Do we find God’s inclusive ways surprising? Perhaps God is more gracious than some of us might anticipate. Or maybe our surprise comes in learning that God’s inclusiveness does not conform to how our culture seeks to be accepting, but rather transcends it for the better. Continue reading “God’s inclusive ways”
“This garden used to have all different colors of irises, but they all turned purple.”
This complaint, or some like it, are made by people who have not kept a really close eye on their flowerbeds. It is a common belief that flowers can “turn” into a different color, but in the case of older, established flower beds, there is a better explanation. Continue reading “Be a good sport”
If the garden teaches us one thing – and one thing only – it is the principle that change is inevitable.
You might furnish the inside of your home with the highest quality furniture and decor, and keep the children off the couch in the formal living room, and then the grandchildren can come some day and recognize the room based on old photos from fifty years before. I’ve seen it happen. Continue reading “Subject to change without notice”
The incident of the woman caught in the act of adultery, found in our Bibles at the beginning of John 8, has been questioned by Bible scholars as to whether this was originally part of John’s gospel. It is not the scope of this article to evaluate the arguments for and against, but this writer does believe that this is a real incident in the life of Jesus. Continue reading “Go and sin no more”
Randomly grab part of a child’s hot air balloon mobile and you are likely to hold a collapsed tangled mess. However, if you pick up that same mobile using the center string securing the upper most support, the entire mobile falls into place displaying the proper relationship between its various components.
Each part of the mobile is important. Yet priority is built into a mobile’s proper functioning. The church can learn a lot from a child’s mobile. Continue reading “What a child’s mobile can teach the church”
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 NKJV).
For the past couple of months I have been in Bangladesh. It was spring here when we arrived, and is now officially summer. As elsewhere, spring is a time of moderate weather and, generally, some wind or breeze. Those breezes typically lessen as summer arrives. Continue reading “Give the winds a mighty voice”
From the time he had set eyes on his brothers, he wanted to know whether they had changed. He wanted to forgive his brothers. But forgiveness isn’t cheap.
His brothers hadn’t recognised him although he knew them in an instant. After all – all they saw was an Egyptian who was in charge who seemed rather harsh, not the Joseph they had sold into slavery sixteen years earlier. They were his brothers, but had they changed? Continue reading “A spirit of forgiveness”
Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them. But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:1-11 NET)
Can people tell the difference between us, as Christians, and those who are not Christians? Throughout Paul’s letters, one theme frequently occurs: if we are Christians, then we must be different from those who are not. Continue reading “We must change our lives”
Sometimes it seems the church is being sliced and diced up by age. The “youth group” activities, the “Young Adults” Class (a very loosely defined group, I have noticed), the “Baby Boomers,” and so on. There is nothing wrong with arranging an activity specifically for young people, or women, or those of us who are more “mature.” Yet I have noticed that some try to exploit these differences in age by seeking to form a “church within a church,” or worse, by culling young people out of the church and forming their own group. We need each other!
Remember John addressing “children,” “fathers” and “young men” (1 John 2:12-14)? Remember Paul telling Titus to teach “older men,” “older women,” “younger women” and so on (Titus 2:1-6)? The church is a family, and we are not a family unless we work together and associate with each other. The church needs the idealism and energy of the young; it also needs the wisdom and reflection of the mature. Continue reading “I was young and now I am, well, not”
Life changes, sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly. Accidents, divorce, and death rupture routine by tearing at the soul. The slow day-by-day aging sneaks up on us, though no less surely. Children move away. People retire from their professions. They change jobs and relocate to distant cities. Businesses hire, fire, and lay people off.
Change, in whatever form, is a constant, for good or ill.
In the midst of human and worldly change, God is a constant. He does not change. Here are four closely related ways that God shows his consistency. Continue reading “The no-change zone”