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Clarity to "the least of these"

On hearing this, Jesus said to then, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." - Mark 2:17

"The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Jesus answered, "I who speak to you am he." - John 4:25-26

So, like me, the woman in John 4 made a complete train wreck of her life. Through a series of bad choices by her and, without a doubt, the men that she had married she had burned through five relationships and was now on her sixth. If there was ever someone who was talked about, ridiculed, objectified, and taken advantage of in the town where she lived I would imagine it was her. I am sure that she was avoided like the plague and that her life was deemed as unworthy of the smallest courtesy. Perhaps in self-preservation she found herself alone at the well. God knew everything about her. Absolutely everything and ev…

No cheap parlor tricks

I (not that I am the measure of all things, but I am pretty sure you will get my drift) find the miracles that Christ performed absolutely remarkable for a number of reasons. Quite obviously they demonstrated his power over every spiritual and natural force imaginable, but that is not why they have impressed me so much. Now I know that the purpose of Christ's miracles was to prove that the message he delivered was authentic and God-directed. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in Matthew 11 where Jesus rested the authentication of his identity on the miracles he performed as they were foretold by the prophets. But I find it so telling that God, in his great compassion for us, chose to prove who he was by radically altering the trajectory of people's lives for the better.

Of all the things that he could have done to validate his Son's identity he chose to wrap it in gift, after gift, after gift. No longer would the blind man have to beg for food. No longer would the woman…

A violation of purpose

I preached at the Monroe County jail last night and it was a wild night. Not "wild" in the California surfer dude sense of the word, but wild. We hadn't had a night like that in a long time and I am not sure what was up, but I may write a post about that later. I was first introduced to this concept of defining evil as a violation of purposed by Ravi Zacharias and I do not know if it originated with him or with someone else, but it fit perfectly into the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21.

You and I are made in the image of God and, as such, we have a purpose: to bear his image to the world. Basically we are to act in a manner that shows the world what God is like. The word "image" here is the same word as "idol" and, quite literally, we are created to be the idols of God. Not that we are to be worshiped like an idol is, but we are to be a perfect representation of God to our world. When we do anything other than that, we commit evil and we sin.…

My son's come home again

I think I was a sophomore or junior in high school. I am not exactly sure, but this was a rather unusual assembly for us. There was a band there that was playing some Christian rock and roll and, being 1985 or 1986, this whole “Christian rock” thing was coming into its own. At any rate the band was pretty good and it seemed like everyone was picking up what they were throwing down. I remember one number in particular that rocked pretty hard and there were more than a few of my fellow schoolmates that hollered their appreciation. Yet that was not the song that arrested my attention that afternoon. No, the one that took me by surprise was centered around the parable of the Prodigal Son and had a refrain that went something like this:
Then he ran to me, took me in his arms Gave me a hug and said, “My son’s come home again…”
Of course, being the refrain of the song, it was sung multiple times. Each time I heard it the words meant more and more to me until, well, let’s just say that I was gla…

Lesson 3: Foretaste

Lesson 1 is here. I have not shared lesson 2 yet.
Lesson 3: Foretaste
Wave after wave of storms passed over our house that night not all accompanied by driving rain. The boys were away and we were alone in the house for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. Both flat on our backs, head on our pillows and our eyes half shut I reached for her hand and she held it. My wife held little idea of the life her touch gave me and the assurance that it was. Praying in church, walking to our favorite restaurant, following a coffin as the choir sang "Be Not Afraid", my struggles and joys were more than halved and doubled as her soft skin graced my calloused fingers. Every once and a while we would jump at the clap of the thunder or gasp as a bolt of lightning lit our faces in a white yellow glow.
As the night wore on her reactions grew more faint and less frequent as she drifted off to sleep. "How can she sleep with such a racket outside?" I thought more confused than ma…

Death's soothing sharpness

A while back I listened to a Rob Bell podcast about a funeral director named Caleb Wilde who had a positive death narrative like the one I have been trying to develop. It was a very good listen and I think that Wilde has hit upon some key areas and fleshed them out to a greater extent than I have. Maybe, being a funeral director, he has had to, but maybe he is just more perceptive than I am. At any rate, he made a statement where he said that we are "uncomfortable" around death because it is something that we are not familiar with. I can see where he is coming from with that perspective. I mean, the physical death of a cherished one is relatively rare in my life - especially as youngish as I am. The death of those I cherish will accelerate as I get older, but up to this point I have only grieved hard a couple of times.

On the other hand, though, I find a perspective different than that of Wilde. I see death every day. I don't think the difference that I have with the fune…

Please wait for me....

Waiting is an act of love. 
I have long legs and I can walk fairly quickly fairly easily. My wife, well, she was not as blessed in the long legs department as I was. When we are walking I need to be conscious of the pace of my gait as I have a tendency to leave her behind. In no uncertain terms, I need to be conscious of her. I need to remember her, subject myself to her ability and desire. I must purposefully slow myself down so that we can walk together in comfort. In other words, I need to love her.
There are so many times that I think I see so clearly. I see so much in that person's life and that person's situation and I think I know exactly what they need to do to be a better human or even a better servant of God. I make judgments about their progress or perspective and I can get impatient. Those are the times when God puts the brakes on and tells me to wait. Not just for them, but for Him. He is perfectly perfecting those that are truly his and I cannot hurry him along. It…