True Lies (Various Scriptures)

One time the great Olympic diver Greg Louganis was asked how he coped with the stress of international diving competitions. He replied that he climbs to the board, takes a deep breath, and thinks, “Even if I blow this dive, my mother will still love me.”Then he goes for excellence. People can do incredible things when they know they are loved and that love is not based on what they can or can’t do.

I think this is what Mother Teresa had in mind when she said, “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.”
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How To Change Your World (Acts 2:1-47)

After His resurrection and before His ascension, Jesus said to His followers: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”(Matthew 28:18-20).  These words of Jesus have become known as The Great Commission.It has also been seen as a command. There is no doubt Jesus wants us to share our faith. There is no doubt we should be actively sharing our faith. However, in these verses Jesus is not commandingus to do anything. He is assumingwe will share our faith. A better reading of the first part of verse nineteen would be, “As you are going…”After all, why would Jesus have to command us to share the good news of His grace and mercy and forgiveness; the good news that through faith in Him, God’s kingdom breaks into our lives, changing everything; the good news that there is a better way to live and do things then how we are presently living and doing things? Continue reading

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Just Worship (Isaiah 58:1-14)

The story is told of a trembling old man who was brought before a judge after a bitterly cold night for stealing a loaf of bread from a local grocery store. The man pleaded guilty, but added he stole the bread because his family was hungry.

The judge said, “The law makes no exception. I have to punish you, so I fine you $10.”The judge then reached into his pocket and gave the man $10 to pay his fine.

Then the judge said, “I am fining everyone in this courtroom $5 for living in a town where a man has to steal bread in order to eat.”The bailiff collected $200 and at the order of the judge gave the money to the defendant. Continue reading

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The Sin of Syncretism

syn-cre-tism (siNGkre-tizem) noun: the amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.

Not one time in the entire Old Testament did the Israelites completely turn their backs on God and entirely deny the God of Abraham. Instead, they tried to conflate the religion and culture and schools of thoughts of their neighbors into their own religion of Yahweh. It was more like spouses cheating on each other instead of spouses getting a divorce. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God said, Like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel”(Jeremiah 3:20). Some people want their cake and eat it too. Continue reading

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Buckle Up

When I was younger I loved rollercoasters. Not so much anymore. But there was a time when I wasn’t afraid to ride anything. Well, actually, I guess I was always a little afraid. How do I know I was afraid? Even after being buckled in and checked and rechecked to make sure I was secure, as soon as the ride would start, I would check all straps again and try and tighten things down just a little more. The more twists and turns and loopty-loops a ride had to offer, the more I wanted to make sure I was snug and all buckled up.

My advice to everyone right now is to check your straps, buckle up and tighten your belt. We are in for one crazy rollercoaster ride called the 2020 Presidential Elections. Continue reading

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What the Cross Teaches Us

This past week a massive fire burned part of that great Cathedral, Notre Dame. People immediately started talking about what a great tragedy it would be if the Cathedral was a total loss. I have been to Notre Dame. It is massive and majestic. It is moving to walk through the buildings and consider all her history. It would, indeed, be a tragedy if all were lost. Thankfully, though the fire did extensive damage, the building was not a total loss. There is no doubt in my mind donations will flood in across the world to rebuild this awe-inspiring church. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said, “Just as the cross didn’t have the last word, neither will this fire have the last word.”[1] Continue reading

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A Young Colt or a War Stallion (Luke 19:28-44)

I have a confession to make. I am a big fan of “Survivor.” It’s the only “reality” show I watch. I think what draws me to this show is the social element. I wonder if I could get along with complete strangers for forty days. The only time I know of a minister being on the show, he was the first one voted off that season. The survivors said he was too bossy and assertive. The present season of Survivor is called “Edge of Extinction,” and they have added a unique twist to the game. Once a person is voted out, and Jeff Probst snuffs their torch saying, “The tribe has spoken,” the rejected player walks down a dark lonely path. Eventually, he or she comes to a fork in the path. The player now has a choice to make. He or she can either return to all the comforts of home, or go to “Extinction Island,” for an unspecified amount of time, with a chance of getting back in the game. So far, every player voted out has chosen “Extinction Island.” I don’t think reality show are really that real. But the reality of making life-altering choices is real. Continue reading

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