Born for this

Moments of great consequence summon the best out of us. It is at this moment that some might claim, “I was born for this.”

Never had a moment been as consequential, nor the need as great, as when God’s plan to save man approached its consummation.

Never had a person entered the world with more expectation, nor greater burden than when God clothed himself in flesh.

Never had one so perfect for the task met it with such perfection. Truly Jesus was born for this. Continue reading “Born for this”

Birth is a beginning

I was privileged to be present for the birth of all three of my boys. Each experience was wonderfully unique. The first is the most memorable. As second-year preaching school students we lived in a small two bedroom apartment. Our midwife was over an hour away. She didn’t make it. Armed with a three-page emergency list entitled “What To Do If Your Midwife Is Not Present,” we welcomed our little boy into our arms. I’d never held a newborn before, not like that. It was life-changing.

The anticipation is realized happiness. The anxiousness is replaced with relief. The pain melts into pride. This is our boy. Continue reading “Birth is a beginning”

The Savior of the world

Since earliest times people and nations have looked to earthly figures and political powers to save them. The people of Israel hoped Egypt would protect them from Assyria. Brazilians have long talked about a salvador da pátria (savior of the nation) to rescue them from their problems. It is a human trait to wish for, await, or appeal to someone to save.

Inevitably, however, humans disappoint. The prophet Isaiah wrote about Pharoah: Continue reading “The Savior of the world”

Fire from heaven

They were disciples, apostles, and brothers. Along with Simon, whom Jesus called “Peter” (meaning “a stone”), they were part of Jesus’ inner circle. Like Simon, they had been given a sobriquet. The Lord called them “Boanerges.” They were the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17).

Perhaps they were powerful preachers. Perhaps they had powerful personalities. We simply don’t know the full reason for the moniker.

James was the first apostle to die (Acts 12:2), John was the last. While Jesus walked the earth, no one was closer to him than the “Stone” and the “Sons of Thunder.” Continue reading “Fire from heaven”

You are reaching the goal. Right now.

November is a big month for writers and authors. It’s the National (American) Novel-Writing Month, a yearly challenge for people anywhere to write a novel in a month’s time, with a challenge of so many words a day. Other people have been inspired by it to create challenges to write daily during November for nonfiction and academic writings.

I like April when the National, and now Global, Poetry Writing Month rolls around, but November is the big month for writing challenges.

Humans like challenges and deadlines. Many if not most people live by competing against others, against the clock, against the current. This probably qualifies as eustress, Hans Selye’s term for beneficial stress: Continue reading “You are reaching the goal. Right now.”

From heaven or from men

The Tuesday before his crucifixion Jesus made his way into the temple. He was approached by Jewish leaders who questioned his authority, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23).

It was a good question, though obviously not born out of sincerity. The need for authority in religious practice often is regrettably ignored, forgotten, or abused. Continue reading “From heaven or from men”

Difficult but not impossible

“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:18, ESV; compare Proverbs 11:31).

Traveling the mountain roads in Nepal has given me a new appreciation for the term “scraping by.” Frequently when two vehicles meet one must back up to a wider spot in order to allow the other to pass. Even in places where two can pass it is often by the narrowest of margins. I have frequently looked out my window and been unable to see any road beside our vehicle – and many times I found myself looking over a drop-off of hundreds or thousands of feet. Traffic can pass, but it is by no means easy. Continue reading “Difficult but not impossible”

The church at the center of God’s salvation

Last week, I wrote, “The church of God is at the center of God’s salvation in every way.” What do I mean by that? What is the relationship of the church to salvation?

The saved are added to the church

Nobody joins the church of God. You can join a denomination, but you can’t join the body of Christ (which says a lot about what a denomination is and is not). This is the work of God, just as it is his work to cleanse from sin when we are immersed in water. That first moment of the gospel makes clear what the process is: Continue reading “The church at the center of God’s salvation”