In the 1960’s my grandma took me to a Billy Graham Crusade in Denver. Following the message, I watched as thousands of people responded to the altar call, left their stadium seats and filed onto the stadium floor to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Across the country pastors and church leadership criticized Graham’s methods claiming he did not know the heart of the respondents. Were they repentant, did they confess sin and did they really understand the meaning of becoming a Christian? The apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. The priests, captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees were greatly disturbed, “They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand” (Acts 4:3-4 NIV).
February 22, 2018
A friend went to a garage sale and bought a signed softball for fifty-cents. She then gifted me with the collector item because my signature was on the ball as one who played in the local 1988 All Star Game. I had to laugh…the 30-year-old softball was in much better condition than those of us who signed the ball. The signatures brought back memories and it occurs to me that biblical genealogy, as dry as it sometimes seems, is more than a historical record, it is a walk down memory lane. “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…” (Matt 1:1-2 NIV).
February 21, 2018
We have a lot of geese who winter in the area and last weekend about 80-100 were flying back to the city pond in wind gusts of over 40 MPH. Over a quarter mile radius some strained to fly in a line, others grouped in small V-shaped clusters and a few stragglers struggled to find their place. Their temporary dysfunction made me realized that a similar situation occurs in the church. Many of us, especially church leadership, expect believers to fly in formation rather than function as a God-designed body part. Paul said, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Cor 12:12-13 NIV).
February 20, 2018
In what appears to be an attempt to empathize and sympathize with the congregation one pastor commiserates with them about how hard it is to walk the Christian walk. Most recently he quoted a passage of Scripture where Jesus said, “Oh you of little faith…” Then adding his opinion, the pastor said, “I think that was a little harsh.” The pastor’s rebuke of the Lord likely went unnoticed by attendees, meaning it will also go unchallenged by the elders and leaders of the church. However, Paul spoke about orderly worship and reminds us that the words of speakers, and even prophets, are to come under church scrutiny. “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said” (1 Cor 14:29 NIV).
February 19, 2018
I’m not surprised by the tirade against President Trump from those who are labeled liberals, democrats and the media. However, I’m taken aback when I hear those bearing the name of Christ joining in with the name-calling, threats and outright disrespect for the President. These confessed believers may feel their subversion is against the government and those who voted for Trump, but they are mistaken. Paul said, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Ro 13:1-2 NIV).
February 16, 2018
Newspapers, at least on the local level, seem to be emboldened with a sense of entitlement. They no longer report facts, serve readers, or play the role of government watchdog. Rather they offer magazine-type fluff, person-of-interest articles about themselves and publish their personal opinions with unabashed political bias and spin. It’s no wonder they are losing readers, advertisers and subscribers. Proverbs makes an apt observation, “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment. A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:1-2 NIV).
February 15, 2018
There is a disturbing accusation of a local funeral home director selling body parts. It appears that, for a reduced fee in expenses, some clients and their representatives signed releases for the deceased to be used for “research” purposes. Clients were unaware that the body-broker was then selling body parts. The outcome of the FBI investigation remains to be seen. I understand the outrage of those who feel the body of their loved one may have been abused. However, Paul would have us look beyond earthly death, “But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body…So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:35-38, 42-44 NIV).