Showing posts from September, 2014

Remaining Faithful: In A Culture That Is Not - Daniel 1:3-17

I grew up hearing it over and over again.In fact, I am pretty sure that almost every kid has heard it at least once.I don’t know why, but I think it comes from the default argument of teenagers, and therefore it becomes the default response for parents.The teen says, “but all of my friends are going to see that rated ‘R’ movie”…“all the other girls are wearing those short shorts”…“I know his parents aren’t going to be home, but everyone else is going to the party”….It doesn’t matter what it is, but some activity that seems to violate a family’s regulations is argued by a teenager that the rest of the world’s teenage population gets to participate in that activity.The response that every parent has down pat, “If all your friends (or everyone else) was jumping off a bridge, would you jump too?”
Imagine yourself in Daniel’s story. You are one of those young Hebrew men that have been chosen to be trained in Babylonian culture so that they can become part of the leadership—possibly figuring…

What To Do With A Blessing - Genesis 12:1-3

Have you ever received a blessing and wondered what you were supposed to do with it?While there may be a myriad of things that you can do, they all really boil down to one or two options: 1) You can keep your blessing to yourself—you can hoard it—you can hide it away where no one can see it, where no one can find out you have it, where no one else may have access to it; 2) You can share it—you can give it away—you can find a way to bless someone else.
Which is the right way?We have the answer from the very beginning of God’s Word.God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, in the midst of all the beauty of the best of the world that God had created…there was no greater blessing to be seen anywhere around them.They were placed in the Garden to tend it and care for it.The words aren’t there, but we can see that they were blessed to be a blessing to God’s Creation.Yet the serpent entered the picture and convinced them that the blessing wasn’t about caring for everything around them, bu…

Where Does He Rank? - Colossians 1:15-23

We have reached the time of year where more folks than not discus rankings.I had someone just the other day asked me where Duke was because Carolina was ranked 23rd and Duke was nowhere to be seen.It took me a moment to catch hold of what they were discussing, but I finally sorted it out that we were nearing the opening week of College Football.Before all the Carolina fans start gloating too much, I looked it up.Duke would have been ranked 29th if they showed the results that far down.There’s not too much difference between the two.And to me, to even be able to say that Duke was in the Top 30 is a big deal, I can remember when they wouldn’t have made the top 250).Rankings are important in baseball this time of year as well, as the teams eligible for the pennant races and World Series are narrowed down.NASCAR rankings take on a major role as competitors are locked into “The Chase for the Championship.”Some folks already begin looking at the pre-season rankings for NCAA basketball—where…

Pray: For Everyone - 1st Timothy 2:1-7

A 4-year-old boy was asked to give the meal blessing before dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one.
Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip.
Then he paused, and everyone waited-- and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the broccoli, won't he know that I'm lying?"
Today we conclude our August series on prayer.As we’ve taken this prayer journey, we’ve spent a good bit of time talking about how prayer is more about allowing God to change us through this time of conversation than about our trying to twist God’s arm to change His mind about something that is going on in our lives.
As we e…