WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Friday, May 19, 2017

Don’t Miss the Point – 5/21/2017



WARNING PREACHY…

In the passage below, the Apostle Paul is on a missionary journey and presently in Athens.  These are the words that he shared with the philosophers in that city about the foreign deity he was preaching.  The part that I pick up is the part that seems to so easily slip past us —because our American culture seems exactly opposite of the culture that existed in Athens some 2000 years ago.

The part that our American culture will so easily get offended at is in verse 31.  In it, Paul says that God has set a day for Jesus to judge the world. 

Our culture does not like being judged by ANYONE!   

We say things like “you can’t judge me, the Bible says ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ or we say “take the plank out of your own eye before you judge me.”  We typically try to defensively deflect every accusation with religious sounding piety in order to avoid our own sins.  We don’t even like the idea of God judging us.  Even many of today’s churches lean more toward self-help or personal benefit than actually calling out and dealing with personal sins.  Because of our culture’s avoidance of sin we tend to miss the obvious point of this passage.

Not only does verse 31 speak of a day of judgment but it speaks of the proof given by God in the resurrection of the man who will judge.  I don’t know if it’s because we are American and have celebrated Easter every year of our lives, but we typically take the resurrection of Jesus from the dead for granted which is the exact point that we should notice in this passage.  We know this is true because immediately in verse 32 the author writes that the Athenians took offense and sneered at the concept of the resurrection from the dead.  Apparently, they didn’t flinch at the concept of being judged by God, but the idea of a dead man actually coming back to life did.

This causes me to pause.  Am I more offended by the idea of judgment than I am enamored by the idea of a dead man who lived again?  I have to admit, I do spend more time thinking about judgement than I do the wonderful fact of the resurrection.  I suspect that I am not alone in this misaligned faith focus.


Acts 17:24-33

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

But Are You a Priest? – 5/14/2017



WARNING PREACHY…

1 Peter 2:4-5

“4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

My daughter came back from the playground frustrated, “we’re oddballs in this place” she complained, granted, she’s 13 and she often reacts as though the world is a horrible place and conspiring to specifically make her-alone suffer, however I asked her what she meant. 

She explained that everyone on the playground claims to “believe” in Jesus and some tell her that they go to church, but she claims that the way that they act and speak indicate something different than what they are telling her.  Let me reiterate, she’s 13 so when I point out that her own actions often indicate that she means something other than what she says as well – it never goes over well.

Each of us can go around all day (and we often do) pointing out how somebody else has a speck of dust in their eyeball while we avoid the planks in our own, but the real question, I think, is are we priests of God being built together as a Holy priesthood, or do we simply “believe in God”, go to church, and call it a day?

My family and I struggle with this, and that makes me happy because when we stop struggling I think we’ll have a real problem.

James 1:19

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

How about you?  Do you struggle to be a priest or do you just believe in God?  According to St. Peter it matters.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Give Me Jesus – 5/7/2017



WARNING PREACHY…

God is not so much about fixing things that have gone wrong in our lives as He is about finding us in our brokenness and giving us Christ.” ~Sweet & Viola[1]

This quote, in the context of the book, is proclaiming a simple transformative revelation and relationship with the person of Jesus Christ; relationship for the sake of the relationship itself and not what we humans can get out of it.  Many of us Christians “love Jesus” because of the feelings we get at the Sunday morning worship time at church, or because we get to go to heaven when we die, or even because we are still waiting for our miracle, but what we Christians should desire is simply a relationship with Jesus, the Christ, only because of who He is.

When I married my wife, I had visions of how she would improve my life as we lived our lives together.  Truthfully, she has not lived up to most of the ideals that I had, and to be candidly honest, I haven’t lived up to them either.  We are now in our 19th year of marriage and what we’ve both learned (and are learning) is that we are in relationship with each other regardless of any benefit that we might get out of it.  We should be selflessly devoted to each other, for the sake of the other; simply for the sake of the other.  What a terrible relationship it would be if we were only in it for what we could get from it.

The quote above puts into words and helps me to consider my relationship with Jesus.  Am I seeking Him for what He can do for me, or how I can feel, or am I seeking Him simply for who He is?

Honestly?  I have to admit that I too often fall into the trap of caring for Jesus because of what I get out of Him and not simply because He alone is worthy of my love and honor.   

I need and desire to change that.

1 Corinthians 2:2

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.


[1] Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ (AMAZON--http://a.co/02bJ9Or)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Jesus is the Word – 4/23/2017



WARNING PREACHY…

John 1:1-2

1In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

John’s Gospel starts with the beginning of all things; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.  This sequence of language seems odd to us modern day readers, but it was deep philosophical language to the readers of the Apostle John’s day.  The Greek word logos (translated Word) was an ancient philosophical and theological term used to try to explain the divine reason for everything, it was used to explain how the universe was ordered as it attempted to explain the form and meaning of existence.  John’s Gospel immediately shows that it is to be the most philosophical of the four gospels and sets itself apart as it delves into the meaning of life.

In these first two verses, the Apostle John writes that Jesus was at the creation of the universe.  In fact, the language is more complex than that, the English word with is translated from a Greek word that in a philosophical discussion very likely suggests more than just a side-by-side accompaniment of two people but rather an intertwining of beings.  The word with doesn’t make this point all by itself but John’s description that the “Word was with God and was God” certainly does.

The Jewish reader of John’s Gospel would immediately recognize the link John is making between his writing and the first book of the Jewish Scripture.

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Because of this link, I am sure the Jewish mind went into alert mode.  John was seemingly cross contaminating the idea of the singular God with something else which he calls the Word.  I am not sure if John knew what he was doing but he essentially introduced the concept of the Trinity of the God-head.  This was blasphemy according to the Jews which was one of the charges against Jesus when they tried and executed Him.

Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!





As Christians, our faith is in the life, death, and resurrection (new life) of this Jesus who is the essence of our creator God who dwelled among us.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

An Introduction – 4/23/2017



WARNING PREACHY…

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast, for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

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Please allow me to introduce you to my old friend Jesus.  Jesus…  Not a biblical character, a doctrinal concept, a theological thesis, an ideological bent, a political agenda, a religious nicety, and not even a historical saint or document, just my friend Jesus.

Jesus and I have drifted apart over the years.  Not that we aren’t still good friends but through the time I can see that I’ve gotten quite distracted.  I used to spend a lot of time with Him, seeking His active involvement in my daily life and doing the things that He would help me to do.  Together, we used to talk all the time and He would be with me through my days. 

Like one time, when I and a few friends were taking a day trip to Chicago, and the van I was driving broke down on the expressway.  I told my friends to remain with the van and pray while I walked to the next exit to call a tow-truck.  I started walking and within a few minutes a car pulled over in front of me and offered me a ride.  The driver was an elderly woman and her passenger was another elderly woman.  I asked them why they would picked up a single guy on the side of the highway when it isn’t safe to do so, and they said that they could see that I was broken down and they had a peace about it, so they did.  Some people might say that I got lucky but I’ve been to statistics class and I know better.  No, I know Jesus gave those ladies peace so that they would stop for me; that’s just the kind of friend Jesus is. 

This is just one instance of many more instances of Jesus being with me in my life, and I miss those days.  Somewhere along the way I got busy and sidetracked with other “pressing and important” matters.  You know how life gets: marriage, kids, friends, work, and church.

Anyway, I want to introduce you to my friend Jesus, He is in the business of restoring relationships; specifically our relationships with God. 

A long time ago our great grandparents (Adam and Eve) were estranged from God and He has been trying to get the family back together ever since.  The problem is that humans are funny creatures; most of us have a problem with humbling ourselves, so we just avoid Him.  We don’t like saying “sorry” for things we do wrong, let alone apologizing for something our great-grandparents (whom we’ve never met) did a long time ago.  So God solved the problem and He apologized first.  Because He loves you and me, He sent Jesus to tell us that we can come home.  That He doesn’t want to be estranged from us any longer and eagerly wants to be friends.  Jesus has gone so far as to fight the devil for us (the one who created the estrangement in the first place) to bring us back to God.  He took quite a licking but in the end He bested that old devil.

I realize that as I am introducing you to my old friend Jesus, I’ve missed Him.  I’m going to have to give Him a call and get reconnected with Him again.  Anyway, He’s really a great guy; you should give him a ring, I know you will just love Him. 

Remember, His name is Jesus and I told him to expect your call.