Tag: obedience

ABCs of Faith – One Obedient Faith

ABCs of Faith – One Obedient Faith

Encouragment
There are two aspects of faith we struggle with at times. Both happen to be “O” words; which works nicely for our ABC’s of faith.  As we talk about them it’s easy to slip into thinking of faith as religion, denomination, church, belief system, or practice. But even in these “O” words the emphasis is on our relationship with God and trusting Him. To some these “O” words seem restrictive - I hope that you will find freedom. To some these “O” words justify judgment and condemnation - I hope that you will discover the log in your eye. Some have abused these “O” words to drive personal agendas instead of leaning into God’s desire - I hope that you will see God’s trustworthy love. Paul wrote, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord
Useless? Nope

Useless? Nope

Encouragment
God can’t use me. Isn’t that what we tell ourselves?  That somehow or in someway we are disqualified from being useful in God’s hands. We are too old, too young, too busy, too sinful, too clumsy with words, too poor, too broken, in poor health, just generally useless. Yet when I look through the Bible, I see all kinds of examples of God using folks who were also “too....” Consider Moses, his ministry didn’t really begin until he was 80, everything else was preparation. Or David, just a teenager when God used him to take on a giant. Too sinful? Just about all the spiritual pillars of faith in the Bible had a sin problem of some sort. The only sin that disqualifies is the one we refuse to take to God. Moses tried to disqualify himself at the burning bush because of a stammer. Too poor? Ne
Jesus Said That?! Radical Obedience

Jesus Said That?! Radical Obedience

Encouragment
There are times as we read the Bible that we must look behind what is said to grasp what is meant. What exactly did Jesus mean by saying that thing about a camel going through the eye of a needle? I can just imagine someone going through our writings in a thousand years trying to understand what we meant by “Elvis has left the building” or “not playing with a full deck.”  We approach our next “Jesus Said That?!” statement with that thought in mind. Matthew and Mark both record a particularly radical statement made by Jesus. Matthew actually includes it twice. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If
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
The Bread of Obedience

The Bread of Obedience

Encouragment, Faith
Let's consider bread for a moment. Think about the varieties of shape, sizes and uses that fill our grocer's shelves. White bread, whole wheat, mixed grains, rye, and sourdough come to mind quickly.  But beyond the standard sliced breads are hamburger and hot dog buns, garlic bread, french loaf, baguette, dinner rolls, and biscuits. There are flatbreads such as pizza crust, pita, and tortillas.  But wait there’s more.  Donuts, danishes, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, HoHos, Twinkies, cakes of all types are also forms of bread. Is it any wonder that bread is called a staple and the staff of life?   As important and pervasive bread is in our everyday diet Jesus reminds us, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ”” (Matthew
The Race: Get Set!

The Race: Get Set!

Series, The Race
This article is the second part of a sermon series based on 1 Peter 1:13-25.  The metaphor for these articles are the starter’s command of “on your marks”, “get set”, and “go”. The first article can be found here. The Race: Get Set! Once again the runners are at the line. At the call of “on your marks,” they have set their feet, placed their hands, and taken a moment of calm before the call to “get set”.  In the race of following Christ, we equated this moment to 1 Peter 1:13-16 where Peter instructs his readers to “prepare their minds for action”, “keep a sober spirit”, “fix their hope on grace through the revelation of Christ”, and “be holy”.  Now comes the call to “get set!”  The runners snap to their launch position. They raise from their almost prayer-like stance to one of readiness
Whose Side are You On?

Whose Side are You On?

Encouragment, Seeing
I’m sure you’ve had an experience similar to this -  A group of friends gathers for some sandlot baseball or some other team game. With some effort, the group is divided into two teams. In an instant, friends become rivals, sides are created, and each team begins to taunt the other. This spills over to the spectators which ask each other, “whose side are you on?” or “who do you think is going to win?”  This basic human experience of choosing sides is not only seen at the ball diamond but also in homes, school campuses, workplaces, gathering holes, churches, and boardrooms. Sides are formed and the battle is joined.   There is an exchange in scripture that happens after the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land and before the defeat of Jericho.  The battle was coming. Josh
Alone in the Garden with Jesus

Alone in the Garden with Jesus

Short Stories
One morning, not long after my first cup of coffee, there was a gentle knock on my door. Glancing at the clock I thought, “Who could it be this early?” After walking over to the door I called out, “Yes, who is it?” “My daughter…” I know that voice, it's Jesus. “Lord! I wasn’t expecting you,” I exclaimed having thrown open the door. “Please come in.” “Not today my daughter. Today I’d like to walk with you in a garden.” My thoughts flew to the song about walking in the garden alone with Jesus while the dew is still on the roses. One of my long-held desires had been and still is walking with Jesus like the song promises. “Yes Lord, that would be lovely!” “Then take my hand, my daughter,” Jesus said. In an instant, we stood outside a tall brick wall overgrown with vines and a rus
Big Questions, Important Answers: What Is In Your Hand?

Big Questions, Important Answers: What Is In Your Hand?

Big Questions, Series
The next big question comes at a time of failure.  The story of Moses and the Burning Bush is familiar to most of us.  For our purposes, we are only going to consider a narrow part of the story, when God asks Moses - “What is in your hand?”   “Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ ” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—” (Exodus 4:1–4, NASB95)   In a way, the staff that Moses was holding wa
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