How to Ruin Christmas

Strip the nativity Bible narratives of all human traditions that have been added to the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:4-7. Mary did not ride a donkey to Bethlehem. Luke 2:9-15. There is no “innkeeper[a]However, if the house belonged to Joseph, and the guest chamber/κατάλυμα was already full, then Joseph clearly had a host who managed the house and residents while he was away in Nazareth. … Continue reading(and “inn” is a poor translation of the word for an “upper room”). Matthew 2:9-11. The star was capable of standing still above a single house as a supernatural guiding light, not a […]

How to Pray

Prayer is talking to God. Someone told me that they did not pray because they did not know how. If you can talk to me, you can talk to God. Jesus taught how to pray and started by telling his disciples how NOT to pray. Don’t pray because you want to impress other people. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when […]

Should I live however the #*@% I want to live?

Recently, a medical colleague asked me if I thought that vaccination cards were the Mark of the Beast. I knew that this was a reference to Revelation 13:11-18. Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the […]

God loves some of us.

Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. God’s eternal love has specific recipients. The love of God is fundamental to the atonement, John 3:16. James Montgomery Boice differentiates between value and intention in regards to the atonement. The value of Jesus’ death is infinite. The question rather is what is the purpose of Christ’s death, and what He accomplished in it. Did Christ intend to make salvation no more than possible? Or did He actually save those for whom He died? Reformed theology stresses that Jesus actually atoned for […]

How to Construct a Worldview

While reading Matthew 5:15 it occurred to me that in the same way that a lamp beneath a basket is obscured, that if a person was under a basket he would not clearly see the world outside the basket. He would experience obstructive filtering of external light. [a]While I do not think that this is the intent of this biblical passage, it provided me with a mental picture to serve as an illustration. Only bits and pieces of the outside environment would pass through a woven basket. If you were inside the basket, you may glimpse a bit of […]

How to Overcome Fear

“Just tell yourself not to fear.” This is not biblical advice. The Scriptures do not teach us to eliminate fear by refusing to think about it. Faith is not a denial of the truth. Faith does not require me to lie to myself or others. There is no incantation to speak over fear that will magically banish it away. Let’s ask the Scriptures about conditions for not fearing. God’s Presence is stronger than fear. Psalm 23 is a favorite. “I won’t fear because You are with me” seems to indicate that God’s presence in our lives can be stronger […]

Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

Bishop Kenneth Edward Untener penned a homily for John Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, to deliver on the occasion of the Mass for Deceased Priests, October 25, 1979. This poetic reflection, “We are Prophets of a Future Not Our Own,” was taken from Untener’s text of Cardinal Dearden’s message. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero,[a]On 24 March 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero delivered a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s … Continue reading Bishop Untener included it in […]

What is the ultimate mission of the Church?

Recently, I was in a training in which Scripture was cited and then this question was asked. The Scripture was from Revelation chapter 7. 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing […]

How to Cope With the Impending Loss of Your Job

Death is Not the Only Source of Grief The loss of a loved one is the most intense grief that a person can experience. However, there are other losses in life that also produce grief. For example, if you know someone that has health problems and can no longer care for himself, you know that loss of independence is extremely difficult and stressful. Loss of your job creates real grief. Surprise! Grief Happens As Soon As You Know Grief begins when you learn of an impending loss. Some people call it anticipatory grief or preparatory grief. It is the […]

How to Break the Jargon Barrier in Your Church

Jargon is a specialized vocabulary that is distinctive to a specific group. Jargon creates an impressive image. If you want to sound like an expert, use the distinctive vocabulary that is specific to that field of knowledge. Knowledge of the correct use of jargon can make you seem like an authority in a given field, regardless of whether or not you have any actual in-depth knowledge of that field. Jargon provides a tool to create a stronger internal identity.[a]Jargon can function as branding. And sometimes branding becomes jargon, as in Kleenex and Coke. Each of your social groups creates […]