A Christian Response to Racism

biblePerhaps a better title would be A Scriptural Response to Racism but this is copied and pasted directly from a Facebook post I put up yesterday. There is so much upheaval in the world today and we are bombarded with information from traditional media to social media 24/7. When it gets to be too much, the Christian believer needs to step back, take a breath, and remember that we are in the world but not of the world. 

I don’t mean an official resolution passed by any group of representatives from any church denomination; my congregation will tell you that we read a lot of scripture. Every sermon, every Wednesday night Bible study, every Sunday school lesson begins with reading scripture and keeps going back to it. So this is not any particular Christian leader’s response to racism, this should be “our” response to hate and racism anywhere based on the inspired Word we live by. Continue reading

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Our Mission is Not Their Mission

The Bible tells one story; the Old Testament and the New are both part of that story.  The message of scripture from beginning to end is how a holy God, perfect in righteousness, deals with humanity, which is fallen, broken and unrighteous.  At the center of that story is Jesus.

There is a definite relationship between the old covenant and the new.  I often describe Judaism as a analogy for Christianity.  The Hebrews in the Old Testament are analogous in many ways to Christians of the New Testament.  There are many similarities but we must be clear: the two are not the same.  The Hebrews came out of Egypt on a mission; as Christians we should be on mission.  But our mission is very different from their mission. Continue reading

Peter Confesses that Jesus is the Christ.

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”    -Mark 8:27-29

I want to unpack Peter’s statement here that Jesus is the Christ.  There are two questions we need to answer; 1) What does Peter mean by saying that Jesus is Christ, and 2) What does it mean to us that Jesus is the Christ. 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

Verse by Verse Bible Study

I want to share with my friends and readers the different Bible studies I’m in right now, but don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. I work in full time ministry, so there’s lots of people leading many different activities all around us. I’m not trying to wave in anyone’s face how holy I am or anything like that.

I remember my dad teaching through the book of Matthew when I was in the 8th grade. We might do a few verses this week, or just one. Then we’d pick up next Sunday where we left off. It takes months sometimes to get through a book this way (or years) but it provides a thorough understanding. I seem to have wound up in several studies like that at the same time. The Sunday School class I attend is studying the book of Galatians. Anytime you study one of Paul’s letters you get some history of Paul, and often compare what he writes to one church with what is written to another.

Our Sunday a.m. text until advent begins is the book of Phillipians. The a.m. small group my wife and I lead is working through the Gospel of Mark. And our men’s morning devotional group is doing a verse by verse study of Nehemiah. That’s a total of 2 epistles, 1 gospel account, and one Old Testament book of history. I don’t always take enough time to study scripture on my own. This whole situation is a blessing to me because of the consistency.