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    Josiah Revival

    The story of King Josiah is nestled in the overlooked chronicles of Israel’s rulers. In the 18th year of Josiah’s reign the King decreed a simple rehabilitation project of the temple grounds that turned into a sweeping overhaul of Israel’s religious practices and worldview.  During the construction, they happened upon a forgotten scroll. The law of the Lord.  2 Kings 22:8 tells us that the Israelites, “found the scroll of the law in the Lord’s temple.” The Law was the foundational word of God that connected the people to the God of the Covenant. It was held in such high esteem. Children would be instructed in the law, memorizing it…

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    Lent: A Primer

    Today is “Mardi Gras,” which means “Fat Tuesday.” In many parts of the world, people call Mardi Gras “Pancake Day” or Shrove Tuesday, and they eat stacks of syrup-covered cakes in celebration. Pancake Day is the liturgical polar-opposite of a last-chance workout. Because Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, people snarf up all the stuff from which they’ll fast for the next forty days. Items included in the traditional “fast” were sugar, butter, flour and eggs—which, if you mix them up, make pancake batter. So, people made pancakes out of the ingredients they needed to use up, and they consumed the resulting “stacks” the day before austerity set in. Voila! The story…

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    But, I’m Not Sorry; Navigating an unrepentant heart.

    Recently I behaved in a way that was sinful.  I lost my temper with someone I love because I was furious. I confided in my husband and as usual, he gave sound counsel. “You need to call her up and say that you’re sorry,” was his simple advice. “Well,” I said. “Here’s the trouble. I’m not sorry.” What do you do when you’re not sorry? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. This is one of my favorite silly sayings. But, to “check myself” is not actually good enough. “Self” is the issue.  If left to myself, I might justify my behavior. This is where humility and the transforming power of…

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    Repentance-free Forgiveness?

    And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.  In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.  (2 Corinthians 5:18,19 NET)

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    Forgiven…No Longer Burdened

    Like the woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears in Luke 7, many of us carry the guilt of our sins with us like a heavy burden, weighing us down. The continual reminder of our sins keeps us from experiencing freedom and from enjoying the relationship with God that we have by faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t just need a teacher. We need a Savior who comes in and does for us what we can’t do for ourselves: forgiveness. All of our debt of sin before God is enormous; we are incapable of ever paying it back. You and I need to understand how complete and continual is God’s…

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    The Tale of a Traitor

    There are many wonderful heroes and traitorous foes in the pages of the Bible. Both good and bad share in the human frailties that come from being made of dust. Noble heroes of faith surrounded by their unbelieving, accusing and deadly opponents are found in every book. However, tucked in the corner of a bigger story we find some who pose in the OT as worshipers of Jehovah or in the NT as Christ followers. They would fade into the background of the story if not for the amazing crossroads where their half-hearted faith meets their whole-hearted greed or hatred. Judas Iscariot was just such a man. Speaking of Judas,…

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    “Locker-Room Banter”: A Teachable Moment

    The candidate for the US presidency who has received the most enthusiastic support from evangelicals made the following comments, which were leaked recently from a 2005 conversation in which he was talking with a member of the media: "I moved on her like a [vulgar use of term for female dog], and I could not get there, and she was married. And all the sudden I see her and she's got the big phony [vulgar word for breasts], she's totally changed her look." "I'll admit it. I did try to f***her. She was married … and I moved on her very heavily." "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women — I…

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    A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

    “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). The word “infamy” is defined by Dictionary.com as “extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act”. Thus one year ago today, June 26th, 2015, the day the Supreme Court of the United States declared that homosexuals had a Constitutional right to marry, is a date of infamy. The Court based their decision upon… well… upon philosophic talk that was devoid of wisdom. After all, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV 1984). The word “fools” describes…

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    Some Deep Thoughts about San Andreas

    It’s a disaster movie designed to be a roller coaster ride–the kind of scary fun you expect from summer blockbusters. Not quite a Spielberg roller coaster, but still, pretty intense, with a story of family reconciliation to boot.   My original title for the post was going to be “San Andreas: There is no thoughtful cultural commentary to offer on this movie. Just have fun.”    But even insurance companies acknowledge that earthquakes are "acts of God,"  so it's natural to see a link between earthquakes and earthquake movies and God. But first, the movie…  Unlike the 70’s disaster movies–Earthquake/Poseidon Adventure/Towering Inferno–the San Andreas disaster isn’t a quick prelude to a long, drawn…

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    Lent 101: Five Suggestions

    “What are you giving up for Lent?” For many Protestants, our only knowledge of Lent is what we perceive as excessive asceticism on the part of other Christians, often preceded by binging on Mardi Gras. We connect the season only with “giving up” something. Because today is Mardi Gras, I propose that we take a closer look. Just because some people abuse a spiritual practice, does that warrant our dismissing it altogether? “Mardi Gras” means “Fat Tuesday.” And Fat Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, which happens tomorrow and which marks the beginning of Lent—the forty-day season leading up to Easter. On Ash Wednesday participants receive ashes on their foreheads as a…