The carpenter on the other side of the table

“Which of these three…was neighbor?” (Luke 10:36, NASB).

Did you hear about Lizzie Velaquez from Austin, Texas, a.k.a., “The World’s Ugliest Woman?” who was searching YouTube and stumbled upon a video (which had been viewed over 4 million times) urging her to kill herself because she was so ugly?

She decided to leave her self-pity behind, and parlayed her new-found fame to become an anti-bullying advocate all over the nation! What an admirable way to turn the tables on her bullies! Continue reading “The carpenter on the other side of the table”

Because of whose you are

Rude statements. Inconsiderate demands. Aggressive behavior. It can get worse. Deliberate mistreatment.

Sometimes we are the recipient of them all. Justice would seem to justify a tit-for-tat retaliation. Yet, Jesus and his apostles denounced this natural instinct. They had a very good reason. The concise and crystal clear idea they described encapsulates a perspective, a worldview, capable of transforming our lifestyle and society. Continue reading “Because of whose you are”

Love is not free

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (John 14:15).

One of the silliest lines in an old movie (“Love Story”) is the one where a character declares, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Two thoughts come to mind here; the first is that, assuming we’re human, we will make mistakes, and thus need to say, “I’m sorry.” The second is, woe betide the relationship where one partner actually thinks he never errs and so never has to say, “I’m sorry.” Continue reading “Love is not free”

Love one another

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NET).

Just after Jesus finished washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1-17) and Judas had departed (John 13:18-33), Jesus began to give his final instructions to the men who had been with him for so long. Jesus loved these men (John 13:1) and he wanted to prepare them for what was about to happen (John 13:33). Continue reading “Love one another”

Separating love and approval

The Mosaic generation represents a wide diversity of values and characteristics. Yet many of these young adults share a common value which sometimes might cause them to view older Christians as hypocrites. However, before we become too critical of older adults, it would seem both sides of the generational divide could learn something from each other regarding following Christ.  Continue reading “Separating love and approval”

Full of grace and truth

Some time ago I was doing the children’s singing at a Vacation Bible School. I was asking the kids what song they wanted to sing next when one voice piped up:

“Jingle bells!” he cried.

I could see the smiles on the faces of several adults in the room, but before they could respond, his buddy responded, clear as a … as a bell:

“He means Jesus songs, Bozo!” Continue reading “Full of grace and truth”

Let all you do be done in love

As Paul concluded his letter to the Christians in Corinth, the one we call 1 Corinthians, he had a number of last minute concerns to mention to them as well as a number of people to comment on.

He began by talking about the special collection they were taking up to help in famine relief for the Christians in Judea. He was concerned that it would be ready on time. He hoped to visit them after he went through Macedonia and warned them that he might even spend the winter with them. Continue reading “Let all you do be done in love”