What if…? (Luke 9:2,6,11)

What if Jesus really meant it when He said He has given us power and authority to “preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick?” (Luke 9:2). What if, instead of sitting in our A/C gymatoriums and padded seats, we actually “went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere? (Luke 9:6). What if we actually believed (and practiced) that ALL the spiritual gifts were still alive and active? How would the structures, budgets, and programs of our churches be different if Jesus actually meant for us to preach His kingdom and heal people? And by healing, not only do I mean spiritual healing but physical and emotional healing as well?

What if…?

Sometimes I wonder if, in our churches, we are doing everything except what Jesus commanded us to do? Continue reading

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The Story Behind the Story (Luke 9:1-17)

One of the most iconic photographs in American history is the image snapped by famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. The photo is of a sailor planting a celebratory kiss on a white-clad woman in the middle of New York City’s Time Square. The picture was taken on August 14, 1945. The day known as V-Day. The day it was announced Japan had surrendered to the Allies. The day World War II officially ended. This photo became iconic after it was published

in LIFE magazine on August 27, 1945. So excited by the end of the war, and so caught up in the celebration, Mr. Eisenstaedt failed to get the names of the couple. Mr. Eisenstaedt said, “There were thousands of people milling around. Everybody was kissing each other.” Continue reading

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Where Would Jesus Pee? (WWJP)

Yep, you read the title right.

I can’t believe it either.

In 1989, when I started pastoring, I never would have believed our society would be debating which bathroom a person should use.

It seems to obvious.

If you have male plumbing, use the Men’s Room.

If you have female plumbing, use the Women’s Room.

Well…apparently it ain’t quite that easy.

My worldview causes me to ask the question, Where would Jesus pee?

You do know Jesus used the restroom don’t you? Yep, you’ve got it, as a baby, the Son of God had a stinky diaper that someone had to change. As an adult, He still had the need to relieve Himself. So, if Jesus were alive today, dealing with the current debate, what would He say? How would He respond? Where would Jesus pee? I’m not the only person asking this question. I googled “Where would Jesus pee” and got over 2-million responses. WOW! There is even a hashtag #WWJP. Continue reading

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Power and Compassion (Luke 8:40-54)

Everyday we are bombarded with bad news. A few examples from this past week would be an Iowa woman who tried to flush her new born down the toilet;[1] a teenage girl in India raped by her father;[2] and the amber alert of Carlie Trent from Rogersville, TN.[3] But if you look really hard, covered by all the bad news, are daily stories about examples of incredible compassion: The pope washing the feet of Muslim refugees[4] and inmates;[5] a young-adult giving the shirt off his back to a homeless man;[6] a woman donating a kidney to a complete stranger;[7] or a shelter dog comforting a badly injured puppy.[8]

There are few things in life more powerful than a sincere act of compassion. Mother Teresa said, “Spread love everywhere you go. First of all, in your own home…let no one come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” If power is defined as the ability to influence, then the more compassionate a person is, the more powerful they are. Yet, in our society, power is associated more with oppression then it is compassion. “Power corrupts, they say. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Continue reading

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What if… (John 8:36)

Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be freed indeed” (John 8:36). What if Jesus really meant it when He said if He has set us free we are really free? If He did really mean it, how will that change how I live my life? How will it change how I treat others?

But first, let’s put Jesus’ words in context.

Jesus spoke these words while discussing with the Pharisees the validity of His message (John 8:12-30). At times the discussion was heated, but Jesus held His ground and “Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him” (John 8:30). The “many” were primarily of the Jewish faith. Then, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the the truth, and the truth will set you free'” (John 8:31-32). Continue reading

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Deliverance (Luke 8:26-39)

 

Charles Spurgeon (d. 1892), known as the “Prince of Preachers,” pastored Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England for 38 years. As a master communicator, Spurgeon told many modern day parables. One of his parables was about a tyrant and a blacksmith. It went like this:

There was once a tyrant who ordered one of his subjects into his presence, and ordered him to make a chain. The poor blacksmith—that was his occupation—had to go to work and forge the chain. When it was done he brought it into the presence of the tyrant, and he was ordered to take it away and make it twice the length. He brought it again to the tyrant, and again he was ordered to double it. Back he came when he had obeyed the order, and the tyrant looked at it, and then commanded the servants to bind the man hand and foot with the chain he had made and cast him into prison.

Pastor Spurgeon would tell this story and then say, “This is what the devil does with man. He makes them forge their own chain, and then binds them hand and foot with it, and casts them into outer darkness.”[1]
Continue reading

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What if…

I think I am going to write a series of short posts called “What if…” By “series” I mean this could be the only article, or I might write more. It really depends on how I feel. That’s the cool thing about blogging. You only write when you want write. The idea behind this series (if I decide to right it) is to take verses from the Bible and ask the question, “What if the bible really meant what it said,” and then apply that verse to topics that are going on in society.

So, let’s try it out: The Apostle Paul wrote, “(Do you not realize that) God’s kindness leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4, the parenthesis is added to help with context). What if Paul really meant that God’s kindness leads to repentance?

I guess we should back up and put this verse in context. Beginning in Romans 1:18, Paul talks about the wrath of God being revealed because of people’s wickedness. (Since we are people, Paul is talking about our wickedness.) He states that our wickedness leads us to suppress the truth. He goes on to state that no one has an excuse for not acknowledging God because God has revealed Himself through creation. Yet, even though God tried to make Himself known, our pride has caused us to rebel against Him, and as a result, God has given us over to our own sinful desires, shameful lusts, and depraved minds. Part of this wickedness, Paul says, is homosexuality. But part of this wickedness is also envy and slander and arrogance. (If you read the entire context you will find a wickedness that you have been a part of, thus, “all have sinned,” Rom. 3:23.) Because of our wickedness (all of us are equally wicked), God has every right to pass judgment on us, and His judgment is “based on truth” (Rom. 2:2). On the other hand, our judgment of others is not based on truth, regardless of how religious we think you are! Paul writes, “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Rom. 2:3). In other words, when you condemn homosexuality, or judge people who struggle with sexual identity, while at the same time being guilty of strife, deceit, malice, gossip (ouch!), slander, arrogance, and pride, you are showing “contempt for the richest of (God’s) kindness, tolerance and patience” (Rom. 2:4). (Again, if you have not, go back and read Romans 1:18-32, especially vv. 28-32.)

God has every right to judge you! God has every right to judge me. God would be just in sending you and me to hell, right now! We are without excuse! But instead of judging us, God has shown us grace and patience and tolerance and kindness. It was God’s kindness, not His wrath, that brought you and me to a place of repentance! Likewise, His kindness, not His wrath (nor our judgmental attitudes) is what will lead others to repentance.

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves. Over the last several days, has the world seen kindness, or venom, expressed toward Target and people who are truly struggling with sexual identity? Has the world seen kindness or bigotry spewed by people, who themselves, have been saved by the kindness of God?

If we really believed that Paul really meant what he said about God’s kindness, should we not also be kind? If we truly believe the Bible to be God’s Word, should we not allow it to dictate how we act and react in a secular/humanistic society?

What if Paul really meant it when he said God’s kindness leads to repentance?

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