Sharecroppers

My grandpa was a sharecropper near New Madrid, Missouri. Since that is not a common thing anymore, maybe I should explain what that means. He did not own the land. He was allowed to live and raise a crop on the land. His particular crop was cotton. The owner of the land received a portion of the harvest as rent. I don’t know the exact arrangement my grandpa had. But sometimes what was owed was not a percentage. Continue reading

Fear and Awe in Jerusalem

Some things lose a sense of awe through familiarity. I think this is true of Easter. It is a conundrum. I mean, we want to be familiar with the resurrection of Jesus. It permeates everything. The Lord’s Supper breathes the story. We sing it; we pray it; we celebrate it. And once a year there is this bigger focus on the story. And it seems that every year there will be some program all chuck full of experts to talk on and on about whether the story is real. I heard one expert expertly proclaim that the Greek word soma used by the gospel writers never refers to a corpse. His theory was that Jesus was not actually dead and the gospel writers knew this and used the appropriate word. Continue reading

Authority

Who died and made you king? Remember that one? It was something we said when I was a kid, so you would have to be pretty old. One of your friends is getting a tad bossy and you have had enough. It is a basic wondering of where this authority to give you orders came from. Did somebody knight them? Did they inherit the right to strut around in bossy pants? Did the one with the authority die and bequeath the right to them? Maybe a woman in a lake handed them a sword. Our problem is that we find ourselves doing this question of authority thing with God. Who put you in charge God? Hmm. That seems risky to me.

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Be the Rabble

Okay, along comes this person who says and does things that is contrary to what you believe; what you have accepted your whole life. And the people love him; the people listen with rapt attention to everything that comes out of his mouth. His words and actions stomp all over your traditions. And maybe, there is also a loss of power. The people used to come to you for answers. No longer. It is an undermining of all your authority. Continue reading

Kingly Authority

What are your thoughts about a charity that is actually a front for bilking people out of their money? There is something here that angers us, isn’t there? More so, than when a for profit company that is caught cheating. Both are wrong, to be sure. But it feels different when people are giving money to help others only to be cheated than when someone is buying a product and finds themselves duped. So, lets say that you buy what is supposed to be a family sized pool for a hundred dollars only to find out that only one child, if he is small, can enjoy the cool water. Continue reading

Deserved Weeping

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. Buck up Jeremiah. Judah is getting what they deserve. They are prideful; stiff-necked; rebellious. Years and years of turning their back on God and his holiness. Years and years of sacrificing their babies. Continue reading

Weighted

Some moments are, well, momentous. Why do we do weddings?  Why rings? Why unity candles? Why end with a kiss? There are a lot of symbols mixed up with this occasion. Symbols intended to add significance; weight. Some think weddings have become obsolete; mere ceremony without real meaning. Why not just set up house together? If your heart is committed, then why worry about a piece of paper or legalities or ceremonies? Why spend so much effort and money on a moment? Continue reading

Jesus is king

Jesus is king! But there are many who refuse to acknowledge his lordship. Its more than that really. They hate the very idea of Jesus being king. They may be okay if he is relegated to a somewhat nice guru. But if he is king, you have to obey him. Continue reading

Seeking

When I do a Bible study at the Youth Correction Center, some of the students come because I have snacks or because it is an opportunity to leave the cottage. I have heard several of the youth say, “I hate it when kids come just for the snacks.” I always respond with, “I’m okay with it. At least they hear the lesson.” And I think there may be a difference of seeking here. They are seeking something that is often superficial; candy, playing a game, a change of scenery. They may even be there because they think I’m a nice guy who says some interesting things sometimes. Who know? I guess its possible. But I am seeking something more. I am seeking their salvation. I am seeking for them to have a life changing relationship with Jesus, my Lord. They and I may be seeking completely different things.

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Faithful Approach

What does faith look like? Is it a tool to subjugate God to our wants? In the book “Gone with the Wind” Scarlett O’Hara views prayer as a bargaining tool. “I will be good if you keep this bad thing from happening or make this good thing happen.” That sort of thing. And because that is not what prayer or faith is, she is disillusioned with God and gives up on prayer altogether. And there is a problem here: faith then becomes a means of being superior; a means of saving of self. I am doing better because my faith is just better than yours, don’t you know? God is answering my prayers because I’m a good person, and God is not answering your prayers because, well, you draw your own conclusions. Faith, in and of itself, is absolutely powerless. It cannot heal you. It cannot save you. If you put all of your faith in your ability to fly off of a mountain side without being harmed or killed, that faith, not only will not keep you from harm, it makes it likely. It is what we put our faith in that matters. The power of faith is discovered in the source of our trust. And faith trusts even when that source doesn’t bend to our whims.

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