Preaching the Word

Have you ever read, then re-read a book that really had a hold on you?  Of course, we all should answer that with a big yes – the Bible is one book we should be reading and reading and reading…until we realize that in reality it is reading us!

There is one other book on my mind right now, though, that I’m in my second reading on.  It is good.  It is good to the point that it is exposing me and the way I do ministry some 24 years into my ministry.  The book is called “Mondays with My Old Pastor,” by Jose Luis Navajo.  It’s not a book full of deep theology or new realizations of Scripture.  Rather, it is simply an old pastor’s opportunity to tell a younger pastor about the things that matter most.  One chapter is titled, Admirable Faith.  It begins with this statement of the wise old pastor: “If you want a healthy and solid church, do not focus on what astounds but rather on what transforms.  Preach the Bible.”

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Light on Planet Bizarro

“You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket…
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  [Matthew 5:14-16]

There’s much going on in the news today, wouldn’t you say?  Looking through the lens of orthodox Christianity, it would seem we’ve left planet earth and landed on Bizarro World – that weird place where everything seems to be the opposite of what a sane person might anticipate.  Everything from negotiating a nuclear deal with a country determined to eradicate America, to suicide bombers and beheadings, to a culture expelling traditional values as quickly as possible…

It’s obvious from many polls on the subject that, for the most part, our culture just doesn’t care much about what the church has to say.  And where the church does stand its ground in today’s environment, it is seen as bigoted and out of touch with the mainstream.

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GPS - God's Plan of Salvation

“God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart…”[Ecclesiastes 3:11]

If you do much traveling, you know that a good GPS is helpful in getting from one place to another.  I appreciate our TomTom on long trips even when I think I know where I’m going.  It’s always nice to know just how far it is to the next exit or rest stop.

Now, take that sophisticated technology and compare it to birds.  Yes…birds.  Did you know there are some pretty amazing birds God created that have a phenomenal internal homing instinct more sophisticated than the latest GPS technology.  I read about the Manx Shearwater.  These birds live off the coast of Wales.  They have an unbelievable homing instinct.  Some have been electronically tagged and released at different points around the world, testing to see just how good that instinct really is.  One was released in Boston (3200 miles from home).  In less than two weeks, that bird returned to its original nest from a place it had never been before.

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Trust

Millions of people tuned into NBC every weeknight to hear accurate news.  They made the connection of what can be seen and heard as truth with the voice of Brian Williams, the “news anchor.”  Millions trusted him…past tense.  They did trust him.  The most watched, most experienced news anchorman is now off the air for a while because of a lack of trust.  Williams told dramatic stories of time spent in warring countries of the Middle East and harrowing stories as Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf.  The problem was that he told different stories to different people.  And recently his accounts of truth have been challenged by other people who were there at the same time.

Brian Williams hasn’t just lost a job.  (Most likely, he’ll be back at the news desk.  He’s made plenty of money to cover what may be lost in the fallout.)  Williams has lost the one thing a person of influence cannot afford to lose – trust.  If you are reporting news, credibility is everything…especially if that news is life-or-death information.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

"...'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'"  [Luke 4:14-21]

So, I guess I missed the Golden Globes award show the other night.  I think I may have been watching 'Worst Cooks in America,' or maybe it was 'House Hunters.'  Reading about the Globes show the next day made me wish I had paid more attention.  I understand George Clooney received some sort of lifetime achievement award.  (Seems like I always miss the finest moments of life...)

George Clooney's resume includes some pretty remarkable things...born in Lexington, Kentucky; studied a few years at NKU; did not make the roster of the Cincinnati Reds; moved to LA, where he became a star - Murphy Brown's Dr., Bobby on Golden Girls, Kip on Murder She Wrote, and all that propelled him to stardom as Dr. Doug Ross on ER, which ran 16 years from 1994 to 2009 – Oh, wait a minute...Dr. Ross left the show in 1999...

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Timeless

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."  [2 Timothy 3:16]

I am amazed at how folks will flock to prophets this time of year.  Predictions are made on TV and at the grocery checkouts.  Which celebrity is going to get married?  Which will have a baby?  Which will get married and then have a baby?  Which politician is going to admit to some indiscretion?  Is the Loch Ness monster going to be found in 2015?  Is this the year the world comes to an end from global warming...or is it global cooling...oh, let's just call it climate change, okay?

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A Promise Kept

"Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'"  [Luke 2:10-11]

The angel's announcement to the shepherds began with, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy..."  [Luke 2:10]  You may be asking, "Where's my joy?"  Might I suggest we make sure that we are talking about joy and not happiness?  You see, happiness comes from things and places and conditions of our minds.  Joy happens in our hearts and comes as a celebration of grace from God in the realization of His presence among us.

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