“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV).
Today the word “surrounded” has a predominantly negative connotation. It brings up images of “Custer’s Last Stand” (aka, “The Battle of the Bighorn”) where a small detachment of cavalry was overwhelmed by thousands of Sioux warriors. Similarly we may think of the Battle of the Alamo where approximately 200 “Texians” were wiped out by Santa Anna’s Mexican army. Jack London fans may think of the two Alaskan dog-sledders who were stalked by a large pack of famine starved wolves at the beginning of “White Fang.” Being surrounded is mostly not such a good thing. Continue reading “Surrounded”
“After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Thus he became so far better than the angels as he has inherited a name superior to theirs.” (Hebrews 1:1-4 NET)
God had given his message to his people throughout history through his ‘prophets’ – not that they were necessarily writing about the future, but they were receiving the word of God directly from him and writing it down. No one prophet received the entire revelation of God’s will, but each had a portion depending on what was needed in their time or what God needed his people to be prepared for. Continue reading “Jesus is better”
Jesus never committed a single sin. Let’s get that out of the way. He was sinless and therefore the ideal — and only possible — sacrifice in order to bring us forgiveness of our sins.
The title, “The imperfect Jesus,” reminds us to use Bible words with Bible meanings. Hebrews 5.9 states that Jesus was perfected by obedience. Here are verses 8-10: Continue reading “The imperfect Jesus”
“Show, don’t tell.” This basic principle rules the writing world. It makes life easier, also. To teach a man to fish, he must see you fishing. Personal-development guru Anthony Robbins wrote in his 1991 book, Awaken the Giant Within,
If you’re not sure how to get yourself out of pain and to feel pleasure as a replacement to your smoking, drinking, worrying, or other undesirable emotion or behavior, you can simply find the answers by modeling people who have turned things around for themselves. Find people who have made the lasting changes; I guarantee you’ll find that they had an alternative to replace the old behavior (p. 135).
The Bible both tells and shows. It communicates the message of truth and gives us visual lessons, both positive and negative, on how to be holy. Examples abound from beginning to end. All the great virtues shine in flesh-and-blood people throughout the pages of Scripture. Continue reading “Show, don’t tell”
The sermonic letter of Hebrews awakens our eyes to another world. It describes an event incapable of human construction. No sophisticated technology whether audio or visual, no array of purchasable products whether banners or café bars can create this event.
Continue reading “102 church appreciation”
Will we repeat the mistakes of God’s people in sacred history? Continue reading Destined to repeat
by Barry Newton Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to fan the flame in the hearts of God’s people so that their faith and service to God burns brightly. Although the target group of Christians are not themselves eye-witnesses of Christ, they have heard from those who are.1 Although by this time you might expect them to have grown into profound teachers of the message, they have not.2 In fact, it appears that the grist of living in an oppressive sinful world where the promises of Christ are not immediately seen, coupled with a certain forgetfulness, have … Continue reading Mission Impossible?