Tags: Jesus

Us and Them

What did Jesus mean when he referred to people like us as evil parents (Matthew 7:11)? If some in the crowd thought he was insulting them, they may have been hearing what he said rather than what he meant. Who needed most to hear his heart when he said, “If you, then, though you are […]

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 […]

Before and After

In Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis describes the mystery of his spiritual awakening. Of a certain sunny day, he writes, “When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought. Nor […]

The Politics of Jesus and Paul

Early on we learn that religion and politics are two subjects that intrigue, animate, identify and divide us. Neither is easy to avoid in a world that is at the same time so material and spiritual. We are drawn into politics by real issues that tend to leave us with the impression that all of […]

Quote Unquote 2.0

We’ve talked before about something that seems important beyond words. Together with the New Testament Acts of the Apostles, the letters of Paul, Peter, James, and John refer often to Jesus but hardly ever quote him. The four Gospels do. But after his ascension to the Father, actual quotes of Jesus are few and far […]

On the Other Side

In the Garden of the Olive Press, Peter was too tired to pray with the One who had prayed for him (Luke 22:31-32). In the cold darkness that followed, he denied ever knowing the teacher from Nazareth. If Jesus hadn’t done for Peter what Peter couldn’t do for Jesus, who can imagine what the rest […]

Looks Like Might Rain on Monday

A lot of what I’ve come to believe about God and country, Jesus, the Bible and how to interpret it, sin, politics, war, law and order, the future, forgiveness, and the better part of wisdom— could get me in a lot of trouble and cause conflict, hurt, feelings, disillusionment, alarm, loss and regret. The best […]

Blowin’ in the Wind

In the early 1960s, Bob Dylan got into the heads and hearts of his generation with a series of thoughtful questions… and conclusion that “the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind…” Maybe he was saying more than he realized… Jesus promised answers that would come with the wind… But before going there, and […]

Overthinking

I’ve become more aware lately of how many costly mistakes I’ve been making by not taking the time to stop, take a breath, and think—and by my inclination to think too much. Am guessing you’ve noticed, as I have, that inspired words meet us on both sides of the road. The first Psalm urges us to meditate day and […]

Otherness

As the Holy One of Israel, Jesus gives us a new understanding of the God who asks, ““To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. (Isaiah 40:25). Long before Jesus, the prophet Isaiah had been overwhelmed by his vision of One who caused him to say “Woe is […]

The Rule of Law

In the beginning, there was 1. Then 10 multiplied into hundreds— and thousands. Later we learn there is a time for everything—a time to see the importance of laws… and a time to see their worthlessness. If Jesus is in the process of renewing and refreshing all things, how does he throw light on what […]

All things New

While thinking about some of the last words of the Lamb in the 21st chapter of Revelation, I found a quote from Terrance Klein in America… The Jesuit Review”. Klein writes of a well-known American actor and filmmaker, “He has many critics, as a man and a moviemaker, but in his movie “The Passion of […]

Surprised by a Snake

I have friends who like snakes and know a lot about them. They see them as amazing creatures with an important role in the food chain of insect and rodent control. I feel about snakes the way I do about poison ivy. That’s what I  bring to the strange-sounding words of Jesus when he says, […]

Day in Day out

I’ve been thinking again about a section of the book of Numbers that we’ve looked at together in years past. But it always makes me smile. It’s about how the LORD led his people— day in day out, as he protected and provided for them through the wilderness on their way to a Promised Land […]

Love Songs

In 1936, American song writer, Billy Hill, wrote “The Glory of Love”. Before long a nation was singing, “You’ve got to give a little, take a little and let your poor heart break a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.” Fifty years later, in 1986, another song reached the top of […]

The Hidden Right and Left

What were James and John thinking when they infuriated the other Ten by asking for the honor of sitting at Jesus’s right and left— in his coming Kingdom? (Mark 10:35-37, 41) Jesus had just warned the Group, “We’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. […]

A Final Solution

In 1979 George Steiner wrote a controversial work of fiction that ignited an international firestorm. In The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H., Steiner  created a scenario in which an aged Adolf Hitler was found and captured from his hiding place in the Amazon jungle— and then given the last word in a court of law. Hitler […]

Agreeing to Disagree

A bitterly polarized nation is one thing. A divided body of Christ is another. As Jesus’s mission of rescue neared its moments of tragic surprise, he prayed that his disciples would have such unity that the world would see the truth about him and the Father who sent him (John 17:18-26). Later, Paul also focused on […]

Outrageous!

Why did Jesus give thoughtful people so many reasons to doubt and reject him? Many of us overlook things he said and did that were outrageous—in his day. Yet to whatever extent we can think like those who feared and resented him, we too may begin to feel some of the ridiculous drama of someone […]

One Last Drink

Over the years, I’ve wondered about Jesus’s comment to the Samaritan woman about the last drink she would ever need. Standing at Jacob’s well, in the heat of the day, she didn’t know what he meant either. Has anyone ever gotten what they would call one last drink from Jesus? So what was Jesus promising […]

In the Dark of the Night

Have you noticed now much of the Christmas Story takes place in the dark of the night? Joseph is told in a dream not to be afraid to take young Mary as his wife even though she is pregnant. The visitors from the East are told in a dream to get out of town by a […]

Spirituality

Spirituality may be more widely regarded than sectarianism, denominationalism, churchism, or organized religion of any kind. Definitions and articles on the subject describe it as a sense of connection to something beyond our material selves from which we draw our source of meaning and purpose in this world. For many of us who grew up […]

Living by the Broken Rule

Threat for threat. Insult for insult. Wrong for wrong. Bluff for bluff. Blood for blood… The broken-rule promises the upper hand, control of circumstance, and self-protection. Yet it drags us to the threshold of mutually assured destruction. Could someone who spent three years with Jesus— before denying that he ever knew him— know what he […]

A Certain Kind of Love

Where did Paul get the idea that without love— eloquence is noise.. and that knowledge, understanding, faith, and even charitable sacrifice amount to nothing? If we knew nothing about his story we might assume that Paul was probably just a thoughtful observer of life in the home, neighborhood, workplace, temple, or halls of political debate. On […]

A Personal Word

For most of my adult life, I thought of the words of Isaiah 40:7 as the words that I wanted to represent my life. That text says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” I wanted (and still do) to give my life to the wisdom of […]

How We Look

Is there a difference between what we see and how we see it? For example, is there a difference between what we see in ourselves, others, the Bible, current events, personal circumstances, the future, etc. and how we look at it? We’ve talked together before about the observation that we see things not only as they […]

Our Father’s Business

Jesus’ first recorded words are revealing— and maybe a clue to all that follows. When his mother asked her 12 year old why he had caused her and his father so much anxiety, he answered with his own question. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house” (or “Didn’t you know I […]

Apocalypse has Begun

In everyday usage, the word apocalyptic represents horrific events that preview the end of the world as we know it. When used of the Bible it suggests a cosmic unveiling, intervention and new world order. Normally, we think of apocalyptic events as future. But, according to the Gospel, the greatest of all revelations has already […]

A True and Better Ethic

I’ve been trying to immerse myself in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians to see if I can get a sense of his frame of mind when writes the 13 verses of his 13th chapter. What I’m finding will not surprise you. Paul writes with a courage and clarity that lifts him above the superstitions, […]

Our Kind of Kingdom

The Bible’s first mention of a kingdom shows up in a reference to Babel and a strong man named Nimrod (Gen 10:10). In the clamor that followed Babel’s attempt to build its own greatness (Gen 11:1-9), competing regimes tried to enforce their will on one another. Eventually a new kind of nation was born out of bondage, nursed in a no man’s land, […]

Money, Cover-up, and Conflicting Reports

Follow the money. The tomb was empty. The soldiers who had seen what happened were terrified. When the religious leaders who demanded Jesus’ death heard what happened, they paid off the guards to say that, while they were sleeping, grave-robbers had stolen Jesus body (Matt 28:11-15). Women told another story Meanwhile Mary of Magdala, with a […]

The Cup Jesus Drank for Us

As we think together about how our Lord suffered in our behalf, let’s reflect again, as thoughtfully and reverently as we can, about what he was suffering. In Jesus’ sin offering and sacrificial death for us… as he drank the cup giving to him by his Father… do we know what was in the cup (Luke […]

The Consuming Fire

Seems like I’ve been so slow to learn that Jesus does more than change lives. He also gives new meaning to the way his followers use words and ideas. He gives us his own upside down and inside out vision for everything. He shows us how to think differently about big people, little people, life, death, family, […]

Jonah and Jesus— for Openers

Continued… from Jonah’s no Jesus. Thanks to those of you who’ve taken the challenge… Here’s an example of the kind of reflection I’ve been alluding to. It’s done not by turning the subplots of the Bible into allegories, but rather by reading forward and then backward to see how the greatest of all true mysteries, tragedies, […]

Jonah’s no Jesus

Jonah’s story ends abruptly. We’ve been given narration, dialogue and miracles. Like so much of the Bible we’ve been told what sounds like a tall tale— but haven’t been told what we are supposed think or conclude. All that is truly clear is that Jonah is not on the same page as his sender or […]

God on the Run

A Christmas weekend marked by unseasonably violent weather and the emotions of caring for the needs of loved ones reflect, as Regina and Steve wrote yesterday, a realism we cannot escape. The embodying of the God of the universe in the flesh of a baby can sound so much like a child’s story—vaguely related to the […]

The News We Hear

In the last post I mentioned a couple of books that take up the question of why the best news the world has ever heard is so often heard as bad news. In Simply Good News, author N.T. Wright considers some important questions like— Why would we refer to information that’s been around for thousands […]

A Center— high and wide

Knowing when to settle for our agreements rather than trying to graciously forge through our disagreements requires the art and gift of wisdom. Beginning with our differences is a non-starter for getting anywhere together. But all too often finding agreement isn’t easy. Pope Francis’ visit to America, like Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, is a timely […]

Life Light and Love

In spite of the wealth and diversity of life in and around us, how often do we hear of efforts to replicate—or explain the mystical something that animates a single living cell? Yet every multi-billion dollar space probe carries with it the hope of discovering that spontaneously generated life is not unique to us. One […]

True and Better

If the spirituality and miracle of the Bible comes to us— not just in its individual thoughts and events— but in the way all of them, together, help us see our need of the God who has come to us in Jesus, then, Can we also conclude that living with conscious reliance on the Spirit […]

The Blessing

Many of us treasure the Bible as an inspired gift from the Creator who wants us to know his love for us— and our need of him. What is just as clear is that those same Scriptures can leave us with the still unfolding Story of a wonderfully good Servant-like God who is calling us […]

Authority Issues

My guess is that few of us like being told what to do—especially if we don’t think the person has our best interests at heart. Yet we have different ways of showing (or not showing) our true feelings. Jesus spoke to such differences. He tells the story of two brothers who were told by their […]

The Consuming Fire

Does God want us to be afraid of him… or to be afraid of not knowing and remembering how much he loves us? The 12th Chapter of Hebrews ends with a sobering thought: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence […]

What are we Thinking?

We have entered into the remembrance of  the last days leading to  Jesus’ crucifixion. Together we are moving again toward the dark moment in which, according to the Scriptures, justice and mercy met together in a terrible act of execution and death, for our rescue and deliverance. Many of us have learned to think of […]

Dark Thoughts

Because there is so much we don’t understand about the eternal purposes of the God of the Bible, he can be read like a self-centered father who plays favorites with this children; a moral monster who takes pleasure in the cruel deaths of his enemies; or a powerful bully who uses his strength to intimidate […]

Holy What?

For much of my life I’ve had trouble with the word holy— and with those who seemed to love and long for it. My associations with the word— didn’t seem to put a good face on God. Left me thinking of him as distant, frightening, and not like someone I want to be with. So […]

The Unchosen

Some time ago I read an article in the BBC Online magazine about the 500 year old silver mines of Bolivia’s Cerro Rico mountain. According to journalist Catharina Moh the tunnels that riddle the mountain are like a death trap for the men and boys who still lug wheelbarrows of rock to the surface. Locals […]

High Ground

It’s hard to leave the high ground of 1Corinthians 13. Maybe we are not supposed to… except to linger… and then walk… for the rest of our lives in the thought of Who such love comes from… and where He is leading us. Most of us know the story of this song’s author. He had […]

Terrorists, Jonah, and Jesus

Terrorists, whether trained abroad or at home, are succeeding in placing themselves center-stage of a global audience. The world is being transformed not by love and peace, but by fear, anger, hatred, and social confusion. Every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the story of Jonah is read in synagogues around the world. […]

Peace on Earth

Moments of peace point beyond themselves to One far better than ourselves. Sainsbury’s, the third largest chain of supermarkets in the UK, has produced a Christmas 2014 Ad that rises above its commercial interests. In attempting to re-create a World War 1 Christmas “miracle”, it provides a taste of peace, foreseen in an ancient prophecy […]

Ebola and Leprosy

Toward the end of a BBC article on the tragic story of Ebola, a video provided by Street Child quietly whispers the story of African family members who have lost loved ones. Their subtitled words and talking eyes portray the humanity behind the sterile images of suited, goggled, and masked health workers. While recalling their […]

Moses, Joshua and Jesus

One of the most convincing evidences of the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments for me is the way so many patterns and word pictures end up being fulfilled— in a way that could not have been foreseen or orchestrated by human authors. One example that I have been thinking a lot about lately […]

Christian Mysticism

I woke up this morning with words of Paul repeating over and over in my mind, “…I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved […]

Body Swap

An article on BBC’s online Future section describes an experimental technology that gives two people the experience of feeling as though they have exchanged bodies with one another. The thought behind the science is not new. It’s ancient wisdom that trying to imagine what it would be like to live in another person’s circumstances, bodies, […]

Live Loved

When I first heard a friend talk about the idea that a relationship with Jesus boils down to a chance to live loved, I was hooked. Two words. So simple. So profound. Since then, while working with a variety of texts, plots and characters of the Bible I’ve repeatedly come back to those 2 words. […]

The Star of Christmas

An online BBC article about a celebrated Hungarian-born, British concert pianist is titled Musical Exile: Why Andras Schiff won’t perform— or even set foot—in Hungary. The article goes on to quote Schiff as saying, I have been threatened that if I return to Hungary, they will cut off both of my hands. I don’t want […]

Beowulf, Juliet, and Jesus

An article on the Geekosystem website says that a professor from the University of Manchester, has published a paper suggesting that students of literature have been misinterpreting the first line of the old English, heroic epic poem Beowulf for 200 years. The article  was too complex to draw me into the debate. But I understood […]

A Signature Mark of Work in Progress

If there is a progression in Jesus’ Declaration of a New Day, then hungering and thirsting for righteousness bears the seeds of what he says next. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7) Showing up for this Operation Rescue is an indication of having seen the undeserved relief of misery that […]

A Time to Cry

One of the riddles of the kingdom of God is found in Jesus’ words, “Cry now, laugh later”; Laugh now, cry later” (Luke 6:21; Luke 6:25). It was not a new thought. For centuries his people had been singing songs and hearing prophets talk about being deeply troubled by the silence of God before seeing […]

The Wrath of God

Is God angry with us, even furious to the point of threatening to kill us, until we accept his Son, at which point he begins loving us? One thing is clear, those who read and believe the Bible must do something with the wrath of God which is said to rest on those who have […]

Mercy Prayer 2

In commenting on yesterdays first Mercy Prayer post, cbrown wrote: “I would like to share portions of a 9 page letter I received from an inmate I met in prison ministry who has been sentenced to a life sentence without parole. “I can remember like it was yesterday; I cried out Lord,I can’t wait much […]

Personal Outcomes

David , the shepherd, musician, soldier king of Israel wrote a song with 175 verses that celebrated the teaching of his God–in the words of Moses. In his last verse he sang with words that must have been more lyrical than our English, “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I […]

A Personal Word

When I began the last post saying, “Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners” I was writing from my heart, and from personal experience. I […]

A Time to Speak

Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners. This past week I attended an event that showcased the stories of people who have repeatedly heard the […]

Jacob’s Ladder

As a child I remember singing the spiritual,  Jacob’s Ladder. We sang the words. But I never thought much about them. Now, many years later, I find that I’m ready for another look. I’ll need you to be patient with me because the story turns out to get a little involved. But I’ve found some […]

One Mission Two Results

We’ve been looking at the tension between Jesus the peacemaker, and the Disturber who said, “Don’t think that I’ve come to bring peace, but a sword.” Together we’ve thought about how the Teacher carried out his mission of reconciliation while creating so much conflict in the process. His Sermon on the Mount is no exception. […]

Egypt’s Backstory

Earlier this week, an Egyptian army chief and Minister of Defense warned that the political crisis in Egypt could lead to the collapse of the state. Today more protests are planned after Friday prayers. Events resulting from mass protests to the policies of President Morsi (Mursi) is putting the spotlight on an ancient nation mentioned […]

Samson and Jesus

Samson is one of the most interesting people of the Bible. Like the Philistine Goliath, he’s remembered for his legendary physical strength. After killing a lion with his bare hands, he took on a whole army with the jawbone of a donkey and, in his last act, pushed down the pillars of a huge temple […]

Sight by Touch

In a comment on riddle-like proverbs that can be turned around in our minds and looked at from many directions,  SteveWV yesterday posted at 7:20a.m. a poem called The Elephant and the Blind Men. It ends like this: And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff […]

Mystery of the Son of David

In a recent post we revisited the thought that it’s hard to find many clear prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament–at least in the form that we might expect to find a predictive prophecy. Few of the prophecies we cite are as plain in their context as the vision of Micah who foresaw that […]

What Opens the Bible?

Many of my generation grew up being wary of those who see every story of the Bible as being a picture of Jesus. We were warned by our teachers that the practice of typology (i.e. seeing people and things as a foreshadowing of Christ), if not kept in tight check, could be more about our […]

A Friend Called Satan?

Jesus isn’t remembered for saying many predictable things. But the unexpected quote that has had my attention today is when our Teacher suddenly talks to one of his most committed disciples as if he is talking to his enemy. One minute he is blessing Peter and telling him that he (Peter) had been entrusted with […]

How Could a Good God Allow This?

In a world as messed up as our own, there are many reasons to ask how a good God could allow this? And why? Long ago, a grieving, angry man found himself tormented by such questions as his friends accused him of hiding the scandal that would explain why he was suffering more than they […]

Who or What Has Changed?

Malachi, the last prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures, quoted God as saying, “I am the LORD, I do not change” (3:6 NKJV). Down through the centuries, however, many have noticed that, somewhere between the Old and New Testaments, the God of the Bible does seem to change. Instead of sending down war, floods, fire, and […]

Love Hate Point Counterpoint

Many of you may have seen the following video that went viral a couple of weeks ago. Titled “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus” it expresses a deeply felt faith that has resonated with millions. But just yesterday, I was sent the following link to a response to the first from the other side […]

God of the Burning Bush

As a fugitive from the Egyptian Pharaoh who had raised him, Moses’ life slowed to a crawl. Once he had been an adopted member of the Egyptian royal family. Now, on the back side of the desert, at the foot of Mount Sinai, he was watching over his father-in-law’s sheep. His life as a shepherd […]

Endless Knowledge

Never before have so many people had access to so much information. With human knowledge doubling every few years and search engines like Google and Yahoo! at our fingertips, the potential for learning seems endless. The horizons of knowledge—According to Reuters News Service, the Hubble Space Telescope has found 10,000 galaxies in a window of […]

Whether “Love Wins”… or not

After reading Rob Bell’s latest book, “Love Wins”… I remain convinced that God will make heaven as good as it can be… and hell as bad as it needs to be. We have every reason to trust whatever Jesus said and meant about the real danger of hellish loss in this life, and the judgment […]

Jesus, Calvin, and 12 Step Awareness

While reading John Calvin (1509-1564) on John 4:10, I found some thoughts that resonate not only with the text he was talking about, but also with some of the basics of what we know as 12 Step recovery. Calvin says of the Help we all need, “We cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we […]

Wonder, Worship, and Wisdom

Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus are known for their wisdom. All three reflect the characteristics of wise teachers. They use short stories and memorable one-liners to help others think for themselves. They help their followers see below surface issues to matters of the heart. They teach their followers to live with priority and perspective. All three, […]

What’s the Point?

As the Gospel writer tells it, Jesus heads for Jerusalem by way of Samaria. When he enters an unnamed village, he is greeted by ten unnamed men who are afflicted with a loathsome physical disease and social curse (Luke 17:11-12). Standing far from the crowd that fears their disfiguring contagion, the ten call out to […]

Noah’s Ark and Gulf Waters

For the last few days, I’ve been watching two developing news stories that are both difficult for me to absorb. One is the disaster in the gulf that claimed at least 11 lives and now threatens the ecosystems, economy, and quality of life of our Gulf Coast. Can’t imagine what it will mean if the […]

Price Check

What’s it worth to you? I’ve been asked that a couple of times when trying to figure out if I wanted to buy someone’s old stuff at a garage sale or flea market. This time around, I’m far more uncomfortable with the question. Have been trying to work up the courage to write… “What would […]

Was I Snoring?

Sometimes I feel like I’m about to wake up. Then I go back to sleep. For instance, when I hear Jesus say to his troubled disciples, “He who has seen me has seen the Father…Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me… [the day is coming when you […]

Jesus and Health Care

I have no interest in using this space to argue the partisan issues or perspectives of the current national health care issue. What I would like to talk with you about is whether fair and affordable health care for everyone is something that followers of Christ should be concerned about. Are we responding with the […]

20/20 on Who?

Two passages of the Bible that are often used to emphasize the importance of Scripture may be doing something more. Example One: When, after eating no food for 40 days,  Jesus resists Satan’s temptation to turn stones into bread, he quotes Moses as saying “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word […]

The Misused Name

One way to break down someone’s faith may be to quote Jesus’ promise that… the Father in heaven will give us any thing we ask in Jesus name (John 16:23). Many of us have discovered the hard way that ending our prayers “in the name of Jesus” doesn’t necessarily make a difference in whether we […]

To Do or Not to Do

Another combination of statements that could look like a contradiction shows up in the Sermon on the Mount. First Jesus encourages his followers to “let their light shine before others” so that others can see the good that they do (Matt 5:16). But then a few statements later the Teacher begins an extended emphasis in […]

Letterman Without a Laugh

Long time, late night host and comedian, David Letterman told his audience last night that he has had sexual relations with members of his staff. CNN story. The story needs to be made public, he said, since he had appeared earlier in the day before a Grand Jury to give testimony in an extortion case. […]

Blasphemy Day

An online CNN article yesterday recognized the first organized “Blasphemy Day.” Marked by the slogan “Nothing is Sacred,” and part of a “Campaign for Free Expression, the day was set to coincide with the 5th anniversary of a Danish’ newspaper’s publication of cartoons that so offended followers of Islam. The sponsoring group claims 100,000 international […]

The Geico Gecko

A Science article by Henry Fountain in the New York Times yesterday tells an interesting story about the little Gecko whose animated likeness has been  so cleverly used in the TV Gecko/Geico Insurance commercials. According to the author, “Like some other animals, the gecko can perform a neat trick when threatened by a predator: it […]

What’s Happening Here?

Oh no. I remember my sense of alarm when I heard someone talk about the New Testament discrepancy between two different accounts of Jesus feeding thousands with a few pieces of bread and fish. Then I discovered something else. Both accounts were described in the Gospel of Matthew  in two consecutive chapters, with a summary […]

Another Look at Paul and Jesus

Since our recent discussion about “why Paul didn’t quote Jesus” I’ve spent more time thinking about the question. Since what follows is about 3 times longer than a post of “reasonable length” you may not have time for it now. But I hope that, if not now, when you have a chance you will see […]

The Mysterious Third Feast of Israel

Moses asked Israel to remember their Exodus Passover on the 14th of the Hebrew month of  Nisan (Lev 23:5).  He said the next day (the 15th) was to begin  seven days of Unleavened Bread and called the first day a no-work/Sabbath (vv 6-7). Moses went on to say that, once Israel was in their promised […]

What Does the Cross Mean to Us?

Most civilized people would consider it morbid to wear jewelry or clothing that displays the likeness of a hangman’s noose, an electric chair, or a guillotine. Yet millions display the most cruel form of Roman execution around their necks  or on the tops of their houses of worship. And within the next 24 hours even […]

Jewish Roots

Am preparing to leave for Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem to work with our Day of Discovery team on some new video projects  that describe the Jewish roots of our faith. Hope to capture conversations with several Messianic followers of Jesus whose Jewish heritage helps them understand the way Jesus fulfilled the history, law, and mission of […]

Why Doesn’t Paul Quote Jesus?

In so many ways, the Apostle Paul mirrors the heart of Christ. Where can we find a better example of a transformed follower of Jesus who suffered so much, and worked so tirelessly for the growth and perfection of “the Body” (i.e. 2Cor 11:23-31)? Who else can we point to who so faithfully speaks in […]

In Crisis

Have been trying to decide what to think about a recent news story that a well known and respected pastor is predicting that a catastrophic, imminent event will devastate American and global cities. Says he doesn’t know where or when. But feels compelled to warn. Another article described the soon collapse of the evangelical movement […]

God of the Waves, Stars, and Broken Jars

Recently took this picture that reminded me of something that Job said about the God who walks on the waves. The quote I’m thinking of begins, “God is wise in heart and mighty in strength…He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea; He made the Bear, Orion, and the […]

Liberal and Conservative Labels

With words we bless and curse, agree and disagree, expose truth, or hide it. With words we also label, name-call, and characterize in ways that can make it difficult to separate facts from perceived guilt by association. (Caught a picture of this fellow on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda street. Was in costume for the Jewish feast […]

Mysterious Prophecies and Fulfillments

In the eighth century before the birth of Jesus, the Jewish prophet Micah predicted, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Then there are […]

And on Earth Peace, Goodwill…

Over the years, the ethnic relatives of Jesus have not been the only ones to ask, “If Yeshua was the Messiah, where is the peace he was supposed to bring? The prophet Isaiah clearly predicted that in the days of the promised King, ‘They will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning […]

BC and AD

The man from Gadara was in bad shape. Naked, out of his mind, and living in a graveyard, he was so out of control that he broke the chains of those who tried to restrain him. Yet, what really tormented him was the thought of being approached by Jesus (Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28). In Gadara […]

Jesus but not Paul?

I had a discussion with a friend over lunch the other day that got pretty intense. We’ve had these kinds of conversations before and have always ended up parting with a smile and looking forward to the next time. This day was no different, except that, looking back, we came closer to being farther away […]

What-if

With global markets sliding, banks failing, and personal questions about employment, retirement accounts, and home mortgages multiplying, it’s not surprising that many of us have been worrying more than usual. Sometimes my thoughts echo the person who said, “If you’re not worried, you don’t know what’s happening.” On the other hand, we’ve all found that […]

Welcome Wonderofcreation.org!!

Long before Jesus entered our world in the body of a Jewish infant, he left his fingerprints and signature all over monarch butterflies, horses, oak trees and salamanders. Ages before Jesus turned water into wine and spoke peace to the churning waters of Galilee, he painted color, life, and ecological balance into a stunning interdependence […]

Does Anyone Have Faith to Move a Mountain?

Jesus said that by faith his disciples could move trees and even mountains (Luke 17:5; Mark 11:22-23). His words remind us of other things we find in the Bible. If we start with Genesis and read through to Revelation, we see some pretty amazing miracles. Moses lifts a stick, and the Red Sea parts. The […]

Jesus and Sodom

No one could rightly accuse Jesus of having low standards. But he was accused in his day of being “a friend of sinners.” Religious leaders of the lakeshore community of Capernaum, for instance, would have criticized Jesus if he had befriended the kind of people who once lived on the shores of the Dead Sea, […]

Jesus and Washington

Imagine Jesus in Washington. Picture him interacting with Senators and Representatives in the chambers of the Capital rather than walking with a group of fishermen on the shores of Galilee. Who would doubt that his conversations with Republican, Democratic, and Independent leaders would sound more like timeless wisdom than political spin? Who could imagine him […]

Resurrection Living

I remember, years ago, talking to a Christian counselor who told me he’s convinced that, as a church, we have done a far better job understanding Christ’s death for us, than we have understood the implications of his resurrection. He went on to say that while he believes our reliance upon Jesus’ sacrificial death for […]

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