Two sermons, two very different reactions

We will guard our hearts no matter what happens. We will rationalize or pretend whatever is necessary to bring our lives into some kind of equilibrium. It’s the human way.

While we hear with our ears, we interpret the data through our hearts and minds. That is the real battlefield in terms of the gospel.

We find an excellent example in Acts where two similar messages evoked diametrically opposed reactions. Continue reading “Two sermons, two very different reactions”

Political activism can distract us from the Christian mission

Niccolo Machiavelli said, “Politics have no relation to morals.” Sadly, this is sometimes true of those who passionately follow politics. Losing our focus on spiritual principles, we live in an adversarial world of anger and myth.

Our passion becomes our overriding force and everything is filtered through it. Seeing the world through political lenses rather than the spiritual can distort our understanding of God’s word and endanger us spiritually. Continue reading “Political activism can distract us from the Christian mission”

How dare we take the gospel to those people!

God instructed Peter to carry the gospel to the Gentiles and the members of the household of Cornelius were immersed into Christ (Acts 10; 2:38).

Despite his obedience and proclamation that God was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), Peter continued to struggle with his prejudice (Galatians 2:11-16).

Shortly after Cornelius and his household were added to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47), Christian Jews demanded to know why Peter would do such an abominable thing (Acts 11). Continue reading “How dare we take the gospel to those people!”

Learning is change

We were exploring the implications of Romans 15:4 and I asked the question, “What is learning?” One of the young women in my Bible class gave this answer: “Learning is change.” It was simply profound.

Several years ago I was listening to an online lecture while doing some painting. The speaker (Jody Apple) gave the most profound summary of the purpose of the Bible I have heard to this day:

“Here’s where you are; here’s where you need to be. Change.” Continue reading “Learning is change”

No more “us” and “them”

It seems that throughout the history of mankind, people have developed words to distinguish groups of people. The Greeks referred to all those who were not Greek as barbarians. In Rome you were either a citizen or a non-citizen. The Jews called all those who were not Jews by the term “Gentiles.” It would seem the purpose of creating such distinctions was to elevate your own group and put down those who you considered less than your group. Even today we can find this type of terminology in places. Continue reading “No more “us” and “them””

We love because he first loved us

“We love because he loved us first. If anyone says ‘I love God’ and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too” (1 John 4:19-21 NET).

“Love, love, love, love – the gospel in a word is love; love your neighbour as your brother, love, love, love.” And so goes the verse of a familiar song to many of us. “The gospel in a word is love” – love is what we are to be about as Christians. In fact, Jesus placed such a great emphasis on love that he said this was the way people would know who were following him. “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Continue reading “We love because he first loved us”