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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

Who is the Savior? Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In last Friday’s post I began to answer the question of why the earliest Christians came to regard Jesus as divine. I showed how belief that divine salvation came through Jesus led to confessing Jesus as the Savior. Then, given […]

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Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Justice for Orphans and the Oppressed

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Psalm 10:1-18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,      so mere people can no longer terrify them. Psalm 10:18 Psalm 10 begins by wondering why the Lord lets the wicked do their evil deeds and even […]

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Laity Lodge in Early Autumn

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Autumn is just now coming to the Texas Hill Country. I thought I’d share with you a couple of photos of Laity Lodge, the retreat center where I work. Laity Lodge is situated on the bank of the Frio River […]

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Who is the Savior? Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series we’ve looked at historical evidence that shows that some of the earliest Christian spoke of Jesus as Lord, applying to him the very name of Israel’s God. To their Lord they prayed and offered worship. […]

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is One!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

One of the classic Jewish affirmations appears in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with […]

The Paradoxical Path to Lordship

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I examined one of the very oldest bits of evidence for early Christian belief about Jesus. As you may recall, the original Greek text of 1 Corinthians 16:22 contains the Aramaic phrase, marana tha, which means, […]

Maranatha! What Difference Does It Make?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Sometime in the mid-50s A.D., the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth. He concluded this epistle in the following way: I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Let anyone be accursed who has no […]

Provocative Readings on the Future of Christianity

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In the last two weeks I’ve read three provocative pieces on the future of Christianity in general, and evangelical Christianity in particular. Two are books, one is an article. All three share certain things in common, though their visions for […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Real, Basic Stewardship

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Real, Basic Stewardship READ Psalm 8:1-9   You gave them charge of everything you made,      putting all things under their authority. Psalm 8:6 At this time of year, many churches focus on stewardship. For sixteen years as pastor of Irvine […]

Why Business Matters to God . . . Jeff Van Duzer at Laity Lodge

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This weekend Laity Lodge is hosting a retreat that is co-sponsored by Seattle Pacific University and the Laity Leadership Institute. National and international leaders in business, the academy, and the church have gathered to think about business from the vantage […]

Earliest Christian Belief About Jesus: What Evidence Do We Have?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I laid out a popular theory among some scholars for how the early Christians came to think of Jesus as divine. Let me review it briefly. According to this theory, the first followers of Jesus didn’t […]

Popular Theories About Why Early Christians Considered Jesus as Divine: Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last two posts in this series, I examined two theories that seek to explain why the earliest Christians regarded Jesus as divine. I found both of these to be lacking, though both point in a direction that will […]

Prophecy in 1 Corinthians and in the Church Today

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In the last two days I’ve surveyed Paul’s teaching about prophecy as found in 1 Corinthians. Let me summarize what we have discovered. Prophesying was a common activity in the gatherings of Corinthian Christians (or at least that seems to […]

Prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post I began considering the nature and function of prophecy in 1 Corinthians, focusing especially on chapters 12 and 13. Today I’ll pick up the conversation by examining chapter 14, which provides more data about prophesying in the […]

Prophecy in 1 Corinthians

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Preface If you’ve been following my blog recently, you know that I’ve just begun a series on the divinity of Jesus. I’ll get back to that series soon. But I’d like to take a short break to put up a […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Is There a Place for Sadness in Authentic Christianity?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 6:1-10 I am worn out from sobbing.     All night I flood my bed with weeping,     drenching it with my tears. Psalm 6:6 I grew up in a culture, church, and family that didn’t have much room for sadness. If […]

Some Political Signs in my Town

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In a couple of months, we’ll be decorating our homes for Christmas. In the meanwhile, many Americans choose to decorate their front yards with political signs. Check out these options from my town of Boerne, Texas. Actually, this isn’t a […]

Popular Theories About Why Early Christians Considered Jesus as Divine: Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post, I began considering popular theories about why the early Christians considered Jesus to be divine. The first theory pointed to the fact that they thought of Jesus as Messiah and therefore Son of God. But I […]

Popular Theories About Why Early Christians Considered Jesus as Divine (Part 1)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

There are many popular theories about why the earliest Christians considered to Jesus to be divine. You can find these regularly espoused by preachers, teachers, professors of religion, or debunkers of Christianity. As you might be able to tell already, […]

Was Jesus Divine? Early Christian Perspectives – Introduction to the Series

posted by Mark D. Roberts

“I’m okay with Jesus being a great teacher and even somehow a heavenly revealer,” a man once said to me, “but I’m just not into this whole notion of Jesus being God. I have a hard time with that one.” […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Conclusion (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I confessed that I am by nature someone who avoids conflict. Thus, I am wired not to obey the teaching of Jesus with respect to confronting one who sins against me. Nevertheless, in my effort to […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Conclusion

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I have come to the end of this series on what to do if someone sins against you. I have done my best to interpret the teaching of Jesus on this subject with accuracy. I’m sure I have made some […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Abundant Joy

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Abundant Joy! READ Psalm 4:1-8   You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. Psalm 4:7 When have you felt really, really joyful? When have you been so full of gladness […]

A Few More Summer Vacation Photos

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I thought it would be fun to share a few more photos from my summer vacation. These were taken by my son, Nathan, who has quite an eye for photography. I’m hiking near Dingleberry Lake in the High Sierra (Sabrina […]

How Can I Forgive Someone Who Doesn’t Admit to Having Done Anything Wrong?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

With this post I am finishing my series: What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: The Teaching of Jesus. You can find this whole series in logical order here, if you wish. Let me review the basic steps outlined […]

What Do To If Someone Sins Against You . . . in the Digital Age, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I set up the question: How do we apply the teaching of Jesus about confronting someone who sins against us . . . in the digital age? Since it can be much easier and safer to communicate with someone […]

What Do To If Someone Sins Against You . . . in the Digital Age

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Jesus says that if someone sins against you, you’re to go to the person when you can be alone and point out that person’s fault. This seems clear enough, even if we’re not all that happy about it. But how […]

What To Do When You Sin Against Someone

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series we’ve focused on the main question: What should you do if somebody sins against you? The answer, in a nutshell: Go to that person. Even though you’re the wronged party, you should initiate reconciliation, according […]

What Do To If Someone Sins Against You: Lavish Forgiveness

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far our investigation of Matthew 18 has turned up the following guidance for what to do if someone sins against you: Step 1: Go and privately point out the fault to the wrongdoer.If Step 1 is successful, you have […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Kiss the Son!?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 2:1-12   Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,     and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities–for his anger flares up in an instant.     But what joy for all who take refuge in […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Step Four (continued)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I began to examine step four of Jesus’ guidance for what to do if someone sins against you. In case you’re new to this blog series, let me review what we’ve seen so far, based on a close reading […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Step Four

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series we’ve seen that Jesus’ guidance for what to do if someone sins against you includes three steps: Step 1: Go and privately point out the fault to the wrongdoer.If Step 1 is successful, you have […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Step Three

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I examined step two of Jesus’ guidance for what to do if someone sins against you. Let me review what we’ve seen so far: Step 1: Go and privately point out the fault to the wrongdoer.If […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: When the One You Confront Doesn’t Listen, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I began to consider what we should do when we privately confront someone who sinned against us but that person simply won’t listen. Though we might want to let things drop at this point, Jesus says we’re not done. […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: When the One You Confront Doesn’t Listen

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series I’ve examined the beginning of Jesus’ instructions on what to do if someone sins against you. Step one, you may recall, was to go to the person and tell him or her the fault in […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: The Antidote to Worship Crankiness

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Antidote to Worship Crankiness READ Psalm 150:1-6   Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;     praise him with strings and flutes! Psalm 150:4 Worship crankiness. As a pastor, I’ve dealt with it for years. As a worshiper, I struggle with […]

Moths, Anyone?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’ve seen both of these moths in the last couple of months. They were both about four to five inches from wingtip to wingtip. This means what you’re seeing below is pretty close to life-sized. Imperial Moth (Laity Lodge, near […]

What to Do If Someone Sins Against You: The Purpose

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I examined the first step in Jesus guidance concerning what to do if someone sins against you. It was this: “Go and point out the fault when the two of your are alone.” In this post […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Step One

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I discussed the set up for Jesus guidance concerning what to do if someone sins against you. In this post I’ll examine step one of his advice. Here, once again, is the whole passage from Matthew […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Jesus Sets Up the Case

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I introduced Matthew 18:15-17, a passage in which Jesus talks about what to do if someone sins against you, and made some preliminary remarks. Today I start examining the text itself. The whole passage reads: “If […]

What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: Introduction to the Teaching of Jesus

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In last Friday’s post I introduced this series, which seeks to answer the question: “What should I do if someone in the church sins against me?” With no further ado, let’s examine the basic teaching of Jesus: “If another member […]

Cup Holders, Anyone?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I remember my first cup holder. It was an awkward, plastic device that attached to door of my car. It was supposed to hold a small cup or can of soda. It did so, though not very successful. If I […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: An Expansive Call to Worship

posted by Mark D. Roberts

An Expansive Call to Worship READ Psalm 148:1-14   Praise the LORD!     Praise the LORD from the heavens!     Praise him from the skies! Psalm 148:1 As a pastor for more than twenty years, I have “called people to worship” dozens, if not […]

Something to Think About on 9/11

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, 1883 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall standA mighty woman with a torch, whose flameIs the imprisoned lightning, and […]

When Someone Sins Against You: Introduction

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Christian fellowship is one of life’s sweetest desserts. There’s nothing quite like being with a group of people who love you warts and all. There’s great peace in sharing life with folks who are there to weep when you weep […]

Love and Keeping a Record of Wrongs

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I began to consider what it means that love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). In particular, I raised the question of whether or not it’s ever appropriate for a loving Christian to keep […]

Love is Fine, But What About . . . ?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’ve received lots of comments and emails in response to this series on Christians in conflict. Many have left me with mixed feelings. I’ve heard from people who have found my discussion to be very helpful to them, a fact […]

Want to Grow in Your Faith? Check out Reclaiming the Mind Ministries

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A couple of years ago I became aware of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. I was most impressed with the high quality of the educational materials they make available online. I continue to think that Reclaiming the Mind Ministries offers a […]

The Long View of Love

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Many years ago I found myself in a conflict with a fellow leader in my church. Though I tried everything I could think of to bring reconciliation, I failed. As he was leaving our church, he made sure that many […]

Goldfinches, Anyone?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I took this picture in my backyard a few days ago. If you look carefully, you can count twenty Lesser Goldfinches on the two feeders.

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Are You in Good Hands?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 31:1-24   My future is in your hands. Psalm 31:15a I can still hear the television commercial’s promise echoing in my memory: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.” In fact, this slogan was created by David Ellis, the […]

Three More High Sierra Photos

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Here are three more photos from my recent vacation, which included several marvelous hikes in the High Sierra of California. Bull Lake, outside of Bishop, California. A Sierra Lily, near Mammoth Lakes, California. My son Nathan in a moment of […]

Love for the Long Haul

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I mentioned earlier in this series that I get nervous sometimes over the hyper-romanticism of weddings. All too often that which begins in dreamy splendor ends in the all-too-real sadness of disappointment or divorce. Romantic love is just fine, but […]

Loving Like Jesus . . . Easier Said Than Done

posted by Mark D. Roberts

1 Corinthians 13 calls us to love like Jesus. Though he is not specifically mentioned in verses 4-7, Jesus is surely the model behind Paul’s exhortation. The love of Jesus is epitomized, most of all, in the cross, in his […]

What Love Is All About: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I began my investigation of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Today I continue by focusing especially on verses 4-7: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its […]

What Love Is All About, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The specific problem to which 1 Corinthians 13 was addressed concerned the behavior of some Corinthian Christians in the common gatherings and the attitudes attached to that behavior. In a nutshell, some of the Corinthians got very excited about their […]

What Love Is All About: Realism Beyond Romance

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’ll confess to being a softy when it comes to romantic things. I’m not necessarily good at thinking them up and doing them, mind you, but I’m an appreciative observer. I’m a sucker for a romantic film, even a corny […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Why Do We Praise the Lord?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 96:1-13   Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!     He is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:4 There are many reasons to praise the Lord. Scripture repeatedly calls us to do it, so we […]

Déjà vu!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Here are three pictures of my son, Nathan, and his cousin, Dustin, on family vacations. Do you get a sense of déjà vu? Wading in Deep Creek, in the San Bernardino Mountains of California, April 2002. Diving into the Stanislaus […]

How NOT to Solve Conflicts Among Christians, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I examined a passage from 1 Corinthians 6, which instructed Christians to avoid solving their problems in secular court. Let me quote that text again before suggesting some practical implications. When you have something against another Christian, why do […]

How NOT to Solve Conflicts Among Christians

posted by Mark D. Roberts

My friend “Jeff” was the pastor of a church in Southern California. He and I became friends because we shared many of the same challenges as well as the same basic faith in Jesus Christ. I always liked Jeff because […]

How to Think About Christian Leaders? Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I examined 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, considering its implications for how we think about church leaders. I closed by admitting that sometimes it is not easy for a pastor or other leader to seek God’s glory, especially when […]

How to Think About Christian Leaders?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

During my years as Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, every once in a while I’ll hear somebody refer to the church as “Mark’s church.” Though I understood the shorthand, nevertheless it grated on my soul like fingernails on a […]

What is the Church?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I worked with the question: “Whose church is it?” The answer from 1 Corinthians is clear. The church is God’s church. The church is the creation and “property” of the triune God. Acknowledging this means that […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Toss Your Burden on the Lord

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 55:1-23   Give your burdens to the LORD,     and he will take care of you.     He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22 But something is lost in this more contemporary rendering. The Hebrew verb translated […]

Curious Signs in Bishop, California

posted by Mark D. Roberts

On a recent vacation trip to Bishop, California, I saw some curious signs that I thought I’d share with you. DUTCH CLEAN – I’m assuming this means “very clean.” Hence the happy face. I’ve never heard this expression before. Have […]

Whose Church Is It?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I set up the first-century Corinthian church as a paradigm of a church in conflict. The letter we know as 1 Corinthians is the effort of the Apostle Paul to resolve the controversies that were plaguing […]

Corinth: The Paradigm of Christian Conflict

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you consider the issue of Christians in conflict from a New Testament perspective, you will quickly focus on Corinth. No church in Scripture is more ridden with disagreement and controversy than the Corinthian church, which explains, in part why […]

Pictures from My Recent Vacation

posted by Mark D. Roberts

My recent vacation in the High Sierra of California produced some amazing pictures. These were taken by my son, Nathan. I thought you might enjoy them. (I’ll get back to my series on Christians in conflict tomorrow.) Lupine with a […]

Feeling Stupid? Here’s a Good Reminder

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Bradley J. Moore, a business executive in the Northeast and a blogger at Shrinking the Camel, has just put up a helpful post called “It’s Okay to Feel Stupid Sometimes.” If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate this reminder and the […]

Having the Mind of Christ, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Throughout the ages, commentators and preachers have seen Philippians 2:1-11 as a theological reflection on Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet in John 13. In this gospel text, Jesus literally humbled himself, doing that which an actual slave would ordinarily […]

Having the Mind of Christ

posted by Mark D. Roberts

On Friday I encouraged you to read Philippians 2:1-11 slowly and prayerfully. Today I’d like to highlight a few features of this astounding text. If you’re in the middle of a conflict with other Christians, however, you might not like […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Why Do We Praise the Lord?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 96:1-13   Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!     He is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:4 There are many reasons to praise the Lord. Scripture repeatedly calls us to do it, so we […]

Good News for Churches and the Next Generations?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I put up a blog post entitled: “USA Today: Teens Losing Interest in Church and Church Camp.” The USA Today article offered bad news for churches and their connection with younger people. But, last Monday, USA Today ran an […]

Jaws in Orange County, California . . . Really!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

That’s right. A great white shark has been spotted near the placid shores of Orange County, California. Two great whites, actually! Surfers near San Onofre had spotted what seemed to be two great white sharks in the waters near where […]

USA Today: Teens Losing Interest in Church and Church Camp

posted by Mark D. Roberts

USA Today features an article today that contains bad news for churches. “‘Forget pizza parties,’ teens tell churches“ builds upon research done by the Barna Group. In summary: Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, […]

Let God Speak to You Through His Word

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I suggested that Scripture should be a primary starting point for seeking God’s will when we’re in conflict with other Christians (or anyone, for that matter). Today, I want to draw your attention to one of the most important […]

Dealing with Conflict Among Christians: One Starting Point

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Where should we start if we’re seeking God’s guidance for conflict among Christians? Here’s where my Protestant convictions come strongly into play. We should start with Scripture, with God’s inspired Word. Now this is always a good starting point, the […]

God’s Guidance for Christians in Conflict: Introduction

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This is one blog series I wish were completely unnecessary. I wish conflict among Christians were a relatively insignificant problem. I wish we who believe in Jesus could experience the unity he commended to us (John 17:20-24). I wish there […]

Have You Discovered My Series Collection?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

One of the distinctive features of my blog is the collection of past blog series that I create and make available to readers. As you know, most blog posts on most blogs are stand alone entries. But I tend to […]

More from the Patheos Series on the Future of Evangelicalism

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Check out this impressive collection of opinions related to the future of evangelicalism. The focus of this particular conversation is “Transforming Culture.”  Participants include: William Lane Craig and Paul Copan: “Trajectories in Philosophy and Apologetics”Andy Crouch: “To Let Christ Live […]

Becoming a Peacemaker: Some Practical Advice

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Once again I want to address a very practical question, the kind of query I get from people who want to take God’s truth and live it out in their daily lives. So here’s a question that I can imagine […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Your Heart’s Desires

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 37:1-40   Take delight in the LORD,      and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 Psalm 37:4 is one of those verses that Christians can twist to suit their own fancy. I have heard some preachers […]

Some Reasons to Like California

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I thought I’d share with you some visual reasons to like California, where I am currently on vacation with my family. I lived in California for most of my life until a move to Texas three years ago. I love […]

Patheos Features Outstanding Series on the Future of Evangelicalism

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Patheos, an leading website focusing on religion, is sponsoring a fascinating series of essays on the future of evangelicalism. Patheos has assembled a wide variety of leaders from the evangelical movement who speak to various issues. For example, the first […]

Knowing God’s Peace: Some Practical Advice

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As a pastor for over twenty years, I frequently chat with people who want to know the peace of God, but find it elusive. Their question – and perhaps your question as well – gets right to the point: How […]

The Peace that Lies Ahead

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When Christians seek justice for the oppressed, or when World Vision mobilizes the church to care for victims of famine, or when churches in a community get together to build a house with Habitat for Humanity, you catch a glimpse […]

Peacemaking in the World, Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When I consider Jesus’ blessing of peacemakers, I think of a ministry in Hollywood, California called “City Dwellers.” In my last years at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, I was privileged to watch this ministry grow. It flourishes to this day, now […]

Peacemaking in the World, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I suggested that we make peace in the world, first of all, by announcing the peacemaking work of Christ on the cross. Second, we bring God’s peace to the world by holding up the cross of Christ as an […]

Peacemaking in the World, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As I’ve shown in my recent posts, our peacemaking task begins right in front of us, in our closest relationships at home, at work, at school, and at church. But it doesn’t stop there. As God’s peacemakers, we must take […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Home Depot and Experiencing God’s Joy

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 146:1-10   [J]oyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,     whose hope is in the LORD their God. Psalm 146:5 The other day I needed an unusual piece of hardware. I wasn’t sure what it […]

How Happy Are You? Let’s Ask Twitter!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The New York Times recently reported on a study that used Twitter to tell us how we’re feeling as a nation. “Tracking the National Mood” summarized research done by scholars from Northeastern and Harvard University. Their “Pulse of the Nation” […]

Peacemaking in Families

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post in this series, I spoke of the centrality of forgiveness in peacemaking. While I’m speaking of forgiveness, I want to say a word about peacemaking in families. Everything I have said about peacemaking in church applies […]

Being Peacemakers in Church, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you are going to make peace within your church, you must “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:3). Church unity is not something you can take for granted, but it is something to be […]

Is True Friendship Dying Away?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This is the title of a USA Today opinion piece in today’s edition. The author, Mark Vernon, has recently published The Meaning of Friendship. Here are some excerpts from his article: Indeed, we might feel as if we are suddenly […]

Being Peacemakers in Church, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Jesus said it bluntly: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt 5:9). Time and again the rest of the New Testament echoes his high regard for peacemaking: Let us therefore make every effort to […]

Peace Among People, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my last post I began to lay out some of the broader implications of Jesus’ life and death. He came to bring peace, not only between God and people, but also among people. Jesus Christ died on the cross […]

Peace Among People, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Peace with God and peace within our souls do not exhaust the potentialities of peace through Christ. Scripture connects inner peace specifically to peace among people: “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: How Could God Be a Rock?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Praise the LORD, who is my rock. Psalm 144:1 Psalm 144 begins with a call to praise the Lord, “who is my rock.” But what does mean to call God a rock? In what sense is the living Lord like […]

Flagrant Disobedience . . . Why?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Every time I fly on a plane these days, I marvel at the flagrant disobedience of my fellow passengers. For some reason I don’t quite understand, many air travelers seem to think that they are somehow exempt from following the […]

Inner Peace Beyond Understanding

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Jesus promised to give his followers supernatural peace: I’m leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). […]

Peace with God through Christ

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series I’ve shown how God intended his creation to be full of peace. This intention was broken but not destroyed when the first human sinned against God. Yet God had a plan to restore his shalom […]

The Peacemaking Mission of Jesus

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series I’ve shown that God created this world with the intention that it be full of peace. But human sin twisted God’s creation, so that brokenness now pervades that which God had intended to be so […]

Paradise Lost and Peace Destroyed

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I my last post I showed that peace, in biblical perspective, is closely related to the idea of paradise. God created the world as a place of peace: justice, harmony, fellowship. Through the end of Genesis 2, peace prevailed in […]

Paradise: A Vision of Peace

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I have seen Paradise . . . well, sort of. Let me explain. A few years ago my wife and I were camping in Kings Canyon National Park, a deep valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. On the […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: All I Really Want in Life

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 142:1-7   Then I pray to you, O LORD.     I say, “You are my place of refuge.     You are all I really want in life.” Psalm 142:5 I grew up in a family of four children. My brother, sisters, and […]

The LeBron Saga Continues . . . With “Quitness” Ale

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Well, it looks like Cleveland isn’t quite through pummeling LeBron James for abandoning their fair city to join the Miami Heat. Now, the Great Lakes Brewing Co. has released a new pale ale in honor of LeBron. It’s name? Quitness. […]

Seeking the Peace of Christ: Introduction

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This is the first part of a series I’m calling: Seeking the Peace of Christ: Christianity and Peacemaking. Peace is essential to Christianity. There can be no doubt about it. Consider, for example, these passages from the New Testament Gospels […]

The Language of Jesus: Why Does It Matter?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you’ve been following this series on the language(s) of Jesus, you know that I have argued that Jesus spoke Aramaic as his first language and in a substantial chunk of his teaching. I think it’s highly probable that he […]

Did Jesus Speak Greek?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series, I’ve presented the case that Jesus spoke Aramaic as his first language and in a substantial portion of his teaching, especially when he was speaking with average people in Galilee, where Aramaic was the common […]

The LeBron James & Dan Gilbert Saga Gets Even More Interesting

posted by Mark D. Roberts

First, LeBron James made a very public, televised decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat. He did not inform the Cavaliers of his decision before it was televised to the waiting world. Then, Dan Gilbert, owner […]

Examining “the Biblical Truth” That Jesus Spoke Hebrew, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I began looking at a particular kind of argument for the position that Jesus spoke Hebrew. This argument is based on “biblical truth,” because it points to Acts 26:14, a text that reads in the ESV, “And […]

Examining “the Biblical Truth” That Jesus Spoke Hebrew

posted by Mark D. Roberts

For some Christians, the fact that Jesus spoke Hebrew is a matter of biblical truth. Therefore, any claim that he spoke Aramaic is not just a difference of opinion about history. It’s a threat to the very authority of Scripture. […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Remembering God’s Justice

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 140:1-13   But I know the LORD will help those they persecute;     he will give justice to the poor. Psalm 140:12 If I were to stand up in front of a group of Christians today and say, “God will […]

How to Be a Sore Loser

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I have been watching the LeBron James saga with some interest. You learn a lot about human nature from the people who live publicly. So LeBron chose to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat. He did this, […]

Did Jesus Speak Hebrew?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Thirty years ago, when I was studying New Testament in graduate school, it was widely assumed that Jesus spoke Aramaic as his first language and taught in Aramaic. I can’t remember a conversation in which the possibility that Jesus spoke […]

Public Repentance

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Okay, I need to repent. A few days ago I put up some snide comments about airline food, suggesting that pretzels and peanuts hardly count as food. (You can tell I don’t fly first class.) But, yesterday, on a flight […]

Brobdingnagian and You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

On a recent airplane flight to New York, I was checking out the SkyMall catalogue. I’ve never actually bought anything from Skymall, but I am sometimes entertained by its contents. This time was no exception. First, I was surprised to […]

Jesus and Aramaic in the Gospels

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The earliest manuscripts of the New Testament Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – are written in Greek. Though a few scholars argue that Matthew first appeared in Hebrew or Aramaic, most believe that the four biblical Gospels were […]

What Language(s) Did Jesus Speak? The Circumstantial Evidence

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If we take the Gospel record at face value, and I believe we have good reason to do so, then Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea and spent his earliest years in Egypt. Then his parents returned to their […]

InterVarsity President Fears Implications of Supreme Court Ruling Against the Christian Legal Society

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Last week I commented upon a recent Supreme Court decision that supports the requirement of Hastings College of Law that all student groups be open to “all comers.” This means, in particular, that the Christian Legal Society chapter at Hastings […]

Fourth of July Memories

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When I lived in Irvine, California, my neighborhood had an annual Fourth of July parade and carnival. The parade included the children who lived nearby. They made floats from their bikes, trikes, and wagons. Then, with patriotic music blaring, they […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: God Will Work Out His Plans for My Life

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 138:1-8   The LORD will work out his plans for my life–     for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.     Don’t abandon me, for you made me Psalm 138:8 When life goes in directions we didn’t expect, and when those […]

Debating with Atheists? There’s an App for You

posted by Mark D. Roberts

An article in yesterday’s New York Times caught my eye: “You Say God is Dead? There’s an App for That.” The article describes the proliferation of PDA apps that are meant to help people debate religious truth. On the atheist […]

One Strange Bug!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Last week while at Laity Lodge I ran into a Texas Walkingstick. Now that is one strange bug! The Megaphasma dentricus is the longest insect in the United States. The first one I saw (photographed below) had a body that […]

The Language of Jesus: Confession and Context

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I explained that I was beginning a series that seeks to answer the questions: What language did Jesus speak? Why does it matter? Before I delve into these questions, however, I need to make a confession and […]

What Language Did Jesus Speak? Why Does It Matter? An Introduction

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Six years ago, people all of a sudden became interested in the language spoken by Jesus. The occasion for this burst of curiosity was the release of Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. Although responses to this movie […]

Religious Liberty at Risk: Here in the United States?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the University of California – Hasting College of Law against the Christian Legal Society. You can read the official opinion here on Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (U.C. Hastings) here (PDF […]

Religious Liberty at Risk: Islam in Europe

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I have been watching for some time the move in Europe to limit religious liberty for the sake of, well, liberty. At least that’s what they’re saying in Europe: limit liberty for the sake of liberty. Hmmm. My attention was […]

NEWS FLASH: Airline Food Could be Dangerous

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As USA Today headline from today’s edition warns: “FDA report reveals airline food could pose health threat.” When I read that headline, my first thought was . . . What airline food? Then I started thinking about it . . […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: Living with Divided Loyalties

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Suppose you live in a country that is home . . . but not quite home. You find yourself fitting in to the culture of the place you live, but not quite. You embrace the values of your current home, […]

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling: Some Things Deserve to Be Repeated

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 136:1-26   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!     His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 My grandmother had a collection of sayings that she repeated again and again and again. I heard her say, “Make somebody […]

Chewed Out By a Titmouse

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Behind the place we stay at at Laity Lodge, I have a bird feeder that gets plenty of visitors. Sparrows, chickadees, cardinals, and titmice are plentiful. But so are other, less welcome critters. The squirrels seem to think that our […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: What is Our “Big Goal”?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What should be our goal as Christians when it comes to illegal immigration? What are we trying to accomplish? Or what should we be trying to accomplish? For some Christians, the “big goal” has to do, first, with extensive legal […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: A Helpful Resource

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I have recently read a book that addresses the issue of illegal immigration from a Christian perspective and want to recommend it to you. The book is Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M. Daniel […]

“Are social media changing religion?” – Henry G. Brinton at USA Today

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Henry G. Brinton, a Presbyterian pastor and eloquent commentator of matters of religion and culture, asks in yesterday’s USA Today: “Are social media changing religion?”  The answer must surely be “Yes, in ways we haven’t begun to comprehend.” The trickier […]

Two “Must Read” Articles for Christians Interested in the Impact of Technology on Church and Faith

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Here are links to two thoughtful and thought-provoking articles related to the impact of technology on our lives. One deals specifically with implications for the church. The other shoots for a broader target, but has many implications for the church […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: A Second Essential Starting Point (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In last week’s blogging, I was proposing two solid starting points if we want to view illegal immigration from a Christian perspective. The first starting point was Genesis 1, from which we learn the unique dignity of each human being, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Living in the Circle of Blessing

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 134:1-3   Oh, praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD. . . . May the LORD, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Jerusalem. Psalm 134:1-3 The life of faith might be described as living […]

Timeout! I’m Confused!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’m taking a short timeout from my series on illegal immigration to share some moral confusion. The L.A. Lakers just won the NBA championship. But I don’t quite know how to feel. Here’s why: I grew up as a die-hard […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: Another Essential Starting Point (Part 1)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In my effort to view illegal immigration from a Christian perspective, I have suggested that there are two essential biblical starting points. The first is Genesis 1, a passage that reveals the unique nature of human beings as bearers of […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: One Essential Starting Point (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I claimed that, for Christians who are seeking a biblical perspective on illegal immigration, one of the best starting points in Genesis 1. This text reveals the unique identity of human beings as creatures who bear God’s […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: One Essential Starting Point

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Though acknowledging that we might choose one of several valid starting points when seeking a biblical, Christian perspective on illegal immigration, I would argue for the precedence of two. These two starting points get us looking in the right direction […]

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: Where Should We Start?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As I explained in Friday’s post, Christians differ widely on their understanding of illegal immigration and what should be done about it. This doesn’t mean that every Christian perspective is equally valid, however. Many are based on an inadequate grasp […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: A Prayer for Church Leaders

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 132:1-18   May your priests be clothed in godliness;     may your loyal servants sing for joy. Psalm 132:9 Psalm 132 focuses on David and his concern for God’s “house” in Jerusalem, the temple that David’s son Solomon would build. […]

Microphone Mania: Did I Say THAT?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I spend a fair amount of my life around microphones as a preacher, public speaker, and retreat leader. Most of the time, microphones are helpful and relatively invisible. But every now and then they get restless and decide to grab […]

Why Are Christians So Divided About Illegal Immigration?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you’ve been following this blog series on illegal immigration, or if you’ve been listening to Christians talk about this issue, then you know there is a wide array of opinions, many of which are contradictory. Consider, for example, the […]

My Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration, Take 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In the last two days I’ve posted excerpts from the Cross Examinations conversation of illegal immigration. If you read these, and especially if you read the longer pieces from which they were taken, you’ll notice a wide diversity of viewpoints […]

A Variety of Christian Perspectives on Illegal Immigration, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I began putting up excerpts from the Patheos – Cross Examinations conversation about illegal immigration. Today I’ll put up four other excerpts, along with my own brief comments. If this matter is of interest to you, I would urge […]

A Variety of Christian Perspectives on Illegal Immigration, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

First, I want to thank those who commented yesterday. Your honesty, insights, and charity encourage me to believe that it is possible to have a constructive conversation about this divisive issue. As I explained earlier, I started writing about this […]

Christian Perspectives on Illegal Immigration

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Immigration, especially illegal immigration, is one of the most pressing and distressing issues in the United States today. Bring up the subject, and you’re almost certain to get passionate opining. Bring it up in settings where people hold diverse viewpoints, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Crying to God Out of the Depths

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 130:1-8   From the depths of despair, O LORD,      I call for your help. Psalm 130:1 The first line of Psalm 130 is one of the most frequently quoted of the Psalms: “Out of the depths have I […]

Free Fun!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

For several years I have enjoyed the cartoons of Mark Pié. His illustrated Bible stories make me laugh, and are great for sermon illustrations, Sunday School classes, and just plain fun. Now Mark is giving away some of his best […]

Do We Have Too Much Privacy?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I know there’s great concern in our world today about privacy and the possible lack thereof. Many are afraid that we are losing our privacy to the spying eyes of the Internet, represented most ominously by social networking sites like […]

Privacy and God: Privacy in Biblical Perspective, Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today I want to change directions and talk about privacy, not in relation to the larger world, but as it concerns Christian community. I’m wondering to what extent individual Christians should to live their lives shielded from the scrutiny of […]

Do Al and Tipper Gore “Truly Love One Another”?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I am not the biggest Al Gore fan in the world, though I am grateful for his invention of the Internet. But I have always appreciated his commitment to his family and the longevity and apparent inviolability of his marriage. […]

Privacy and God: Privacy in Biblical Perspective, Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

As I have said previously in this series on privacy and God, our world is far removed from the world of the Bible. On the one hand, we in United States live with far more privacy than almost anyone in […]

Privacy and God: Privacy in Biblical Perspective, Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today I continue a series I began last Friday: “Privacy and God: From Facebook to a Biblical Theology of Privacy.” Because yesterday was Memorial Day, I did not add to the series. Perhaps this was an oversight on my part, […]

Memorial Day Prayer

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Gracious, Sovereign God, Lord of all nations, On this Memorial Day, we pause to reflect upon our blessings as a nation and the high cost of those blessings for many. Thank you for the freedom we enjoy in this country, […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: The Blessing of Fear

posted by Mark D. Roberts

The Blessing of Fear READ Psalm 128:1-6   How joyful are those who fear the LORD     all who follow his ways! Psalm 128:1 When I was a child, I was afraid of sirens. If a police car was racing through our […]

A New Promotional Plan for Laity Lodge? Help from the NBA and Pizza!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A recent USA Today got me thinking. Perhaps there’s a new way for us to promote Laity Lodge . . . by branding food with our logo. According to the article by Bruce Horovitz, “NBA cooks up edible logos to […]

Privacy and God: From Facebook to a Biblical Theology of Privacy

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Facebook has been all over in the news this week. It made the cover of TIME, for example, with the story “How Facebook is Redefining Privacy.” This article chronicles the astronomical rise of Facebook as well as the privacy crises […]

Harvard Ironies: The Irony of All Ironies

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today, thousands of people will descend upon Harvard Yard as the university celebrates its 359th Commencement (graduation). Half of Harvard Yard will be transformed into the Tercentenary Theatre as thousands of students “commence” their new lives as Harvard graduations. One […]

Harvard Ironies: The Statue of the Three Lies

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you were to visit my alma mater, Harvard University, no doubt you’d wander about in Harvard Yard. And, if you were like thousands of other visitors to “The Yard,” you’d end up getting your picture taken in front of […]

How is Your World Geography?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

USA Today reports that the 22nd annual National Geographic Bee is happening this week in Washington D.C. Fifty-four fifth through eighth graders will compete in this annual competition. The article includes a mini-quiz using questions from previous years. How will […]

Harvard Ironies: Veritas for Whom? For What?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This Thursday, May 27th, Harvard University holds its commencement. It’s not called “graduation,” but “commencement,” because the ceremony is the beginning of life beyond the university. I had to opportunity to participate in two Harvard commencements, in 1979 as I […]

An Appeal to Atheists: Play Well With Other Scientists!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

An opinion piece in USA Today invites atheists to “play well with others.” Karl Gilberson, a professor at Easter Nazarene College and co-president of the Biologos Foundation, a group dedicated to working on the issues of faith and science, complains […]

Pentecost FAQ, Part 3: More On the Spiritual Significance of Pentecost

posted by Mark D. Roberts

My last post in this series began to answer the question: So, then, what difference does it make for us today that the first Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit almost two millennia ago on the Jewish festival of […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Streams in the Desert

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. Psalm 126:4 Psalm 126 begins by celebrating the return of the Israelites from exile (126:1). It was a time of laughter as God’s people rejoiced in the “amazing things” God had […]

Pentecost FAQ, Part 2: What is the Spiritual Significance of Pentecost?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post I gave a brief overview of some basic facts about Pentecost: What is Pentecost?What does the word “Pentecost” mean?What actually happened on the day of Pentecost?Should we believe that all of this actually happened?How is Pentecost related […]

Recommendation: Little Lakes Valley along Rock Creek, California

posted by Mark D. Roberts

My (much younger) daughter and (much younger) me in Little Lakes Valley, along Rock Creek, in California. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The hike to this spot isn’t terribly difficult. In fact, […]

Pentecost FAQ: What is the Christian Celebration of Pentecost All About?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

This coming Sunday, Christians across the world will celebrate Pentecost. In fact, not all Christians recognize this holiday (holy day). But it is generally honored in liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, etc.), in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, […]

Praying for Business: A Dream

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When it comes to praying for business, I have a dream that I’d like to share with you. No, it’s not a fast-asleep kind of dream, but a vision, a hope, perhaps even a game plan. In the last couple […]

Noteworthy News: Being Over 50 Isn’t So Bad!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Good News for the Over-50 Crowd According to USA Today, “Daily stress and worry plummet after age 50.”  The Gallup Organization teamed up with Healthways Corp. to survey 340,000 adults concerning their psychological and emotional states. The report, published in […]

Noteworthy News: A Bold Experiment in Generosity

posted by Mark D. Roberts

One of my favorite “quick” eating places is Panera Bread, which can be found all over the country. Now, the former CEO of Panera is trying a bold experiment in generosity. Ron Shaich has opened a restaurant in what was […]

Praying for Business: Practical Suggestions (Part 2)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I began to offer some practical suggestions for pastors (and other worship leaders) who want to start praying for the marketplace and its workers. These suggestions were: 1. Look to Scripture for new insight into how business might be […]

Praying for Business: Some Practical Suggestions

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Last week my blogging focused on the question: Why don’t we pray for business? I was especially concerned with the absence of marketplace related prayer in the context of corporate Christian gatherings for worship and prayer. When we get together […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: What If?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What If? READ Psalm 124:1-8   What if the LORD had not been on our side     when people attacked us? Psalm 124:2 Have you ever found yourself wondering “What if”? Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this question from a place of disappointment […]

Speaking of Business . . .

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I’ll have more to say about praying for business, but today I want to share a photo of one of my colleagues at work, focused on his business. (Marcus’ office is being remodeled, as is everything in his building, including […]

Why Don’t We Pray for Business? Part 5

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today I want to delve into what I believe is one of the most profound reasons why we don’t pray for business. It has to do with how we think as Christians, a fundamental element of our worldview. But first, […]

Why Don’t We Pray for Business? Part 4

posted by Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series I’ve suggested three reasons why we don’t pray for business in the context of Christian worship services: Reason #1: We don’t pray for business because we don’t pray for business. Reason #2: We don’t pray […]

Why Don’t We Pray for Business? Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In the last two days I have begun to consider why it is that Christians do not pray for business, at least not very often in the context of corporate worship. So far I have suggested two reasons: Reason #1: […]

Why Don’t We Pray for Business? Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I began a short series on the question: Why don’t we pray for business? In particular, I’m wondering why Christians don’t pray, in the context of corporate worship, for business institutions, business leaders, and those who work in businesses. […]

Why Don’t We Pray for Business? Part 1

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A few days ago, I commented on a feature of the National Day of Prayer that was mostly overlooked by the mainstream media: an encouragement for churches to pray on the Sunday prior to the official National Day of Prayer. […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

posted by Mark D. Roberts

READ Psalm 122:1-9   Pray for peace in Jerusalem.     May all who love this city prosper. Psalm 122:6 It seems sadly ironic that Psalm 122:6 is still just as relevant today as it was when it was written, about three millennia […]

Stonehenge for Sale!

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Most people have heard of Stonehenge, the famed monument in England, a few kilometers north of Salisbury. Tourists from throughout the world flock to this unique reminder of an ancient world. (Photo: Stonehenge) But now you can have Stonehenge in […]

The National Day of Prayer Controversy: What Would Jesus Think? Part 5

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Today I want to finish my series on the National Day of Prayer. In yesterday’s post, I completed an evaluation of Jon Meacham’s use of Jesus to bolster his case for the separation of church and state. In today’s post […]

The National Day of Prayer Controversy: What Would Jesus Think? Part 4

posted by Mark D. Roberts

If you’ve been following my blog for the last few days, you know I’ve been posting a variety of thoughts related to the National Day of Prayer, which is today, Thursday, May 6, 2010. Included among these thoughts has been […]

National Day of Prayer: Most Americans Give Thumbs Up; Some Baptists Give Thumbs Down

posted by Mark D. Roberts

57% of Americans Favor the National Day of Prayer According to a recent USA Today/Gallup Poll of 1,000 adults, 57% of Americans favor the National Day of Prayer, 38% don’t care either way, 4.5% oppose it, and .5% don’t know […]

The National Day of Prayer Controversy: What Would Jesus Think? Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In Monday’s post I summarized a “religious case for church-state separation” found in Jon Meacham’s recent Newsweek article. Meacham believes that Jesus originated the idea of church-state separation. In support of this claim, he refers to two passages in the […]

The National Day of Prayer Controversy: What Would Jesus Think? Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

In yesterday’s post, I summarized a “religious case for church-state separation” found in Jon Meacham’s recent Newsweek article. In support of his religious case, Meacham draws from none other than Jesus of Nazareth, whom Meacham credits with originating the idea […]

The National Day of Prayer Controversy: WWJT? (What Would Jesus Think?)

posted by Mark D. Roberts

What would Jesus think about the National Day of Prayer? Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, thinks he knows. But is he right? WWJT? Last Friday I began to comment on the upcoming National Day of Prayer. It’s slated for this […]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Messy Praying READ Psalm 120:1-7   “I am tired of living     among people who hate peace.” Psalm 120:6 Psalm 120 is the first in a series of psalms known as the “Psalms of Ascent.” They were used by the Jewish people […]

Missing My Dad

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. He would have been 78 years old. But cancer took his life 24 years ago, when he was only 54. So my dad hasn’t been around to celebrate his birthday for a long time . […]

The National Day of Prayer Controversy: Missing Something Cruical

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Once again, the National Day of Prayer is upon us, and once again, it comes in a whirlwind of controversy. This year, however, the typhoon has been augmented by a judge’s decision that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. […]

Has the Church Lost the Younger Generation?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

A recent front-page story in USA Today caught my eye: “Survey: 72% of Millennials ‘more spiritual than religious.’” According to a survey produced by LifeWay Christian Resources, the vast majority of 18-to-29-year-olds are “really more spiritual than religious.” There is […]

Thoughtfully Christian Reflections? Part 3

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When I talk about offering thoughtfully Christian reflections in this blog, I don’t mean to suggest that I’m the only one who seeks to do this. In fact, others who contribute to the Beliefnet blog conversation do this very thing […]

Is PowerPoint the Enemy?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

I just finished reading an intriguing article in the New York Times: “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint” by Elisabeth Bumiller. Bumiller documents the omnipresence of PowerPoint in military briefings as well as the growing disdain for […]

Thoughtfully Christian Reflections? Part 2

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday, I began explaining the subtitle for this blog: “Thoughtfully Christian Reflections on Jesus, the Church, and the World.” Here’s the executive summary: In this blog, I will write “reflections” that are not polished treatises so much as “ponderings, musings, […]

Thoughtfully Christian Reflections?

posted by Mark D. Roberts

When people see the main title of my blog, “Mark D. Roberts,” they pretty quickly figure out that this is my name. I admit that it’s not a very catchy title for a blog, but it’s the one I chose […]

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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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