A textbook display of redemption, and not by Christians

My sister-in-law, Sam, posted this a couple of days ago, and I’ve watched it a few times. It’s one of those things that I’ll add to my I-don’t-lose-my-man-card-for-tearing-up-at-this list (Yes, I actually have one of those). The fact that it’s a commercial tempers my reaction only slightly.

The people in this video went out of their way to make better an unjust situation for one neighbor.  Breaking down barriers is presented as the primary motivation.  They used their own time and effort to make a member of their community live like he would be able to live if a difficult thing – the loss of his hearing – hadn’t happened.  There is only so much he could do for himself.  The rest has to be done for him by someone else, and they did it knowing they wouldn’t receive compensation.

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The LGBT sentiment is godly, in a way

Choosing between God and Gay

 

I saw this posted on facebook yesterday and it has stuck with me.  The tone isn’t combative. The sentiment portrays a basic human need: to be accepted for who we are.

I’m not sure what rock I’ve been under, but this is the first I’ve heard of Vicky Beeching. From what I’ve learned about her from the internet, she seems like a lovely person who isn’t out to pick a fight. Her web site describes her: “. . . with warmth, humour, an ivy-league mind and striking honesty Vicky communicates a message of authenticity, challenge and self-development, much of which is drawn candidly from her own journey.”

In her interview with the BBC after the announcement about her sexuality, she noted that she stayed with the church because she thinks that disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you can’t associate with them.

Wow, it looks like we’d get along swimmingly.

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A friendly reminder from Arnold

Put that Cookie Down (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

I was a little bored one evening last week and decided to play around with my phone notifications. The ringtone I set for my wife is Chris Farley singing “Fat guy in a little coat,” while he’s wearing David Spade’s jacket in the movie Tommy Boy.  One of our favorites.  It’s the text message notification I chose that got the better of me, though.

If you haven’t read the first chapter of my book that I posted on this site, let’s just say that cookies are a bad habit of mine (understatement!). I figured it would be cute to have the notification for receiving a text from Vanda on my phone as Arnold Schwarzenegger saying this. Continue reading

Jesus was made perfect. So, he must have been less than perfect, right?

 

Photo credit: Jilles / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Jilles / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Short answer: yes.

Perhaps it wasn’t the smartest idea.  I introduced the question posed in the title of this post to the young adult Bible study at Evangel Baptist Church for one of the first studies I led for them.  The look on Brian Barth’s face – a young man who studies the word and is faithful to it – was priceless!  He didn’t know me yet and was deeply concerned that I was bringing some kook teaching into the lives of our young adults.  We can laugh about it now, right Brian (tee-hee)?

But, it’s a question that is valid.  Hebrews 5:8-9 says, “Son though [Jesus] was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (NIV)”

Lest you think it’s a mistake, the Biblical author says it again in Hebrews 7:28, “For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. (NIV, too)” Continue reading

Why punish yourself more than God does?

Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / CC BY-SA

People can’t make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them.  That’s a concept that has helped people who struggle with poor self-esteem to develop a healthy outlook about themselves.

What if the reverse of that concept could be useful as well? I don’t mean that I can only make someone else feel bad if they let me do it (though that is true).  But what if it’s true to say that other people can’t make you feel good about yourself unless you let them?

Guilt is a powerful emotion that is unnecessary for Christians. When you were saved you were freed from all the burdens of sin, including this one.

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Our church has a Dream Team

1992 Dream Team (source:edgemagazinesite.com)

1992 Dream Team (source:edgemagazinesite.com)

Jon Fowler, a friend of mine, posted a Bible verse on fb last week.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when people use social media as a marketing tool for their faith.  They slap on a bit of scripture even though there’s no evidence that the carefully typed testimonies match up with the rest of their lives.  But that’s not Jon! He’s the real deal.

There’s another reason that this particular update spoke to me, and it has something to do with a very different idea he’s involved in at our church. First, here’s what he wrote:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1, 2 NIV)

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Hope is overrated

English: "Mountain of Despair" -- pa...

English: “Mountain of Despair” — part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC. Image is that visitors pass through the Mountain of Despair to the “Stone of Hope.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hope is overrated.

It’s a crap shoot that gambles away our perseverance against the odds that one day our circumstances will improve.  It’s a blind wager that spiritually bankrupts.

It has no substance.  There’s little reason to believe that things will get better.  We just want them to, and we naively believe that’s enough.

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Discordant metronomes

I’m not going to try to explain the science behind this video (mostly because I can’t).  But . . . it’s pretty cool.  If you don’t want to watch the whole four minutes, watch the first thirty seconds and then skip ahead at 30 second intervals (i.e., 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, etc.) and watch for a few seconds at each.  You’ll get the idea.

The explanation on YouTube is “If you place 32 metronomes on a static object and set them rocking out of phase with one another, they will remain that way indefinitely. Place them on a moveable surface, however, and something very interesting (and very mesmerizing) happens.”

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Does God change his mind?

Photo credit: _Hadock_ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: _Hadock_ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Every broadcast of Southwest Ministries begins with Dr. Noah Hutchings declaring, “God is on the throne, and prayer changes things.”  It’s a great thing to remember as we strive to advance on our Christian journeys. But, it can cause confusion about God’s nature.

God never changes. Since he is perfect and holy, any alteration with regard to him or his actions would mean that there is a preferred outlook or state of being.  If there’s a better option, that must mean he has learned something or improved his outlook in some way.  Not possible.

What does this mean about our prayers?  We don’t always pray for God to do things, but it is a big part of our interaction with him. In James 5, prayer is regarded as the thing that can heal people (James 5:15).  Paul credits the prayers of the Corinthians as the reason he was saved from certain death (2nd Corinthians 1:11).  When his disciples were having trouble casting out a demon, Jesus said it could only happen through prayer (Mark 9:29).

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Have I committed the unforgivable sin?

Diddy's new fragrance

Diddy’s new fragrance (Photo credit: scottroberts)

It sounds like a contradiction.  Verses like Acts 13:39 and Titus 2:13-14 tell us that Jesus can forgive any sin.  The limitless power of Jesus sacrifice can atone for anything we could ever have done. Absolutely everything . . . except for that pesky passage in Matthew 12:22-32.

Matthew quickly tells of Jesus freeing a man from demon possession and moves on to the Savior’s ensuing dialogue with the Pharisees.  They had been saying among themselves that Jesus called on the power of Beelzebul (Satan) to send the demon away. First, Jesus points out how stupid that accusation was. Why would Satan drive out Satan? Isn’t he on the same team as himself?

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