I’ve been doing some thinking about how things might look if more Christians were open to being filled and used by the Holy Spirit. Oh, I know, most of us believe that we are open and ready, maybe already being used by Him. And we’re probably right on some level, but not on a Moses-on-the-mountain, Day-of-Pentecost, turn-the-world-upside-down, being-filled-with-the-Holy-Spirit level.
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Those of us who live in “Western Civilization” like to imagine that our Christian experience is [...]
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There is a trick question I love to ask people. What was the tallest mountain in the world before Mount Everest was discovered? I get all kinds of answers, like “Mount McKinley “and so forth, but you know what the answer is? Mount Everest!
Mount Everest was the tallest mountain in the world (Now I know a lot of geography buffs are going to tell me there are even taller mountains in the depths of [...]
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2, NKJV)
A few years ago I had baptismal studies with an elderly man named Oscar. He had just come to the United States from Guam but was actually already a U.S. citizen before ever stepping on American soil. Guam has its own government, [...]
Since this is my 20th year of being a Bible Worker Lay Pastor, in keeping with the theme of “20”, here is my list of 20 things your Bible Worker will never tell you. While I have put the list together mostly myself from my own experiences, it is not entirely my own. Other Bible Workers have also chipped in anonymously with a couple contributions of their own.
Things Your Bible Worker Will Never Tell You
If I seem pre-occupied when you try [...]
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 [...]
Have you ever been caught up in some activity that you knew was not right, but you rationalized it somehow so that you didn’t feel guilty? Rationalization takes a lot of mental and spiritual energy to maintain, but most of the time, the guilt drifts back into your consciousness often enough that you might gradually start to believe that you can’t be forgiven for what you’ve done.
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I remember several times rationalizing things that I [...]
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In my almost 50 years, I have seen leaders of my country come and go. Some were called good, some were called bad. There have been some fierce debates over whether or not certain leaders were good or bad.
Still my country remains strong. You know why I think that is? While some leaders are good and others not so good, I believe it is the common citizen who keeps my country strong.
Leaders may compromise [...]
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10:34-35, NIV
As human beings, we can come to understand our relationship to God in terms of familiar bonds. We can see that we are God’s children by virtue of the biblical account of the Creation Story.1 Although God did not bear us in the womb and [...]
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.
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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 [...]
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7 NIV
It is a sad reality that in this world, many [...]
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, NIV
The problem of how the church should relate to the world has existed from the beginning and has continuously struggled for resolution. Two conflicting viewpoints are illustrative regarding this tension. On the one hand, the [...]
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” Revelation 12:1, NIV
Revelation’s beautiful image of the church is easy to love. It is the image God shares with the Apostle John on the island of Patmos. God loves His church and clothes it with His grace. He has granted to the church the tremendous blessing of proclaiming His grace to the world. This does not [...]
All serious-minded people experience, at some point in their lives, something like the following: After a nice social event—perhaps a dinner with guests—a discussion begins. The sad state of the world and current events provide common ground at first. Before long, someone begins to speak more—much more—than anyone else. The one-time social visit turns into a monologue before an unwitting audience. It becomes clear that this person has done his or her share of reading on conspiracy theories, and so [...]
I have a theory that the followers of God have always had a job to do – a mission to accomplish – and, following my tendency to oversimplify things, I have concluded that we can narrow all the possibilities down to three specific tasks.
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From my perspective, the way the Bible tells God’s story fits pretty neatly into this framework.
The first role I believe God wants us to fill is that of Companion. God created [...]