Never worthy, yet worthiness expected

“If we are saved by grace, how can Paul write about Christians being worthy? This sounds like works salvation.” A sincere elderly lady raised this line of reasoning as we studied 2 Thessalonians.

Scripture affirms no one is worthy. And yet, at other places explicit statements expect Christians to be worthy. How can this be?

Continue reading “Never worthy, yet worthiness expected”

Six things Jesus shows us

“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, ‘Follow me'” (Luke 5:27).

While in the construction industry some years back, I sometimes found myself in a pickle. I would come across something I had never seen or done before. A few times I actually went to the library and got out a book to try to understand what I needed to do (those were not pre-Google days, they were pre-internet days!). I usually struggled with the descriptions and diagrams in the book.

But when I had someone with me, actually showing me how, I was able to grasp the concept and duplicate it fairly easily. I would not be surprised if this was the very method by which Jesus learned his trade (Mark 6:3). Continue reading “Six things Jesus shows us”

Sinking boats and broken nets: 4 things you should know about faith

“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4)

A preacher placed a small, empty cardboard box on the floor. He said, “I believe with all my heart this box will hold my weight.” Then he raised his leg and began to stand upon the box – which immediately began to collapse. He said, “You see, it doesn’t matter what I believe, if my faith is misplaced. People place a great deal of faith in all kinds of things, but that doesn’t mean those things have any substance. The only thing that matters is the strength of the object in which I place my faith.” Continue reading “Sinking boats and broken nets: 4 things you should know about faith”

What precedes Christian unity

People have proposed many different paths toward acquiring unity among believers. If we will pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings as well as to his apostles’ instructions, we will discover an oft overlooked powerful contributor.

Before people spill a drop of ink or type a single letter revealing our strategies for uniting Christians, we would do well to listen to the Messiah. Jesus prepared people to follow him by describing an essential attitude preceding kingdom service. Continue reading “What precedes Christian unity”

It pays to be a Christian

Joel Osteen, improbably youthful looking minister of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, is apparently completely unaware of the concept of sin. This is amazing, as he lives in a major metropolitan center where presumably the raw side of life should be apparent, the suffering and victimization that comes from, well, the less than stellar actions taken by people. Victims of abuse, alcoholism and abandonment are evident everywhere. It makes one wonder: Does the “Smiling Evangelist” care about all those who suffer?

It’s not hard to see why his materialistic version of Christianity is popular. Apparently Jesus came to the earth, not so much to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), but to make us prosperous, have a nice house and wear cool clothes. Continue reading “It pays to be a Christian”

Reordering all priorities and loyalties

“Follow me.” Instead of followers choosing the rabbi that most caught their interest, the Master Teacher chose his disciples. Christians are not volunteers, nor do they serve how and when they think best. The calling of Jesus Christ requires immediate response and complete abandonment of the former life in order to take up the Savior’s work. While one may remain in one’s station of life, one reorders all priorities and loyalties in order to live with God. Matthew 4.18-22, 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Thessalonians 5.10. Continue reading “Reordering all priorities and loyalties”