How Good? (Acts 20:1-3; Romans 1-3)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) I heard an analogy once about throwing a baseball.  If a group of friends of mine and I were to line up and each try to throw a baseball to the North Pole, some would definitely throw the ball further than others.  However, none of us would actually make it to the North Pole.  Similarly, no matter how ... [Continue Reading]

Get Out of the Way! (Acts 15-16)

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19) There has always been a tension in the church between grace and truth.  In reality, such a tension shouldn’t even exist.  Too often we think that we need 50% grace and 50% truth, but Jesus, the embodiment of both, was 100% of each.  He was all grace ... [Continue Reading]

Be Slow (James 1-3)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20) I’m a hurried sort of person.  There’s always one more thing to do on my list and one more place to go… typically a place to which I am running about 5-10 ... [Continue Reading]

God’s Grace Is Enough For You (Mark 16)

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him, just as he told you.’ (Mark 16:7) There are moments in time when we're all tempted to believe that God could never love us because of something that we've done in the past or present.  Such thinking is not from God, however.  In fact, one of my favorite parts of the ... [Continue Reading]

The Clarity of the Crucifixion (John 18-19)

[Joseph of Arimathea] was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. (John 19:39) The crucifixion of Jesus brought many things to light and it was a clarifying event in the lives of those who were Jesus' followers.  In fact, it was until after the crucifixion that ... [Continue Reading]

Keep Your Bags Packed (Mark 13; Matthew 24)

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:36) A number of years ago I read a story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great explorer from England who went to the Antarctic.  He left some men on Elephant Island with a promise to return to pick them up.  However, the water iced over, and he was delayed ... [Continue Reading]

The Real Reason (Luke 18:15-19:48)

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) Have you ever wondered why Jesus came to the earth?  What was his purpose?  When he showed up on the scene around 2000 years ago, He was stepping into a religious system where people were distant from God.  The religious rulers (the Pharisees) had established law after law after law that had to be adhered ... [Continue Reading]

Keep Your Stones to Yourself (John 7-8)

When they kept on questioning [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) It's amazing how quickly people turn against one another.  Just watch an episode of “Survivor” or “The Bachelor,” and you'll see people who are seemingly friends suddenly ready to attack one another.  In the ... [Continue Reading]

Like a Child (Matthew 18)

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-3) When Jesus’ disciples were fighting about who was the greatest, Jesus used the teachable moment as an opportunity to help them understand something incredibly ... [Continue Reading]

Rest from Religion (Matthew 11)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Religion is wearying.  No matter how hard I try to be perfect or to live up to God's standards of holiness, I fall far short.  The sacrifices I bring only last for a day, and it's almost as if the harder I try, the less likely I am to actually get God's attention.  Religion is ... [Continue Reading]