He Chose Us

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. We make plans, at least most of us. Before we venture into something, we tend to like to consider our options and the potential outcome for each. In fact, the bigger the decision, the more…

Let’s Be Those People

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Jesus was deadly serious about keeping of the Law. In fact, he has already declared early in this block of teaching (the above is Matt. 7:12, included in the “Sermon on the Mount,”…

Although it has been 16 years since that day, I remember it vividly.  It was Wednesday, September 12, 2001.  I had walked outside my house midday and noticed that something was strange.  There was something eerie about that beautiful, sunny afternoon.  You see, we live in an area where there is constant sound.  Specifically, there…

“All politics is local”

“All politics is local” is a phrase ascribed to the late Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill.  It has served for decades now as an important reminder to politicians of their first priority—that is, their first priority is their constituency.  But I am not writing today about politics.  Instead, I am co-opting…

God’s Family

One of the songs that we sing from time to time is, “God’s Family.”  It goes like this, “We’re part of a family/whose love has no end.”  It is a song that simply and powerfully spells out for us a truth that we already know: because we have been saved by Jesus Christ, we enjoy…

We Need to Grow Up

Last week the sermon addressed several things that “we need to” do or be or change or think. Those things ranged from a reevaluation of our notions of personal glory and aggrandizement to realignment of our priorities to reflection upon our salvation to serious consideration of our personal development as followers of Christ to the…

We are Called Out

I have been involved lately in a few conversations that have had to do with what I call “the righteousness of righteousness.” Now I realize that sounds strange, so let me briefly explain. What those conversations ultimately were about is the lengths to which people go in standing upon their own right-ness. It is a…

He is, and we are not

“I am not!” . . . “I am.” It is no accident that we find in the gospels this juxtaposition of opposing declarations, and in virtually the same scene! One says “I AM,” the other proclaims, “I am not.” This is significant because it highlights what is at the very core of the gospel message:…

Freedom is an Eternal Gift

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. There are things in life about which I am absolutely certain. I know that God loves me, and that his Son paid for my sins. I know that I am forgiven, even though I am far…

Form Over Function

Form over function. Style over substance. These are phrases commonly used to frame what may fairly be described as a failure of priorities. I believe that it is human nature for us to default to formality or ritual when we feel ourselves facing anxiety. When we find that the things we are accustomed to or…