Anytime one prepares a presentation, much like a written report, article, blog post or thesis paper, there are several iterations that could become the final product. Some ideas don’t go anywhere, better ideas take their place, maybe some good talking points came from brainstorming that ended up not being developed. You may even produce more than one version and have to make a decision but in any case there are always things researched or outlined that are left out of the final product. If lines or scenes are cut from a film you might find out about them in the director’s cut or by playing the DVD commentary. Since my goal is to post new material to my blog once or twice a week, I have a creative outlet for unused sermon material. Continue reading
Is 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
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.
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.