We Need To Stop Demonizing Judas Iscariot

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The Capture of Christ//Flikr

“While [Jesus and the Twelve disciples] were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?” “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”” – Mark 14:18-21 NASB

Of all the things that Jesus could say about you, this might be the worst. “It would be better if you were never born” cuts pretty deep. Especially if it is said from Teacher to student, from Master to servant, from friend to friend.

But it was said to Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus. So, he probably deserved it. Right? He may have, but don’t think that he is alone. The truth is we all deserve to be said about us because we are all just as bad as Judas. Continue reading “We Need To Stop Demonizing Judas Iscariot”

If You Are A “Change the Oil and Clean the Car” Type of Husband, You Are Doing Marriage Wrong

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“All I do is change the oil in her car, and clean it when it’s dirty. You know what that’s like?”

I was confused by the customer’s question. While I realize that he owned two vehicles, myself owning only one, I had no idea what he was talking about. So I responded, “Nope.”

The answer shocked him and left him uneasy. Not because I answered but because of what my answer implied. No, I’m not just the “change oil and clean the car” type of husband. And no Christian husband should be either. Continue reading “If You Are A “Change the Oil and Clean the Car” Type of Husband, You Are Doing Marriage Wrong”

A 4th Potential Response To Angels?

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A couple days ago, I published an article about three potential responses that Christians could have to angels. Based on what I saw in Scripture, I laid out a simple argument against two of them, and for the remaining third option.

But I completely neglected this fourth option.

I missed it because I didn’t see any basis for it in the Bible, but is still a potential response. But the lack of it being there also says something interesting.

Continue reading “A 4th Potential Response To Angels?”

3 Potential Responses To Angels Every Christian Should Be Aware Of

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Angels are weird. They aren’t absent from the Bible, just look at the first few chapters of Matthew and you will see them popping up all over the place. But they aren’t a focus by any means. They appear in numerous Bible stories, but just as mysteriously as they appear, they vanish.

To say that these celestial beings live only in the pages of the Scriptures would be to deny the experience of many Christians. I’d wager that if you went into any church in North America, even the world, someone in the congregation would have a story of how they encountered an angel. It may have been a stranger that blessed them and disappear in the blink of an eye. It could have been a winged, white robed messenger with divine words to share. And if you don’t have your own angel story (like me), chances are good that you know a Christian that has one.

But what are we supposed to do with stories of angels?

I can’t recall ever hearing a sermon about angels, only that they get a passing mention in many Old Testament stories and a few New Testament passages. But if something is mentioned in the Bible, we need to examine it, thinking about it, and then take some action.

After all, the writer of Hebrews said,

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2

So, what should our response to angels be?Here are 3 potential responses to seeing or hearing from an angel.
Continue reading “3 Potential Responses To Angels Every Christian Should Be Aware Of”

Christians Need Melting Hearts

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“Before the spies lay down for the night, [Rahab] went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.”” – Joshua 2:8-9

“[The spies] said to Joshua, “The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”” – Joshua 2:24

“Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted…” – Joshua 5:1

When Scripture repeats itself, that is when you need to pay attention. It’s the Bible waving at you, yelling, “LOOK HERE! SOMETHING IMPORTANT IS HAPPENING!” And within the first few chapters of Joshua, the idea of melting with fear, either the heart or the whole person, is mentioned three times.

I know that something repeated three times is nothing compared to the 365 times “do not fear/fear not”, but it still struck me as interesting. And then convicted me of my sin.
Continue reading “Christians Need Melting Hearts”

Education Won’t Stop Bullying

It won’t stop if you teach parents or kids how to identifying it, because what is needed is more than a class on not being mean.

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Change.org sent me an email, stating that I would be interested in signing this particular petition. They were right. I was bullying as a kid, all the way up into the later years of high school. Signing a petition about bullying was something that did interest me.

As I read through the particulars of this petition, however, I became increasingly irritated. Not with Change.org, or the people behind the petition in question; I was frustrated because the petition wouldn’t “fix” anything. Continue reading “Education Won’t Stop Bullying”

4 Thoughts On Eugene Peterson’s Change Of Opinion On Gay Marriage

Early this morning, Religion News posted an interview with Eugene Peterson, discussing the publication of his last book. While that may be what it started out as, everyone is talking about what Peterson said in response to this question.

You are Presbyterian, and your denomination has really been grappling with some of the hot-button issues. I think particularly of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Has your view on that changed over the years?

I haven’t had a lot of experience with it. But I have been in churches when I was an associate pastor where there were several women who were lesbians. They didn’t make a big deal about it. I’d go and visit them and it never came up for them. They just assumed that they were as Christian as everybody else in the church.

In my own congregation — when I left, we had about 500 people — I don’t think we ever really made a big deal out of it. When I left, the minister of music left. She’d been there ever since I had been there. There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, “I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.” We didn’t have any gay people in the whole congregation. Well, some of them weren’t openly gay. But I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.

I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.

Peterson does go on to talk about other things, but this is what has people riled up, and these are the 4 thoughts I had after I read the whole interview.

Continue reading “4 Thoughts On Eugene Peterson’s Change Of Opinion On Gay Marriage”