A well-known Youth Minister once told the story of the year his youth group decided to forgo their usual annual carwash fundraiser and instead offer car washes for free to anyone who wanted one. It was intended to demonstrate God’s grace, which comes to us through no effort of our own.
During the event, a man drove up, rolled down his window, and asked the Youth Minister, “how much?” Pointing to the sign, the Youth Minister said, “It’s absolutely free.” “Oh, I know how this works, buddy,” the guy quipped, “you say it’s free but you really want a donation; how much do you want?” The Youth Minister repeated, “It’s free, because God’s grace is free.” The man rolled up his window and drove away.
In the book of Job there is a lot of talk in the heavenly realm about humans on Earth. But what has changed is that now at this present moment our risen Lord in his physical self is talking to God the Father concerning his children (all of us), based on his experience as a human on earth.
As I sit at home with my wife under a stay at home order for our state I am grateful. Just a few short months ago the world went about its everyday routine at a frenetic pace, nothing could affect us (or so it seemed), we were – we thought – masters of our own fate. Now store shelves are empty, many things are in short supply and will become even harder to get. This virus, this disease we now call Covid-19 is seemingly the topic of most of our conversations and the focus of our day. Yet what we have is a forced slow down, a grinding to a halt of all economic and social systems.
What will you pray for? As this slow calamity unfolds around the world and in America what will you pray for? At some point in the future, we may be able to look back and discern some of what God is doing through this worldwide calamity. But not now. Now we must reflect and pray. Continue reading →
When I was a Youth Director, my good friend and mentor was diagnosed with breast cancer. Miss Debby, as she was affectionately called, had been the Christian Education Director and director of the church’s daycare and school for decades. She never married or had any children of her own. Her life was fully dedicated to Christ and nurturing children and adults alike. Miss Debby suffered two rounds of chemo over the next year. It was hard on her. It was hard for us to watch. Continue reading →
At the time of writing this article, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are nowhere to be found. Flour and sugar are quickly disappearing from shelves. There are over 179,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, resulting in over 7,000 deaths. No vaccine is yet publicly available. In Pennsylvania, testing kits are in limited supply and schools are closed. Continue reading →
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” These are the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15. Paul was one of the champions of the grass root first-century church movement. He accomplished more for the church than almost anyone after him and wrote a significant portion of the New Testament. Yet, even the Apostle confessed he did not do what he wanted to. Continue reading →
“If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Heb 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Heb 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Gal 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent to hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgement, in the power given to him to judge.” These are the words of the sixteenth century reformer John Calvin. Continue reading →
“There is nothing which shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every cross is a message from God, intended to do us good in the end. Trials are intended to make us think — to wean us from the world — to send us to the Bible — to drive us to our knees. Health is a good thing; but sickness is far better, if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy; but adversity is a greater one if it brings us to Christ. Anything, anything is better than living in indifference and dying in sin.”