Category: Faith

Society shows why we need the gospel as it vilifies Osteen

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Blood is in the water and the sharks feast. This week’s meal is Joel Osteen. The pastor of America’s largest church is being vilified because he didn’t open up his church to flood victims of Hurricane Harvey.

In the court of social media, you make a mistake, and there is no forgiveness. It’s a shame culture, and no matter what a person does to make things right, it’s too little, too late. It’s just them doing good because “they got caught,” it’s just them doing good because there was a backlash, it’s just them doing good to try to put up the facade that they’re good (but they’re not good). And even if they do the right thing, it’s not because they learned from a mistake. When we’ve seen someone fail, especially someone we already dislike, their good deeds count for nothing. Their goodness is viewed with cynicism. Continue reading “Society shows why we need the gospel as it vilifies Osteen”

Is Harvey Osteen’s Katrina?

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

There have been numerous articles criticizing Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, the largest church in America for not doing enough in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and for not letting people stay in the expansive church facility as a shelter.

In terms of his prosperity gospel theology, there are many reasons to criticize Osteen. I’m not a fan of him. Continue reading “Is Harvey Osteen’s Katrina?”

Love, justice, and the heavenly way

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From the sermon Love, justice, and the heavenly way

The gospel is offensive.

God is perfect and righteous. And the only way for imperfect and unrighteous people to be with him was for Jesus to pay the price of sin. To absorb the wrath of God. And for some reason, the world is so twisted that that idea is offensive. That the Lord paid the penalty for our sin so we could be with him. But that’s not good enough. Because that takes the control away from us.

And people hate that idea. We’re fine with the love of God but we are not ok that sin needed to be atoned for. Continue reading “Love, justice, and the heavenly way”

Why Jesus? Couldn’t there be another way?

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“Atonement” is a theological word that gets mentioned. In short, atonement refers to the work that Christ has done for those who have faith in Him to earn their salvation.

I think people sometimes approach the gospel with skepticism. Jesus died for the sins of all who believe in him.

I know I used to ask was “why do we need this? Why do we have to believe in Jesus? Is sin such a big deal? Why is he the only way?” Continue reading “Why Jesus? Couldn’t there be another way?”

Murders, mobs, dictators and the gospel

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(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

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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 “