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
I have been discussing the worldview that declares, “human beings are the product of mindless random events governed entirely, and only by the laws of Physics”. This worldview is alive and well in our culture, usually defended by claiming it is based on Science. Unfortunately, just saying something is Science doesn’t mean it is. Nor is something Science because a “scientist” said it. For something to be Science, it must be based on the scientific method.Read More about When worldviews collide (Part 4, the end – for now.)
The worldview that says, “human beings are the product of mindless random events governed entirely, and only, by the laws of Physics”, has been around for a longtime. By its constant repetition, it has succeeded in diffusing deeper and wider throughout our culture. Sometimes this is the goal of the promulgators of a worldview: not to posit it as an issue to be debated and reasoned over but rather to spread it so wide that it is accepted implicitly, so that it becomes “common knowledge”. By the looks of our media, they appear to have succeeded.Read More about When worlds collide (Part 3)
I mentioned at the beginning of the last post that the most dangerous collision of worldviews is the subtle one, where one infects the other without being noticed. As believers we are susceptible to such incursions. This is because, even though by our choice we have left our old life in the world behind, we are nonetheless called to live in peace with, and to love, the people of this world. Sooner or later, that will require that we try to understand them. Which means we will try to make logical sense of what the world believes; and that can be a slippery slope. Because the moment we ask ourselves, “how can someone believe that?” we naturally ask ourselves, “why don’t I believe it?” At that point we must be able to think through the answer. If you are not ready to give yourself a reason for the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15), the warnings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:12 and Galatians 6:1 become very real.Read More about When worldviews collide (part 2)