Indiana Jones, minus the adventures

If you’re familiar with the movie series, “Indiana Jones” you will know this to be true – the professor is no agnostic!

“Indiana” refuses to believe in the spiritual side of things. He doesn’t look for truth. He looks for “facts.” No matter what he sees on his adventures his mindset seems to be unwavering; even when his father smacks him on the cheek for blasphemy.

Henry Jones is a fictional character, but have you ever heard the saying, “Art imitates life.”? If you have you should see the analogy. If you haven’t you should still have seen the analogy. There are a lot of “Indiana Jones” in the world, minus the adventures.

Some people refuse to believe in the spiritual side of life regardless of what their ears hear or what their eyes see. Always looking for some new learned thing, but never able to come to the knowledge of truth is the name of the game for their heart and mind (2 Timothy 3:1-8, Acts 17:16-21).

Finding fragments of the cross of Christ, the “holy grail”, the empty tomb, or a blood-stained shroud is no more vital to a healthy faith in Jesus than finding the coin Peter used to pay the temple tax (Matthew 17:27). Faith is not produced by seeing alone. Nor is seeing even required! (John 20:29; 2 Corinthians 5:7) Faith is produced by trusting what God has said (Hebrews 3:16-4:2).

Don’t allow your “life to imitate the art” of the archaeological legend of the big-screen – dig in to the Bible and pay attention to the teachings of the one who causes the findings of history to be divided on the B.C. and A.D. time-line.

Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”” (Matthew 27:21-24 NKJV)

How is Jesus like the door of the sheepfold?

One question in this week’s lesson (Preaching and Ministry, Jesus the Good Shepherd, Lesson 7, p. 83) in the Gospel Advocate Foundations book asked, “How is Jesus like the door of the sheepfold?”

The verses under question say, “Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:7-10 NKJV)

Looking at the verses under question a few answers stand-out:

  1. Jesus is the legal way. He fulfills the prophecy of the Law, psalms and prophets. People who reject Jesus become law-breakers who work against the will of the God and harm the sheep.
  2. Jesus is the passage way. Unless an individual enters through the door named Jesus, there will be no salvation, freedom or spiritual nourishment provided.
  3. Jesus is the rejected way. Abundant life offered, abundant life rejected was the choice of the false teachers (thieves and robbers). Jesus’ desire was the former.

In light of Ezekiel 34, Jesus’ lesson about the sheepfold, the door, the thieves and robbers, and the shepherd of the sheep was meant to grab attentions, interest and decisions. It did and it still does by causing people to see Jesus as the legal way, the passage way and the rejected way.

Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”” (John 10:19-21 NKJV)

#christians-are-like-sheep, #gospel-advocate, #jesus

Some “Christian activists” walk in to a coffee bar

No, it’s not a bad joke. Some “Christian activists” actually walked in to a coffee bar … only to be told to leave in a foul-mouthed, sex-centered and blasphemous way.

The refusal of service, according to the owner himself, was based on the business owner’s homosexuality and his disagreement with the activists’ stance.

Tolerance at its finest. Though, of course, you won’t hear about it on the national news like you did the bakery’s refusal to make a cake … because that would be too fair wouldn’t it?

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew 7:6 NKJV)

#political-hypocrisy, #tolerance

Raising mentally strong children

Image result for mental strengthMental strength is every bit as important as physical strength. One could easily argue mental strength is more important than the physical variety.

I found a site where one author gives some good and well-rounded advice to parents on how to ensure a child becomes acquainted with mental resilience.

Some might call the advice old-school (I call most of it common-sense, but that might be because I relate to so many “old-schoolers”) … which is the school where children are actual raised to maturity.

Why is worry a problem for so many people?

Lesson 5 of the Gospel Advocate’s “Foundations” study book (Fall 2017, Preaching and Ministry) covered Jesus’ lesson on “worry” from Matthew 6:25-34.

In the discussion question section, “Why is worry a problem for so many people?” was asked.

Our class didn’t make it to that question, but here are my thoughts. Continue reading

#questions-and-answers, #teachings-of-jesus, #worry

Someone who likes being the boss

Some people like being the boss. People with that mentality can be worrisome – especially in connection to the church.

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.” (Matthew 20:25-26 NKJV)

A boss is not the same thing as a leader. Leaders work with others. Bosses tell others what to do.

Bosses are a part of a hierarchy that never steps back down to the bottom rung of the ladders to help others. They are where they are because they got themselves there. And they thoroughly enjoy it!

The boss mindset won’t work in the church … literally or metaphorically. It may be present, but it exists without the Lord’s approval.

The leader mindset is what it takes: service through example, humility, patience and perseverance. Carrying crosses, giving cups of water, offering words of encouragement and staying loyal to the chief shepherds script is the to-do-list of a leader.

If you like the being boss, you have a problem that can only be solved through the leadership of Jesus.

And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”” (Matthew 20:27-28 NKJV)

#boss, #christianity, #church-leadership, #serving-others

Motivation

Motivation is an interesting thought, but motivation is more than thinking – it’s thinking that turns into action.

Motivation can be quite a conundrum. Motivated by their children, some seek peace while some seek war. Same motive, different avenues.

Much is said about motivation in the Bible. From the love of God and neighbor to self-seeking interests such as greed, popularity, lust and revenge, you will find a wide array of motivating factors behind the decisions made by Bible characters.

Motive changes how we worship. Every single aspect of it! From how often we show up, to how we prayer, to how we read the scriptures, to how we sing, to how we give, to how we partake of communion. It’s all motivation!

Motive changes how we live. Motive changes how we treat bosses. Motive changes how we treat employees. Motive changes how we seek a spouse. Motive changes how we raise children. Motive changes how we listen to someone. Motive changes how we talk to someone. And lastly, but not least, motive changes our motivations.

Jesus wants us to be motivated – and he wants to be the motivating factor! From partaking of things in memory of him to giving simple cups of water in his name, motivation is the name of the game. That’s the point of the gospel. Jesus was raised up so we could have a reason to look up, get up and be filled up with motivation (John 12:32-33).

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV)