When I served on city council, the city attorney and the city insurance carrier went to great lengths to make sure elected officials did not speak on their own and expose the city to a lawsuit. A couple of weeks ago a local city councilman went rogue and publicly took a resident to task and now fellow citizens are now calling for his resignation. I’m reminded of Moses who presumed himself to be the deliverer of his Hebrew brothers and killed an Egyptian. “Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not” (Acts 7:25). The response from his fellow Hebrews was, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian” (Ex 2:14a NIV)? Believers can easily fall into the same temptation when we feel that the title of Christian allows us to speak for God.
March 22, 2018
In a secular sphere my political enemy and I keep our distance. However, this man and I attend the same church and although we don’t come close to greeting one another with a holy kiss, as fellow believers we've always been cordial. Well, at least we were cordial until last Sunday when I tried to make eye contact and say “good morning.” He brushed past me with a look of disdain and even though I turned around and followed him for a few steps calling out his name, he would not respond. Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23-24). I get what the Lord is saying, but reconciliation takes two.
March 21, 2018
When Simon the Sorcerer saw the Spirt was given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands he offered money to buy the ability from the apostles. Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God” (Acts 8:19b-21 NIV). It’s not simply that Simon wanted to buy the gift of God for himself, he wanted to buy a franchise, “…so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Simon was a baptized believer and serves as a good example of how easily a wicked thought can come into our heart.
March 20, 2018
Comedians and news anchors continue to publicly mock President Trump’s appointees who profess their faith in God. Using Christians as targets for mockery comes with the territory and I would like to be able to say, “Father, forgive them because they know not what they do.” But the reality is that they do know what they are doing. Their comments are calculated and they mock not only people of faith, but Christ and God as well. Paul said, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal 6:7-8 NIV).
March 19, 2018
In anyone’s circle of friends there is always knowledge, or suspicion, of what a person is capable of. I find it curious that when Jesus announced one of his disciples would betray him, “His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it” (John 13:22-25 NIV)? It’s hard to imagine that the disciples were clueless as to who the betrayer might be.
March 16, 2018
When I do interviews one of the basic questions I ask is, “Are you a local, if not where did you come from and what brought you to western Colorado?” Jesus was brought before Pilate and he found no basis for a charge against him. However, the Jews and the chief priests wanted Jesus crucified on the charge that he claimed to be the Son of God. “When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer” (John 19:8-9 NIV). I’m trying to imagine the blood draining form Pilate’s face if Jesus would have told him what he told his disciples, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38 NIV).
March 15, 2018
One police offer shared his frustration with repeat offenders, “We see a lot of the same names. Criminals get out of jail and go back and commit the same crime. Some people just don’t want help.” I’m reminded of the man at the pool in Jerusalem that was near the Sheep Gate. Jesus approached a man who had been an invalid for 38 years and said, “Do you want to get well” (John 5:6b NIV)? At first blush I want to answer for the invalid, “Well of course I want to get well.” However, the police officer’s experience with career criminals is not so far removed from other walks of life, including that of believers…some people simply don’t want help or healing.