We are living in times when many are being as “stubborn as mules” about things that may or may not be critical. Anyone with a passing thought can post it on social media and, if it is provocative enough, garner the support of international miscreants. We have learned how the more controversial thoughts get more reactions, so we opine without expertise, post without wisdom. Yet there is something winsome about combing grace and truth. Truth on its own can be harsh; grace without truth can be sloppy. The combination, however, builds up and infuses courage. When grace and truth are backed up by action the outcome can be nothing short of splendid.
We remember the unusual story about a mode of transportation being co-opted for a historic ride into town. More specifically, it was someone’s means of income or income-producing ass, that was conscripted into greater service. If this happened today the story might read:
“Go to the town ahead of...
The Lord set his affection on you and chose you because the Lord loved you. Deuteronomy 7:7-8
God gets bad press. The ‘liberal media’ has been around since the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say…? You know why he said that, right…he wants to dis-empower you!” As Israel came out of Egypt Moses tried to help untangle their preconceptions about God from their experience of Egyptian gods. He also tried to lay the groundwork for the fledgling nation to avoid future entrapment by other gods.
The 10 Commandments and related instructions were therefore very clear: keep God as the one and only, and don’t flirt with foreign gods. “Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.” This is the M&M verse (if it helps you remember it better): no money, no mercy, no marriage, no mingling. Israel knew slavery—they had been at the receiving end of it for many years. Back in the tent as they thought about...
Crying was not really smiled up when I was growing up. If your brother gave you a shove and you fell and hurt yourself, the question was “What are you crying for?” If you broke your favorite toy… “What are you crying for?” If your parents said “No” when you wanted “Yes” and you cried… “What are you crying for?” followed by the inevitable, “I’ll give you something to cry about!”
Nowadays we tell people, and not just children, “It’s okay to cry.” While there were some advantages to the get-up-and-get-over-it mindsets of our parents, there were disadvantages as well. It is appropriate to cry, sometimes, and the question is, “What are you crying for?” or, more accurately, “What are you crying over?”
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a...
It was May 2005 when I participated in a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was my first visit there and the event was broken into the typical tracks such as church, youth, education, government and so on. Graham Power, Ed Silvoso and I were leading the Business Track. In a pre-conference workshop I told the other track leaders, “Thank you very much! I am the only person leading a track that has a named demonic spirit in charge… Mammon!” Peter Wagner was in our group and said, “This changes everything.” I knew something of what we were up against in the world of business… but I was wrong that our track was unique.
This is nothing new. In the letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul uses the phrase “stronghold” which might describe a hothouse of tangled weeds that can be found in the middle of an otherwise good pasture. This “stronghold” phrase is unpacked: “we refute arguments and theories and reasonings...
Leaders impact people. While leadership is not everything. it is something. The behavior, character and competence of leaders has ripple effects in the lives of the people whom they lead. Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt, was in a tough situation. On the one hand, he had a free workforce to labor on his projects. On the other hand, he had an 80-year-old liberator telling him to let the slave laborers take a break to go and worship in the desert. Had Pharaoh been an enlightened leader he might have thought giving a week of Personal Time Off (PTO) was fair… but he didn’t, and the disingenuous cycle continued: start plague repent stop plague change mind next plague. After a while Moses said,
“You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.”
There was much back and forth, toing and froing, between Moses and Pharaoh....
We used to have early morning meetings which were the normal mix of coffee and conversation. When we got down to business, however, I would look across at one of the men and sometimes his eyes were open, but he was gone… fast asleep. “The lights were on,” as the saying goes, “but no one was home.” That was a little freaky because he was both present and potentially absent at every meeting. According to WebMD, “You might be surprised to hear that some people sleep with their eyes open. And it's more common that you'd expect. About 20% of people do it, including babies. Doctors call this condition "nocturnal lagophthalmos."” Keith Green called it “asleep in the light.”
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can't fight
'Cause it's asleep in the light
I was reminded of this when I read a poignant account towards the end of Jesus’ life on earth. Some key things happened in quick succession, and you can...
and he as good as dead Hebrews 11:12
We know God specializes in taking things that are totally impossible from a human perspective and turning them into something totally miraculous. We just don’t like to be the ones in totally impossible situations. A good percentage of our prayers, whether for finances, for health, for favor, or for grace, are prayed so that we can get out of an impossible situation.
The fact is, unless we regularly get into totally impossible situations where we are in trouble, unless God shows up with a miracle, we may not be living a life of faith. Not all situations of faith come about in the same way:
The speed at which momentous things are happening in the nations and in the Church is astounding. Some of the change is traumatic, and some of it is terrific. Miracles are needed at national and international levels… and miracles are happening. I have to choose how I see what I see. I cannot ignore the fact that political leaders of all tents are making decisions counter to the Word of God. I am also seeing God do amazing things in “simple” ways. During 2020 we saw the traumatic tents of field hospitals and even temporary morgues. Today, revival tents are popping up all over the USA from Florida to California.
On the one hand we see political leaders wielding power and at the stroke of a pen foundational changes appear to be made. On the other hand we are seeing old fashioned evangelists pitching tents, literally and figuratively, hammering pegs of truth into grounds of adversity, breaking the soil. Thousands are finding peace with God through Jesus Christ....
I know that power has gone out from me.
“Don’t bother the teacher any more.”
“They laughed at him… but he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’”
A funny thing happened on the way to Jairus’ house. Jesus is on a mission to heal a sick twelve year old, the only daughter of an important person. Dad is distraught, Jesus is responding to the 911 call. If you were Jesus, you might be thinking, “I can handle this… stay focused.” But then there is the jostle of the crowd, and all of a sudden Jesus feels power go out of him. He knows that interruptions can be divine interjections, so he pauses to address the situation… during which time the patient dies. The young girl, that is.
Three things emerge from this passage. First, Jesus was feeling differently. His team was feeling the pressing, moving throng, crowding and almost crushing Jesus. He was feeling the touch of faith and the transfer of...
The inauguration of a new President in the USA has happened and, while I write for an international audience, it is an event that leaves many with questions. The title of this blog, God and politics, is a little grandiose because I cannot do the topic justice in a short post. I do want to explore a dangling question, however, as to whether, how, and how much followers of Jesus should be involved in politics. (In an earlier post I explored the difference between platform, party and personality so I will not reexamine the “how then shall we vote” question. There is no doubt that there were hugely different perspectives among people who all have a ticket to heaven.) As I have considered the “fallout” from this contentious election I am sensing a divide among people in the Church (the broad body of Christ, not some specific denomination or local church). Some are thinking, “We should stick to our knitting and stay out of this political stuff.”...