I like informality. I love working from my home office in flip-flops and bermudas. Ceremony is not my bailiwick. Most people today are non-traditional as well. The laid-back approach has won the day in our time.
That kind of approach, however, does not work well with God, not even having gained the right to call him Father. Continue reading
Adopting an infinite mindset in a world consumed by the finite can absolutely cost a leader their job. —Simon Sinek
CVS bucked the financial bottom line in order to look out for the health of their clients. They stopped selling cigarettes. They adopted what Sinek calls, above, an infinite mindset. Against all predictions, it paid off big for them.
There’s a spiritual principle here. We’re not talking about business or leadership, but rather the Kingdom of God and service to the Lord Jesus Christ. But the quote splashes over into heavenly realities.
In spiritual terms, how is the finite view identified? What does it look like? How does it act? Here are some points. Continue reading
People who believe that God wants to enrich their bank accounts and solve all their health issues engage in materialistic thinking. The health-and-wealth gospel gets just about everything wrong about God and the Good News. In the New Testament, there is no promise of exterior change. On the contrary, Paul tells us to remain where we are, in the condition we find ourselves, 1 Corinthians 7. The Good News is about transformation of the interior and the destiny of our eternal soul.
Closer to home, people who believe that, in order to be a viable congregation, it must have its own building, a full-time paid preacher, and some sort of association with an organized, official school also engage in materialistic thinking. (I see and hear this all the time in missions.) That’s a modern-day formula for church growth and health that many of our people have bought into. Not to mention even the denominational groups who are into professional shows, massaged messages, and mega-everything. You’ll not find any of that anywhere in the New Testament. Continue reading
Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, because it robs a person of his memory. People have had mates or parents ask, “Who are you?” Such loss of memory robs one of his life.
Normal people forget, too. Sometimes forgetting is a coping mechanism. Victims of accidents and other trauma often cannot remember the moments surrounding the event.
Sometimes it’s just natural for facts, truths, and ideas to get crowded out. Sometimes it’s lack of attention. At other times, it’s deliberate, such as when false teachers “forgot” the flood as evidence of the non-continuity of creation, in 2 Pt 3.5. Continue reading
NOTE: This article uses simple English for the widest possible audience.
In ancient times, a powerful man named Naaman caught a horrible skin disease. The disease eats away the body’s limbs. It would eventually kill him.
Naaman was commander of the armies of Syria. He was a pagan. He did not worship the one true God.
Naaman heard that he could be cured of his disease in Israel. Israel was God’s people before Jesus arrived on the earth. The Syrian commander was directed to Elisha, a man of God. Continue reading
When you woke up and opened your eyes this morning, what was your first thought? At some point in the waking process, did you think, “Wow, I’m alive! God has given me yet another day of life!”?
Most of us probably don’t have those early thoughts. We expect to wake up. We count on another day. We seldom if ever consider the possibility of not popping open our eyes and jumping out of bed to continue what we paused doing yesterday. Continue reading
In the spiritual realm, our senses deceive us. The invisible is what is most real and durable. All we see will perish.
Paul says we walk by faith, not by sight, 2 Cor 5.7. The way of God is not perceived or pursued by physical means. Neither can it be predicted or produced by material objects. Continue reading
Which is the more dangerous sin, the one that creates a chemical dependency, such as drugs or alcohol, and destroys a body, or the one that creates an emotional or behavioral aberration, such as envy or complaining, and twists a person’s spirit?
We know the answer to that, do we not? All sin is dangerous. But perhaps the physical effects of many sins are not evident, so we attribute less weight to them. (Probably most or all sins have some physical manifestation.) We treat them with less seriousness. They are more respectable to us.
In a way, however, all sin is addictive. All sin traps the sinner. All sin is controlling.
The wicked will be captured by his own iniquities,
and he will be held by the cords of his own sin. Prov 5.22.
The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires. Prov 11.6.
The Hebrew word behind “captured” is used most of the time in the Old Testament of a city, of men, of spoils, or even of a kingdom being captured or taken, according to the Theological Wordbook of the OT. It is a powerful image for the effects of sin in one’s life. Continue reading
If you let him, God will turn your life upside-down. Or rather, right-side up. He will work a great thing in you.
He will not leave you where you are, but will sweep away the trash of selfishness and the litter of small concerns to fill you with a consuming love for him. God will transform you, change you, reorient you to himself. He will leave you marveling at grace and in awe of truth.
Further, he will remake you in his image, revealed in Christ, by the power of his Spirit, with all the might of heaven at your disposal. And he will give you the greatest mission of all, to work at his side that this image might be reproduced in others.
Satan would blind you to God’s goodness, but if you let him, God will break through your blindness and give you the sharpest vision of himself.
Make this your prayer and your goal today.
“At that time the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll, and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness” Isaiah 29.18.
Focus question: Where is God working in my life? How is he effecting the promised transformation? What do I need to do to allow his transforming power in me?
The Great Commission has been quoted, preached on, written about, and dissected frequently, as one of the texts that has received some of the most attention in biblical studies. Deservedly so.
In recent days, I wrote a series of meditations on Matthew 28.18-20. And today a neighbor and I studied the same passage in his home. With all this attention given to the text, Jesus’ words about baptism made a greater impression.
The first part of making disciples, he said, is “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” Mt 28.19. First, it bears repeating that Jesus does not command that these words be said at the moment a baptism is performed in order to be scriptural. So this is not a “formula” that makes up a part of some baptismal ritual (contra Richards 578). It is an explanation of the function of baptism in God’s plan.
The English phrase “in the name of” does not apparently express the proper sense. It is not like Acts 2.38 where baptism is commanded “in (epi) the name of Jesus Christ.” Two different prepositions are used. The preposition eis generally indicates direction and purpose. It seems to mean in Mt 28.19 that people are to be baptized into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Continue reading