Category: Faith

Murders, mobs, dictators and the gospel

9517872289_14185be968_z

(originally posted March 7, 2016)

In the gospel of Matthew, when Jesus was before the ruling Jewish council, he made a reference to his divine status. To the ruling council, this was taken as blasphemy. Within Rome, they didn’t have the authority to execute Jesus for his action, so they took him to Pontius Pilate, who was the governor of Judea

Pilate questions Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (Matthew 27:11-14). Continue reading “Murders, mobs, dictators and the gospel”

A Sinner’s Guide to Repentance

DSC_0698.JPG

Repentance is sincere remorse or regret for an action. Theologically, repentance is associated with the idea of turning away from sin and turning to God.

James 4:7-10 gives what’s almost like a “how to” guide for repentance. It’s not exhaustive, but he says five things that are important to repentance.

1. Repentance involve submission to God

Repentance isn’t just about moralism. It’s about an actual desire for God.

It’s not “well I’ll just drink less” or “get control my temper better.” It’s not just “don’t do that,” but it’s a turning to God. It’s recognizing that God is greater than your sin, that he is better. That his ways are better. That turning from sin is turning to a better way. Continue reading “A Sinner’s Guide to Repentance”

Wisdom is as wisdom does 

There are two ways to go. The way of the wise and the way of the fool. This is based off of the wisdom tradition of the Old Testament. Which often talks about these two roads.   

In James 3:13, he asks a rhetorical question, “Who is wise in understanding among you?”

Who’s wise?

James has much to say about wisdom. 

There’s a difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is knowing facts. Wisdom is living out a life that is applying what God has revealed.  

Knowledge is knowing that you have brownie mix in the pantry. Wisdom is making brownies.     Continue reading “Wisdom is as wisdom does “

Blessed are the persecuted? 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 5:10

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins the sermon with a section called The Beatitudes, 8 statements, most of which seem counterintuitive at first glance. But these are much deeper than pithy statements. They point us to the ethics of Jesus. 

The final beatitude is in Matthew 5:10, while verses 11 and 12 elaborate on it. 

Blessed are the persecuted.  Continue reading “Blessed are the persecuted? “

Only you can prevent forest fires: the destructive force of our words 


I was in Florida several years ago and Florida was having wildfires. Some areas were evacuating. If a person smoked a cigarette, they were told that they couldn’t throw it on the ground or it would start a fire. 

Something so small, such a small amount of smoke, could start a huge fire. 

With our words, the tongue, a relatively small part of the body, can be hugely destructive if a person isn’t careful. 

James uses fires as an illustration for the destruction that our words can cause. “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5).  Continue reading “Only you can prevent forest fires: the destructive force of our words “

Not man’s gospel 


In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he says “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel” (Galatians 1:11). 

That is one of the most fundamental misunderstandings that 21st century American society has with Christianity. 

It is not man’s gospel.  Continue reading “Not man’s gospel “

Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins the sermon with a section called The Beatitudes, 8 statements, most of which seem counterintuitive at first glance. But these are much deeper than pithy statements. They point us to the ethics of Jesus. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Continue reading “Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?”