There is Risk Involved

I’ve worked a couple of stints helping my brother do commercial HVAC. Building automation has been a growth industry for at least 10 or 12 years now. The average homeowner can lock and unlock doors, turn lights on and off and adjust the thermostat from a mobile app. I knew about text and email alerts to warn about dangerous or undesirable conditions, but it never occurred to me to consider the usefulness of these things in terms of insurance. Church Mutual Insurance Company sent us a box full of sensors a year or two ago with installation instructions. There was an incentive, in terms of our premiums, to install them. We now have space temp sensors and wet floor sensors in our church building, connected through a wireless router to a monitoring service. If the temperature inside the church drops to near freezing, or water is detected by the water heater or under the kitchen sin, I will get text alerts and a phone call. It’s cheaper for the insurance company to give away the sensors than to fix major damage that can occur if problems go unnoticed. Insurance is all about calculating risk. It’s the same thing with companies that offer auto insurance rates based on your driving habits, which they will monitor when you install their device to track those driving habits.

Continue reading

Jesus Suffered: Hebrews Chp 2

I am preaching through the book of Hebrews, and expect to post on Hebrews many times in the weeks ahead.  While Hebrews looks a little like a letter (epistle) in many ways it is more like a sermon.  That makes it really easy to preach.

I recommend reading Hebrews 2.  When I preach this sermon, I read most of it as the text; it isn’t long.  The writer of Hebrews contends that Jesus tasted death for everyone, and that his suffering has made him the perfect founder of our salvation.  Because of it he is not ashamed to call us brothers. Continue reading

Jesus’ Example: Love Your Enemies

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. 

Those are the words of Jesus in Matt 5:44.  The entire sermon on the mount can be read in Matt 5-7, but let’s deal right now with just this one command.  Like everything Jesus taught, he not only gave the instruction but provided us with his example to follow.  Jesus loved his enemies.  Continue reading

Jesus Example: Fish for Breakfast

fish-fryOkay, this one may seem a little silly but there will be a point.  This lesson may be more about friendship than anything else.

So after Jesus had been crucified and buried, the disciples were in a tough spot.  They had given up the past three years of their lives to spend with Jesus, basically doing the world tour around the Mid East.  They had also preached, taught and cast out demons, but often disappointed Christ with their lack of faith and understanding.  So now all their hopes and dreams have been nailed to the cross.  Continue reading

Jesus’ Example (What Did Jesus Do?)

wwjdWhat would Jesus do:  Remember that one?  Just in case you missed the 90’s, that was the Christian youth catch phrase to end all others.  There were backpacks, bracelets, t-shirts, teddy bears, pencils, bumper stickers, and the list goes on.  If it could be printed, it was.

The question wasn’t new.  “What would Jesus do” is asked by the characters in the short novel In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.  The locals of a small church congregation are challenged to ask this simple question before making any decision of consequence, and their lives are changed in the process.  The only problem, of course, is that we cannot always know for certain what Jesus would do in a particular circumstance.  What then?  Continue reading

Jesus’ Example: Resisting Temptation

temptation-of-jesusThe temptation of Jesus is recorded in Matthew 4:1-11.  We will be referring to these verses many times.

Walking the earth as a man subjected Jesus to all things common to humanity.  The Epistle of James teaches that God is not tempted by sin, and does not tempt anyone to sin.  But Jesus is God in the flesh; he experienced all the things we experience and can thus empathize with our weaknesses, feelings, emotions, frustrations, and so forth.  Whatever we experience, Jesus himself has been there.  And so it is with temptation.  Continue reading

Commandments and Traditions, Jesus in Mark 7

jesus_teachingThis lesson is from Mark 7:1-22.  Jesus is being questioned about why his disciples eat without washing their hands.  Jesus’ response says a lot about first century Jews’ attitudes toward the Old Testament Law, and how they lived out their convictions in real life. 

Jesus’ immediate reply to their criticism is to quote from Isaiah “this people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  Jesus tells them that they ignore God’s commandment to keep the commandment of men.  Continue reading

Jesus’ Example: Growing Up

child-jesusWhile it’s true that the whole Bible is about Jesus, what we know about his life on earth is found in four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.   The story of his birth (Christmas) is only recorded in two of those, Matthew and Luke.  What we know about his childhood is very limited, basically one paragraph in Luke 2.  Yet even in this short story Jesus provides us with an example we can learn from.  Continue reading

Jesus’ Example, the Samaritan woman

woman_at_the_wellThe story of the Samaritan woman at the well is found in the fourth chapter of John’s gospel. Jesus sets the example for us by doing several things wrong here. By “wrong” I mean he didn’t follow proper procedure for first century Jewish culture. He went against the conventions of culture to share the good news. Continue reading