Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Tuesday Rambling 1.16.18 – Looking Again at the Exodus

For this Tuesday, a bit of rambling about the Exodus:

  • Yes, this story lands at the top of my favorites list.
  • Think about the elements of what happens.
  • God – completely sovereign in the life of a leader (Moses).
  • God – completely sovereign over human government (Pharaoh).
  • God – passionate about the way He is worshiped.
  • The worship commanded of the newly free Israelites gave a glimpse of heavenly worship.
  • God brought this entire event about over the period of hundreds of years. He kept His promises!
  • God brought his people freedom.
  • They rejected freedom and wanted to return to their more comfortable ways.
  • Blood present as a powerful sign of freedom.
  • Despite a wonderful miracle, many died in disbelief in the desert.
  • Despite ten supernatural plagues, Pharaoh did not believe.
  • Human fear revealed and overcome: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm…”
  • I heard it said: it didn’t take forty years to get the people out of Egypt, it took forty years to get Egypt out of the people.
  • Can we relate?
  • How has God set you free? How do you resist? To what Egypt do you long to return?
  • Do you lead? Do you feel inadequate? Can you hear the words ring out from Exodus 3: I Am Who I Am.

 

Think and Act 1.15.18 – Why I Think MLK Jr. Should Matter to White People

If you’ve not seen the move Race, it chronicles the experience of Jesse Owens’ rise to fame and his domination at the 1936 Olympic Games. In one intense scene, Owens attempts to tell the Ohio State track coach he will pull out of the games resulting from the suggestions of some in the black community.

The coach responds, incredulous. He boldly tells Owens in no uncertain terms he doesn’t care what black people think. Owens replies: “You don’t have to.”

That’s the approach many white people will take today toward remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. and will take toward the concept of racial reconciliation in our society. “We don’t have to.”

If you choose to look up the scene or watch the movie, know there is a bit of profanity.

Today, white friends, or anyone reading, let me encourage you to not take the easy way out. Let me suggest three reasons to do a little bit of lifting on this day and as you consider the way you live your lives.

1. A LOT has changed due to the influence of one amazing leader.

I am not going to comment on MLK’s questionable theology or moral decisions. Question marks stain many influential leaders in the past. I hold him up as a leader whose efforts left a legacy of change.

After our kids did their homework today on MLK (yes, I made them work together to come up with ten facts about MLK’s life), we asked them if they could imagine a society where schools, businesses, rest rooms, hotels, drinking fountains, etc. were divided along racial lines. They said they couldn’t.

The work and legacy of MLK brought amazing public change to our society and changed the way we think and act.

2. A LOT still needs to change.

I encourage you to listen. Not just today, but as a conscious choice. Listen to those who say things need to change. Ask yourself why they see it that why and what you can learn. Resist digging in your heels to reinforce your viewpoint, and for the sake of listening, listen.

I admit I don’t always understand. But here are a couple resources that will help you think:

The Witness: A Black Christian Collective . This website has content regarding current events and the church. I honestly don’t understand everything I hear or read, but I can encourage you to listen and think.

Just Mercy – by Bryan Stevenson. I have a copy if you’d like to borrow it. This book gives a great insight into a Christian lawyers work to un-do many injustices in our criminal “justice” system and helps us understand how systems can work against groups, classes, or races of people.

3. Social justice is not opposed to soul (salvation) justice.

Evangelical Christians care very deeply about someone’s relationship with God. This can be traced back through the ages, and really was one of the central issues in the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

But for a long time, many conservative churches have pitted social justice work against evangelism and spiritual growth. The Bible gives us many clues that the two are NOT mutually exclusive. For starters, how about “faith without works is dead”?

If you don’t like the theological legacy left by Dr. King, then don’t just oppose him on those grounds and take a pass at important historical and current issues. How about searching your (our) own theology and wondering about the balance between justice in our relationship with God and seeking justice in our world?

Think. What does King’s legacy mean to you? How does social justice link to Gospel justice?

Act. Pray. Research. Listen. Seek ways to display unity, justice, and reconciliation in our world that are consistent with the gospel and the commands of Scripture.

 

Monday Challenge 1.15.18

Good morning! Monday and challenge. Maybe Monday means challenge. Maybe you like Monday and want to challenge your mind. If Monday is challenging just because it’s Monday, maybe a challenging diversion will help? Was it challenging to read that? Then maybe you’re ready for a challenge:

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love him or hate him, this holiday bears his name. The amount of change he inspired, no matter what you think of him, is worth a holiday. Here’s one of King’s most famous works: Letter From Birmingham Jail.

Question: Will you take a bit of time and read this document? Why or why not?

The Trinity

Every Christian should know about these three controversies regarding the Trinity. At least, so says the article. Indeed, this article will help you understand this complex doctrine better.

Question: What did you learn that you didn’t know before you read this?

Evangelicalism

To say Evangelicalism has an identity crisis might understate reality just a wee bit. This article helps think about a way forward.

Question: What does the term mean to you and why does it matter?

Oprah

I’m not usually a good candidate for Oprah click bait, but I thought “Hey why not!” This article says it best by avoiding conclusions and leaving it open ended.

Question: Could she win the presidency?

Re-Moralization

This interesting read talks about the re-moralization of sex. I’ve often thought about how confusing our sexual ethics look and sound as a culture. This article speaks to some part of the current developing trends.

Tuesday Rambling 1.9.18 – The Beauty of Genesis

I love reading through Genesis on the annual reading plan. Let me ramble about a few things.

  • God’s sovereignty shines through.
  • He loves people and hates sin. Big surprise!
  • He makes promises based in no way on the merit of human beings.
  • His promises endure despite the sinful bumbling of human beings.
  • And oh does that sinful bumbling shine through as well!
  • Abraham and Isaac both lie about their identity out of fear.
  • Jacob schemes in multiple ways. The story is difficult to fathom at times.
  • Jacob shows favoritism which leads to more family warfare and ultimately his years of trial in Genesis.
  • God directly intervenes and communicates.
  • His plan unfolds. It is NOT haphazard.
  • He affirms His promises.
  • He uses people despite personal sin and disobedience.
  • He uses people despite horrifically broken family patterns and sin.
  • Through it all, people respond at times with incredible faithfulness, boldly trusting God in total unknown and in ways that involve great personal risk.
  • This trite summary fails to cover many details.
  • Interested? Check it out. At just a few chapters a day you’ll be through the whole thing a few weeks. God is good.

Monday Challenge 1.8.18

Good morning! Time for the first Monday Challenge of 2018. I did post links last week, but didn’t quite make it on Monday, so here you go. Be challenged!

Christian Husbands

From Desiring Go: To what end do Christian husbands strive? This article provides some perspective.

Question: How does this challenge your approach to marriage?

Doubt

Another Desiring God article has caused quite a dust up in internet debate circles. Evaluate the content and ask yourself:

Question: Does this article condemn all doubt as some suggest it does?

Youth Ministry

This article challenged my thoughts regarding youth ministry. We can all take part.

Question: How do you think about and participate in youth ministry?

Kids and Cell Phones

This 3-minute video answers: when should kids get their first smart phone?

Question: How do you answer this? What should give parents pause in making this decision?