Human nature wants to scale sin down, to make sin more palatable. We like to think that the sins we commit, or that are commonly committed by people we like, are not so very bad. But sin is not measured by our standards. God’s judgment against sin is what matters. He is the one who is offended, and God is the one who must be appeased. God’s hatred for sin is seen in the horrible price that had to be paid because of our sins. Jesus Christ died because of our sins. Sin is always an affront to God. Sin … Continue reading Sin and Grace
Seventy-seven years ago today Charles Lindbergh took off aboard “The Spirit of St. Louis” on his historic solo flight from Long Island to France. His adventure brought the twenty-five-year-old pilot unimaginable fame and fortune. He soon embarked on a promising career as an aviation consultant and was wed to the beautiful daughter of a prominent family. “Lucky Lindy” was the name given to Lindbergh by the enthusiastic press. Everything seemed to be going his way. What a difference a few years would make! The fame which appeared to be a blessing was in many ways a curse. His celebrity status … Continue reading Lucky Lindy
Last month, some motorists in Michigan thought they had found a gold mine. Discovering a computer error that enabled them to swipe their drivers’ licenses instead of credit cards, they filled their tanks at the Meijer chain without paying. Over 100 people took advantage of this “free” gasoline, costing Meijer thousands of dollars. Some of the culprits, many of them students from Ann Arbor, filled up their tanks up to 15 times over a three-week period. No one would ever know; no one would get hurt. There is, however, no such thing as a free tank of gas. Beyond the … Continue reading Integrity
On January 11, 1992 an eighth grade student from Japan dropped a bottle in the Pacific Ocean. The bottle contained a note with the student’s contact information and a request to be notified if the bottle were recovered. From the waters just south of Okinawa this message floated until, twelve years later, it washed up on Hanauma Bay in Hawaii. The glass bottle, covered in algae, contained the age-brittled note written by a child who is now an adult. The student who wrote the message years ago can now only imagine the details of the bottle’s voyage, surrounded by the … Continue reading An Act of Faith
Despising low-brow trends, I disdained “reality” programs on television. “Fake documentaries,” I scoffed. Then, stumbling across Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, I was hooked. Rather than a dumbed-down documentary, The Apprentice is a smartened-up game show offering amusement to its viewers and prizes to winning contestants. Undoubtedly, part of the show’s popularity comes from our cultural obsession with money and accomplishment. While few people would really enjoy living in Trump’s overblown apartment, and fewer yet appreciate his overblown hair, Donald Trump’s wealth and power fascinate. Trump is Jay Gatsby. Beyond the hype, however, here are some important lessons which come through … Continue reading Learning from Donald Trump
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15 ESV). Do you have a real friend? Don’t answer too quickly, for I am not talking about a social acquaintance. Do you have someone with whom you can be yourself, someone you … Continue reading What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Following in the wake of our consumer economy, most religious groups adapt their message to the whims of popular culture. The Bible, in contrast, presents itself as a message from God calling us to adapt our lives to God’s will. While man-made religion is an extension of human desire, designed to affirm, the Bible is the word of God, challenging us to change. The difference between these two paths can be seen in the differing purposes of a projector and a flashlight. A projector casts an image with the purpose of fooling your senses into believing something is present which … Continue reading Illumination or Projection?
Dan Brown’s best-seller, The Da Vinci Code is delightful as a novel. His compelling plot and quick vignettes move along effortlessly in a story cast upon a backdrop of Western History. The cultural allusions which punctuate the narrative provide intellectual stimulation without overburdening the story with unwelcome sophistication. Heretical Fiction For Christians, however, The Da Vinci Code presents a real challenge, in spite of its literary merits. Brown casts his story as historical fiction, based on the Gnostic Gospels, early heretical writings unearthed over the past century. Using these Gnostic texts as a starting-point, Brown claims that Jesus wed Mary … Continue reading The Da Vinci Code
“Cheshire Cat,” asked Alice, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don”t much care where.” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. The Cheshire Cat had a point. All paths are meaningless if you have no place to go. This basic observation highlights the difference between the Christian way of life and the way pursued by the secular world. God’s people are following a different path because they seek a different destination. … Continue reading Which Path?
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well (James 2:8). In a style reminiscent of the Sermon on the Mount and of the Old Testament wisdom literature, the Epistle of James distills great practical truths into plain and straightforward statements. The principle quoted from the Law of Moses “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), is denoted as “the royal law”. Some modern theorists have attempted to use this primacy of love to set aside other commands recorded in Scripture. The rule of love stands above … Continue reading One Command Encompasses All Others