• Do We Know Its Christmas

    It is December. And that means many Americans and others around the world are really stressed. If you were alive in the 1980s, you might remember the advent of several types of “aid” campaigns. The biggest of these was likely Live Aid which raised millions for Africa in 1985, and particularly for the famine in Ethiopia. A year prior, a song was recorded by several musicians who banded together (called Band Aid) to record a song entitled “Do They Know Its Christmas?” (Early the next year, in 1985, even more artists grouped together as “USA for Africa” to record “We Are the World”.) The point of the song (Do They…

  • Giving Thanks

    If you live in the United States, you likely celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. (This posted on Friday, November 29, 2019). Now, I realize that many people had a difficult time giving thanks because of some circumstance in their life. And certainly, certain challenges in our lives make being thankful difficult. But the Bible does command us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5.18). Notice, it does not say to be thankful for all circumstances. Thus, we can find reason to give thanks even when the circumstances around us are not favorable. Personally, I have much for which to be thankful. I was able to spend time with family yesterday.…

  • Imitating God

    Have you read the Bible? I mean really read the Bible? If so, you know one of the most understated verses in the Bible is Romans 3.23 which says that we all fall short of God’s glory. One of the reasons I like the Bible is because it is real. It shows the good, the bad, the ugly, and the really ugly. We have heroes like David, Paul, and many others who were far from perfect. In fact, apart from Jesus, I think Daniel is about as close to perfect as we might find based upon the evidence in the Bible. The reality is that knowing our biblical heroes are…

  • A Worthy Walk

    You have likely heard the phrase, “He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk?” This phrase (or something similar) is used in many different areas of life. Perhaps it is someone boasting about their ability in sports or acting or any number of other areas. But the statement is certainly true of living as a Christian. And for those who cannot walk the walk, well, we (yes, I include myself), we are called hypocrites. The reality is that no one who has ever been a Christian is able to perfectly walk the walk. And yet, we are to talk the talk. That is, we are to teach…

  • Choosing a Response Through Pain

    What comes to mind when you hear the term Christian? <Pause to allow yourself to really think about that term for a minute.> For me, the focus is on the first part of that word – Christ. And, to me, that is good. It represents goodness, even perfection. It represents love. It represents peace. And so much more. But for many the word has a very different meaning. It represents judgment, hatred, hypocrisy, and so much more. And I get that. Many so-called Christians do not live as Christ lived. But the name actually was given to people for living differently – in, not of, you might say. Last week,…

  • Tests, Commands, and the Spirit of God

    During the last couple of posts, I have been writing about the tests that Christians face. Sometimes these tests are internal (should I really do that?) and some are external (“I can’t believe what is happening!”). Regardless, all people face these types of tests, but as Christians, we are commanded to pass tests that may seem impossible to pass. In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote of many tests. Of course, we must understand that Paul’s writings were never just written randomly. He was addressing real issues in real churches. And the letter we call 1 Thessalonians was no exception. For the sake of space, I…

  • Comparing Faith

    Do you compare your faith to others? As humans, it is difficult, if not impossible to avoid making comparisons to one another. Some comparisons are simple and unimportant. For instance, I am taller than my wife. That is a comparative statement, but it is a fact. And it is not a problem unless we allow it to be a problem like using names and labels against another person. Again, some comparisons are harmless, but all comparisons can be problematic if we abuse the facts. Some people have more resources than others. Some people are healthier than others. Some people have more friends than others. Data can support each of those…

  • Pride and Platforms

    Is it wrong for Christians to have a platform? While I began to cover that idea last week, I did not get to the heart of the challenge. As I mentioned in last week’s post, Christians are to have and exert influence. Without influence we cannot make disciples. And we are commanded to make disciples by the One who has all authority (Matthew 28.18-20). To have an influence is, in effect, to have a platform. But having a platform with a few is much different than having a platform to reach the masses. And, for the Christian, that is the challenge. I clearly stated last week that it is not…

  • Having a Platform

    We live in an age that allows a lot of people to have a platform for promoting something, including themselves. Have you ever wondered how having a platform relates to Christianity? In our world today, and particularly through social media, many people have developed a platform. For most, this platform has provided them to have a voice when otherwise their voice would not have been heard. In some cases, those voices have been helpful. In others, they have not been. Now, depending upon who you are and what you believe about any particular aspect of life, you may disagree on which voices are helpful and which are not, but we…

  • The Year = xxx9

    During the past two weeks, this blog has shared a couple of announcements related to a new podcast (Christian Educator Weekly) and a new structure (4L Ministries). Both of these announcements are, in part, due to reflections that I have been making personally over the past few months. During my reflection, I realized something a little odd. The year ends in 9. That is, this is 2019. Now, that does not really mean much in general. But perhaps something is hidden within me that needs to be addressed. See, I was born in 1970. So, any year that ends in a 9 means that I am about to face a…