That a joy to watch him at bat for this reason. It is time for this All-Star to pack it up and ride off into the sunset. Instead of your left hander throwing more strikes and adding to his 240 career wins, the father of […]
Category Archives: Church Leadership
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Words change over time. Two words that have gone through a metamorphosis over the past few decades are religion and spirituality. Thirty years ago most people would’ve considered these words synonymous, but that’s not so today. Historian Robert Fuller writes, “The word ‘spiritual’ gradually came to be associated with a private realm of…
This article was published in the St.Catharines Standard.
While pondering the question in the headline, a story from a few years ago came to mind. The Niagara Freethinkers Association had invited me to debate Dan Barker from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, on the topic, “Is there a God?” During the question and answer segment a woman, rather upset, turned to me, “Why do you keep saying that God will send me to hell?” I reminded the lady that in our three-hour debate, I had not made a single reference to hell. I assured her that such matters belonged to God alone. She responded, “I’ve lived in this region for most of my life, and the born-again Christians I meet tell me that I am going to hell, and I assumed…
Religion is a lot about who is “in” and who is “out”, who “belongs” and who doesn’t. We have “catholic” and “protestant”, “saved” and “unsaved”. Some talk about people who have accepted or rejected Jesus, which causes me to wonder; which Jesus has been “accepted” and which one has been “rejected”?
There are a lot of Jesuses, his story has been told in so many ways. What does the real Jesus look like?…
While in Finland last week, I discovered the story of a Roman Catholic saint, Holy Henry, Bishop of Finland, allegedly murdered with an axe in 1156 AD. That’s long ago, and I imagine the reader asking…
“Professional help” is the cure most often suggested when someone has been involved in a moral failure. In other words, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the word of God is for the little daily challenges, but in a serious dilemma professional help is the answer. I don’t for a moment minimize the common sense one can gain from professional counseling. Human wisdom is not to be despised, but it is not a cure for sin. The apostle Paul reveals that the cause of sin is a lack of grace. Laws, rules and reliance on self make us prone to sin, while grace causes us to reign over temptations. (Romans 5:17) Sin doesn’t have dominion over us when grace is abounding. (Romans 6:19)
But so much the more the news spread abroad concerning Him, and great crowds kept coming together to hear [Him] and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. But He Himself withdrew [in retirement] to the wilderness (desert) and prayed. LUKE 5:15, 16
Jesus attracted people. There is no other way to read/interpret scripture. Wherever Jesus went, whatever Jesus did, whomever Jesus spoke with; He attracted multitudes. It’s true that the miracles attracted people. Undoubtedly some came to stand off in the distance and see Him “perform” supernatural acts which their natural eyes could not believe. Yet the Bible is clear to make another notation regarding why people came. They came to “hear Him”. Why? No one had ever, throughout the entire history of the world, spoken like Jesus spoke. The Bible says that “grace” and “truth” came through (in) Jesus. His every Word, look, act, subtlety, parable, deed, rebuke and exhortation exemplified grace and truth. Even the miracles were a demonstration of God’s grace manifested towards mankind. These three things attracted people to Jesus: grace, truth and the supernatural.
Lately I’ve been ‘hanging out’ in 1st and 2nd Corinthians; what a marvelous book! Almost every major doctrine is covered in there and Paul does it in an extremely clear and relevant way. Of course we all know 1 Corinthians 13 which is probably the finest piece of literature ever written on love! But the rest of the book has real gravitas (you can go look that word up later and use it in a conversation tomorrow with your boss’..haha) as well.
I have a confession. Early on, I realized that as a minister I was standing up and telling people to live one way (for example – pray every day) while I myself was struggling. I found that on any given week I certainly couldn’t say that I prayed more than one hour per day. And even if I did pray it was usually at a prayer meeting (ie. in front of people). We were all very forceful prayer warriors then. I can’t speak for what the others were like when they were alone, but I know that my private prayer life was not nearly as…how should we phrase it – vocal! In retrospect, years later I find myself wondering how much of our prayers back then were for God’s ears and how much was for each other’s.