Showing posts from 2018

Advent Ponderings: Why was Zechariah struck dumb?

During advent, our church is reading through parts of the Christmas story week by week.  These ponderings are based upon those readings and designed to get us thinking about Christmas keeping Christ at the center.  I hope you will enjoy them.

Luke 1:5-20

Have you ever wondered why Zechariah was dumbstruck by Gabriel?  I mean, on the surface, it seems harsh.  Zechariah asks a simple question followed by an obvious observation:  "How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."  (Luke 1:18)

Zechariah was just promised some incredible things.  He and his wife were going to have a son in their old age who was going to be "great in the sight of the Lord" (v. 15).  I think that I would want some assurance too.

The problem with angels

Wouldn't the appearance of an angel be enough to heed whatever words he was saying?  If there was an angel that suddenly appeared to us in all of his glory that told us not to be afraid (as angels often do i…

Dissing On My Bride

He walked up to me visibly stung by an interaction that he just had.  I didn't know him, but he began to talk to me as if he was doing me a favor.

"Be careful of that lady over there." pointing to the one across the room in a red dress, "I don't think she's got it all together."

"Really?  What happened?" I asked.

"Well, I went over there, introduced myself, held out my hand for a friendly handshake and after a few awkward moments, she simply turned away and started talking to someone else."

"Maybe she didn't mean anything by it."  I interjected.

"I don't know.  She just didn't seem all there.  Not the type of person I think I'd like to hang around."

"You got all that from a refusal to shake your hand?"

"I'm a pretty good judge of character.  Trust me, if you have a chance to get around her, you'll see."  All of a sudden a smile began to creep on my new friend's face,…

How One Little Card is Changing My Perception Toward Outreach

Yesterday, our church started the 52 Week Challenge.  It is a challenge to personally invite 1 person/family to church each week for 52 weeks and see what God will do with our faithfulness.  We made cards for our congregation that has our website, address and meeting time (along with our church name and mission statement).  Each person/family who accepts the challenge is given a set of 52 cards to personally hand out (some have taken more than one set).

I took two sets for my family and it is already changing my outlook on things.  I currently have two cards in my back pocket and I am looking for ways to connect with people to hand them out.

Today, I had lunch with one of our congregation members.  While I was totally there for them, I found myself looking for a way to talk with someone (waiter, hostess, etc...), so I could learn their name and invite them to church in my moments in-between our conversation.  Unfortunately, the waiter who serviced our table wasn't around much and …

What It Means to Be a Friend of Sinners...

"To what can I compare this generation?  They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:  'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'  For John [the Baptist] came neither eating or drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'.  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."'  But wisdom is proved right by her actions."-- the words of Jesus (Matthew 11:16-19; see also Luke 7:31-35)

Most people don't realize that to be tagged a "friend of sinners" was a slight toward Jesus.  We have taken the name calling as a badge of honor and used it to say that as believers, we too, should be "friends of sinners".  However, this is a dangerous misunderstanding of how Jesus responded to the insults to both Himself and to His cousin, John the Baptist.  I am afraid that Americani…

Foundations of Sand

My family went with another family to see "The Last Jedi" a few months back.  After the movie was over, there was endless critiquing by my family concerning the movie.  Needless to say, we didn't like it.  It isn't that we hated all of it, but the errors that it made were, in the end, unforgivable.

I have been a collector of Star Wars books for years.  I don't own every book that has been made, but enough to respect the universe that the creative authors of the series have created.  One of the things that became established after 40 years of fiction development is the character of each of the fictional individuals represented in the series.
Going into the movie, we all knew that creative license would be taken by the filmmakers as Disney was trying to build their own history of Star Wars that was going to deviate from what had been written before.  The first of the new trilogy "The Force Awakens" definitely changed the history from the books, however, t…

Questions I Sincerely Want Answered

I don't know if anyone will respond to this blog (via FB or via this blog).  I sincerely pray that many do.

I am specifically writing former members of Youth Groups gone by and former members of the church I have been at part of for the last 17 years, why they have changed. 
(If you haven't changed, then this isn't for you outside of the same understanding I am hoping for.)

I have watched heartbreakingly over the last 17 years former youth seemingly trade in their faith for Christ for either a liberal understanding of faith or an abandonment of faith altogether.  (Truthfully, I don't know where some currently lie.)

For those who have changed to a liberal understanding of faith:

How did you come to your conclusion that the liberal interpretation was the correct one?

Do you still believe in the foundational tenets of faith?  (We are fallen in need of a Savior because of our sin, Jesus came and paid the price for that sin on the cross, He lived a sinless, perfect life the…

Hope for the Faithful Christian

Being faithful to Christ in a society of growing hostility toward all things Christian can give believers reason to despair.  Since the passage of same sex marriage, there has been a blow back against the Christian community, and even within it.  Many who have called themselves Christian have abandoned Christian brothers and sisters to stand with family members, friends and acquaintances who identify as LGBTQ.  Labels of intolerance and bigotry await the faithful believer who would call for an acknowledgment of sin and repentance of that sin as precursors to true belief in Christ.

However, our message is no different than that of the very first believers.  Remember Peter's response to the crowd at Pentecost, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."…

The Symptoms of Falling Away

Today I'd like to talk about the gospel...the good news of Jesus Christ.  It is my contention that many who profess to be Christians are no longer (or have never been) so.  It's really not that controversial if you think about it.  Jesus said that the way is broad that leads to destruction and many are on that road (Mat. 7:13-14).

This post seeks to give encouragement to those holding onto the faith and a warning to those who are falling away.  It also seeks to clarify what the gospel is and what it is not, something that those falling away may not realize they are doing.  It is also to help us as believers to understand where we may compromise the gospel, thereby denying Christ, if we aren't careful.

The good news of Christ is simply this:

1)  Man and woman were created in perfect relationship with God (Gen. 1-2).

2)  Both the man and woman were tempted and sinned against God bringing suffering and death into the world (Gen. 3).  As descendants of Adam & Eve, we have …

The 3 Things Our Nation Needs

I am depressed as I scroll through story after story of the fallenness of our country.  From shootings in school, to the constant hatred spewed by our elected officials and the media that covers them, to  the comments section of any story filled with venom from a growing graceless populace, to the next scandal that is uncovered by the media that involves the church or facebook or...whoever..., these incidents represent only the symptoms of a sickening society.

The ironic thing is that a large portion of societies ills could be cured with three simple admissions and the conviction to change them.  And no, these answers have nothing to do with gun laws or getting the "right" people elected.  It has nothing to do with politics.  But it has to do with commitment.

Admission #1:  Children need both of their parents.

We have to admit that the great miscalculation of believing that one parent (or bouncing around between two of them) + lots of stuff or activity = well adjusted kids i…

How Technology Has Overwhelmed Our Souls and Hurt the Church

One of our congregation members who is very savvy at social media often posts about how things used to be.  From looking at old ways to do research, to top 40 songs of the past, old TV shows or remembering old customs from a seemingly bygone era...I am being reminded of my childhood and how things are way different now.  Showing my age, I relate way too much to the ways things used to be nostalgically.

One area that has been on my mind lately is the availability of information and the impossible commitment it places on the church, both individually and corporately.  I believe the internet and social media has hurt the church (it has its blessings as well).  I believe that the influx of information that has been thrust into our lives has been too much for us to handle and put into a biblical perspective.

Let me explain by drawing from examples from the past and comparing them to modern day realities.

In Biblical times there were no phones or automobiles.  Traveling great distances to l…