Cross-Shaped Apprenticeship

What is the greatest need for contemporary, American Christianity? Is it a Christian president? Is it the exercise of spiritual gifts? Is it increased theological training? It is it a greater emphasis on the poor? Is it racial reconciliation? The answer to all of these, I am convinced, is a resounding no. Rather, the greatest... Continue Reading →

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The Ridicule of Jesus

The picture below is the earliest known pictorial representation of the crucifixion.  And yet its purpose was to mock Jesus and his worshippers.  This is actual graffiti dated back to around 200 A.D. in Rome.  The words read “Alexander worships his God.”  And the picture is of Jesus on the cross with a donkey head. Alexander Worship His God... Continue Reading →

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The Hidden Command on Every Page

I don't know if you have ever paid close attention to the FedEx logo. In the middle of it is an often unnoticed image. It is the image of an arrow. If you have never seen it, look at it again, and see if you can find it. It has come to my attention that... Continue Reading →

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Don’t Tell Me What To Do

            You may remember the old comedian and actor George Burns who was famously always smoking a cigar.  He died in 1996 at the age of 100.  He once talked about how his doctor told him that he needed to quit smoking cigars and eating bacon, or else he was going to die.  He then said that that doctor... Continue Reading →

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Barabbas: The Scapegoat

John Pierce wrote the following excellent reflection on Barabbas and Jesus. Enjoy! Luke 23:13-25 As a writer, I wanted to try to get into the mind of Barabbas. This is what resulted. Please note that Bar-Abba and Yeshua are the Hebrew pronunciations of Barabbas and Jesus. Dried blood from his wounds stuck to his clothing. They... Continue Reading →

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Barabbas

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was... Continue Reading →

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What does Maundy Mean?

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had... Continue Reading →

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Prepared for Burial

6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. (Matt. 26:6) One of my favorite hymns that we sing in our churches has the following quote. Were... Continue Reading →

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The Bronze Serpent

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15) Most of us recognize the iconic symbol used in the medical field of the pole with the serpent wrapped around it. But I wonder if you know where it comes... Continue Reading →

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God’s Secret Will

23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23) There is another aspect to God's will that we call his "secret will." This speaks of God's plans that remain hidden to us. We can see this contrast between God's "revealed will" and God's... Continue Reading →

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When God’s Will Contradicts?

And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. 2 And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the... Continue Reading →

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Knowing God’s Will

and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (Eph. 5:10) In yesterdays blog we looked at the importance of God's word in discerning God's will. But what does that look like, boots on the ground. I recently heard an interview with Steve Harvey about his Christian faith. Now I'm making no claims about... Continue Reading →

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Following God’s Lead

34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if... Continue Reading →

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A Giving Heart

2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. 3 And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that... Continue Reading →

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The Face That Shone

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God....34 Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came... Continue Reading →

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Show Me Your Glory

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see... Continue Reading →

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God Outside the Camp

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. (Ex. 33:7) This short verse is tragic. It marks a... Continue Reading →

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False Worship

6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. (Ex. 32:6) In yesterday's blogpost, I pointed out how the sin of the golden calf was really a violation of the second commandment, rather than the first.... Continue Reading →

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God is No Bull

4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall... Continue Reading →

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Depravity

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So... Continue Reading →

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Sabbath

"Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you" (Ex. 31:13) In the nation of Israel, Sabbath was a risky thing. It wasn't just one day of the week, there were entire years that were designated... Continue Reading →

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Gifted?

The Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to... Continue Reading →

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

"And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and it's sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die." (Ex. 28:35) It is not entirely clear from this passage, but later rabbinical teaching would expound upon this passage.... Continue Reading →

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A Better Tabernacle

11 "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption"... Continue Reading →

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Fasting: How To?

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is... Continue Reading →

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Obedience?

"Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, 'All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.'" (Ex. 24:3) We've all been here, haven't we? We promise God we will never do such and such... Continue Reading →

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Mt. Sinai

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke... Continue Reading →

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Water from the Rock

"Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink" (Ex. 17:6). "Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water.... Continue Reading →

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Bread from Heaven

"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst" (Jn. 6:35). In this short statement, Jesus is saying far more than initially meets the eye. First of all, this is one of eight "I am" statements Jesus makes in the Gospel of John.... Continue Reading →

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The Red Sea

13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Ex. 14:13-14) The Israelites have just been miraculously and powerfully delivered from slavery... Continue Reading →

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A Substitute

"Tell all the congregation of Israel that...every man shall take...a lamb for a household....Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it....You shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the... Continue Reading →

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Unqualified?

10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you,... Continue Reading →

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Omnipresence

Where shall I go from your Spirit?    Or where shall I flee from your presence?8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!9 If I take the wings of the morning    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10 even there your hand shall lead me,    and your right hand shall hold me.11 If... Continue Reading →

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The I Am

"God said to Moses, 'I am who I am.' And he said, 'Say this to the people of Israel, "I Am has sent me to you.'" (Ex. 3:14) What do you think Moses thought about God prior to this encounter? He had lived 40 years in the house of Pharaoh, and then another 40 years... Continue Reading →

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Consuming Fire

"He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed" (Ex. 3:2b). God does nothing that is not necessary. Everything he does has purpose and intent. God didn't see a bush one day, and think to himself, "I bet it will really impress Moses if I set that thing on fire, but... Continue Reading →

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The Burning Bush

"And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed....When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he... Continue Reading →

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In the Wilderness

"He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand....Then Moses was afraid, and thought, 'Surely the thing is known.' When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian" (Ex. 1:12,... Continue Reading →

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40 Days of Fasting

Throughout the Bible there is a pattern of 40. There are 40 years that Moses lives in the land of Mideon as he flees from the King of Egypt. There are 40 years that the Israelites spend wandering in the wilderness. There are 40 days that Elijah flees from Jezebel. And there are 40 days... Continue Reading →

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God is Our Refuge and Strength

This morning I was reading Psalm 46, and was struck by how counterintuitive this Psalm is. The beginning of the Psalm pictures total chaos, indeed, catastrophe. The earth is here crumbling beneath our very feet. The mountains are collapsing into the sea. The oceans are boiling with wrathful waves. But what is the disposition of... Continue Reading →

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Do Babies Go To Heaven

It is a troubling question, but one that we have all thought about at some point or another.  It becomes even more troubling when we realize that some denominations teach that deceased babies do not go to heaven.  Catholics, for instance, have traditionally believed that unbaptized babies go to an upper level of purgatory called Limbo.  But the... Continue Reading →

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God’s Anointed Leader

Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 And afterward David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord's anointed.” (1 Samuel 24:4b-5)... Continue Reading →

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A City on a Hill

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works... Continue Reading →

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Jesus Loves All the Children of the World

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14) In the late 1800's, a Baptist minister by the name of Clare Herbert Woolston penned the words to a song most of us learned in preschool. Jesus loves the little childrenAll the children... Continue Reading →

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Blessed are the Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:5) Meek is an odd word. We don't use it today. We would never describe someone as being meek. And in fact, because we don't use it, we assume that it means the same thing as a word with which it rhymes -- weak.... Continue Reading →

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Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:3) When Jesus gives his list of "Blessed's" he begins it with telling us that those who have the kingdom of heaven, they are poor in spirit. They are bankrupt in their inner being, and have come to find their worth... Continue Reading →

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Blessed are Those who Mourn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matt. 5:4) Roughly 1/3 of the Psalms are "Lamentation Psalms" (aprox. 50). Lamentations are taken up by Job and all of the prophets. In fact an entire book of the Bible is devoted to lamentations. Spoiler alert...its called Lamentations. Modern Christians have almost entirely neglected... Continue Reading →

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Blessed are Those who Hunger for Justice

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (justice), for they shall be satisfied." (Matt. 5:6) "A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight." (Prov. 11:1) Today it is expected that President Donald Trump will be impeached. It is yet to be seen whether or not... Continue Reading →

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