We Sin. God Forgives. Grace Reigns.

‪Early on in my Christian walk, I was told exposing your sin is the only way it could be robbed of its power over you. So I did it. I told people. Lots of people. It was hard, and it hurt, and it was tough on my family, especially my wife. When the smoke cleared, I didn’t feel better, or freer, or more holy.  The only thing I knew now was the people knew what a horrible sinner I was, and after the initial pats on the back, it seemed as if I hadn’t said a word. Continue reading “We Sin. God Forgives. Grace Reigns.”

What Killed Ananias & Sapphira?

In light of everything else written in the New Testament Epistles about the life of the Christian, God immediately smacking down the hand of justice upon Ananias and Sapphira for their lack of moral character, seems dubious. Now, numerous Old Testament passages appear to show God routinely punishing His people for rebellion and sin. Of course a closer look shows us a God who regularly held back punishment, putting up with much before finally bringing correction. So why were these two in the book of Acts so quickly dealt with? To be honest, I’m not sure. Some scholars have speculated at whether or not they were true believers, and others state that at such an early time in the development of the church where the Spirit was present in the community, it was important to deal with any issues of distrust and disunity immediately, and that was what God did with Anaias and Sapphira. Continue reading “What Killed Ananias & Sapphira?”

A New Snow, A Saving Grace*

*This was written last winter, but it still applies… I hope you enjoy it

While in the midst of cursing this winter that never seems to end, I was confronted in my mind with a particular insight as I watched the snow come down this morning. As snowfalls go, this has been one of my favorites. The giant drifting snowflakes gently coming down remind me of the manna falling from heaven to feed God’s own people. The flakes so large, look as if they’re of a greater, tangible substance and not just water that melts away in the warmth of your hands. There’s no wind blowing violently to turn it into an icy sheet and the weather is just warm enough for you to stand outside and enjoy it without having to rush back in. This is the kind of snow you want to see on Christmas Eve. It is “Postcard Perfect” in the way it falls and in the way it lies on ground before people go about the business of brushing it all aside. Continue reading “A New Snow, A Saving Grace*”

On The Edge Of Sin

We’d like to think sin is hidden away where no one can see it, but it’s not. It’s not simply done in the darkness that comes with the night, but in the darkness of our hearts and minds in the middle of the day. There are days that I walk oblivious to it all. Not paying attention to my surroundings. There are other days, where the darkness screams out at me from others all around. It’s not my judgement of them, but what I so acutely recognize of myself in what I see. I see the hiddenness of sin with a foothold in the daylight. I see what was once hidden away now embraced by a world tainted by the thistles and thorns of hell. Continue reading “On The Edge Of Sin”

The Gospel and White Noise

What was your reaction to The Gospel when you first heard it? I mean, REALLY heard it and grasped it? When did you realize forgiveness was not just some abstract thought or idea Christians talked about, but came to understand that it was real, it was true, and it was very personally for you? Continue reading “The Gospel and White Noise”

That’s Jesus?!? (Psalm 1)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. -Psalm 1 

Is it really that simple? I know the running joke in Sunday school is that the answer is always Jesus, but sometimes it really is! Continue reading “That’s Jesus?!? (Psalm 1)”

Moving Closer: Church Life

I haven’t had many golden memories of my life, but as they come to mind, they often help me consider the truths of God.  They may not be perfect analogies, but I think there are truths there that can be conveyed through them. For example, I have a tale of young delinquency, and the grace and mercy my mother showed me at that time. You can check that out as my next post (on 9/12/16). My most recent post brought me back as a young child traveling to the city with my mother, remembering how it all looked as I approached and also how different it was when I stepped out into the streets. It made me consider all its nuances and how similar the church might be in some ways.  I heard a pastor once say, “There are two types of sinners, the ones outside the church, and the ones inside the church.” If that’s true, then there certainly might be some similarities to consider. This is simply an analogy and probably not the best one. But, I think it’s worth considering. This is not another church hatchet job, but a realistic look at that “city set on a hill.” I’ve had my share of bad church experiences. If I’m completely honest, I take the blame or at least a good portion of it. It feels sometimes that I should be farther along, but I guess that’s the point when you get a little closer, the flaws are a lot clearer, and it seems like you have to put a new veneer on them every so often like some of those outdated office building.
Continue reading “Moving Closer: Church Life”

Moving Closer: City Life

Growing up, one of the best views in my neighborhood was at the top of Victory Blvd. On the clearest day you had the most remarkable view of the New York City skyline. At night, even more, so as the buildings lit up the dark sky. There was, and still is something cool about that skyline, something awesome about seeing it there. It was the place you wanted to be. It was a place of dreams, of hope, of anything is possible. It looked like the perfect place to be.

Then you get a little closer.
Continue reading “Moving Closer: City Life”

Going Back In Time…

Yesterday, the most amazing and incredible thing happened to me! I actually traveled back in time! I didn’t have a souped up DeLorean, or a “bigger on the inside” Tardis. I didn’t even have to slingshot around the sun (much respect to whoever gets that movie reference). Nope, it was a lot simpler than all those things, but it happened. I traveled two months into the past, and lived to tell about it.
Continue reading “Going Back In Time…”

Context, Context, Context… (Did God Really Say That?)

Does anyone else ever consider the first thing Satan does in Genesis?

He changes God’s command to Adam and Eve or at least plants a seed of doubt that leads to the eventual stretching or mangling of His command. “Did God actually say, ‘you shall not eat of ANY tree of the garden?'” He tweaks the words of God just enough to make them question their knowledge, understanding, and maybe even their interpretation of what He said. Not only does he plant that seed of doubt, he then makes the misinterpretation look appetizing. “What he meant was, you’ll be like Him if you eat from it.” Thus, begins a long, difficult road for mankind. But it is one that begins and ends in hope, which of course is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Continue reading “Context, Context, Context… (Did God Really Say That?)”