Tag: law

Wanted: Dead and Alive!

Wanted: Dead and Alive!

Encouragment
One of the staples of western lore is the wanted poster. It’s not just the stuff of movies. Wanted posters were often produced by the banks and railroads that outlaws had robbed. But judges and governors sometimes offered similar rewards. For instance, the Governor of Missouri offered $25,000.00 (over $400,000 today) for Jesse James, dead or alive. It may seem then that the title of this little article, Wanted: Dead and Alive is a mistake or a typo. It’s not. In several of his letters the Apostle Paul discusses, sometimes at length, the relationship Christ followers have with Jewish religious and moral law found in the Old Testament. Paul never throws the Law away, but instead recognizes that new life in Jesus changes everything. In Romans, one of his longer explanations concerning Law
What Makes You Smile?

What Makes You Smile?

Encouragment
What makes you smile? It’s a simple question, but one that reveals something about our heart. Smiles can be triggered by just about anything. The things that make you smile could be certain activities, accomplishments, or people. Grandkids always make me smile (even when they’re being naughty). An excellent steak is sure to bring a look of satisfaction to my face. And I can’t help but have a mile-wide grin when I’m able to take that first spring-time ride on my motorcycle. There is a word used in our English Bibles which means “those things that make us smile.” That word is “delight”. And, unless you're trying really hard you can’t even say “delight” without smiling. Let’s consider two verses as we think about what makes us smile. In recounting that moment in time when humankind chose s
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
A New and Living Way

A New and Living Way

Encouragment
Reading the Old Testament law can be a difficult journey. Imagine worshiping in those days. God seemed to be about as inaccessible as the President of the United States. Only a high priest could enter the holy place, and that only once a year after being thoroughly cleansed and having offered sacrifices for his sin. That was then. Jesus fulfilled the law’s requirement once and for all. What was once impossible is now made possible through Jesus. The writer of Hebrew’s observes, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,” (Hebrews 10:19–20, NASB95) The old way was made up of ritual, observations of days, and limitations. But Jesus has opened up a n
Faith in Action

Faith in Action

Encouragment, Faith
One day Jesus’ disciples were practicing what Jesus had been teaching them.  The incident involved a young boy who was demonically self-destructive and a worried father. The disciples said the words to expel the demon, just like they’d seen Jesus do, but nothing worked. The worried father ran to find Jesus and implored Him to come and heal his son. Jesus responds with some harsh words concerning unbelief and twisted faith. “And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Matthew 17:17, NASB95)  Jesus then calls the boy Himself, He rebukes the demon and heals the son. At sometime after the event, the disciples ask Jesus about their failure,  “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why co
A Little Word that Means Everything

A Little Word that Means Everything

Encouragment, Faith
I’m old enough to remember the Apollo space flights and the day Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. In grainy black and white, we watched the white-suited astronauts bounce around a gray and black landscape. I marveled at the achievement without realizing the precariousness of their position and their utter trust and dependence on their space suits. For those that follow Christ, there is a familiar verse, it is part of the Roman Road, and it explains in just a few words the truth of the human condition. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NASB95) In a way, this verse is similar to Neil and Buzz’s moonwalk. Many have asked, “why would a loving God send anyone to hell.” Wrong assumptions always lead to wro
Coloring Between the Lines

Coloring Between the Lines

Encouragment, Faith
One day, not very long ago, my grandson Asher was in preschool coloring a picture. As he pushed the crayon across the page he announced, “Jesus never colored outside the lines.”  A few moments later, having thought more about his theological proposition he added, “But He probably never colored.”  To which a second boy responded, “But if Jesus did color he would have colored inside the lines.” The seed of this preschool theological discussion was planted during a time Asher was struggling with his own imperfections and mistakes.  I find it amazing that a four almost five year old can understand Jesus’ character better than many adults. Looking back at Jesus and the Gospels it is clear that some, if not many, thought Jesus was coloring outside the lines.  Healing on the Sabbath - outside th