“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Matthew 11:6).
In the ashes of the World Trade building in New York City, following the devastation of the 9/11 attacks, lay a twisted metal beam, improbably forming the shape of a cross. For many in the dust-filled, heart-wrenching days following the tragedy, the cross served as a symbol of hope. Somewhere in all that crazy confusion was a symbol of a God who still cared.
Well inevitably a group known as the American Atheists have sued the 9/11 Museum demanding the symbol be removed. Apparently the presence of a cross at this place of such deepest sorrow “offends” them (Scott Stump, Today, March 6, 2014). Continue reading ““Offended””
“The one who says, ‘I have come to know him,’ and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).
Religious leaders will do verbal back flips in order to avoid saying that we need to obey God’s commands. Commentators will write four paragraphs to show that the Holy Spirit really didn’t mean what he plainly said in one simple sentence. People will declare, “Oh surely God wouldn’t condemn us if we didn’t obey that commandment!”
The fact is that the Lord demands that we obey his commands. Continue reading “Obedience”
These days the idea of restoring New Testament Christianity has fallen on hard times, the idea met by stifled yawns at best, and resistance at worst. We should be thinking of the future, not the past, many seem to declare.
Thus is raised a perfectly legitimate question. Why should restoring first century Christianity be an enticing idea at all? Continue reading “Restoration”
“The quickest way to sell your soul to the devil,” a Wicca website explains, “is to join the church of Satan.” As the teenagers sometimes say, “well, duh!”
This organization, established in 1966, “teaches members to take pride in having the strength and dedication to implement the tools of Satan and the wisdom to recognize the Unseen in our society.” It goes on, “You don’t need to give some other organization your hard-earned money to sell your soul … understand that there is no such thing as a soul.” Continue reading “Sell your soul to the devil?”
“And when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
If we could put God and man in one, stark contrast, it might be this; God remembers, and humans forget. Continue reading “Remember”
I heard a conversation some time ago between two people that went something like this: “I went to (such and such) a church last Sunday. What I really liked was that they accepted me just as I am, without asking me to change a thing.”
How was that again? A church that demanded nothing of its adherents? How does such a thing happen? Continue reading “A church without a cross”
A brother in Christ said it during a church business meeting about the legal challenges facing the church. We were talking about whether the church could continue to preach on the subject of biblical marriage. For transparency’s sake, allow me to disclose that the topic was whether preachers could still declare that gay marriage was not biblical marriage, whether the church would come under legal pressure to not say so.
Christians are, as it turns out, already responding to this challenge. Continue reading “Meeting in a cabin by the creek”
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
One of the church’s most serious diseases is the idea that it is the church’s job to “serve me.” How often have I heard someone say, “I’m leaving that church. It just never fulfilled my needs.”
Instead of seeing the church as the channel to be served, why don’t we look on the church as the conduit to serve others? Continue reading “Prayer of Francis of Assisi”
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?” (Micah 7:18).
How is it that we can come into the Lord’s presence to worship him, and come away with the image of someone or something other than God?
Whether it be the majesty of the architecture, the “entertainment” value of the worship “production,” or the charisma of the preacher, when we leave worship, and our enduring memory is something other than God, something was wrong! Worship should be in honor of the Lord, and the Lord alone! Anything less would be idolatry. Continue reading “TV Church”
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
Consider the difference between the “Jonah” preacher and the “Jeremiah” preacher. Apparently one would have thrilled at seeing Nineveh burn under fire and brimstone; the other wept as his beloved Jerusalem burned.
In my opinion, churches of Christ have got it right for the most part over the last 170 years or so. I am saddened and disturbed by those brethren who feel we have been wrong to call men and women back to the Scripture and restore New Testament Christianity, who think there is a better way, a more noble plea. Continue reading “Repulsively right”