What would people think?

A story I once heard…

A young man slowly navigated his way around the small town square, in search of a parking place. Nervously he noticed the woman driving behind him, tailgating, and – from the looks of it – cursing his slow driving as she honked and gestured vehemently. As he neared a traffic light, as luck would have it, the light turned yellow and the young man put on the brakes. As he did, he cringed for the possible crash, but to his surprise the woman stopped short of rear-ending him. Barely.

He glanced in the rearview mirror to see the woman waving frantically. As she ranted and raved, dropping her makeup and cell phone, her face turned beet red in rage. Just as she was about to get out of the car, there was a tap on the driver’s side window. The woman glanced to her left and was astonished to see a police officer at her window. Embarrassed, she lowered the window. “Please get out of the car with your hands up,” the officer said.

Continue reading “What would people think?”

The real threat

Recently I heard an excellent sermon (by someone else, obviously) about what the Bible says about homosexuality. The presentation was apt and scripturally-based. I agreed wholeheartedly with the contention and conclusions: homosexual behavior is clearly displeasing to God, if scripture is any measure.

However, I’ve also heard and read a number of socially conservative pundits and commentators breathlessly claim in recent years that the Supreme Court decision of a few years ago, giving legal status to same-sex marriage, amounts to a serious existential threat to “traditional” marriage (one man, one woman, for life). That this court decision undermines the nuclear family unit, upon which every successful civilization has been built. Well, in the words of Gen. Sherman Potter, horsehockey.

Continue reading “The real threat”

Believing in Jesus

If you surveyed 100 people off the street and asked them this question: “Who is Jesus?” – you’d get a lot of different opinions. And hardly any consensus, even among religious people. Perhaps this has more to do with people’s attitude rather than evidence about Jesus. How would you respond?

On a past trip to Africa to work with brothers in Mozambique, I was privileged to be part of a Bible study with Samson Mafuta. Our study was with a young woman who expressed an interest in knowing more about the Bible. I asked her if she knew who Jesus was. She replied, “Jesus is the wind.” And so it goes.

Continue reading “Believing in Jesus”

An effective change-up

Baseball pitcher Dutch Leonard once observed that the most effective pitch in baseball is not the fastball, or the knee-buckling curve ball — but the change-up. An effective change-up gives a pitcher a distinct advantage, because hitting a baseball is all about timing. The best hitters in the game can be outfoxed by a clever pitcher who changes the speed of his pitches, thus creating havoc with the hitter’s finely-tuned and precisely-timed swing.

So, too, can it be with our spiritual behavior. Satan knows our tendencies, and knows our strengths and weaknesses. When we get tangled up in a particular type of sin, repeatedly failing to resist the temptations that Satan offers, it is often because we are creatures of habit and we keep putting ourselves in untenable situations – in short, we “sit on” a fastball, but Satan throws us a change-up.

Continue reading “An effective change-up”

Free kittens?

As I was exiting the parking lot, trying to figure out which lanes of empty spaces I could dart across to reach the exit lane quickest, I noticed three girls standing near a pickup truck. One carried a cardboard sign: “Free Kittens.”

I chuckled to myself as I considered this misnomer. Let’s see,… free kittens require vaccinations (some repeatedly), spaying or neutering, regular grooming, housing, litter, food and water, to name just a few. Pretty soon it’s obvious: free kittens aren’t really free. Oh, I understand the sign was never meant to imply that raising a kitten would be free, but you get the point.

Paul wrote:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6.23

Continue reading “Free kittens?”

Is it enough to be a “good person”?

There are a lot of good people in the world. A lot. Personally, I think the overwhelming majority of people are kind, humane, and tenderhearted. There are people who will do things for someone else – even a total stranger – people who will stop to help a stranded motorist, who will give a few bucks for a meal for a homeless person, and who will donate their time, money, and resources to help those who are less fortunate. Many will do much, much more. And this is a good thing. Jesus said, after all,

“For you always have the poor with you…” – Mark 14.7a

There is a lot of misery in the world – all of it the direct or indirect result of man’s failure – and it is not going to go away. So the world needs good people. And so many are doing this as a result of understanding that this is what Jesus did, and what he taught. As he said,

“The greatest among you shall be your servant.” – Matthew 23.11

Continue reading “Is it enough to be a “good person”?”

The power of words

Words – often few – carry powerful messages. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18.21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

But even a simple, cursory observation of the world – at any point in time – gives clear evidence that spoken words are a powerful tool. This divine gift – verbal communication – is perhaps man’s most distinguishing characteristic from the rest of creation – and can be a great blessing, or a great curse. God started early defining the parameters of the proper use of verbal communication. The second commandment in Exodus 20.7

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Continue reading “The power of words”


In the hustle and bustle of life in the 21st century, it’s pretty easy – even for Christians – to forget how well God treats us, even when we don’t treat Him very well. Moses reminded Israel, as they were about to enter the promised land of Canaan:

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. – Deuteronomy 8.7-10

Continue reading “Receiving”