The Magic Amulet Option

Several years ago I received a call from a gentleman with whom I had minimal contact. He wanted his teenage children to be baptized. I had enough contact to know what this was about. You see, some people view baptism as some kind of magic amulet. You get yourself dunked in the water, you say the “I do” and “POOF!” you’re solid man. Continue reading

Brain Paths

Picture your brain as a massive city. Pay particular attention to the roads. There are quiet, little used paths – the lights are low and there is not much activity there. These paths are in a state of disrepair, all full of potholes and bumps. There are also busy interstates and traffic bustles and much activity lights up these super highways. They are smooth with use and they are repaired as soon as there is a hint of a problem. Continue reading

In the Things of God

If you were married to a police officer, it maybe shouldn’t be a surprise if she sometimes works late due to an emergency situation. It’s not like you can just bail on an active situation; calling a time out during a shoot out so that you can go home. And if you were married to a fire fighter, you probably shouldn’t be surprised if sometimes fighting fires lasted longer than the work day. It is not like a fire is going to cooperate with allotted time constraints. Continue reading

Baby God

Have you ever contemplated God as a baby? We sometimes leap over this part of incarnation. We often fail to imagine the significance. God could have decided to burst on the scene as a fully grown adult. This would have even added to the mystery. But it would mean that God would have failed to experienced something of humanity. Continue reading

Anna the Prophetess

The fact of the matter is that women were devalued in Jesus’ day. The young men were taught to read so that they could read Torah. Women, well, women were not going to be discussing deep theological issues. They were going to be too busy preparing meals and having male children. Why would they need to learn to read. The courts in the temple were designed to keep women further from the presence of God than the men – a design that is not found in the Old Testament by the way. Continue reading

Simeon the Watchman

Imagine there is this long anticipated event; an event that will be nothing less than God breaking into our reality; an event that will change everything. Ages have come and gone as the people wait. All manner of theories have arisen. Some people have stopped waiting; becoming comfortable in the now. And what if God told you that you would not die until the event happened? Does this fill you with amazement? Continue reading

The Fulfiller

I know this is not a perfect analogy. You could poke holes in it if you wanted to. But here we go anyway – the movie 42 is based on the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color lines in professional baseball. Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was, of course, instrumental in all of this. Continue reading

Shepherds Heard

Long gone were the days of a shepherd boy becoming king. Don’t get me wrong, they loved the story, but they really didn’t love shepherds. They sang the twenty-third Psalm – proudly claiming Yahweh as their shepherd. Ah but real shepherds lived outside like animals; smelled like animals; and were thought of as animals. Continue reading

Painfully Normal

In 43 BC Gaius Octavius was one of the triumvirate – three men set up to rule the world following the assassination of Julius Caesar. By 27 BC the Senate gave him the title of Augustus and effectively handed rule of Rome into his hands. I’m not sure that they had much of a choice. In the years between those two dates, Octavius orchestrated a series of military and political moves that cemented peace in Rome and his status as Savior of Rome. He knew how to grab and wield power and the Empire gratefully worshiped him. Continue reading

Hope Rises

You and I live in the morning times. We roll out of bed, full of thoughts of yesterday; thoughts of what has been done; thoughts of what had been started and left unfinished. Hopefully, we also face the morning with thoughts of what can be done; thoughts full of hope and anticipation. We live in the “in between” times. We are full of the awareness of what God has done. We revel in the story of the Christ; of God in the flesh; of the teachings and examples; of complete submission to the gospel plan; of the cross, the grave, and the right hand of God. God has burst into our world and accomplished salvation. Continue reading