Advent Podcast Day 12: “No Condemnation”

December 14, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Matthew 1:21

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.


Advent Podcast Day 11: “Faith into Action”

December 13, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Matthew 1:20-25

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.


Advent Podcast Day 10: “You’re Asking Me to Believe Too Many Things”

December 12, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Matthew 1:18-19

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.


For those of you who prefer to read rather than listen…

December 11, 2017

I’ve now added the manuscripts for the first week of Advent podcasts, Day 1 through Day 7. If you want to interact with these devotionals through the old-fashioned medium of words on page screen, feel free to do so by scrolling down!


Advent Podcast Day 9: “The Lord Is with You”

December 11, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:28

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.


Advent Podcast Day 8: “Treasuring God’s Word”

December 10, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:26-34

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.


Advent Podcast Day 7: “The Lord Disciplines the One He Loves”

December 9, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:18-23

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Hi, this is Brent White. It’s December 9, 2017, and you’re listening to Day 7 of my series of Advent podcasts. You’re listening to Jethro Tull again, this song, “A Christmas Song,” comes from a 1968 single. It’s included on their 1972 compilation album, Living in the Past. Today’s scripture is Luke 1:18-23, which I will read now.

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

Many of you will remember that this time last year, Billy Bush, a rising star at NBC News, was fired by his network. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can google his name. If you know me, you know I have no interest in the political questions pertaining to that scandal.

What I am interested in is a personal essay that Bush wrote this week for the New York Times—a year after his dismissal, a year of #metoo, and a year in which many Hollywood celebrities, politicians, and television news personalities—like NBC’s Matt Lauer—have been and are being held accountable for their past sexual sins.

In his essay, Bush did not deflect blame at all; he accepted full responsibility for his role in last year’s scandal; and he seemed genuinely sorry. Let me read the last two paragraphs from his essay:

On a personal note, this last year has been an odyssey, the likes of which I hope to never face again: anger, anxiety, betrayal, humiliation, many selfish but, I hope, understandable emotions. But these have given way to light, both spiritual and intellectual. It’s been fortifying.

I know that I don’t need the accouterments of fame to know God and be happy. After everything over the last year, I think I’m a better man and father to my three teenage daughters — far from perfect, but better.[1]

As a fellow sinner saved by God’s grace alone, I can only say a hearty “Amen.” What I hear in Bush’s words, first, is an acknowledgment of the destructive, insidious power of sin—but in the same breath the grace of repentance and the mercy of God’s discipline.

That’s right… I said “mercy.” God’s discipline of Billy Bush was merciful. Read the rest of this entry »


Advent Podcast Day 6: “Our Pain and God’s Power”

December 8, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:5-7, 13

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Hi, this is Brent White. It’s December 8, 2017, and you’re listening to Day 6 of my series of Advent podcasts. You’re listening to Jethro Tull’s version of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” That’s Ian Anderson on flute. It’s from their 1978 live album, Live–Bursting Out. In a moment, you’ll hear Tull’s studio version from their 2003 album, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album. Today’s scripture is Luke 1:5-7 and verse 13, which I will read now.

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Next we’re told that while Zechariah is serving as priest in the Holy Place, he encounters the angel Gabriel, who tells him, ““Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.”

Luke shares some important information about Elizabeth and Zechariah in verse 6: “And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”

Luke’s point in emphasizing their righteousness is to emphasize that they didn’t do anything to deserve what he describes in verse 7: “But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” Read the rest of this entry »


Advent Podcast Day 5: “The Meaning of Christmas Is Easter”

December 7, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Genesis 22:1-13

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Hi, this is Brent White. It’s December 7, 2017, and you’re listening to Day 5 of my series of Advent podcasts. You just heard Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band’s “Poor Little Jesus.” Here’s “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.”

In yesterday’s scripture—the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1—Matthew begins by saying, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Jesus is the son of Abraham. Well, obviously… Doesn’t it go without saying that if Jesus is the “son of David”—as all messianic prophecy makes clear that he must be—then he is also the son of Abraham. Since David is the son of Abraham, Jesus is also the son of Abraham. Why the need to emphasize this fact?

It’s because Matthew is reminding us of another messianic prophecy. This one is found way back in Genesis 12, when God calls Abraham to leave his home, leave his family, and leave his country to go to the land—the promised land—which God would show him. God will make of Abraham a great nation and in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3. God goes on to say these blessings will come through his offspring—who is Jesus.

So… Matthew’s genealogy points back to Abraham because the story of Abraham points forward to Christ.  Read the rest of this entry »


Advent Podcast Day 4: “Jesus’ Family Tree”

December 6, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Matthew 1:1-17

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Hi, this is Brent White. It’s December 6, 2017, and you are listening to Day 4 of my new series of Advent podcasts. You’re listening to Frank Sinatra’s version of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” from his 1957 album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, which was arranged by Gordon Jenkins. My copy of the record was renamed The Sinatra Christmas Album, but it’s the exact same album with new artwork. You can know that that song was from Side B of the album because all the songs on Side A are the classic “secular” Christmas songs—like Mel Tormé’s “The Christmas Song.” All the songs on Side B are sacred Christmas hymns and carols like this one. I prefer for them to be mixed together, but whatever… It’s a great album, regardless.

Our scripture is Matthew 1:1-17. I suspect when many of you read this in your Bibles you either skip over it or skim it quickly. It’s Matthew’s genealogy. So hang on, I’m going to read it very quickly…

Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father, author of most of the Federalist Papers, and man who served as our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, grew up poor in the British West Indies, an illegitimate child who became an orphan. I only know that because I’ve heard the soundtrack to the Broadway musical Hamilton.

And of course we learn from the musical that the main thing that drives Hamilton to succeed is his desire to prove to himself and the rest of the world that he’s so much more than where he came from, or who his parents were, or the scandalous circumstances surrounding his birth and upbringing—so that, if someone will only give him a shot, well, as he says in the musical, he is not going to throw it away. Hamilton eventually makes his way to the thirteen colonies, to New York, where he discovers that he can be a “new man”—and not be judged by his family tree.

The ancient world—even more than the world of the 18th century—wasn’t like that at all! Everything you needed to know about someone you could learn by looking at his or her family tree. Which is why genealogies were so important. Genealogies served the same purpose to ancient people as résumés do for us today.

And on that score, Jesus’ résumé is impressive enough. He is descended from King David, after all, as the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament say he must be.

But then we dig a little bit deeper, and we notice that Jesus’ résumé, unlike most résumés today, tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Read the rest of this entry »