Archive for the 'belief' Category

(Posts Archive)

Teachable Moments

In the last post we raised the question of whether a person of questionable motives can say something profound about the heart of our God. Like the wise woman of Tekoa, the high priest who presided over the condemnation of Jesus also shows us that the goodness of our God can show up in some […]

Believe it or Not

As much as I don’t like snakes… one more thought. In the Garden, the fiction sounded believable. The words, logic, and appearance of the Serpent—  encouraged trust rather than alarm. The prelude to the sequel is easy to forget. An embittered enemy, disguised in the appearance of a pre-cursed creature, seemed to offer a better hope […]

Ubuntu

A story is going around the internet that, in some ways, sounds more like legend than fact. But the idea behind it seems to represent a cultural value that is real. As related on an Ubuntu website, an anthropologist made an important discovery after completing his study of a tribe in a southern region of […]

Has God Said?

The question has a history. Before it was first asked, human experience was limited to a paradise of undisguised trust and innocence (Gen 2:25). Then… from behind the mask of one of God’s own creatures, the hellishly subtle question was asked, “Has God said….?” In the next few words, Genesis gives us a hint of […]

Questions About The Book

A recent Gallup Poll indicates that three out of four people in the United States still think of the Bible as divinely inspired. According to 2014 research, 28% think of it as the Word of God— that should be taken literally. 47% think of the Scriptures as the word of God but don’t think that […]

What We Know and Don’t Know

In the ongoing search for answers to what happened to Malaysian Flight 370 the plight of those waiting for word on the fate of their loved ones is reaching a new level of frustration, anger, and lingering hope. Ships from several nations comb an ocean that, according to one source, is littered with 20 million […]

Tolerance and Intolerance

Is tolerance of wrongs a sin? Could intolerance be even worse? In asking such questions, it seems to make sense to wonder why some of us believe that God cannot tolerate sin? Am guessing we might say something like, “Don’t all followers of the Bible believe that? Could anything be more obvious? Isn’t God too […]

Can We Think Our Way to God?

Could one of our problems be that we are trying to think our way to God? That thought comes, surprisingly, from a Calvin College professor of philosophy. In a Christianity Today Online interview of James Smith, a professional thinker observes, “Human beings are at their core defined by what they worship rather than primarily by […]

Thoughts in the Rubble

Once again “end of the world” associations are being given to a natural disaster. For example, an online video shows video of the destruction observed by a survivor who emerges from a storm cellar to capture images of  apocaplyptic destruction.. The only audible words are, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” Other survivors […]

What’s the Difference?

As baseball season returns, I bumped into an old story that still makes me smile. My apology to cricket fans, and the March Madness of college basketball. Three baseball umpires are each asked how they call balls and strikes. The first explains,”If a thrown pitch crosses the plate between the knees and the shoulders, it’s […]

Toxic Truth

Who among us hasn’t seen the pain we can bring to ourselves and others by thoughtlessly saying the truth without humility, love, or wisdom. Those who accused Jesus of being a sinner, or worse (demon possessed) weren’t all wrong. They were followers of Moses. They had heard the rumors about Jesus’ birth, and were not […]

Over Time

I’ve noticed over time an awkward pain that can show up in followers of Christ in their later years. My first memory of what I’m referring to came when an aging pastor invited me as a young man to have lunch with him.  I’m sure that we talked about many things in the hour or […]

Getting Attention

Is there anything that followers of Christ can do to get the attention of those who dismiss them as uneducated and backward? Our Lord had a reputation of being “unschooled”. He drew crowds of people by healing them of all kinds of diseases  (Matt 4:24) (John 7:15). At one point he sent his apostles out […]

Can We Admit to Doubt?

A friend recently passed along an article from USA Today titled “Why Certainty About God is Overrated.” The article told the story of John Polkinghorne, a world class physicist who also has the reputation of being a leading voice on the relationship between science and faith. Polkinghorne maintains that “We don’t believe in quarks because […]

Before and After

According to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus began telling his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die at the hands of the religious leaders (Matt 16:21). The same Gospel shows that the Lord predicted his death several more times in the days to come (Matt 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 20:28; 26:2). One text even […]

Sovereignty and Free Will

Would God hold us accountable for something He had not given us the ability to do? The people of Israel might have wondered as much when they heard Moses say, in his farewell address, “The Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4 NKJV). […]

What Trust Looks Like

What does trust look like when we can’t explain our trouble, or see beyond it? Listening to others as they try to show faith in crisis can be confusing. Some say they are “believing God” for a job, restored health, a reconciled marriage, or the return of a prodigal. Others say reliance on Him means […]

Emerging Churches

Over the past decade, there has been growing controversy about “a new way of doing church.” Many of our sons and daughters are forming or joining congregations that don’t look or sound like our kind of church. Yet, they are likely to tell us they are just trying to be authentic followers of Jesus, and […]

What We Believe

DO THOSE WHO DON’T SHARE OUR VIEWS on God, morality, and public policy enjoy being around us? Or has the tension of moral politics come between us? If so, here’s a question. Is it possible to remain faithful to our own beliefs while fighting for the right of others to disagree with us? My guess […]

The People vs. Job

Public interest in high-profile court cases often declines once the outcome is known. The People vs. Job, however, is a landmark decision that never loses its significance. In one of the most published trials in history we see the eyes of heaven and hell focused on our times of trouble. In the same public record […]

Misplaced Trust

If God is good, but good isn’t God, how do we avoid making some of our worst mistakes with the best things in life? In an effort to clarify the problem of misplaced trust, what if we said to our hearts: Love God, but don’t depend on your love for Him. Seek to know Him, […]

What Trust Looks Like

What does trust look like when we can’t explain our trouble, or see beyond it? Listening to others as they try to show faith in crisis can be confusing. Some say they are “believing God” for a job, restored health, a reconciled marriage, or the return of a prodigal. Others say reliance on Him means […]

What Works

Trend watchers tell us that a growing number of Americans are more likely to ask “Does religion work?” than “Is it true?” In the past, spiritual seekers asked, “Is there a God and, if so, how can I know Him?” Today, many are more apt to ask, “How can I use spirituality to overcome my […]

A Friend’s Struggle With Assurance

A friend recently described to me how his understanding of spirituality has changed over time. I was interested because I knew something of the influence he’d had in his community while still in his teen years. He was known in the small town where he grew up for breaking the county high school pole-vault record. […]

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