Do Good Not Evil

According to 1 Macabees 1-2, Antiochus Epiphanes decided that everyone in his kingdom should have the same religion. That included the Jews. So, he marched into Jerusalem and set up idols in the temple. He also commanded that everyone worship the idols that he had set up all over Israel. Mattathias and his sons refused and ended up killing the kings emissary. And thus began the Macabean revolt. Continue reading

An Old Approach to Sabbath

What is the purpose of law? If it is merely about rules, then keeping those rules will supersede all else. When I traveled to The Netherlands to serve as a missionary apprentice, the rules said that I had to leave. After being detained for four hours at the airport, I was allowed to enter the country with strict instructions to report to the police within days. Continue reading

Stale Approach

On a Sunday, in the stale valley, the stale church sang out stale songs. Meaning scampered out of reach as stale worshipers comforted themselves with the comfortable. The preacher stood and droned out a stale sermon he dusted off earlier in the morning. The worshipers stood and sang out a stale invitation song, long forgotten were the whys. And just as Stale Stanly was about to utter a stale prayer, a young man burst into the building like a fresh breeze. He shouted happily, “Praise God!” He sang excitedly a new song. Continue reading


First of all we should probably admit that sin is a pandemic. It is not an epidemic, effecting a lot, but not all. I mean if it is an epidemic, I can pretend I’m not sick, pat myself on the back for having a great immune system, and pity all those pathetic sick people. Or, maybe all of us healthy people should quarantine the sick ones so that they will have no chance of infecting us. Fear mongering seems popular these days. Continue reading


Ah, to be set free! You were shackled by illness and now you’re not. That’s nice. But there are worse shackles, aren’t there? And isn’t it interesting that we seem to lift up the shackles of illness or poverty or oppression and overlook the shackle of sin. I kind of think that some, who believe with all of their bitter heart to be following Christ, are carrying around shackles, not for themselves, but for others. Continue reading

Welcome Back to Community

He used to be part of the community. How long ago was that? He doesn’t remember. Too long. Too long had he traveled on the outskirts of civilization. Too long had he felt the burden of his disease. Too long had people avoided him with fear and loathing. He missed his family. He missed gathering in the synagogue to hear the Word of Yahweh. He missed Passover, Feasts of Booths, and Feast of Weeks. Continue reading

Peter’s Response to Holiness

What happens when you get a glimpse of holiness? Do you feel all warm and fuzzy inside like a Christmas morning? Are you swept away, feeling all loved and important? The ancient rabbis said that if you picked up the word of God, your hands should feel dirty. It is the holy word of God and you are a sinner. For them, coming into contact with holiness ought to make you painfully aware of how far removed you are from it. Continue reading

Personal Jesus

In his book “Surprised by Hope” N. T. Wright observed that Western Christians tend to believe that the ultimate goal of Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus. I think Wright is right. And on top of that it seems as if many are attempting to treat Jesus as their own personal Jesus; as if he were their personal servant. Continue reading

Healed to Work

Much was lost in the fall, and we have to live with the consequences. You see, I’m pretty sure mankind didn’t wrestle with illnesses in the Garden. I’m fairly confident that mankind worked and got tired. But my guess is that it was a satisfying end of the day tiredness – the kind of weariness that brings a contented smile as opposed to a discontent sigh. Mankind was put in the Garden to cultivate it – to maintain a relationship of give and take. Continue reading

The Answer to Evil

In the Greco-Roman world demons were neither good nor evil. Socrates believed that everyone should have their own personal demon. Plato taught that you should never attempt to do something important like found a city without the assistance of demons. They believed that if you could discover the true name of a demon, then you could make that demon serve you. Maybe you want your partner dead so that you don’t have to share the profits anymore. Maybe you want the butcher’s wife to fall in love with you. Continue reading