God has had many purposes for his people then and now. God chose to bless all nations through Abraham. God commissioned Israel to be a kingdom of priests serving others. As those who had witnessed God’s power and love, God commissioned Israel to announce to the nations his greatness, thus drawing others to God. A theme emerges from these beginnings revealing God’s love for all people. Continue reading “God’s people then and now: Their purpose”
The apostle Paul challenges how we often think and talk about our relationship with God. His parenthetical remark reverses our perspective.
“… now that you have come to know God
(or rather to be known by God) …” Galatians 4:9 Continue reading “God’s people then and now: God’s perspective”
It probably sounds too good to be true. Nevertheless, Jesus revealed through his teachings and his actions that he wants to help us obtain indestructible lives. Continue reading “Indestructible lives within our grasp”
“Disciple” signifies a follower, pupil or adherent to a teacher. In the Gospels it described those who followed John the Baptist as well as Jesus. Biblical authors also seem to have used this term to designate casual followers as well as those more fully committed (John 6:66; 8:31). The discipleship Jesus desires from us requires dying to ourselves (Mark 8:34-35). It also demands we abandon a sinful lifestyle, so that we might live for God (Romans 6:2,6,18,22).
While selfless living is commendable, it’s empty of eternal value and remains just a human-based spiritual activity, unless we are crucified with Christ. Paul knew that the life Jesus makes possible is not achieved by self-exertion. Continue reading “Dying to self & to sin: The moment of a disciple’s birth”
In the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus identified earth and heaven as being two places where people might choose to store their treasures, he contrasted two different lifestyles (Matthew 6:19-20). We either look to the things of earth for our security and significance or we look to heaven. If self is in charge, we will seek some source of earthly security. Continue reading “The disciple’s heart: its treasure, its focus, its master”
Discipleship involves more than claiming to be a Christian or attending worship services. It is a lifestyle from the heart. So, what did Jesus teach about living as a disciple? Continue reading “Discipleship: the way of the cross”
A toddler shows defiance, disobeys or displays selfishness. Someone comments, “That’s original sin’s impact.”
Has Adam’s sin affected us and if so how? Are we culpable of sin at birth? Might we be born with a depraved nature bent upon evil? Is mortality our only inheritance?
A university lectureship director once told a young person who would be socializing with other presenters, “They don’t know who you are. Tell them about yourself.”
How would we behave at that social event? Would following the director’s advice be an example of prideful self-promotion, or might it just be sophisticated pragmatism, or even something else? Continue reading “What can God do with humble selfless obedience?”
The request was unusual. “I am working on a college assignment regarding the role of women in the church. Would you have any resources?” After lending her some books, I began to reflect upon the phrase, “neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28). Disputes, some heated, others congenial, have swirled around those words.
I believe a simple story can assist everyone to accurately understand, agree upon, and draw application for today. OK, I concede this is too optimistic since people value different goals. Nevertheless, if we place priority upon an authored-centered meaning, as opposed to a reader-centered one, “neither male nor female” is rather straightforward.
We can master the technique the first time. We complain about how busy we are, while smiling on the inside how important this makes us feel. Unfortunately, such a self-esteem quick fix comes at a price. Continue reading “Take a break”