Posts

Showing posts from January, 2016

WARMTH FOR THE WINTER SOUL

Image

READING OF THE WILL

Image
When someone passes away, the closest family and friends are faced with a new chapter of life that includes grief and reflection. If you are attending your first funeral, it will not likely be the last one. 

I have been to approximately 100 funerals in my lifetime. Funerals are a time of remembrance, learning new things and honouring the best in people. Following a death there is an abrupt time of adjustment that includes emptying closets, closing accounts and ensuring that the good of the survivors is considered.
Sometimes, families undergo incredible stress in matters related to inheritance. If the person was very wealthy or penniless, someone may have sentimental attachment to some of the stuff. From the Mercedes-Benz in the garage to the fridge magnets, everything a person owns will one day be disposed of or given to another.
I remember one woman who left nothing for her step-children and gave her money to charity. Some of the adult children felt hurt by the woman they had grown to …

TERRORISTS, TSUNAMIS AND CHOKING HAZARDS

Image
How many TV shows, books and Internet articles focus on doing all the right things to live a long, healthy life? This is all good, but Jesus tells us that more is at stake than personal care and feeling bad for others who suffer.

Personal repentance is mostly changing the way we think about things. It is an attitude that seeks to live a life in alignment with God’s Love. It is living in a way that welcomes the Kingdom of God that Jesus leads.
Jesus is not making suggestions, but sending warnings to his hearers. Make the change God requires or eventually be destroyed by things beyond your control. Turning to God will not prevent terrorists, Tsunami waves or asphyxiation by donut.But, we can know peace with God and the promise of life beyond the grave. Jesus told Nicodemus this truth about God’s plans for humanity.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into…

INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION

Image
The Kingdom of God is a story about inclusion and exclusion. The ones who were promised the Kingdom ended up rejecting it—excluded from their own inheritance. Adam and Eve are excluded from the Garden of Eden.


Jesus tells other provocative stories—the Good Samaritan who was an outsider showing the insiders what true mercy looks like. Inclusion…
Or how about the most vulnerable and poor being invited to the King’s party because the normal guests were disinterested and making excuses for not coming? Inclusion and exclusion…
The adulterous woman being protected and restored… inclusion…
The theme of inclusion and exclusion permeates the Scriptures.
The Gentiles being a wild branch grafted into the domesticated Jewish fig tree… inclusion…
Separation of the sheep and goats… inclusion and exclusion…
Rich men and the eye of the needle… exclusion…
The Great White Throne Judgment and the Lamb’s Book Of Life… inclusion or exclusion…

GOD'S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN

Image
Johnny Cash sang, “Sooner or later God’s gonna cut you down.”[1]



Is that true Johnny? Do we all have a reason to be concerned? How are we to interpret the meaning of disaster and tragedy?
Jesus’ message of repentance is not just pointed at individuals, but also to his religious community. He came calling his own nation Israel home to God. The family nation is often described in botanical terms—a bruised reed, a vine or a fig tree.

Luke 13:6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

The simple parable shows common sense gardening. If your fruit …