Previously On
by Philip Ryan on May 31st, 2024
My children love Star Wars. Last year we watched a new Star Wars show on Disney. Unlike most of today’s programs that stream, this one did not release all the episodes at once. This horrified and confused my children. They came to appreciate a dying piece of television that I grew up with, “Previously on…” The “previously on…” at the beginning of a show connected what happened last time and also g...  Read More
Mr. Beaver's Advice
by Philip Ryan on May 24th, 2024
“But, in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that's going to be human and isn't yet, or used to be human once and isn't now, or ought to be human and isn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet.” These lines were spoken by Mr. Beaver about the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I think they can help us think through the first chapter of 2 Peter. I love ...  Read More
Don't Waste Your Golden Years
by Philip Ryan on May 23rd, 2024
On May 20, 2000, John Piper preached what would become one of his most famous sermons nicknamed the “sea shell sermon.” The sermon is amazing and I encourage you to give it a listen or a read. In his introduction, he contrasts the death of two missionaries that Bethlehem Baptist supported. The brakes on their vehicle failed and they went over a cliff. The two missionaries were both women in their ...  Read More
Why We Don't Follow the Church Calendar at the Kirk.
by Philip Ryan on May 22nd, 2024
A couple of weeks ago on our podcast, Theology Lunch, we were asked the question, “Do Presbyterians follow the church calendar?” I would encourage you all to give it a listen here. In this article, I want to expand on some points made in that conversation. First, Presbyterians do follow the church calendar as reflected in Holy Scripture, that is we meet on the first day of the week remembering it ...  Read More
The Pilgrim Faith (Week 19)
by Philip Ryan on May 10th, 2024
Hebrews 11:16 reads, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” A little later we are told about that city, “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Heb 13:14). This comes after summarizing the faith of the Antediluvian saints from Abe...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 18
by Philip Ryan on May 3rd, 2024
This week we finished reading “The Song of Solomon” or “Song of Songs.” Earlier this week I slipped a note into Amanda’s lunch, “Your hair is like a flock of goats…your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate…your neck is like the tower of David…” Now I did not simply decide to do that. One morning after listening to the reading plan she chastised me, “Why don’t you ever tell me my hair is like a ...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 17
by Philip Ryan on April 26th, 2024
Type your new text here. The story of Apollo 13 has fascinated me since I saw the hugely successful Tom Hanks movie depicting the heroics of Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. The story is gripping. An explosion during a routine procedure put the lives of the three astronauts in great peril. They didn’t know if they could make it home. While Apollo 13 was certainly a dangerous situation, pr...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 15
by Philip Ryan on April 13th, 2024
For the past several mornings, my oldest has been bombarding me with questions about Leviticus. They have a common theme - “Why is this book so gross?” Just this week we’ve read about leprosy in great detail (Lev 13-14), discharges and excess bleeding (Lev 15), and detailed instructions on how to spread the blood from the atonement sacrifice (Lev 16-17). Maybe you wonder, like Greta, “Why is this ...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 14
by Philip Ryan on April 9th, 2024
This past week we started reading the book of Psalms, which got me thinking, “How should you read the Psalms?” Many of you might know that the Psalms are songs and have been described as the church’s hymnal. Maybe it is because it does not include musical notes that we don’t realize we are reading song lyrics. Here we have some of the most beautiful and emotional language in the Bible and simultan...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 13
by Philip Ryan on March 29th, 2024
This week we have read from some of the richest parts of John’s gospel. I was particularly struck by John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” The “these things” refer to Jesus’ teaching on the vine and the branches in the previous 10 verses. What struck me was Jesus’ words, “that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 12
by Philip Ryan on March 22nd, 2024
“Never forget that you are a sheep” so begins a book I have on pastoral burnout. It is a needed reminder for pastors - don’t forget you are a sheep. In ministry, we get so focused on being under-shepherds of the Good Shepherd that we can forget that we aren’t the Shepherd. John 10 is famous for being the chapter on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Of course, this is an old metaphor to describe the peop...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 11
by Philip Ryan on March 22nd, 2024
One of my favorite Scripture references in a movie, always a dangerous thing, is in “The Davinci Code.” The verse is, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further” (Job 38:11). The verse is quoted by a nun to one of the bad guys when he followed a false lead. It is my favorite because it so wonderfully captures how the vast majority of people, not necessarily believers, read the Bible. They read it h...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 10
by Philip Ryan on March 8th, 2024
This week we read the story of Jethro visiting Moses in Exodus 18. Jethro was Moses’ father-in-law and he came to Moses to bring his daughter and two children back to him. While there, Jethro observes Moses’ leadership among the people. In particular, he notices that he sits alone with al the people from morning till evening (v. 14). Moses explains it is because he inquires of God for people, he s...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 9
by Philip Ryan on March 1st, 2024
Job 27:19, speaking of the godless, “he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone.” Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” On Monday we read from Job 27 and Luke 12. I found their connections fascinating. Job 27 is a juxtaposition between the righteous and the godless. Job points out the godless enjoy riches at others expense and when they die what b...  Read More
You Never Pray Alone
by Philip Ryan on February 27th, 2024
You Never Pray Alone In seminary, I was introduced to the most popular sport in the world - soccer. I say introduced because I only knew of the janky major league soccer teams of my youth. I had no idea of the rich history of Premier League Soccer, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), or the thrill of the World Cup. Many of my seminary friends were fiercely loyal to a particular team. T...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 8
by Philip Ryan on February 23rd, 2024
Part of my daily morning routine is listening to “The World and Everything In It.” I appreciate the balance between current events, fascinating news stories, cultural commentary and all done through a Christian world and life view. One of the segments this week was on a remarkable missionary you probably never heard of, Neil Hawthorn. Neil is an Australian man who has been deeply involved in inter...  Read More
Family Worship
by Philip Ryan on February 21st, 2024
Family Worship provides an opportunity for fathers and mothers to fulfill a biblical command to raise their children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Paul places this command specifically on fathers but it will not happen unless both are agreed in its importance and usefulness. You may read the passage from Ephesians and say, “I do this all the time. We regularly discuss...  Read More
Bible Devotion Week 7
by Philip Ryan on February 16th, 2024
What time is it? On Wednesday, we began Luke’s gospel. Luke begins with a prolonged account of John the Baptist’s birth. Mark begins his gospel with John the Baptist preaching and baptizing in the wilderness. Luke goes further back to a familiar Old Testament dilemma, an old childless couple. This is most likely intentional on Luke’s part. He wants to highlight the bridge between the Old Testamen...  Read More