Brance Gillihan

Missionary, Servant, Learner

Brance Gillihan - Missionary, Servant, Learner

Robot Love and Cultural Confusion

There seems to be a good of bit of cultural confusion on the subject of love. It seems love is a pit into which the unwary traveler may fall, if they are not vigilant. And once you’ve fallen, any subsequent choices you make are not yours to own responsibility for. You can’t help it, you fell, and you can’t get up.

Love has become something of a cultural trump card. If you want to redefine marriage, how can anyone stop you if your motivation is love? It seems you can get away with just about anything, and all you need is a little love.

To prove my point that we’re confused about what love is, and what it is for, consider this article in which we’re told that people are already falling in love with robots and in the very near future, will be able to purchase a robot to love. Continue reading

Teaching as One Who Has Authority

“A pastor confident of the Bible’s truth is able to preach with great force or with great gentleness and still speak with authority. Preaching with authority relates more to the confidence and integrity with which the preacher expresses God’s truth rather than to a specific tone or posture the preacher assumes. The authority of the Word enables us to say the most challenging things to any person without apology, but that same authority lets us speak tenderly without compromising strength. Too often expository preachers get stuck in one gear, seeming to believe that to preach with authority they must project a certain hardness into their sermons. They sound as though they are trying by their efforts to make the Word authoritative rather than trusting its innate power to touch the soul.” (Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, p.89)

Because We’ve Got a Head, Heart, and Hands

“Our minds need explanations of what the Bible says so that we know we have grasped the thoughts and standards of our God. Our hearts need the illustrations that so often touch our emotions or fire our imaginations to convince us that our God is not a cold collection of abstract ideas. We need application so that we have either the confidence that we are acting in accord with the will of God, or, that we gain the conviction that we must adjust our ways.” (Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, p.87)

Walk as Children of Light

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment, (Ps 104:1-2)

Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the alter of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God. (Ps 43:3-4)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple. (Ps 119:105, 130)

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadows of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light. (Ps 36:7-9)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:6)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (Col 1:11-13)

That was our text a few weeks ago. And while we were in that text we talked about this idea of darkness and light, and the shadowlands in between.

The kingdom is a place of light, where God dwells in such a glorious and radiant way that the sun has become irrelevant!

But there is a place of outer darkness, where there is no light, only sorrow and anger and despair. This is where those who do not know Christ will spend eternity. Continue reading

The Kingdom of the Beloved Son

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son. (Colossians 1.18)

I have one aim with this text. My desire is to give you a glimpse of the kingdom of the Son. I want to stir up within you a desire for that kingdom.

Before we get to the kingdom though, I want to quickly go over two other important elements in this verse.

  1. the domain of darkness
  2. has delivered from and transferred to
  3. the kingdom of his beloved Son

1. the domain of darkness

What is a domain? It is a realm of authority. So what kind of a realm is it, where darkness is in authority? It’s not a pretty place.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:11–12)

So this is a domain, a realm, ruled by evil spiritual forces and authorities. And notice that it is “this present darkness“. This domain exists here and now, in this world, and is ruled over by evil spirits, cosmic powers. Furthermore, this domain is hostile toward Christians. Notice that Paul said we “wrestle against” these rulers of the domain of darkness. It’s a struggle, a battle. And notice also that he said in verse 11 to put on the armor of God (elsewhere called the armor of light), so that “you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” So Satan is scheming against you, if you are a Christian. This domain of darkness doesn’t like you, it’s hostile. Continue reading

Mark 3: who are my brothers?

familyThe DNA Group I’m a part of is currently reading through the Gospel of Mark together and we’ve begun to notice how Jesus embodies our new identity (family, missionary, servant) and lives it out in the everyday rhythms of life.

Each week we follow up with each other about what we learned last week and how we are all doing living in that identity. We don’t want to just be hearers of the Word, but doers also.

This week we took a look at chapter 3 of the Gospel of Mark. In this passage we witnessed Jesus living out the identity of family with his disciples, and the rhythm of rest.

First we noticed that Jesus observed the sabbath practice of his culture, entering into their rhythm of weekly rest, but he redeemed it from the legalism they had attached to it, by showing that the sabbath wasn’t an excuse to ignore the needs of your fellow man.

Then we saw that Jesus attempted to withdraw from the work of his ministry by taking a beach vacation with his disciples.

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea (Mark 3:7)

Next Jesus appointed the 12 apostles “so that they might be with him”. He kept these guys close. He spent a lot of time with them. He took them along when he was healing people, teaching, and even when he was looking for some rest from the work. They became like family to him.

Finally, Jesus is at his home, with the disciples, teaching and healing, and his biological family, his mother (Mary) and his brothers came looking for him. They were actually intent on hauling him away somewhere because of the way he was acting. They thought Jesus had lost it mentally.

for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21)

It seem they were unsuccessful in this first attempt, probably because of the crowd that surrounded him. So they show up a second time and the crowd tells Jesus that his mom and brothers are there. His response makes it clear that Jesus is living out of his identity as a child of God.

And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35)

As believers, we have been adopted into the family of God. We have been made sons of God, and brothers and sisters to each other. Jesus fully demonstrated this for us by both words and actions in this chapter. He spent time with his disciples, just like you would with your family, he worked with them, ate with them, and rested with them.

As family, we need a lot of time together. We can’t live out all the “one another” commands of scripture unless we’re together. Being family isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is downright difficult. But as the household of God we get the unparalleled privilege of experiencing family in an all new way. We personally care for one another – both physically and spiritually. We disciple, nurture, and hold each other accountable to Covenant life together. One of the ways we do this through steady-state gospel community and consistent involvement in a DNA group.

* The photo at the top of this post was drawn by my four year old daughter.