This conversation started by acknowledging that there are passages in the Old Testament that, on first reading, seem difficult to reconcile with the concept of a loving Heavenly Father that Jesus proclaimed in the New Testament. But we know that that difficulty cannot mean there is a contradiction because the God we are talking about has already told us He does not change. The things that were right and wrong back in the Old Testament were still right and wrong in the New, and are still right and wrong today. That is a logical requirement of believing in an Eternal God that created everything, including thought, logic, and all moral laws.Read More about Justice is black and white, but Mercy is the color of love. Part 2: Justice and Mercy in the presence of the Living God.
I have heard people say that Jehovah (Yahweh, the I AM) – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of the Old Testament – is an angry god. And to prove it they will cite Laws given to Moses and tell you that no civilized man today would consider those statutes just. But if that were a logical argument, how come Jesus did not reach the same conclusion?Read More about Justice is black and white, but Mercy is the color of love. Part 1: the reversal of the curse.
Engineering PhD students have to decide, at least a year before they get their degree, whether they want to go into Academia or Industry after graduation. I met Professors who told me that, in their view, if you got a PhD it was to join Academia. But, having come from Industry, that was not my view. I saw both as valid choices; and if properly managed, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. But there is a big difference between the two choices.Read More about Were we ever a team? How do teams make good decisions?
Today, September 17, is Constitution Day. There’s probably no clearer definition of what it means to be an American than the fact that we all share the same Constitution. There should be no clearer definition of what it means to be a Christian than the fact that we believe in the same Gospel, that we follow the same Jesus. But there was a time in our country’s history when there were two Constitutions. It’s a good thing there is only one Gospel.Read More about How hard is it to separate Truth from Lie?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” Sometimes this seems too easy, even too good to be true. Yet, if you asked someone about what Scriptures they find hard in the Bible, seldom will this one be mentioned. Why? Because we really want it to be true. It would be wonderful if it was true. But when our prayers are not answered that way, how do we explain it? Do we make excuses for God? But, didn’t He mean it?Read More about What if He meant it? Part 4 of 4: Obedience leads to revelation
One day, John’s disciples got into an argument with a Jew, probably a Teacher of the Law, and it looks like it didn’t go too well for them. In fact, they were so bugged by it that even though the argument was about “purification rites”, what they complain to John about is that Jesus and his disciples are baptizing more people than they are. And it is in that exchange that John famously says about Jesus and himself: he must increase but I must decrease.Read More about What if He meant it? Part 3 of 4: He must increase, but I must decrease
There is a phrase Jesus used several times that gained much more significance once his disciples began to understand what it meant. It is that phrase about taking up your cross and following him. Maybe they thought he was using it like a parable, to emphasize how important the Kingdom of God is. But as soon as they realized he wasn’t just another prophet, that he was indeed the Messiah, Jesus started to tell them plainly where this whole story was going to end: At the cross.
Several times the Gospel tells us that they did not understand what he was telling them. Maybe they just couldn’t believe He meant it.Read More about What if He meant it? Part 2 of 4: If any way…
Back in the Summer of 2009, Pastor David Wright of Lifelink Church preached a sermon entitled “What if God meant what He said?” That would mean we know – without a doubt – exactly what is required of us: “First, love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Second, love your neighbor as yourself.” Is it that simple?Read More about What if He meant it? Part 1: What does God require of me?
Jesus’ teaching style in the Gospels is never of the form: “Do this because I say so.” Instead, his instruction is always accompanied by the explanation of why this is the way we should live. He appeals to our ability to reason, so that we can acknowledge that what he is asking us to do is the right thing to do. Why did He teach this way?Read More about Leadership and influence, a dialectic.
The worldwide catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic does not show signs of abating any time soon. Early on, the news media reminded us all of the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 and its worldwide toll, in hopes that we would take the danger seriously. But whether we take the danger seriously or not is probably not the main issue. I think the main issue is whether or not we can reason about it correctly.Read More about On Tempting God