“…for you welcomed the message…with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6, NIV
One of the most beautiful sights is the smile on the face of someone who has just given their heart to Jesus. Their heart is so full of joy from the experience that the light of that joy bursts forth from every seam of their being. If you have experienced that change, you know what it means to feel that way, but even if you [...]
“The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:8, NIV
The story of Thessalonica begins in the loins of Philip II of Macedon. Philip not only fathered the well-known son, Alexander the Great. He also fathered a daughter, Thessalonike. Philip fought many enemies to consolidate his power over Macedonia. At the time of one of [...]
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, NIV
A Parable Loosely Based on Acts 17 and Modern Evangelism
Theophilus was excited! This weekend was the big event! All of Thessalonica would be there! He had seen the painted billboards for weeks. [...]
“All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” Mark 4:28, NIV
An old story tells of a passerby admiring another man’s beautiful garden. Looking over the beautiful blooms, he remarked that God had certainly produced a wonderful garden, blessed with so many beautiful flowers. The gardener, who had been toiling for much of the day in the hot sun and apparently feeling that the admirer did not understand how much [...]
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15, NIV
A paradox pertaining to the modern Christian church is that many want to evaluate the various ministries and activities of the church, but few want to be the recipients of evaluation, whether the evaluation is fair or not. However, this is not limited to the church. Even in secular [...]
“…the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves…” Galatians 4:24, NIV
So much has been written and said about two covenants in Christendom that it has become trite. However, this week’s lesson compels us to revisit the dichotomy, albeit with oft repeated assumptions and interpretive constraints framed by extra-Biblical sources. Nonetheless, we shall try to inject some fresh perspectives into this topic.
While Paul writes of two covenants in Galatians, many [...]
“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.” Deuteronomy 28:1, NIV
Many people like to speak of “the good old days” as an idyllic time of innocence that was free of the stresses and controversies of modern life. If asked, most would willingly paint a verbal picture of a time when simple virtues were paramount and vices were [...]
“Live in harmony with one another…” Romans 12:16, NIV
I enjoy concerts. I marvel at how many different instruments in an orchestra can blend together to produce something of great power and beauty. I also thrill at the many different voices that blend together to produce the majestic strains of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Whether it is a barbershop quartet or a college choir, the interplay of basses and tenors with altos and sopranos weaves a tapestry more vivid than any skilled [...]
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21, NASB
Today, most Christian denominations are hierarchical in structure with layers of clergy administering other clergy from the top down until reaching the level of the local church where a carefully controlled laity works in secular occupations to support that structure.