What is the greatest commandment? Jesus answers, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’” and “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Matthew 22:37 & 39). Although the Pharisees tried to box him into a situational answer, to set him up for failure,  Jesus both corrects and dodges them pointing out the foundational reason for every commandment: devotion to the Lord.
Jesus answer addresses the true reason for every commandment: worship. The use of ‘love’ in this text, conveys the idea of worship and devotion. To live is Christ.… Continue reading
January 5 comes around right regularly—every year—on my birthday. Yes, my parents were among the “Greatest Generation” who fought and lived during World War II. My birth took place in the first year of the “Baby Boomers.” January 5 marks the traditional twelfth day of Christmas—“twelve drummers drumming,” according to the popular Christmas song. I share my birthday with a number of friends and acquaintances (at least two others in our church family). Famous people also populate the birthday list: Diane Keaton (same day and year; actress), Elena Barrick (my grand-daughter), Robert Duvall (actor), Jim Otto (NFL; his son was one of my students at The Master’s Seminary), Mercury Morris (NFL), Juan Carlos I (king of Spain), Konrad Adenauer (German chancellor), Walter Mondale (American politician), Charlie Rose (TV anchor, host), Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing with the Stars”), Umberto Eco (semanticist and one of my favorite authors), Jane Wyman (actress, President Reagan’s first wife), George Reeves (actor—Superman), Kathleen Kenyon (British archaeologist who excavated in Israel), Stephen Decatur (US naval officer in the American Revolution), and many others.… Continue reading
Early in my Christian life I obtained Arthur W. Pink’s Gleanings from Paul: The Prayers of the Apostle (Moody 1967). That study of Paul’s prayers in Scripture kindled a spiritual fire in my heart and life. Paul’s example in prayer, especially in the thanks with which he begins most of his epistles, set a pattern for believers throughout the next two millennia and beyond. Paul’s admonition, “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) certainly challenges each one of us. As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2016, let’s immerse ourselves in opportunities for thanksgiving that the apostle exemplifies through his epistles.… Continue reading
The last time I celebrated Halloween was 1988. I was 4 years old and dressed up as Big Bird. My family did the traditional thing: dress-up, go door to door at night, say “trick or treat,” get candy, repeat, come home, spill the candy, compare with siblings, make candy trades, begin eating candies, get scolded by mom for eating too much candy, get candy taken away and told it will be rationed over the year, argue about how un-fair that was, get a spanking, get sent to bed, sneak out of bed at 1am, eat more candy, get a stomach ache, realize mom was right, sleep in the next morning because I was sick.… Continue reading