“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”

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Is Jesus Radical?

radicalLet’s begin by defining our terms. Most people have a concept of radical that may be hard to put into words. You could be a radical thinker in a good way that doesn’t involve overthrowing the government (but that’s one possibility). Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary gives 3 definitions, these are the two that apply to our discussion:

1) very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary
2) having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people

Radical describes something new, different, or views that are not shared by most people. I contend that Jesus was radical from man’s point of view, but not from God’s.  Continue reading

Happy Monday

Happy Monday, proving there is more to the Internet than cat pictures since 2012.

Congrats to the Baltimore Ravens on Super Bowl 47!  Apparently the 49er’s plan of only playing the second half didn’t work out this time.

Ravens, Super Bowl 47


Christ died for us

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You Have to Be a Friend

There’s an old saying that goes “To have a friend, you have to be a friend.” The implication is that if you are friendly others will be friendly toward you. There is no guarantee that if you put yourself out there others will reciprocate. Even if you don’t have a friend, the Christ-like thing to do is be a friend anyway.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, ESV) Jesus had 12 chosen apostles and a multitude of followers, but during his trial and crucifixion nearly every single one of them ran away. Jesus was a friend of sinners, healed legions of the sick and afflicted, feed thousands, but when the time came… he was left alone. His mother was there, and perhaps one disciple. Peter denied Jesus three times, and even invoked a curse on himself. After Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, the rest had fled in fear.

Yet on the cross, Jesus extended mercy even toward the people that were nailing him to the tree. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We are told to give without expecting repayment, to walk the extra mile (literally) and  to turn the other cheek. Jesus’ final command was to love. We are to have the same mind is us that Christ had. Regardless of what anyone else does or doesn’t do…

You have to be a friend.

The Rich Young Man; Look Again

He came to Jesus professing he had kept all the commandments from his youth.  After Jesus told him to sell all he had and give to the poor, the man left very sad for he had great possessions.  We all know this story, there’s nothing else to learn from it right?  (It’s a trick question, don’t answer.)

The story of the Rich Young Man (or Ruler, historically) is accounted in Mark 10:17-22.  He asks Jesus what he must do in order to have eternal life.  Perhaps you’ve heard religion is what we do, the gospel is what Jesus does for us.  But Jesus tells him to keep the commandments.  The man replies he has kept all of the from his youth.  Now we know that he is either lying or more likely has deceived himself.  He thinks he is good, bound by the notion that what he does will earn him salvation.  For those of us that know this story, the way I thought I knew this story, look again at verse 21:

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Jesus looked at him, loved him, and then responded.  Jesus was actually listening to him, not just waiting for his turn to speak.  This man left sorrowful because he had many possession.  The scriptures do not say that Jesus was sorrowful, but we know that it is God’s will that no one should perish.  Jesus wept over Jerusalem and prayed for the ones that hung him on the cross.  Jesus loved the rich young man.  This was a good person that was tragically attached to his worldly possessions.  Jesus loved him.  But this person, like so many others, found something else that he loved more than Jesus.  He went away sad that day.

Every single person you met today: Jesus loves them.  There is a lesson to be learned about how to receive eternal life, but look at the lessons here for Christians.  Look at people.  Listen to them.  Love the way that Jesus loves.  And remember that there are no Super Christians.  Every person that Jesus witnessed to did not get saved either.

Who Loves You?

When I was a kid my favorite restaurant was McDonald’s.  When I saw a t.v. spot for the latest Happy Meal toy, there was nothing doing until I got one.  In time I had to decide between the Happy Meal and the Big Mac.  All through high school and into college McDonald’s was still my favorite, but during my college years I was introduced to Applebee’s.  I had a couple of friends that worked there at different times, and eventually I came to know pretty much everyone at our local restaurant on a first name basis.  At a different time in our life, my wife and I ate out just about every night and wound up at Applebee’s even if it was just for desert or to see our friends there.  We moved away, grew up a little bit, and now live about 45 minutes away from the nearest one.  Ruby Tuesday is now our favorite place to eat out.  We save it for special occasions, but their salad bar can’t be beat.  I’m a big fan of the bleu cheese crumbles.  We love Ruby Tuesday. Continue reading

Instead of a Mother’s Day Sermon…

Last year I read a rant from a woman that refused to listen to one more preacher read Proverbs 31 and tell her how to be a godly woman.  Right or wrong, she made a couple of good points.  1) She has a good teaching pastor that opened the Bible each week, delivered a solid scripture-based sermon and shared the Gospel.  Mother’s Day each year turns into a one hour Hallmark card.  2) There are those in the church who may have lost a parent, or a child, or perhaps are disappointed they cannot become parents.  Honoring mothers can be especially painful for those that have tried and failed.  And we personally know what that’s like. So, here is the sermon I preached on Mother’s Day, May 9, 2010.

God is relational.  He seeks a relationship with his people, who in a general sense are all his children.  Let’s begin with the relationship of marriage. Continue reading