Four Gospels Together

I amd very please to announce that I am officially launching a long time project, Four Gospels Together.  This is actually only partial launch as I only have about half of the commentaries finished.  Nevertheless, I have the largest section, the life of Christ, complete and I wanted to get the site going live and start to attract traffic.

If you’ve followed the blog, I’ve been talking about this project for a number of months.  It has been very time consuming and I’ve faced my share of distractions in completing it.  I now have commentary on over 100 gospel stories, covering the entire life of Christ.  I still have miracles, parables, and teachings of Jesus to complete.  I plan on saving the teachings for last because they will be the most in depth theologically.  In retrospect the life of Christ is probably the hardest section to do however, not only because it is the largest but because of the details that need to be looked at.

My goal in this site is to compare and contrast the stories in the gospel.  Because each gospel gives a slightly different account of what happened, I often find myself looking for a story, only to discover that it doesn’t contain the particular detail that I was looking for so I am forced to look for the story again in another gospel.  The site provides all of the gospel accounts of one story on one page so that anyone can read all versions at one time. 

In the commentary section I point out key differences between the accounts and try to put things in chronological order when there are a lot of things happening in one story.

I found myself using the research that I already did for this site as I completed my sermon series on the gospel of John.  I believe that this site will be equally valuable for anyone who is studying or teaching anything from the gospels.  I encourage everyone to check out the site and recommend it to friends if you like it.  I’ll continue to provide updates as I get more of the site up.


As a pastor I strongly advocate resting on the sabbath.  It’s more than just the idea that people need to stop doing what they are doing and get to church although there is definitely importance in being at church.  I don’t think that the sabbath should be something should be followed legalistically but I believe it should be followed religiously.  The Pharisees followed the sabbath legalistically, and made up extra rules about it, even concerning how far they could walk before it was considered work.  They then made up rules to get around the original rules, like a person could walk further than the allowed distance if they stopped and ate a mean before going further.

To follow the sabbath religiously is to recognize the value and importance of it and not just follow it because it’s a rule.  There is value in resting on the sabbath, not just showing up in church.  Some people have to work on Sundays.  We need hospital workers and policemen just as much on Sunday as any other day.  Then there are a ton of other places that don’t need to be open.  The world will keep on spinning if shoes aren’t purchased on Sunday and anyone who really needs a new pair has to go on Saturday or Monday.

But many people are in jobs that they can’t get off on Sundays.  This is unfortunate but also reality.  I would never tell someone to quit their job because Sunday work was required but I would strongly recommend that when looking for a job to find one that doesn’t require work on Sundays.  But what about the people who do have to work on Sundays?

For everyone who can’t take Sunday off, I recommend doing what I do.  As a pastor, my Sundays are far from relaxing.  They are usually my most stress filled day of the week.  While some people think that I only work one day a week, this isn’t nearly true.  Even when I’m not officially working, I’m on call 24/7.  My church is very respectful of my time but many pastors aren’t as lucky and have people call them or show up on their doorstep in the middle of the night.  Getting back to my point however, because my Sundays are not off, I must take another day off.

I honestly believe that the body will break down without rest.  I believe that the sabbath was meant to be more than just a time for worship (we’re meant to worship everyday).  I believe that the sabbath was to allow the body to recover from the wear and tear of the rest of the week.  So I try to take one day a week and do nothing.  No studying, no manual labor, nothing physically or mentally tiring.  I watch tv, read, or play a game. 

Lately I’ve tried to make Mondays my day off but it doesn’t always work.  This week I had a viewing to attend and a funeral to prepare for the following day.  Yesterday I was wore out from the funeral and planned on taking some extra time off when my wife woke me in the morning with bad sinus trouble so I had to take her to the doctor.  We got back home in time for lunch, my morning completely shot.  I was so tired I laid down for a nap.  Now we’re approaching the end of the week and I have a sermon to write, a lot of stuff going on tomorrow, and someone from church coming to see me Saturday, so it appears as though I won’t get a full day off this week. 

Even though I haven’t had an uninterrupted 24 hours this week, I have still made it a point to rest when I can.  I did as little as I could on Monday and took a few hours off yesterday.  It is important for all of us to rest.  God made it that way and so we have every reason to follow the command.

Dealing with Death

I have a funeral to perform today.  As a pastor I have done enough funerals that I’m used to them and have a fairly standard approach to them.  Nevertheless, it is still a very exhausting day.  Usually I don’t get anything else done after the service.  Today the service is in the afternoon so I don’t know if that works to my advantage that I at least get the morning to work or if that extra work will end up hurting me by the end of the day.

A wise pastor gave me some good advice on funerals – present the gospel.  It doesn’t matter if the person went to church all of their life or if they never set foot inside, there is comfort in the life and resurrection of Jesus.  Of course I also don’t preach fluff.  I won’t pretend that someone who had no relationship with God is looking down from heaven waiting for everyone else to join them.  In such situations I don’t say anything about their destiny other than the choice I know they would make at that moment if they had it to do over again.

I’ve dealt with the death of a 22 year old killed in a car wreck, a 50 year old who drank himself to death, and a 80 something year old who died of old age.  The first was a Christian, the second definitely wasn’t, and the third only God knows for sure.  I’ve approached them all the same however.  God is in control and we never know when our end may come.  So we must be prepared at any moment.  There is no eleventh hour when we have no clue when midnight is.  Today is the day to repent because we have no clue what tomorrow holds.

When you deal with death so often in ministry there is a chance to grow callous to it.  In some ways you have to however because if you become emotionally distraught over every illness and death you won’t be able to function and do all of the other necessary work.  But some sicknesses and death definitely hit you harder than others.  There are people who you become close to and things are more personal than just church related.  Still, funerals are meant for the living, not for the dead.  They are meant to give but also should aim to make sense out of life in a time when life might not make much sense.  In times that life doesn’t make much sense, Christ makes a lot of sense and I aim to focus on Him.