Echoes of Wisdom and the Divinity of Jesus: Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Let me review briefly what we have seen so far about Wisdom and Jesus before I dive into today’s new material. I began this series with a simple question: Why did Jesus’ followers start thinking that he was, not just […]

Echoes of Wisdom and the Divinity of Jesus (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I began to examine echoes of Wisdom in the ministry of Jesus. By Wisdom, I mean not the human trait of wise judgment, but the divine characteristic pictured in the Old Testament and other Jewish sources […]

Echoes of Wisdom and the Divinity of Jesus: Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

One of the most influential theological movements in ancient Judaism was what scholars call The Wisdom Tradition. Beginning many centuries before Christ, faithful Jews began to pass along popular wisdom, such as we find in the biblical book of Proverbs. […]

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More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mark D. Roberts. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 2:09:11pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions
In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we cannot fully understand the necessity of Jesus’ death without taking them all

posted 2:47:39am Apr. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling
Can We Find God in the City? Psalm 48:1-14 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever,

posted 2:05:51am Apr. 10, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3
An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and trendy jewelry to associate the cross with love. But, in the first

posted 2:41:47am Apr. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2
The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (15:3). Yet this text doesn’t expl

posted 2:30:03am Apr. 07, 2011 | read full post »