A deeper look at familiar Bible passages

What a tangled web we weave when we try to deceive God – Part 1

What a tangled web we weave when we’re double-hearted.  It happens a lot.  We want one thing.  We know we should want another thing.  It’s like those old commercials where there’s an angel on someone’s shoulder.  And a devil on the other shoulder.  Both tell us what to do.  We’d like to get the angel to tell us that what the devil said is OK.

And in the commercial – that can happen.  Like with chocolate milk.  Unfortunately, in real life – as in a good versus evil scenario – that’s just not going to happen.  Why not?  Because those aren’t the real life choices.

What a tangled web we weave when we try to deceive God

Greater love has no one …

Greater love has no one …   Most of you recognize those words.  And know how they end.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  But what do they really mean?  Do these words tell us that the greatest love we can show for another person is to die for them?  Literally, physically, die?

On it’s face, it seems rather extreme.  While not discounting times when literally, physically dying does, in fact, show great love, I can’t help but wonder if that’s the only thing Jesus meant when He said that.  Given the context within which Jesus made that one extracted sentence, I feel it means more.  Given the overall context of a Christian who truly works at following Jesus’ teachings, I believe it means a whole lot more.

It matters what that line means.  We’ll explore why as we go along.

Greater love has no one ...

A light on a hill? Or a noisy gong?

Here’s a question for Christians.  Are you a light on a hill? Or a noisy gong?  Or are you just wondering why I’m asking?  It is a legitimate question.   We’re supposed to be “making disciples”.  But how?  Are we supposed to beat people over the head until they finally give in?  I know that’s been done.  Is still being done.  But is it what Jesus asked for?

The same can be asked of any “in your face” approach to making people become Christians.  The thing about “making disciples” is that Jesus said a whole lot more than just “go do it!”.  He taught us how.  He was a living example of how to do it.  But do we pay attention to that part?

A light on a hill? Or a noisy gong?

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman – a different view

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman.  It’s part of John’s gospel that is often talked about. However, here’s a different view of it.  Sure, it’s important to show that the “living water” that Jesus offered was for everyone.  What if we look at it from the point of view of the Great Commission?  Not just as we’re to spread the word to all nations.  But as an example or template of how to go about spreading the gospel?

Notice the word on the chalkboard.  “Feedback”.  It seems like when we spread the gospel, we tend to want to talk.  Just keep saying the nice “churchy” words, and people will get the message.  They’ll say the so-called sinners prayer – which doesn’t exist – and be saved.  Not.

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman - a different view

Which god provides salvation for us?

Which god provides salvation for us?  Different people have different “gods” or deities.  Even those who claim to have no “god” have one – maybe they view themselves as “the deity” of their own world.  From there, we should recognize that outside of people who believe this life is “all there is” – we want something from our deity.  One of those things we want from our “god” is “salvation” – we want that “god” to save us from something.

life buoy to illustrate Which god provides salvation for us?

Do Christians really know what “Christian Hope” is?

Do Christians really know what “Christian Hope” is?  In a word – no.

“Most of we Christians are blind to the truth of who we really are, and so are afraid to enter the valley of the shadow of death to find the light beyond it. Our hope is that we’ll find it in the next life and so remain powerless in this life, yes?”

from “Waking Up: To Who You Really Are (If You Dare)” by Ted Dekker

I really like reading Ted Dekker.

Although – sometimes it’s just so hard realizing that what he says is just a bit too true.

Do Christians really know what “Christian Hope” is?

Are we supposed to Believe God, Believe in God or Follow God?

Are we supposed to believe God – believe in God – or follow God?  Are those three sets of words all different?  Or do they all mean the same thing?  Well, it depends.  When were you born?  What culture do you live in / come from?  Most important, are you willing to learn what they meant when they were said?  In some cases, that’s almost two thousand years ago.  In others, several thousand years ago.  We need to look at what they meant when they were said, in order to understand what they mean today.

Are we supposed to Believe God, Believe in God or Follow God?

The Sermon On The Mount – Introduction

I doubt that a huge number of people today would refer to Christianity as counter-cultural.  In fact, being in what’s called a post-Christian era, more people are likely to view Christianity as the old way – much like young people don’t use email, Facebook, and countless other “old” technologies.

The question is – why not?  Christianity should be very much a counter-culture.  The fact that it isn’t, I believe, is more related to how Christianity is practiced than it is to what Christianity is really about.  I’m talking about the Christianity of Jesus – not the Christianity of man.  Not the European model, where people are more into following The Force, as in Star Wars, or being a “none”.  And not the Christianity of America, where the so-called prosperity Gospel seems to have more followers than anything close to what Jesus actually spoke about.

So as you read this, think about Jesus’ words in that counter-culture way.  Maybe it’s not what you’re used to hearing.  But they are, after all, His words.  They aren’t the watered down or misinformed words that are spoken or written about by people who don’t even follow Jesus’ teaching themselves.  Think the “yeast of the Pharisees” here.

The Sermon On The Mount
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