Less than a week ago I woke up to the news of the violent school shooting that took place in Santa Fe, Texas. Ten people were killed and another thirteen wounded by a high school gunman. I am still praying for the families as the attention from the media has moved on to other things, knowing the hurt and pain is still very, very fresh for them. Though this happened in Texas and not in my home state, the whole United States was affected by this egregious act.
I knew I would start seeing the posts that say, “Pray for Santa Fe” on the day of, which is well meaning and I hope is not just a knee-jerk response just to post something but hopefully they are genuinely praying. For me, I had to evaluate my response. I think sometimes when I hear about evil acts I sometimes don’t always respond well because first, you hear it and you need to bear the news that you hear. It should trouble us when we hear about tragedy. It should trouble us that this even happens and how often it happens. It is a hard thing to hear and to bear and you can play naïve by overlooking information. Second, I think others pass over this news quickly because there is a sense of responsibility in how one should respond. If you do not take time to listen, you can not have responsibility. As a Christian, there is a biblical mandate to stand up against evil. The Bible says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11 ESV).” I believe there should be a responsibility for Christians, especially in America with our constitution and rights to be able to expose injustice and evil. Continue reading “Responding to Evil”
I have a friend who is always willing to help, be there when there is a need, even when it is not the most convenient. I am beyond thankful for this friend. If you have someone like that, you know what a treasure that is to have. There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Tychicus who my friend reminds me of, and we can be encouraged to be more like him.
Be like who? Tychicus! Just say his name 3 times fast! He is mentioned by the Apostle Paul at the end of Ephesians as “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord whom Paul was sending to them as an encourager (Ephesians 6:21-22).” At the end of Colossians, Paul again mentions this loved brother by adding that he is a faithful servant (Colossians 4:7). Continue reading “Be Like…Tychicus”
We see in the Bible that we are are called to confess our sin. For example, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” We are called to confess and repent form sin and it is crucial that we do it (Mark 1:15).
Who are we confessing our sin to? In this passage, John is directing the reader to confess their sin to God as he is the one who forgives. God is the only one who forgives and He freely forgives because of Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading “Unconfessed Sin?”
An estimated 103.4 million people watched the 2018 Super Bowl take place which revealed the prominence it has in many homes throughout America. This is a staggering amount of people all watching the same thing around the same time, yet I hate to break it to you; this is still not the greatest thing, even since sliced bread. The greatest event that has taken place throughout history took place over 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, though he did nothing deserving of death, conquered the enemies of death and sin by rising again to life. Why? He did it for us. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). Continue reading “The Main Event”
Yesterday marked the start of Passion week for Christians around the world with it being Palm Sunday. Every year, I try to direct my family on what did the last week of Jesus’ life look like? How can we look through the Gospels and see how he spent his week leading up to his death and crucifixion and ending with his resurrection? As a Christian parent we put the emphasis on what Easter is all about, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. A good resource that I keep going back to is The Final Days of Jesus by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor. Continue reading “Are You Ready for Passion Week”
I have some friends who were part of their school’s cross-country team. The importance of the long race is not just how one starts, but how they maintain their endurance through the whole race. The same is true for us as Christians. The book of Hebrews encourages the Christian to run with endurance the race that is set before them by looking to Jesus, who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1–2). Continue reading “Don't Be Like Demas”
In chapter three in of Nehemiah, at first glance you we read about a unique situation, Israel was working together to rebuild the wall. This task was not small as the perimeter around the city of Jerusalem consisted of almost 2 ½ miles of destroyed wall with multiple gates that needed to be rebuilt. You see the systematic approach to the rebuilding as the narrative goes from the northern part of the wall, to the western side, and to the eastern.
What is unique was not just the rebuilding of this broken-down wall but all who helped with the rebuild. There is a phrase that is written several times in this chapter, “Next to him.” It required many people working side by side to accomplish this big project. Continue reading “United In Christ”
Growth in unity as believers is shown in how we respond when others go through joyous moments or are enduring trials. As believers, we know that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). Jesus even warned us with the truth that in this life we will face tribulations but we can take heart because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Going through trials is nothing new, it is matter of when we will face them not if we will face them. We should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering as though something strange is happening, as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12).
As believers, we know that we will never face trials alone. There is something refreshing and encouraging to know that when we face different trials, we have the Lord, who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We also have the physical presence of fellow Christians, who will weep with us as we weep (Romans 12:15). I am so thankful for the body of Christ! I personally have seen the unity of the body of Christ as they have wept with me as I wept. Their presence and love bring a whole new level of comfort that I did not know. Continue reading “Marks of Christian Unity: Weep with Those Who Weep”
As a pastor, there are many times that I am thankful for those who have gone out of their way to assist me, and see that their way of serving the Lord is by blessing me and my family. They are special to me and I can say I thank the Lord for them!
God establishes the body of Christ to help one another. Each person in the body of Christ has a part to play in God’s overall plan in this world. Paul wrote, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12 esv). We see when hospitality is given in the body of Christ that there is unity. The apostle Paul knew a couple with that trait: Aquila and Priscilla. Continue reading “Be…Like Aquila and Priscilla”
As a parent, there are certain things that I am less desirous of doing than others, such as going to Costco as a family. Don’t get me wrong; I love being with my family and I love spending time with them. But Costco is usually busy, and when you have three young children, it’s just not that easy. I always tell my wife, Alyssa, that it is like trying to herd cats.
There have been successful trips to Costco and that is when we are all moving together with the same goal. We get in, have fun, and get the items we came for. Plus, the kids get to eat all the free samples!
In the same way, the church is made up of more than individual Christians; we are a body of believers that is called a family. We can easily start going our own way and doing our own thing. That is why Paul urges the church to be unified. He writes to the Philippian church, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1–2 esv).
Continue reading “Marks of Christian Unity: Rejoicing with One Another”