Have you ever been “compelled” to do something? Have you ever “compelled” anybody else do to anything? Does the word “compel” have positive or negative connotations to you?
Image © Phil McKay from GoodSalt.com
It’s an important question because we are told in the Matthew 14 parable of the wedding feast, “…, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’” Matthew 14:23
Does that mean that we’re to go grab people [...]
Would Jesus hang out with homosexuals? Is there a way we can know?1
We know that Jesus associated with the outcasts of his day. Luke 15:1-2 is very clear that he not only associated with tax collectors and sinners, he ate with them. He went to their dinner parties (Matt 11: 19) to such an extent he was called a glutton and winebibber.
Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com
Not only that, but at one of the parties he accepted and defended [...]
While living in Texas I was taking a Texas history class at a community college. In writing a paper for class, I mentioned a political figure who was assassinated. I contrasted the pomp and circumstance of his funeral with the plain funeral of the man who killed him and was killed shortly after. I pointed out in my paper that, humanly speaking, the political figure was not any more of a saint than the man who killed him, yet he [...]
During this time of year much of the world turns its attention to the Bible account of the first Advent of Christ. You can read about it in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. Just as the angels of heaven brought “good news” to the shepherds, this is a good time for us to share the good news of Jesus with our friends and neighbors.
Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the [...]
How many of you have seen the movie The Runaway Bride? Julia Roberts plays a woman with a particular personality type. Maggie (the girl played by Julia Roberts), is the absolute epitome of the phrase “all things to all people”.
Have you ever met anyone like that? He (or she) gradually shapes himself into someone he thinks you want him to be. If you say you like jazz, this person likes jazz. If you like anchovy and garlic pizza, that becomes [...]
Many of you will remember a potato chip ad campaign from many years ago in which the slogan was, “Nobody can eat just one.” Why did that slogan work so well for the potato chip brand? Because their potato chips left such a good taste in our mouths that it left us wanting more.
Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com
Have you ever noticed, as you go through your day, that some people who touch your life leave you with a [...]
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’” Zechariah 7:9-10, NIV
An oft-recurring theme with the Minor Prophets and echoed again with Zechariah is the plight of the oppressed. Strangely, it is not the foreigners that Zechariah is accusing of this crime. It is God’s chosen people, the Jews. Today’s parallel might [...]
We humans are a funny bunch. We love to talk about fairness and justice and everybody getting what they deserve – just as long as we get to decide just what that means.
Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com
Jonah is a prime example. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the folks there that if they don’t make some big changes, He’s going to destroy the whole place. Jonah’s response is to hop on a ship going as far [...]
In the late 1860s in the United States, shortly after the Civil War, which abolished slavery, a former slave owner is loading sacks of vegetables onto his wagon near the town square. Across the street he sees his former slave and yells out to him, “Get over here and load these bags onto my wagon now, boy!”
Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com
The former slave, with flashbacks of being beaten and abused for disobeying orders in the past, runs over [...]