Archive for 'Commentary'

Goody Two-Shoes

Goody Two-Shoes

I wear two shoes everywhere I go, except to bed. Be thankful–my feet are ugly.

I also try to be good. With God’s help, sometimes I may actually come close. Does that make me a “goody two-shoes?”

In 1765, an anonymous children’s story about a little girl named Margery Meanwell was published in London. Margery’s nick-name was the title of this fictional bedtime story–“Goody Two-Shoes.” She was a poor orphan girl with just one shoe. After a kind gentleman ...

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A Momentous Change
(Missional Teaching)

A Momentous Change <br>(Missional Teaching)

As a little boy, I knew what I would be asked when I was met by my parents after school, including Sunday School. Most of my friends were asked the same question. Here it is:

“Joel, what did you learn today?”

As a young adult, I became the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher. I also did some substitute teaching at a private school. I noticed a momentous change in the after-school question kids were asked. Somewhere along the line, ...

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The Days of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus

The Days of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus
    “These are the days of Elijah, Declaring the word of the Lord;
    And these are the days of Your servant Moses, Righteousness being restored

    Robin Mark, songwriter, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In the days of Moses, the enslaved children of Israel suffered under an Egyptian Pharaoh who made their lives miserable. It took ten powerful plagues to make Pharaoh listen to reason and let the Israelites go free. Moses delivered this message and God delivered the results. Once free, it ...

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THIS Marriage Will Last!

THIS Marriage Will Last!

In the Bible Jesus loved (the Old Testament), the chosen people of God were often described as His beloved bride. Their relationship became quite rocky due to her serial unfaithfulness. This inspired many prophetic calls for repentance and a remnant remained. God’s steadfast love for her endured.

In the New Testament, the church becomes the bride of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote of Jesus and His church in synonymous terms with husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33). The book of Revelation rejoices ...

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“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8, NASB)

<strong>“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”</strong> (James 4:8, NASB)

Worship is about drawing near to God. There are no rigid formulas that can get you close to God if your heart clings to sin. If you humbly repent of your sins, however, no mere formula can keep God away.

James added, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8). Of course, hand-cleaning is worthless without a contrite heart. Ask Pilate. In calling for purity of heart, James surely knew that Jesus blessed the pure ...

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Dear Church Critics, Here’s Why I Love Jesus’ Church

Dear Church Critics, Here’s Why I Love Jesus’ Church

I recently read a blog post by John Pavlovitz titled, “Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are REALLY Leaving You.” Instead of challenging all his negative stereotypes about Jesus’ church (His bride), I will offer seven undeniable truths about her:

    1. Jesus’ church is FLAWED!

    So are you. You’ll fit in fine.

    2. Jesus’ church is FREE!

    Compulsion in giving is forbidden (2 Corinthians 9:7), so if they charge admission, it’s not Jesus’ church. But while church is free, salvation ...

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Compounding Love
(The Pursuit of the Church)

Compounding Love <br>(The Pursuit of the Church)

Friendship and family are profound forces for good. They make life well worth living. Combine both of these loves and you have the greatest force for good this side of heaven—Jesus’ church!

And you thought I was going to say, a good marriage.

I could have. The apostle Paul saw the church and marriage on the same page at Ephesians 5:22-33, as vitally connected in character and principle. Sadly, both of these spiritually-rooted institutions are under vicious attack in our ...

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Which Way Does the Finger Point?

Which Way Does the Finger Point?

Preaching is as popular and unpopular today as ever.

I. Popular Preaching.

Preaching has always been a powerful and popular craft in America, whether it comes from politicians or preachers. Today, little “g” preachers (government) seem to go farther than big “G” preachers (God). Exceptions abound, but let me make my case.

On the merits of long sermons and little else, Barack Obama sailed through two national elections, preaching his way to the top. The vast majority of his communication ...

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To the Grave and Beyond!

To the Grave and Beyond!

I like mottos. Here are a few of mine:

  • “Be joyful in hope.”
  • (Romans 12:12)
  • “If you love to learn, you’ll learn to love.”
  • “It is good to be smart, but it is better to be good.”
  • “Love the sinner, not the sin.”

If you don’t have a life motto, take any of mine! Better yet, come up with your own. Or borrow one from a historical hero. Just make sure it is one worth carrying to your ...

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A Primer on Proverbs

A Primer on Proverbs

“I have found that the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and advise them to do it.”
Harry S. Truman (1884 –1972, the 33rd US President)

Where can you get good advice these days? Talk TV? The news? The net? Consumer Reports can advise you on buying a car. Books with advice on handling the opposite sex are falling off the shelves. Every commercial ...

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