When Christians disagree

The names “Paul” and “Barnabas” seemed to go hand in hand during the early years of Christianity. It was Barnabas who took time to find out about Saul, the former persecutor of Christians, when he was trying to join the Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-27). Later, when he saw such a great opportunity in Antioch, he went to Tarsus to find Saul.

For the next year they worked together and “taught a significant number of people” (Acts 11:26 NET). They became part of the group of “prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch” (Acts 13:1). The Holy Spirit told this group to “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Barnabas and Saul sailed to Cyprus and later went into the Roman province of Asia proclaiming the good news of Jesus, before returning to Antioch. Continue reading “When Christians disagree”

Is Jeremiah 29:11 for me or for others?

What is Jeremiah chapter twenty-nine verse eleven, if not comforting, empowering and saturated with hope?

“‘For I know what plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.’” 

If that ancient prophet could walk into our Christian stores filled with posters and plaques of Jeremiah 29:11, would he tear his clothes in frustration? The irony would certainly not be lost on him. Yet it seems to lie beyond our grasp, if marketing and sales indicate how we derive hope from this divine promise.

Continue reading “Is Jeremiah 29:11 for me or for others?”

Sophisticated and astute

Want to crush someone’s handling of a delicate question? Label the response as being unsophisticated. Wish to elevate a person? Praise his or her navigation through a mine field as being socially astute.

Just how much value do we assign to pleasing everyone? Christians are exhorted to speak the truth in love. But what should a Christian do when real social, economic or other practical consequences might result from failing to bend the truth?

Continue reading “Sophisticated and astute”