Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution

Peaceful unity is beautiful, whereas evil promotes cantankerous divisiveness. We recognize this. However, are we aware just how profoundly solidarity saturates God’s will at all levels?

Paul’s writings outline God’s solutions for a fractured cosmos, a divided church and broken relationships. Should we be surprised that at its core the same solution keeps appearing? Continue reading “Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution”

Vulnerabilities in the sinner’s prayer

In spite of the magical power of dragon talk, as Bilbo the Hobbit surveyed the underbelly of the powerful dragon Smaug, Bilbo thought to himself:

“Why there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!”

As Smaug would later discover when a metal dart penetrated his chest, although dragons might feel impenetrable and wield great power, genuine vulnerabilities can exist. Lacking some vital knowledge, Smaug mistakenly placed confidence in his invincibility. Continue reading “Vulnerabilities in the sinner’s prayer”

Scripture is mostly stream, not stain glass

His white hair spoke to his experience. However, his voice belied his age as his tone and words tumbled forth with enthusiasm. “In the last month or so I have seen scripture in a whole new light.” With this statement he explained how an idea had opened up his eyes to what had previously alluded him.

He anticipated with joy the adventure of pressing forward studying God’s word. What had so changed his understanding and perspective of God’s word?  Continue reading “Scripture is mostly stream, not stain glass”

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”