Water in the Bible: Boating and Fishing

Screenshot 2018-01-19 at 11.41.08 AMThe Bible has a lot to say about about water. The message of scripture is framed in many different ways in order that as many people as possible understand. Everything from kings and their armies to a woman sweeping the floor is used to illustrate what the Kingdom of God is like. Jesus told parables about sowing seeds, harvesting grain, searching for pearls, buying oil for lamps, all things that regular people could understand. It should come as no surprise then that water is used in the Old and New Testaments because every living thing needs water. But I want to focus more specifically on the things people do in or on the water. Continue reading


Good Shepherd; Lamb of God

jesus_shepherdIs Jesus the sheep or the shepherd?

Just about every animal has some unique feature that allows it to defend itself from predators. Some have incredible speed, such as deer, while others have sharp claws, powerful muscles or rows of gleaming teeth. Some animals camouflage themselves into the background while the purpose of some camouflage, like that of zebra, make it difficult to distinguish individuals from the group. Even the slow, ungraceful skunk has a very potent defense mechanism. Just about every animal has something, it seems, except sheep. It’s almost as if God intended them to be food for other animals. Sheep are very nearsighted and have to be led to food and water. They cannot drink fast moving water and can actually drown trying. They have to be led to food, led to shelter, and protected from every type of danger. The Bible uses sheep of all things to represent people. Continue reading

From the Archives: I Preached on Baby Diapers

This is reposted from October 31, 2010 

Father’s Day, June 2010

I know what you’re thinking: the stress of working in full time ministry with a 14 month old at home has finally caused me to crack.  I reached a breaking point if my sermon is on changing diapers.  It’s not as bad as all that.  Let me explain.

Last week I preached this sermon on Galatians 4.  It’s about God adopting us into his family.  I had three well-defined points, as a good Baptist preacher should.  Today I preached that same sermon for our students in their Sunday a.m. chapel service.  I can’t take for granted that 6-12 graders know their Bible stories that way my church congregation does.  I cut some of the scripture citations and needed a more colorful analogy or two.  The first point in the sermon is that we are naturally the enemies of God.  He says “Do this” and instead we do that.  Adam and Eve are the first example, and not much has changed since.  I talked about how cute Johannah is; all our students know this to be true.  But when we’re changing a diaper, sometimes she quits being so cute.  If she sits up, rolls over, or otherwise tries to escape then everything takes longer.  We have to do things twice; or three times.  The students all smiled, nodded and laughed.  Then I pointed out that in my history class some of them are the same way.  I have to repeat myself and/or do things twice.  Sometimes three times.  That’s our nature.

It gets worse.  God sent his Son.  Like the father of the prodigal, God waits and watches down the road for us to come home.  The prodigal son (Luke 15) spent a fortune on good food, good wine and loose women.  Eventually he hit rock bottom, and desired the same slop that he fed pigs.  He had to learn that lesson the hard way.  You couldn’t have told him any different, and if the father had come looking for him any sooner, he would have ran as fast as he could in the other direction.  We were all wallowing (or are still wallowing) in our own filth.  We are slaves to sin, whatever sin you want to fill in the blank with.  If my daughter Johannah has filled her diaper, then she is basically sitting there in her own mess.  She stinks.  Yet when I reach for her she runs away.  She ducks and dodges.  Her natural impulse is to escape the diaper change.  Are we any different?  We wallow in our filthy sin, in our own mess, and push God away even as he wants to clean us.

God loved us when we were unlovable.  That’s the Gospel.  And if you have kids, had kids, or know parents with new kids, fell free to preach the Gospel according to dirty diapers.

There’s a Reason He Calls Us Sheep

jesus_shepherdPsalm 23 is one of the best known and most often quoted passages in the scriptures. David plainly says “The LORD is my shepherd.” In John 10, Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd. The sheep know his voice and follow him, and he gives his life for the sheep. Isn’t that adorable? Continue reading

Seasons Change

fall colors drive Autumn officially began Monday evening at 10:34 p.m. It has already gotten a little cooler in the deep South and falling leaves are just around the corner. Summer may be over but that’s the beauty of seasons – they change. That’s actually a promise made in scripture:

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” -Genesis 8:22 ESV

Continue reading

The Lego Movie

Lego movieHave you seen the Lego Movie? It was released in theaters back in February and on video a few weeks back. I’m not going review it; I’m going to share the Gospel!

The Lego Movie reminds me a lot of the Matrix. Both movies feature an entire world filled with people living their lives who do not know their world is a construct. In the Lego Movie everything is put together with plastic blocks and takes place on a large table in a family’s basement. In the Matrix everything was virtual and existed online. It’s just that the Matrix came out before there were blogs! For this post let’s sticks with Lego’s. The target audience consists of all age groups and the Matrix, well, is probably running on AMC by now. Continue reading

Prayer Week: Raindrops of Prayer

May 1 2014 is the National Day of Prayer. I’m posting on the subject of prayer all week; here’s a rerun from January.

Screenshot 2014-01-13 at 9.24.12 PMHow much potential does one raindrop hold? What about a snowflake? While one of each may not make much difference, we have all witnessed the outcome if those drops or flakes just keep coming.

At some point every analogy breaks down. There is power in prayer. We are told to pray without ceasing. Jesus himself arose early each morning and began praying even before daybreak. On occasion he prayed late into the night and at times all night long. We ask other Christians to pray with us, forming prayer chains and now publicizing our requests utilizing social media. While a flood or an avalanche of prayers make for powerful imagery, prayers may not add up in a cumulative manner that we can measure mathematically. We must pray for God’s will to be done and keep in mind that he understands our needs in ways we cannot comprehend. Prayer is a powerful weapon in the spiritual battle, but not a tool we use to manipulate God.

I like the raindrops of prayer idea, many prayers of the saints coming together to move like a powerful tidal wave. At some point every analogy breaks down, but try this one: a bear cub. Baby bear cubs are cute, cuddly, and basically defenseless. But when that cub calls out for Mama Bear…

That’s what prayer is like. 

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