Those who condemned Jesus

“Then the whole group of them rose up and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king.’ So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He replied, ‘You say so.’ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’ But they persisted in saying, ‘He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea. It started in Galilee and ended up here!’” (Luke 23:1-5 NET)

The events leading up to the execution of Jesus of Nazareth show the extreme hatred that the Jewish leaders had towards him. They wanted rid of Jesus no matter what! They were desperate to find something they could charge him with that would result in his conviction and execution by the Romans. But that was the problem, wasn’t it? Continue reading “Those who condemned Jesus”

Instagram Christianity

Every social media platform has its own personality. Facebook is a great vehicle to keep connected with family, but it can be filled with conspiracies. Twitter can be fun and informative, but it can also be cruel and joyless. Instagram can be a nice place to share photos and short videos with family and friends, but it can also be extraordinarily shallow.

Some people are Instagram celebrities. They have carefully cultivated an image that sells. They attract a following that allows them to sponsor products and reap benefits.

As our lives are being lived more online in recent years, many things have changed about us. Our attention spans have slowly been reduced. Our ability to be in the moment for more than just a moment has degraded. We are always connected and yet not really connected to anyone.

Those personal changes also impact our walk with God. Conspiracies and political idolatry can creep into our sojourn. Our lives, which should be filled with joy, can become heartless and harsh. Our discipleship can become hollow. Continue reading “Instagram Christianity”

Stereotypes

Pumpkins, gourds, and squash are seldom grown by the home gardener if space is an issue. Why? Because they are space hogs, that’s why! One zucchini plant can easily take up a full-sized four-foot by eight-foot raised bed, and may even have to be coaxed to stay within those generous borders. 

The popular televised gardening show, “Gardener’s World” offered a solution; one which I have been practicing for some years. Monty Don demonstrated how he installed vertical supports in the form of heavy stakes formed into a tall cone shape. We use cattle panels, posed diagonally against metal stakes, for an even larger canvas for our artistry of squashes.  Continue reading “Stereotypes”

Your choice is…

It is common for many people to go into a church building on Sunday and listen to a sermon that sounds very similar to one they’ve heard many times before. The introductions may be different, but the main statements and lessons may seem very similar. This is a common occurrence with preaching the truth.

Jeremiah preached to Judah for 40 years and those people heard the same lesson over and over again. Judah was to face the destruction of their city and their freedom. They needed to repent and obey God. Continue reading “Your choice is…”

Is your God handicapped?

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Has the Lord’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not’” (Numbers 11:25 NKJV).

About a year after their deliverance from Egypt, after celebrating Passover for the second time, Israel departed from Mount Sinai to journey to Canaan. Shortly after beginning that trip they began to complain about their diet of only manna (Numbers 11:4-6). Remembering the varied diet of Egypt, they demanded meat. Moses cried out to God, who promised to feed them meet for a complete month (verses 19-20). At that incredible statement Moses asked how it could be possible. That brought about the Lord’s response, essentially, “Is my arm too short?” Continue reading “Is your God handicapped?”

Hope for a better future

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before his execution he rode in as a conquering king. Approaching from the Mount of Olives he would have seen the temple and the city spread out before him. Even today that is an awe-inspiring view.

Jesus was riding on the colt of a donkey when he entered Jerusalem. Although that might seem almost demeaning to us today when we compare a donkey to a magnificent horse, there was symbolism in riding a donkey. A donkey was what a king would ride (see 2 Samuel 16) while a horse was what a warrior would ride. This symbolism wasn’t lost on those who accompanied Jesus. Continue reading “Hope for a better future”

Hope outside

Years ago Crabb and Allender identified four questions hurting people ask: What’s wrong? Who can help? What will the helper do? What can I hope for?

I also appreciate their observation that not all therapies are created equal. Those offering help as well as the tools they use are built upon assumptions and beliefs. Counseling therapy, even a socratic approach, is not neutral.

Here’s a question of my own. When people seek help, from where do they think hope arises? Continue reading “Hope outside”

His Standing, our blessing

Disciples of Jesus bear the name, “Christian.” It is a divinely given name for those who belong to Christ.

Jesus is our Master (Jude 1:4). Like many slaves of the first century, we take on the identity, character, and qualities of our Master (Matthew 10:25). We have no status of our own. Our will has been subsumed by his, our character has been shaped by his. We should echo Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Continue reading “His Standing, our blessing”

End the practice of sin

One of my preaching mentors was Jack Reed who preached in Manchester, Tennessee for several years. He and his wife, Sue, had a nice bit of banter before arriving at a worship service or a revival. She would say, “What will you preach on?” He would answer, “Sin.” She would ask, “For it, or against it?” He’d always answer, “Against it!” Continue reading “End the practice of sin”