Showing posts from January, 2012

Matthew 18 modernized - The parable of the unmerciful servant

A business owner decided to settle her accounts.  Known for her graciousness, she had given out several loans to her employees.  As she began this process, she scheduled a meeting with a man who owed her over 2 billion dollars.  Since he was not able to pay, the owner explained that she would have to begin filing the papers for a lawsuit against the man.  Knowing this woman was well connected with the legal system and had strong grounds for the suit, the man knew he would lose everything, including his wife and kids. 

At this, he fell to his knees before his employer and begged, saying "Be patient with  me. I will pay back everything. Just give me more time. I will pay it back."

The employer knew better.  She knew he hadn't yet paid him back and that the debt was so great that it would be impossible for him to even make a dent in what he owed.  So, she took pity on him and forgave the entire debt.  He left her office with a huge weight lifted off his shoulders.

Not long …

Prayer for a Neighbor's Salvation - Response to Parable of the Sower

Prayer for a Neighbor's Salvation
I pray that ________ will both hear and understand the gospel,   will both see and perceive it. Please soften ______'s heart so that they may see with their eyes,  hear with their ears,  and understand with their hearts. I pray that _____ turns toward you Christ,  so that you might heal them. Amen.
(Matthew 13)

The gospel as resurrection and restoration!

A friend wrote me an email asking how one can evangelize when being a Christian often carries a cost.  My answer was that the story of Jesus does not end on the cross, but it continues through the resurrection! Too often when we witness we focus on hell/heaven, the crucifixion, or even the Kingdom of God as the right way to live.  But the gospel is the Word and the Word is Jesus Christ!  When I share Christ, I want to share that Jesus is a personal savior who brings restoration and resurrection to that which is broken and needs restoration and brings life to that which is dying.  We aren't leading people to heaven or leading them to the cross (although we do this too), rather we are leading people to Jesus Christ and He'll lead them the rest of the way!

Redefining Purity in Teaching Sex Ed in Christian Education

I came across another youth ministry article today that was addressing purity in teenage dating relationships.  Since getting married I have some very strong feelings about how the Christian sex/dating/marriage education thought-process is missing the target.  Here are just a few of my thoughts:

1.  When I was a teenager much of the focus of "purity" lessons was on the physical aspect of purity, but little was said about the "heart" aspect.  I remember people commenting on how quickly a young man could undress a young lady with his mind, but little was said of how quickly a young woman may marry a young man in her mind.  (And of course nothing was said of how quickly a young woman may undress a young man in her mind or how quickly a young man might marry a young woman in his mind.)  Instead of focusing on what a young woman should wear or how she should keep physical boundaries (which so often is focused upon), shouldn't we address how quickly she commits h…

Citizen Pastor - response to Iowa caucus?

A good friend of mine who is a pastor in Iowa recently blogged about the tension she feels as a person and a pastor in regards to her attendance at a caucus.  I appreciate what she wrote, so I want to share a link to this post: "Confession of Repentant - Iowa Caucus"

Here is my response to what she wrote:

"I'm glad you wrote about this.  I was wondering the same question this morning.  I know how Iowans feel about pastors expressing themselves politically - more than one pastor has lost his/her job as a result.  I understand and respect the boundaries of the pastoral role, but I too wondered how this works itself out in a caucus situation.  If you attend the Republican caucus, no one may know how you voted, but they know that you attended the Republican caucus.  If you attend the Democrat caucus, everyone who also attends knows exactly how you vote.  I thought about the importance of attending to show the value of participating in this US American privilege, but the…

Giving God the Glory through Poetry

Holy ecstasy
that is what I feel in Your
Divine Presence
Holy ecstasy

I feel selfish
in the joy I discover
in Your presence
Nothing can compete with this pleasure
of honoring Your holy Name.
When I put you first,
my whole world changes,
it improves faster than overnight.
You must be jealous
of this change in me.

Work was part of God's original plan

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” – Genesis 2:15
The beginning of the year is a great opportunity to begin reading through the Bible.Ever do the Bible in a year reading plan?I have several times. What amazes me each time is how a different verse or passage will stand out each time.This time around, Genesis 2:15 grabbed my attention. God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Wait a second!I thought work was part of the curse! Does this mean that work was part of God’s original plan for us?When the world was perfect and no one had yet sinned, one of our purposes was to work and care for God’s creation.The curse, which was the consequence of the first sin, just made our work more difficult.Genesis 3:17-19 reads:
“Curses is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, And you will eat the plants of the field. By the swe…