Cherry Tomatoes 2014

A Remnant

Don’t eat all the tomatoes!

Those last few “Sweet Million” tomatoes have something wonderful inside them — and not just incredible flavor.

You do want those again next year, don’t you? Well, that means we will have to squeeze out their juicy goodness, wash away the tangy, flavorful juice, and pick out the seeds to dry them.

Yes, inside each one of those little yellow disc-shaped seeds is the potential for a whole new plant for 2015, loaded with the lovely round wonders that delighted us this past summer. Continue reading A Remnant

Indulgence2

I know better, but . . .

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32 NJKV).

How often have we heard someone say, “I know I should not do this, but I am going to do it anyway?” Or, “I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but …” The fact is that most of us have probably done those things ourselves. Few, if any, live and act as well as they know how. Continue reading I know better, but . . .

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Starting over again

Can you imagine what Onesimus must have been feeling as he travelled from Rome back to Colossae carrying Paul’s two letters with him? He was a slave, but, more than that, he was a runaway slave. His master had every right to be angry with him. But while being away he had run into an old family friend who was now a prisoner under house arrest, a preacher named Paul. Paul taught him about Jesus and he had become a Christian. And Paul insisted that he return to his master – it was the right thing to do.

What awaited his return to his master? How would his master react? Did it matter that he was now a Christian? This is what the letter of Philemon is about – a man who had really messed up his life but became a Christian. Could he be given a second chance? Continue reading Starting over again

beggar

“Social Gospel” or “Covenant living?”

The “Social Gospel” is not about church “socials” or potlucks; that thinking is based on equivocation. The Social Gospel was developed by Walter Rauschenbusch, mostly as a reaction to the socio-political times around World War I. Lectures from 1917 were printed in “A Theology For the Social Gospel.” A poor summary would be preachers lining up folk to vote for political candidates who share their values, as an expression of the social gospel.

The basic idea attempted to apply Continue reading “Social Gospel” or “Covenant living?”

Lakewood Church

It pays to be a Christian

Joel Osteen, improbably youthful looking minister of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, is apparently completely unaware of the concept of sin. This is amazing, as he lives in a major metropolitan center where presumably the raw side of life should be apparent, the suffering and victimization that comes from, well, the less than stellar actions taken by people. Victims of abuse, alcoholism and abandonment are evident everywhere. It makes one wonder: Does the “Smiling Evangelist” care about all those who suffer?

It’s not hard to see why his materialistic version of Christianity is popular. Apparently Jesus came to the earth, not so much to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), but to make us prosperous, have a nice house and wear cool clothes. Continue reading It pays to be a Christian

Jesus on the cross

An appeal to consider Jesus

“…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, ESV).

One of the most controversial claims of all human history is that God in the person of Jesus willingly submitted to living in a body of flesh (Matthew 1:21; John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 8:9). This is revealed in the Bible. Continue reading An appeal to consider Jesus

relay-race

Not finished yet

Sounds of laughter and joy fill the air. Wet clothes are abandoned for dry ones. Perhaps prayers and singing erupt. Someone has travelled down the road to finally rely upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Goal achieved?

Paul reminds us that the race is not over yet. For that person who has led another to Christ, his words suggest conversion is not the end. Ministry has only begun.  Continue reading Not finished yet

Geranium

Plastic, or real?

“This is the kind of flower that grows best for me.” My mother-in-law was referring to the plastic geraniums in a clay pot beside her front door. Those were the days before the new “silk” flowers, which are now made of polyester, which had the soft texture of their real-life counterparts.

Muriel liked the plastic flowers because she could use them year after year. Of course, they might look a little more faded and yellow the third or fourth time around, but she felt good she was saving money.

She insisted that she kills the “other kind,” meaning the real plants. She worked a full day and kept an immaculate house, and cooked real food instead of eating out. No wonder she didn’t have time for flowers! I must admit my housekeeping suffers from neglect as I choose garden chores over vacuuming. Continue reading Plastic, or real?

ISIS

Is it right to be angry?

“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry” (Jonah 3:10-4:1 NKJV).

Ask the modern reader of the Bible what he or she knows about the Old Testament book of Jonah, and the answer is likely to be, “Isn’t that the man that got swallowed by a whale?” Most casual students are familiar only with the story contained in chapter 1. While this miraculous event catches our attention, it is at the end of the book (especially chapter 4) that the most important lessons are revealed. Continue reading Is it right to be angry?