Last Wednesday, at about midnight, one guy shoved something up my dad's nose, another person shoved something down his throat, and then the kicker – this guy took a knife and cut my dad's midsection wide open. And we thanked him for it.
Dear readers: For the last 10 years, I have been the guy on call to be there for people when they're going through tragedy. I've tried to comfort them with God's Word as they mourn the loss of a loved one, face uncertain surgeries, and deal with pain in so many different ways.
We go through a lot to do "church". Think of the time and money and effort and energy put into making sure we've got a place to meet on Sundays, all the work that goes into the various events and traditions. People give up so much in the name of church, so today I ask you, "Why?" What's the point?"
OK guys, we've got a problem, it's Valentine's Day. If there was ever a day the pressure is on to prove your love, this is it. And there are countless ideas out there, but every one of them could just as easily backfire, since one woman might love what another would not. And if you ask your special someone how you can show your love, well, then you run the risk of her saying that if you really loved her you'd know.
I have so many great memories of my grandma, especially when all the cousins would be together, playing in the basement while all the grown-ups were upstairs. Sometimes, we even all got to stay overnight down there. It was awesome, except for one thing: the coatrack. It was one of those things that was always there but you didn't always notice it, unless it was the middle of the night and you woke up and looked toward the one ray of light. That's when I saw what I was sure was a person or a monster - whatever it ...
Last week, we saw the righteousness that Jesus "filled up" for us – and put on our record in our baptism. We saw him doing everything that was "fitting" for that righteousness, living a perfect life, more perfect than even the most polished celebrity at the most posh event could ever be.
Some things are just fitting, aren't they? They are just supposed to be a certain way. Take the Golden Globes. Did you see the show? Everyone who is anyone in Hollywood was there. And everything was just right.
Do you ever feel that being a child of God isn't paying out like you thought it should? The childlike confidence that Jesus will make everything better doesn't always seem to play out - when the wound doesn't heal, the need isn't met, the hurt doesn't go away. For us grown-ups, reality tends to set in and tarnishes some of that unbridled optimism.
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"Rejoice in the Lord always... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Last week, I defended my statement that being a church person is really living. But I know how hard our society and our own sinful natures fight against that. I've heard all the arguments against the whole "religious scene." I know it's popular (foolish, but popular) these days to say, "I'm spiritual, just not religious." I've heard so many reasons the "church" world makes life hard. And I know, often the "church" messes up. Often, the real reason for church and religion is pushed to the side, so it does lose its purpose. That doesn't ...
"This is living." Has that statement ever come out of your mouth? Take a minute and think about when. Is it sitting on the beach; sending a rocket of a drive down a picturesque fairway; being squeezed in a hug from your grandkids; enjoying a fantastic meal with people you love? What would make you say, "This is living"?
Have you ever said it about coming to church? Today, I'd like to posit the proposition that doing the church thing - going to church, reading the Bible, reading an article like this, just being a Christian - "THIS is living."
Last week, I left you hanging. I spent 90 percent of my column showing you from God's word that regardless of what you might try to tell yourself - you don't deserve anything good. I know, that doesn't sound like a very nice thing to do. But the truth is - it's the truth. In fact, the wages of sin is death.
"Just keeping it real." I've learned to dread that statement, because it usually comes with something I'd rather not hear. You know, they say it's important for a public speaker to have a good critic - someone to honestly and objectively evaluate how you're communicating, what you're saying, all that. Well, God has certainly blessed me with that in my wife. You see... How can I put this? My wife doesn't worry about hurting my feelings when I ask how it went after I've preached. In fact, she tells me she wants to make ...
It was nearly 20 years ago now. My dad took the opportunity to speak to the court at the trial of the man who killed my sister, his daughter. You see, the man had gotten drunk...again, and gotten behind the wheel...again, even though his license had been taken away, even though he knew better, even though he had been warned and cited and told. All this my dad knew.
You: cute brunette with green eyes shopping with your sister at the mall.
"The church is all about money." You've heard that said, right? How sad when it's true, when good well-meaning Christians start worrying about the budget more than the Bible, when churches show that lack of focus. More accurately, it's when we focus on the wrong thing.
So Paul, in 1 Timothy 6, snaps us back with the very first word of verse 6: "But." You see, just before our text, Paul was warning young Pastor Timothy about false teachers who saw religion as a means for financial gain, those who acted as if the church was all ...
Everybody loves a party, right? I write this article a few days after being on a college campus on game day, about an hour before kickoff. And as I walked, people were mingling and mixing, drinking and dancing, eating, smiling and just having a good time. One guy took it upon himself to run from party to party and start shouting team cheers - and people were happy to join in. It was a celebration.
"What would you do-oo-oo for a Klondike bar?" Have you seen the ads? The guy challenged to listen to his wife instead of looking at the big game on the TV...and then a wife had to actually choose to go see an action movie. The ice cream had better be good, right?
He was one of my childhood heroes. He had won just about any award baseball could give. I didn't see it myself and don't really want to believe it, so I won't use the guy's name, but I'm told that when this Hall of Famer moved out of his home in my friend's subdivision, he left it all behind. Boxes of trophies, including an MVP award, out by the curb. Why? His life had taken some turns, and suddenly, those things didn't matter to him anymore. He gave it all up because to ...
With today's column, I'm starting a series of columns that play off of our church body's theme this year: "Christ's Love, Our Calling." It's all about how Christ's love for you gives you purpose - a calling. And this series looks at what God said about our calling to speak his truth in love. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes: "It is written: 'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak."
In Luke 13, Jesus said that the door to heaven is narrow. At another place Jesus said, "I am the Gate" (John 10:9). The Greek word is the same. And the picture is the same, isn't it? The only way to heaven is through Jesus.
Now, as we are in this series discussing how love speaks, last week we learned from Jesus how important it is to speak precisely because the door is narrow and easy to miss. This week, we'll see how it stands wide open for all, so we have every reason to speak freely ...
Reading my cousin's emails was sometimes kind of like cracking a code. It was pretty straightforward when she spoke of side trips she was taking and different sites she was seeing. But you had to pay attention to when she spoke of "friends" that she got to talk about "her Best Friend" with.
"Alright, let's eat!" When you hear those words, what thoughts come to your mind?