Man is never in charge of his life, and at that moment when he begins to assert control, he pushes God out. The desire to control is the essence of rebellion.
Jesus died to sanctify the church. Sanctification lies at the heart of the gospel. Without holiness (sanctity) no one shall see the Lord. God is holy and no one who is not shall enter his presence. God’s will therefore is to make us holy and for us to be holy and to offer to others the means to holiness.
Ignorance is not so much not knowing as not paying attention. Man ignores God, chooses not to know him, decides to leave his Word unread and unheeded. The ignorant man commits a damning sin, in need of the light of the gospel in order to save. Continue reading “Sundries: Never in charge”
You probably remember the favorite line of funny man Rodney Daingerfield: “I get no respect.” Sometimes, it seems to me, the church gets no respect.
As writer John Stott once observed, “The unchurched are hostile to the church, friendly to Jesus Christ.” Often we hear someone say, “I don’t like organized religion.” One wonders, does that mean he likes his church disorganized? As Will Rogers once quipped, “I am a member of no organized political party; I’m a democrat.” Continue reading “Why the church gets no respect”
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1 NKJV).
It is almost inevitable whenever I make a report on my work in South Asia that members of the audience will come out saying something like, “We here in the U.S. are so blessed compared with those who live in other parts of the world.” Continue reading “The peril of privilege”
Walking through my vegetable patch in midsummer is like Christmas! The garden is full of nice surprises. It overflows with delicious, fresh, organically grown food. There is no candy on earth that can give more satisfaction than a ripe cherry tomato popped off the vine and right into your mouth, warm from the sun and bursting with flavor!
But we cannot devour every wonderful gift that the garden provides. Many are made into preserves, jams, or pickles and then “re-gifted” to others to enjoy. Sadly, many sit on the kitchen counter and do not get used quickly enough.
There is not much wasted in my kitchen, actually. Most excess food goes to my waist, rather than goes to waste. But in any garden, some perfectly good things go unused. It is part of the natural order. If we and the birds miss a tomato or zucchini, there will be seeds sprouting in the spring for a new crop. The rotting produce feeds the worms, which aerate and fertilize the soil.
Sometimes gifts are meant to be used in a different way than we envision. Continue reading “Gifts and talents”
“So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in scripture, ‘Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.’ So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (1 Peter 2:4-8 NET).
When we build a house we often cover the exterior with bricks. Bricks are relatively easy to make and therefore inexpensive. Because they are all alike, they fit together well using some type of mortar to tie them together. When it all dries you end up with a strong wall which will last many years. Even in developing countries, people can make their own bricks using clay, some type of form, and leaving it to set and harden in the sunlight. Continue reading “Living Stones”