Showing posts from December, 2018

False Expectations of Christmas

My wife and I watched a rendition of the Christmas story last night,  and I'm so glad we took time to do that.  Watching the story of Luke 2 put to film really helps you to identify with the human elements of the event so much more effectively.  But overall, watching the story shows just how far modern Christmas celebrations have strayed from what's real and what isn't.

First of all, Christmas really doesn't have anything to do with receiving gifts.  It's actually about receiving the gift.  Jesus is the real gift that each of us has been given.  The Christmas story is the re-telling of that glorious event that took place in the first century but was prophesied in the Scriptures all the way back in Genesis 3:15.  The ancient text said,

The son of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.

Do you need to be reminded that the perennial curse of sin caused by the serpent lying and tempting Adam and Eve was the introduction of doubt, death, disease, fear, hopelessn…

What About Tomorrow?

I remember a little over forty years ago I had been a Christian for just four or five months and a old friend of mine stopped over at my house for a visit.  We had known one another for years and in fact I had bailed hay for his uncle a time or two in high school.  He came from an old German family who had farmed their land for over a century, and some of his cousins rode the bus with my family when we were kids.  It was October or so and the fall weather was brisk and inviting.

My friend came in and he told me and the guy who owned the house how he had heard about how we "were Christians" now and wanted to know what had happened to us. The fact was, both of us had recently become born-again Christians.  The house owner was a farm neighbor when I was growing up on the farm who had accepted Christ about three months after getting back from Viet Nam in 1974.  I ran into him at a restaurant in 1975 and he led me to Christ in July of that year.  My life was changed when I met J…

Whose Slave are You?

My travels for our training foundation take me all over the world, and next month, I will be teaching in Togo, West Africa, once known as "The Slave Coast.”  A few years ago I traveled with our host from the capital of Lome out to a beach town where slaves were bought and sold; finally being carried aboard a sailing ship to Britian, America, and the Carribean nations.  The house in this beach town where the slaves were delivered is now a place where tourists can come and see the ship-captains quarters, the old safe where money was kept, and the table in the front room where all the transactions were made two hundred years ago.

Under the floor beneath the table is a large door to the area under the floor where slaves were forced to stay before transport.  It had a standing room of about four feet.  It forced the slaves to become oriented to the exact conditions to which they would be subjected for up to a three month journey in the ship's cargo hold.   Only those that were hea…

Jesus, the one and only God

One of the most well accepted facts of Christianity, yet one of the most misunderstood facts, is that Jesus is actually God.  As Christians we accept this premise not only because we know Him when we are born in His family, but because the Bible clearly teaches this truth.

Although the trinity is only hinted at in the Old Testament (Gen 1:26 "Let us make man in Our image"), the tri-unity of the God-head is clearly taught in the NT again and again.  I saw this again this morning as I waited to see the doctor.  The Pharisees were questioning Jesus about his claims to be the Messiah when Jesus made the audacious claim of not only knowing Abraham but actually pre-existing Abraham.  Jesus said,

"Before Abraham was I Am"

When the Jews heard those words from Jesus' lips they attempted to stone Him on the spot!  (See Jn 8:36.). However, the actual claim which many miss in Jesus' response is the fact that this is the name of God which He gave to Moses at the burning …

It came to pass...

One of the most profound yet sublime truths we possess as Christians is the promise of change.  Everything in life is undergoing change in some form.  Nature is a great example of this.  We have seasonal transformation four times a year, and with those changes, we experience differences in temperature, rainfall, snowfall, regrowth, and the blooming again of plantlife.  Nothing remains static or unchanging.  We often say that the world just keeps turning, which incidentally is the great force behind all the change that happens on the physial planet!

But change doesn't stop with our physical world.  We experience myriad life adjustments from the moment we are born.  From the cradle to the grave, we are incessantly going through the shade one day and sunshine the next.  We can never tell what is coming tomorrow.  It keeps life both unpredictable and predictable at the same time.  We can always expect things to never remain the same!

This is reflected in the Scriptures with the phrase…

Your Most Important Decision

Decision making is a big part of life.  It's not a question of whether or not we have to make decisions, it's simply a matter of time and place.  None of us can avoid having to decide on a whole lot of issues, sometimes daily.  The essence of this involves our willingness to take risks, challenge deadlines, and meet important obligations which many times affect others as well as ourselves.

When it comes to doing my life work of training national pastors around the globe, I'm constantly reminded of the effects of my decisions on both myself and others.  Even the matter of booking a ticket to Africa or East Asia puts a lot of wheels into motion that touch a lot of people other than myself.  Arrival times have to be adjusted so people are not terribly inconvenienced about coming to the airport in the middle of the night or other important obligations.   I am constantly trying to avoid putting others at risk or being totally inconvenienced by my decisions in so many different …