You people hate anyone who challenges injustice and speaks the whole truth in court.   You have oppressed the poor and robbed them of their grain. And so you will not live in the fine stone houses you build or drink wine from the beautiful vineyards you plant.  I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed. You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts.  And so, keeping quiet in such evil times is the smart thing to do! Make it your aim to do what is right, not what is evil, soRead More →

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way.” The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. “You’ll call out for help and I’ll say,Read More →

New Life So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! – 1 Corinthians 5:17 (NRSV) What does the phrase “New Life” mean to you? I loved reading the comic Peanuts when I was growing up.  I could so relate to Charlie Brown.  There was one comic in particular that really hit me.  Lucy was siting in her psychiatrist booth and Charlie Brown was talking about how miserable his life was.  Everyone knew that he was a blockhead and Charlie wanted to run away to some island where nobody knew him and heRead More →

For if a person is in Christ they become a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Phillips) Happy New Year! We say that every year, and it is certainly a wonderful sentiment.  After all, we all want the year ahead of us to be happy.  I don’t know how often I have said, and people around me have said, that they are glad to leave the old year behind and want the New Year to be better.  I find that a little scary, since that is almost an annual occurrence, which must mean,Read More →

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. – Philippians 3:12-14 There are two types of people in this world.  Actually, that’s a lie, but let’s pretend its true for the sake of simplicity.  Anyway, two types ofRead More →

The Beatles are known for their love songs.  Nine of their songs have the word love in the title and 32 of their songs can somehow be interpreted about love.  Love is a theme that shows up all through our culture.  This past Valentine’s Day Harper’s Bazaar Magazine published an article entitled, “The 63 Most Romantic Movies Of All Time.”  You can’t escape the word love.  I’m sure you’ve used it at least once today, and heard it another half-dozen times. We tend to use the word love a lot and rather loosely.  I love my wife and my children and ice cream.  Somehow equatingRead More →

There over a dozen different Hebrew and Greek words that are translated joy, or its equivalent – glee, gladness, rejoicing, happiness, cheerfulness, or delight. In the Bible Joy can be a feeling, a state of mind, a situation, a result, or even a cause.  Joy can happen because of a good situation, or in the midst of affliction.  In other words, joy is found both in our circumstances and at the same time joy transcends our circumstances. So joy is an emotion, but it is also something far greater.  Paul talks about joy and trials: We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems andRead More →

Our word peace has its roots in the Hebrew word shalom.  Whatever we define the word peace as, its roots in shalom mean far more than the absence of conflict.  Shalom means, “to be complete.”  The Strong’s dictionary says that shalom is: completeness, safety, soundness, welfare, health, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, peace from war and peace in friendship. The theologian, Cornelius Plantinga Jr, states in his book: Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, “In the Bible, shalom means universal human flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a stateRead More →

One Sunday in July a number of years ago the pastor of a church we were attending got up and preached a sermon, announced that he was resigning and then got into his car with his family and left on vacation.  Needless to say, we were just a bit shaken up by his rather abrupt resignation.  I didn’t happen to be there that Sunday, but I soon heard about it.  The elders came to me early that week and asked if I would preach the following Sunday.  I said yes, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to follow up after a rather dramaticRead More →

Baptised Into New Life Now what is our response to be? Shall we sin to our heart’s content and see how far we can exploit the grace of God? What a ghastly thought! We, who have died to sin—how could we live in sin a moment longer? Have you forgotten that all of us who were baptised into Jesus Christ were, by that very action, sharing in his death? We were dead and buried with him in baptism, so that just as he was raised from the dead by that splendid Revelation of the Father’s power so we too might rise to life on aRead More →