The road to glory

How does one achieve glory? Humans think glory means to exalt self above others, and so people have tried to find a way to become the most exalted on earth.

Many used politics to find a route to glory by becoming a ruler. Others accumulated wealth as a way to find themselves exalted and enshrined in memory. Others have simply dominated others in an attempt to gain it. All of them have failed because they never understood what glory is. Continue reading “The road to glory”

Yet not with a whole heart

Why do you serve God? Perhaps you serve God because that is what your parents did. Perhaps you serve God because that is what your spouse desires. Perhaps you serve God for the sake of your children. Perhaps your reasons are less noble.

The Chronicles are often neglected books. But we do ourselves a disservice to neglect any of the sacred writings. There are a number of extraordinarily deep statements in the Chronicles. One that bears upon our thoughts today is a statement made in 2 Chronicles 25:2. In a description of king Amaziah, the inspired text reads, “he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart” (ESV). Continue reading “Yet not with a whole heart”

Instruments of peace

When you listen to some people talk you would think that it’s the church’s job to serve them. They treat the church as if it’s a business that’s supposed to provide a service, and if it does not they can point in indignant tones at the church that had apparently failed them.

The problem with this view is not that not only is it unfair (it is), or that it is harsh and judgmental (it is) but because it misses the very essence of what it means to be a Christian. Continue reading “Instruments of peace”

He must increase

It hurts when you have worked hard and been overlooked, or when you have toiled in anonymity and were never thanked.

There is humility, and then there’s false humility. The Bible demands one, but actually, not the other.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you, do not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment …” (Romans 12:3). Continue reading “He must increase”

The golden rule turns a bad experience into a good one

For Sunday lunch, I went to a pizza buffet with some friends and we walked into a mess.

Shortly after we arrived, practically every seat in the place was filled and the buffet was empty. There weren’t any plates, just salad bowls.

People streamed in and the food kept disappearing. More would be brought and it would vanish as the crowd around the buffet grabbed it and scurried back to their table. Continue reading “The golden rule turns a bad experience into a good one”

It’s the church’s responsibility to meet my needs

How many times have I have heard someone say: “I left that church because they weren’t meeting my needs.”

The thing I’m struggling with is the vision of a church as a place where our needs ought to be met, as if we were entering a shop, then storming out because the service did not meet our expectations. All of which begs the question: Is the purpose of a church to meet my needs? Is that why we join a church – in order to be served? Continue reading “It’s the church’s responsibility to meet my needs”

Judge Not!

Do you know what I like about gardens? Wait; that question is WAY too open-ended! It could be answered a thousand ways!

One thing I like about gardens is that nobody can say, “You did that wrong,” when it comes to garden design.

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything wrong in a garden. I might plant an iris too deeply, or in a spot that’s too wet; but this is about the arrangement of the garden, not the techniques. Continue reading “Judge Not!”

That good part

“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:40-42 NKJV).

In South Asia there is a popular saying that every evangelist soon learns: “No eating, no meeting!” In other words, if you plan for people to gather for hours listening to sermons or Bible lessons, there needs to be some thought given to providing refreshment. That may seem to us like greed or self-interest, but in those cultures if people give up several hours of their day for spiritual purposes they are also forfeiting the time that would ordinarily be spent in preparing meals for themselves and their families. There are few microwaves or frozen dinners in those nations. Continue reading “That good part”

Johnny Jump-Up

Finding volunteers among children who count their years in single digits can be as slow as watching a Japanese maple grow. But wait; then they turn into teenagers. The slow response turns into no response. By then a wise mother has learned enough to stop asking for volunteers. She becomes a one-woman draft board, who assigns a task as if it were a non-negotiable mission!

I have never seen a church that had a waiting list of willing Bible class teachers, have you? Unless that list is comprised of Bible class teachers waiting for a break in teaching, that is! Other work in the churches are often left to the elders and the preacher…if the preacher is fortunate enough to have working elders. Continue reading “Johnny Jump-Up”