Fear – it could save your life

If society, culture and the church could just move past feeling fear, anger and pain, we would all be better off, right? If everybody could only be positive and happy all of the time, our lives would improve, correct? Wrong! If these negative emotions and sensations were eliminated, our lives would unravel.

If you object to that last sentence, I’m sure you are not alone. So let’s cut to the chase.

Continue reading “Fear – it could save your life”

Because of whose you are

Rude statements. Inconsiderate demands. Aggressive behavior. It can get worse. Deliberate mistreatment.

Sometimes we are the recipient of them all. Justice would seem to justify a tit-for-tat retaliation. Yet, Jesus and his apostles denounced this natural instinct. They had a very good reason. The concise and crystal clear idea they described encapsulates a perspective, a worldview, capable of transforming our lifestyle and society. Continue reading “Because of whose you are”

Connected to Christ: the importance, the moment and its impact

Every year our culture gives a gentle nod to Jesus through old TV specials, nativity scenes and Christmas carols.  However, is there a reason to move beyond a seasonal sentimentality to take Jesus seriously throughout the year?

After all, Jesus’ story is just one narrative among many. From the conflicting voices of the world’s religions to the nay saying meta-narrative of evolution, many believe they have reason to dismiss the Christ.

However, this is not the end of the matter. Paul describes sufficient motivations for both considering whether it is worthwhile to explore if Christ might be significant for our lives, as well as resolving whether we ought to exalt Christ in our lives above the chorus of confusion. Paul accomplishes most of this within his Colossian letter. Continue reading “Connected to Christ: the importance, the moment and its impact”

The love & hate idiom

Many a student has felt confused, while many a teacher might prefer explaining a different text. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

The explanation provided is often headed in the right direction. However, failure to explain the ancient idiom lying behind Jesus’ words robs the listeners of an “Ah Ha!” moment that can also unlock a number of other texts as well. Continue reading “The love & hate idiom”

The promises and their impact

Decades have passed since I made some promises to a young lady in two different languages. Those promises announced my marital commitment and intended faithfulness to my young bride. At that time, I slipped a tangible symbol of my vows upon her finger to remind her of what I had promised.

God has also made some promises and provided us with a tangible reminder of them. However, he has offered the greatest promises ever – promises offering hope, identity, peace and holiness. Furthermore, unlike us, God is always faithful to his promises. We can know and rest assured God will deliver. Continue reading “The promises and their impact”

The impact of salvation: more than just forgiveness

Walk through a shopping mall. Randomly ask people what Jesus can do for their lives. If people are willing to chat, what would they say? For those who know something about Christ, the predominant answer would likely relate to salvation.

To be sure, the good news about Christ crucified centers upon salvation. However if we limit salvation’s impact to being rescued from our sins and becoming God’s people, we will overlook a massive component of God’s work on our behalf.

Continue reading “The impact of salvation: more than just forgiveness”

Got Rest?

Perhaps one of the greatest disparities between Jesus’ lifestyle and that of his disciples today in developed countries, might be his willingness to withdraw from the hustle and bustle to rest and pray. Do we not recognize a certain badge of honor and pride in explaining to others how busy we are?

On the other hand, we’ve heard his stories. “Jesus often withdrew to deserted places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Why did Jesus make the time while we can be tempted to believe we can not afford to take a break? What does this reveal about Christ and ourselves? Continue reading “Got Rest?”

Did Paul agree with Luke that to believe includes baptism?

Did Paul’s and Luke’s missionary companionship influence how they used the word believe? Did they share the same understanding of how to respond to Christ crucified? These are very interesting questions for two reasons.

First, as the evidence below suggests, Luke was not only comfortable using “believe” to describe a response to the gospel that could include baptism, it appears to have required it. If this is true, then when Luke recounted that someone believed, that conversion story encompassed more than just believing; it signified a faith response involving baptism.

Second, early Christian tradition asserts Luke wrote the gospel Paul proclaimed. If this is true, then Luke’s usage of believe might very well reflect Paul’s viewpoint. What can we discover regarding whether their perspectives aligned? Continue reading “Did Paul agree with Luke that to believe includes baptism?”

One church: the intersection of scripture and today’s world

Money, politics and religion can stir up controversy. Within Christendom, opinions about church run deep. Yet, most agree what the New Testament teaches, such as its insistence there is one church. Disagreement arises over how this teaching should be applied to our world.

Can we understand how the Bible’s teaching regarding one church relates to our world? Can the confusion be untangled? I believe yes.  Continue reading “One church: the intersection of scripture and today’s world”