Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
If you had just 20 minutes to prepare a sermon, what would your topic be? That was my uncomfortable predicament while visiting friends in Auckland, New Zealand recently.
My friend Rob was scheduled to preach at a Filipino church that Sunday, and I was expecting just to sit in the front row and cheer him on. I knew he was dealing with some health issues, but I always thought he would rally in time to preach.
But in the 20 minutes it took for his wife to drive us to the church,…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 29, 2015 at 3:51am — No Comments
Let’s begin our exploration of our future at its most immediate location: Today.
My dad has a phrase I’ve used a lot in the past couple decades: “He’s the God of 11:59.” In other words, God intervenes in our lives when he’s supposed to, at our time of deepest need—not when we think he ought to show up, or when it would be easiest for us. Those who constantly take…Continue
Added by Carl Simmons on October 28, 2015 at 12:26pm — No Comments
“The world is nothing but a reversed Decalogue of the Ten Commandments backwards, a mask and picture of the Devil.” (Martin Luther, Table Talk)
Bringing our will into line with our Father’s enables us to celebrate freedom worlds apart from self-serving society. The Lord promises to reward us if we actually serve Him and not just contemplate it. He gives us his word that He will honor us if we actually follow him and not merely ponder the idea. Jesus went around…Continue
Added by Johnny R. Almond on October 26, 2015 at 8:27am — No Comments
This weekend my precious daughter Abbie is getting married to a wonderful New Zealander named Hamish McKoy. As we prepare for the festivities on the outskirts of Wellington, I find myself reflecting on a lesson I learned from Abbie over two decades ago.
It was bedtime at the Buchan household, and I asked my two young daughters, “What do you want to pray before you go to bed, girls?”
Molly, seven years old at the time, prayed for the Dubles, some good…
Added by Jim Buchan on October 23, 2015 at 5:00pm — No Comments
Would a loving God ever tell His people to “shut up and listen”? Well, that’s basically the meaning of a word that occurs 74 times in the Bible.
Although scholars aren’t certain the precise meaning of the word Selah, the best suggestions are “pause and think about it” or “stop and listen.” The Hebrew word is generally used in the context of songs or poetry, and it seems to denote a time to stop singing and let the words sink in.
Why does God have to tell us 74…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 16, 2015 at 4:30pm — No Comments
I would much rather be a leader like Aaron than like his younger brother, Moses. Aaron was clearly the more popular of the two, and for good reason. While Moses often seemed aloof—a loner and introvert—Aaron was a man of the people, far more comfortable in social settings.
We see the style of these two leaders in stark contrast in Exodus 32. Moses shunned the people in order to climb Mount Sinai and spend 40 days with God. Aaron stayed down at the bottom of the mountain, where…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 13, 2015 at 10:19am — No Comments
While studying the origins of the Church at Philippi, I was startled to discover how the story contradicts many of our common misconceptions about the nature of the Christian life. The narrative in Acts 16 debunks at least 8 myths—and I bet you’ve believed some of these misconceptions yourself.
Myth #1: As long as you’re well-intentioned in pursuing spiritual activities, any direction is okay.
The apostle Paul never intended to plant a church…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 11, 2015 at 9:19pm — No Comments
“Peace is the temporary beautiful ignorance that war somewhere progresses.” (Edna St. Vincent Millay, untitled poem, 1940).
The USA Today headline today should be shocking, but nothing seems to shock us much anymore. The United States will overhaul its troubled plan for…Continue
Added by Johnny R. Almond on October 9, 2015 at 12:50pm — No Comments
While preparing to fly to New Zealand next week, I've reflected on my visit last year to a local flea market in search of new luggage. Perhaps that sounds like an insignificant event, but it was an exhilarating experience for me. Why? Because new luggage was a declaration of my intention to go someplace!
You see, if you’re stuck and immobilized, there’s no need for luggage. The only reason you need luggage is if you have a vision…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 9, 2015 at 8:33am — No Comments
Added by Dan R. Crawford on October 8, 2015 at 10:42am — No Comments
Not long ago, one of my good friends rebuked me. Severely rebuked me. We were having a discussion about some issues in my life, and he asked me if I was trusting God.
Being the honest guy that I am, I didn’t want to automatically give him the nice Christian answer. I wanted to give him the honest answer.
After taking a moment to ponder whether I truly was trusting the Lord in this specific area of my life, I admitted to my friend that I didn’t really…Continue
“I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt so you would no longer be slaves. I have lifted the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk free with your heads held high.” (Leviticus 26:13 NLT)
“You’re not free until you’ve been made captive by supreme belief.” (Marianne Moore, Collected Poems,…Continue
Added by Johnny R. Almond on October 6, 2015 at 8:01am — No Comments
I once inherited a bed that was too short. Ordinarily, it’s not a big problem if you have a short bed, because you can always dangle your feet over the edge. But this bed came with a troublesome railing that prevented me from exceeding its length.
So every night I huddled in an uncomfortable, contorted position, unable to fully stretch out or extend myself. This wasn’t quite a fetal position, but it had pretty much the same effect.
I wonder if I might be a few inches taller…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 5, 2015 at 9:06pm — No Comments
“The most powerful force in the world today is neither Communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile—it is man’s eternal desire to be free.” (John F. Kennedy, address, Washington, D.C., July 2, 1957]
“Oh, Lord, I want to be free, want to be free; Rainbow round my shoulder, wings on my feet.” [American Negro Song]
The Holy Spirit Dove rests on the believer’s shoulder, overshadowing angst with confidence.Leaning…Continue
Added by Johnny R. Almond on October 3, 2015 at 1:58pm — No Comments
Few things are as frustrating as hitting a dead end on some endeavor. This is especially true when you are well-intentioned and desirous of God’s will.
Yet this happens all the time. I don’t want to break your idealistic Christian bubble, but dead ends are sometimes part of God’s plan. Among other benefits, they teach us a lot about our character, as we either keep trusting the Lord or try to take matters into our own hands.
Abraham and Sarah hit a dead end in having a baby,…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 2, 2015 at 10:41am — No Comments