Tag: judgement

An Ordered Tension

An Ordered Tension

Encouragment
Recently Pastor Ben was sharing about the importance of holding God’s Holiness in tension with God’s love. In that sermon, he pointed out something I’d never seen before. Perhaps you haven't either. Before I get to that simple yet often hidden nugget let me provide some background. Let’s face it. We often struggle with the different views of God the Bible presents. We see a God of holiness, justice, and wrath in the Old Testament, yet a God of love, forgiveness, and acceptance in the New Testament. So which is it?   The best way to navigate that question is to look to Jesus. The simplest way to put this is that when we see Jesus we see the Father. (Colossians 2:9, John 14:9, Hebrews 1:3). Over and over again in the Gospels, we see in Jesus the holiness and the love of God. One st
Jesus Says Do Not Judge

Jesus Says Do Not Judge

Encouragment
It's a simple rule of nature. If you plant a kernel of corn you will get corn. Assuming that a healthy stalk of corn produces two ears that would be about 1600 kernels from that one seed. That same multiplication effect applies to every plant that I’m aware of, even thistles and nettles. It is that multiplication effect Jesus has in mind when He says, “do not judge.”  It would appear from the Gospel record that Jesus said this more than once. In Matthew’s record of the Sermon on the Mount we read, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1–2, NASB95) But we have a tendency to think that this is a one for one exchange. If I judge someone harshly that I will be judged
Walking Through 2nd Peter – A Triumph of Words

Walking Through 2nd Peter – A Triumph of Words

Encouragment
Have you ever heard this? “If you don’t get anything else today get this.” It’s a tool used by a speaker or writer to underline their primary point. It is meant to draw attention to the one thing they want you to remember and apply above everything else that is said. While Peter doesn’t use those exact words, in our next step in our walk through 2nd Peter he does highlight his concern for his readers in a similar way. Because of the chapter numbers added later, it seems that Peter is shifting gears and moving from his warning about false-teachers to something else. In reality, he’s underscoring a basic truth stated earlier in chapter two – God has the final word. Peter says, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by w
The Fulcrums of Judgement

The Fulcrums of Judgement

Encouragment
Somewhere in our early school years, we learned about simple machines. The ever-present inclined plane, pulley, wheel and axle, and lever. Simple machines which make the difficult or impossible possible. That ancient Greek inventor Archimedes said something along the lines of “Give me a lever and I will move the world.” But the lever without a fulcrum, a pivot point, is nothing more than a long pole. It’s the pivot point that bears the weight of the lever and demonstrates an important lesson about making judgments. Even if you haven’t read the Bible or walked with Jesus for long you may have heard “judge not lest you be judged.” Or something to that effect.  Jesus actually said something a bit more frightening, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as
Two Mountains, Three Words, One Grace

Two Mountains, Three Words, One Grace

Encouragment
This post is longer than most, it is the text of a sermon presented at New Life Community Church in Henry Illinois on September 20, 2015.  President Obama, at the request of the State of Alaska, recently renamed Mount McKinley to the original Athabaskan name of Denali which means “great one”.  Denali, standing at over 20,000 feet, is the highest peak on the North American continent and is in some respects more massive than Mount Everest. Betty and I recently had the privilege of standing on the shoulder of this giant. Using a small plane equipped with skis a tour company flew us and a few others around the summit. Part of our tour was a glacier landing on Denali itself at around 12,000 feet. Our landing site also happened to be base camp for those attempting to climb the summit. Base ca
Pardon Me

Pardon Me

Encouragment, Forgiveness
Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re reading the Bible and one word leaps out to shakes your world?  Reminds me of Groucho Marx’s old TV show “You Bet Your Life” where saying the secret word would win the contestant $100.00. The secret word for today is “pardon.” Not in the modern sense of “pardon me, do you have have Grey Poupon.” Or in the western sense of “pardon me ma'am.” But in the judicial sense of “you have been pardoned by the Governor.”  Jesus said,  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in ret
A Tale of Two Sons

A Tale of Two Sons

Encouragment, love
In a land and a time very much like our own, there was once two families, each with one son. Both families lived and worked and worshiped in the same neighborhood, in similar jobs, and at the same church. One family, the Smith’s, loved their son Bobby and gave him everything his heart desired.  Bobby’s mother and father centered their lives and home around his well-being, comfort, and pleasure.  They ate what Bobby liked, they vacationed where Bobby chose, watched the shows Bobby wanted to watch. Bobby never went to bed without his supper or felt the sting of discipline. They loved Bobby with all of their heart. The other family, the Cooper’s, loved their son Johnny.  They did not give Johnny everything he desired.  Johnny’s mother and father considered each request in light of Johnn
Freeze Frame: a Faulty Assumption

Freeze Frame: a Faulty Assumption

Encouragment, Seeing
Ever have this experience? You meet someone in a store, a restaurant, or out on the street. You know that you know them, but can’t quite place them or recall their name. Then you suddenly realize that it's the receptionist for a company you often visit, or the clerk at the convenience store where you buy coffee, or a teacher from a few years ago. We knew that knew them, but because they were not in their normal setting or dressed as we are used to seeing them we struggle to place them. It’s almost as if life is paused for others when we are not around. Stopped in a freeze frame like a paused TV show. Of course, it isn’t but, we often perceive it that way. This tendency spills over into other avenues. In a similar way, there is an assumption that people have no past, that they have alway