By Johnny O. Trail — One radio station in Nashville does nothing but talk radio. As an avid listener to talk radio, I am always interested in the questions and comments of those who call in to the radio station. On one show in particular, the host deals with e-mails that are sent in by listeners. Last week, one e-mail in particular caught my attention. The lady who sent the e-mail asked the host, “How do I choose a church?”
The host then gave her some suggestions for finding a church to suit her needs. He proceeded to tell her to look at churches as communities and that she simply needed to find one that had people who most met her needs for friendship. Continue reading “How do I choose a church?”
As James looked out over the congregations of his day, did he perceive the need to address a particular problem? Commentators generally regard his original readers as being largely poor Jewish Christians. However, might there be more? Continue reading “A background for James?”
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1 ESV).
Everything belongs to God. If everything truly belongs to God then nothing truly belongs to us. While we may be in possession of many things, we are owners of none. Instead we are stewards.
While teaching in the temple, Jesus said something that probably interested the Pharisees and Scribes who were likely there. Jesus asked, “How was it that the experts in the law said Christ is David’s son?”
Jesus was not trying to show that he was better than David. He was trying to show his listeners the Messiah was greater than David. How could that be since he descended from David? The answer is because the Messiah is divine, not human. Continue reading “Jesus the Messiah”
Power corrupts. We all know this in the world of mankind, but it’s also true in the garden. Some plant species are just too strong and vigorous to be grown beside the weaker. They become “garden thugs,” and they take over.
This has been painfully obvious to us in the last few weeks, after a deadly storm blew through our town. We all learned a new vocabulary word; “Derecho.” This weather system is as powerful as a tornado, but doesn’t last as long. The derecho rearranged our back yard as it took down a 20-year-old peach tree that shaded much of the eastern property line. Continue reading “Might isn’t right”
The writing of the prophet Isaiah has been referred to as the “fifth gospel” because of the many references and descriptions of the Messiah. His coming is described in this way: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isaiah 9:2 CSB). His kingdom is describes as one of peace and justice.
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
“…the night comes…” (John 9:4) Recently, three-time breast cancer warrior, and Atlantic columnist Caitlyn Flanagan, was interviewed by the notable skeptic, Sam Harris, on his podcast, “Making Sense” (this is not an endorsement). During the interview, she mentioned a plane … Continue reading Life is a Death-y Thing
Decades ago I read church bulletins and missionary reports as a student worker in the Missions Information Office at a Christian college. My work entailed compiling relevant notes and data into an occasional report for interested faculty, students and staff.
As might be expected, some reports and bulletins were more engaging than others. I always looked forward to what John Gipson would write.
I have never met John nor do I know much about him. I doubt he knows I exist. Yet, he impacted at least part of my life. Your influence as salt and light might be greater than you think.
The story is told of a father who brings his oldest son to settle on a homestead. The father lays out the plans for his son: where to build the house and barn, where to lay out the fields for planting, and where to dig the well. The father then leaves this work to his son while he goes to collect his wife and younger children.
After many months the father returns and the son happily shows off his hard work. The house, barn, and fields are all in line with the father’s desires, but the well is in a different location. When asked why, the son replied, “Father, the house, the barn, and the fields were all in the right place. I agreed with your direction. But I did not agree with where we should dig the well. So I placed it here.” Continue reading “Compliance or submission”
Which is worse: being shut up in your home for several weeks, or suffering persecution for your faith? The answer is obvious.
The apostle Paul was ushered out of Thessalonica because of persecution. The brothers carried him away from danger to the city of Berea. Some time later, he wrote to the new congregation with love and concern. He closed his letter with rapid-fire imperatives, concerns of his for their spiritual well-being under pressure, 1 Thessalonians 5.12-24.
His words have something to say to us as well. Continue reading “4 concerns in difficult times”