He loved the unlovely

There is one group with whom Jesus talked more than anyone except his disciples: the Pharisees.

The Pharisees are mentioned 82 times in the gospels, and almost all of those are in connection with Jesus teaching them. Just in the book of Matthew, the Pharisees are referred to 27 times. In more than one chapter in that book, there are three or more uses of the word. Continue reading “He loved the unlovely”

Planting Seeds

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled on, and the wild birds devoured it. Other seed fell on rock, and when it came up, it withered because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up with it and choked it. But other seed fell on good soil and grew, and it produced a hundred times as much grain” (Luke 8:5-8 NET).

Jesus frequently told stories as he was teaching the people, stories that are referred to as “parables.” These were taken from everyday life in rural Palestine of the first century. They were stories, but they were more than stories – they were told to teach a truth to people and in a way that they could be remembered. Continue reading “Planting Seeds”

Who gets the credit?

My wife and I went out to see the latest Marvel film yesterday evening. As always, we stayed until the very last credit because Marvel puts in little extras to give you a wee glimpse of what will happen in the next film (or another one to come soon).

But you have to wait until all the credits have gone. And they credit everyone for anything they have done that had to do with the film. I guess if I had a small bit to do with the film I’d probably want to see my name in the “end crawl” as well! I often wonder at some of the names or some of the positions (what is a “best boy” or “best boy grip” anyway?). Continue reading “Who gets the credit?”

Two sermons, two very different reactions

We will guard our hearts no matter what happens. We will rationalize or pretend whatever is necessary to bring our lives into some kind of equilibrium. It’s the human way.

While we hear with our ears, we interpret the data through our hearts and minds. That is the real battlefield in terms of the gospel.

We find an excellent example in Acts where two similar messages evoked diametrically opposed reactions. Continue reading “Two sermons, two very different reactions”

Dalton Mansel worked for God

Dalton Mansel, (1939-2015), came to ministry by accident but remained with purpose (Colossians 3:23).

Born into a hardscrabble existence, he acquired a work ethic that would burn brightly until his final moments. For 76 years he labored so that his final days were filled with the language of work, orders and management.

His body and spirit refused to remain at rest (Proverbs 13:4).

As he labored more than half a century in retail–forty of them in management–he served God and his family tirelessly (Exodus 4:2; 1 Timothy 5:8). Continue reading “Dalton Mansel worked for God”

Spiritual vegetarians

When a baby is born, they are fed milk or formula until they are able to handle solid food. As we grow, we have a greater say over our diet.

Some choose to become meat eaters while others become vegetarians. Neither is inherently right or wrong since you can find a host of experts and advocates on both sides.

Spiritually, though, we can be more certain. In the Bible, God uses diet to refer to spiritual maturity. New Christians can’t handle the advanced teaching that may be a normal meal for a mature Christian. Continue reading “Spiritual vegetarians”