God’s Promises are Always “Yes”

Reading Time: 5 Minutes In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5.37). The devil and people who follow him are fast talkers. As the father of lies (John 8.44), the devil does not stand for […]

How God Uses Hard Times

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Whether we know it or not, God’s greatest gift to us is the ability to have a personal friendship-relationship with him. To use the words of Dallas Willard, the most blessed life is when we live a Jesus-kind-of-life. If you picture a triangle, each side represents a component that God will […]

2 Corinthians 1 – Comfort When Afflicted

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Paul’s prayer began his second letter to the Corinthians. Prayers at the beginning of Paul’s letters generally reveal the theme of the entire letter. What do you do when you have to sternly correct someone with whom you still want to work? That was Paul’s situation in Corinth. In the first […]

What is Life After Life-After-Death?

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The phrase “life after life-after-death” originated with N. T. Wright, a highly acclaimed British scholar. It helped me understand some of what the Bible teaches about life after death. Life After Death Let’s begin with what the Bible teaches about life after death. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. […]

What About The Resurrection?

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Why would a follower of Jesus Christ teach other people that there is no resurrection from the dead? I obviously don’t have all of the answers to that question, but here are a few thoughts that stem from Paul’s problem in Corinth. (1) People whose thinking is more controlled by prevailing […]

God’s Good News Message

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Not long ago, someone asked me to write a brief outline of how I became a preacher. What happened was simple, but entirely life-changing. First, I heard the good news message of what Jesus did for the entire world. Second, I placed my faith in what Jesus did, not only for […]

Speaking in Tongues and Prophecy

Reading Time: 6 Minutes What should we know about spiritual gifts? Paul summarized the central point of chapters 12-14, “Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14.1). To make the choice to give love and only love to everyone was the goal of one of my […]

1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter

Reading Time: 7 Minutes This chapter is one of the most beautiful Scripture passages in the Bible. I hope that a brief treatment of how 1 Corinthians 13 fits into the entire message of the letter will increase your appreciation of this famous passage. Background 1 Corinthians 13 is part of a larger message that […]

1 Corinthians 12 – Honored Versus Humiliated

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The Roman Empire had an elaborate honor roll that classified people into either “honored” or “humiliated” status. They actually had two Latin words that were translated “honored” for some and “humiliated” for others. Some people were born into the “honored” class and others received status from the military or money. The […]

Spiritual Gifts And Spiritual Pride

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Paul did not intend 1 Corinthians 12 to be used as a class to help people discover their spiritual gift. There is value in having an idea about what our spiritual gift or gifts may be, but that is not the primary message from Paul. As you can expect, Paul’s message […]

How Can You Ruin The Lord’s Supper?

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Quick Reminder Before we consider Paul’s words about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, let’s remind ourselves of the situation in A.D. 50 Corinth. — Population: 70-80 thousand persons, approximately 100 Christians. — Aspirations of Corinthians: The primary aspiration of any person of Corinth who was able to change his […]

1 Corinthians 10 – Flee Idolatry

Reading Time: 6 Minutes It is doubtful that the average members of the church in Corinth were ever invited to participate in meals at the pagan temples. They did get to eat meat from wealthy patrons of festivals and sporting events. Apparently, there were some well off members in the church who wanted to have […]

1 Corinthians 10 – Learning From History

Reading Time: 6 Minutes How do you persuade headstrong people to change their way of thinking and behavior? So far, we have seen Paul answer questions (chapter 8) and encourage people to imitate his own lifestyle (chapter 9) in an effort to correct their attitudes and actions. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul drew examples from […]

Leadership By Example

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Simone Weil described a familiar struggle we all face in her book, “Gravity and Grace.” Grace lifts us up to live like our Savior, but gravity pulls us down to embrace the sad junk of culture. The Corinthian church was in the throws of gravity, sinking under a compromised morality. Paul […]

When You Know Too Much

Reading Time: 6 Minutes When the church assembled to hear Paul’s letter read, they listened to the entire letter in a single meeting of the church. The people who heard the letter didn’t need the kind of background information that I have provided for modern readers. They lived and breathed the culture of Corinth every […]

Who Gets God’s Seal of Approval?

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Suppose there was a “God’s Best Seal of Approval” that could be awarded to a select group of worthy recipients. Who would qualify? — Surely the people who donate millions so that religious building could be built in God’s honor would qualify. — What about those who make great sacrifices? Like […]

1 Corinthians 7 – Stop Striving

Reading Time: 6 Minutes God spoke through the Psalm writer and said: “Stop striving and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.” (Psalm 46.10) Paul didn’t use the same words, but he wanted the church in Corinth to stop striving for social status and […]

Micah – A Message of Judgment and Hope

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Micah was a prophet in the Southern Kingdom (Judah) during the last one-third of the eighth century. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and primarily addressed his message to the prophets, priests, and rulers of the land. A Message of Judgment Micah had the difficult task of pronouncing God’s judgment on […]

God’s Love for a Wayward Nation

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Other than the prophet Jeremiah, Hosea reveals the inner workings of God’s compassion toward his people more than any of the other Old Testament prophets. The Darkness of Rebellion Like fine jewelry displayed on a black piece of velvet, God’s love for his people is contrasted by darkness of their unfaithfulness. […]

America in God’s Courtroom

Reading Time: 6 Minutes What if God brought America into a courtroom and accused our nation of wrongdoing? What issues would be paramount in his case? His case may be similar to the one that Hosea brought against the Northern Kingdom (Israel) in the mid-700s B.C. His opening argument might read like this. Hear the […]

Paul’s Picture of Servant Leadership

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Adam Hamilton has probably forgotten a conversation we had while standing in the sun beside our cars after a meeting, but I haven’t. For thirty minutes he kept asking me questions about my life and the church I serve. I learned nothing about Adam Hamilton on that day other than the […]

A Message to an Unfaithful Nation

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The Book of Hosea begins with this challenging command to the prophet. “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord’” (Hosea 1.2). Hosea obeyed […]

Build It Up, Don’t Break It Up

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Many of Paul’s letters were written to solve problems so that the church could be more united. He knew the kind of harm that a divided church does to the service of Jesus’ mission. With the cause of Christ paramount in his mind, he wrote letters to focus the church on […]

When You Hit Bottom, Look Up

Reading Time: 6 Minutes No thinking person can question Paul’s words that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23). Even though we recognize sin, we also tend to minimize it. “Sure I sin. Everybody sins. What of it?” Someone may say. It is the job of the prophet to […]

God’s Wisdom – Don’t Miss It

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The fledgling church in Corinth was outnumbered somewhere between 70-80 thousand to less than 100 people. The worldview of the general population threatened the very heart of the message that the church had embraced and Paul needed to persuade them to think differently. The very organizing principle of life (wisdom) was […]

Message from God – Amos

Reading Time: 6 Minutes When I was in seminary I read a book on Amos and Hosea. The preface to the book has stayed with me for almost 50 years. The author said, “We have been able to put a man on the moon, but our morality has not advanced beyond what Amos faced in […]

Understanding Grace – Jonah and Paul

Reading Time: 6 Minutes It is one thing to know the dictionary definition of grace and completely another to experience it. Jonah and Paul experienced different aspects of God’s grace. Our thoughts today center around God’s amazing grace, as illustrated by these two men. Morning: Jonah – Grace for Enemies The Book of Jonah is […]

“Real Talk” Questions

Reading Time: 7 Minutes When Josh Monk taught a Sunday School class and someone gave a very honest answer, he would make a dinging noise like on a quiz show and say, “Real talk alert!” In both the morning and evening meditation, we will study the prophet Jonah and Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Then […]

Matthew 13 – End Time Judgment

Reading Time: 7 Minutes All of human history is moving toward a goal that God has ordained for his creation. Generally speaking, from the time of Jesus there are four major events. (1) The coming of God’s kingdom in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. (2) An interval of unknown length. We are living […]

Luke 16 – The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

Reading Time: 7 Minutes I am using a very comprehensive book by Klyne Snodgrass as a resource for articles on the parables. Dr. Snodgrass presented 16 different interpretations of the parable of the Dishonest Manager in his book. Obviously, this is one of the most difficult parables to understand. I appreciate Dr. Snodgrass’ insights on […]

Luke 12 – The Parable of the Rich Fool

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Luke recorded a time when “someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ “But he said to him, ‘Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?’” Jesus then turned to the whole crowd and said, “Take care! […]

Finances and Romances

Reading Time: 6 Minutes My friends in the world of Alcoholic’s Anonymous often point to two troublesome areas in maintaining sobriety – finances and romances. Relationship issues and money can often be the downfall of people in recovery. Jesus didn’t use the phrase, “finances and romances,” with is followers, but he highlighted their role in […]

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Reading Time: 7 Minutes A professor in a prestigious east coast divinity school gave three students one of the biggest honors of their school career. He asked them to preach to the faculty and students at the weekly chapel service, which few students ever have the chance to do. The topic he gave them was […]

The Parable of the Two Builders

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was a Hindu, lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India. He memorized the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and it appears that he also lived by Jesus’ message. Gandhi was influenced by the Anglican […]

A Parable Directed to Leaders

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The parable of the Wicked Tenants was directed at the religious leaders who controlled the Temple in Jerusalem. For a full understanding of the events surrounding the parable, it will be helpful to read the entire chapter of Matthew 21. The message of this parable is full of important warnings and […]