Sunday, November 23, 2014

Your Lord and Savior: Christ the King

An Evangelical Baptist friend and I once had a fairly long argument about being saved by “receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior.” That was his phrase, and I’m sure it’s very familiar to you. And he was saying that’s all there is to it, and I was saying no it isn’t! Eventually I pulled out my trump card for this argument. To anyone who thinks that if you say some prayer one time, nothing after that matters when it comes to salvation, I could choose from dozens of contrary Scriptures, but my favorite is this one from Matthew 25. You can’t read this and not know that our actions, our works, have something to do with our salvation.

In this case, though, my friend was unfazed by my Biblical trump card. He said, “Well, of course. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior isn’t just something you say. It’s what you do that determines whether He’s your Lord. His Lordship has to make a difference in your life, or it’s just an empty word.” Um… oh. I was surprised and definitely humbled to discover, so far into our conversation, that I’d totally misunderstood what my friend had been saying. Once we cleared up my bad assumption, we couldn’t really find any real disagreement between us. Knowing us, we probably started arguing about Mary instead!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Not for the Faint of Heart: 33rd Sunday OT


When you make an investment, you’re concerned with balancing the chance of coming out ahead against the risk of losing. You might think first of brokers and bankers, but farmers make exactly these decisions continually… actually everybody makes decisions about risk and reward, and not only about money. With no magical crystal ball, we just have to think through the potential upside and downside, and make our best estimation, and hope for success. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Worth Living.

So here’s the thing: I want to address a conversation that’s been happening recently about the ending of life and what choices are valid to avoid suffering. And we just heard 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, which couldn’t be a better text for that: “Don’t you realize,” Paul asks, “That you are God’s Temple, and that the Spirit of God dwells within you? If anyone destroys the Temple of God, God will destroy him, for the Temple of God is holy, and that Temple you are.” So that’s our topic, and the thing is it’s a very tough one to preach. For one, it’s intensely personal and intensely painful for some of us. For another, we have all ages here and I never want to short-circuit parents’ decisions about when certain topics are broached. But silence doesn’t seem like an option so I’m going to try it. If I fail in either of those respects, I ask two things of you: forgiveness, and feedback.

All I really want to say this morning is that human life is sacred. That idea is something we might be tempted to take for granted, but the truth is we can’t, not anymore. I’m very sorry to say that people who describe themselves as Christians are already divided on this point. But if anything or anyone is going to salvage the idea of the sanctity of life, and salvage our civilization along with it, Christians are going to have to be at least a big part of that. Hopefully we’ll find many allies.