Ready Romans 3:10-19 to start.
Not long ago I saw a coffee mug that caught my attention. Well, to be clear it wasn’t the actual mug, but rather a Facebook advertisement selling this particular mug. The mug featured a picture of Santa Claus, specifically a close up on his face. He looks rather unimpressed, and the caption across the top of the picture, in all caps for emphasis, reads YOU’RE ALL NAUGHTY. Then at the bottom there is a reference to Romans chapter 3, verses 10 through 12. And if you look again at the verses we read to start, it’s absolutely clear that scripture teaches that all have indeed sinned, and that none are righteous. We are, in fact, all on the naughty list. Every single person on this planet is on the naughty list.
Continue reading All Have Sinned
Read Proverbs 30:24-28 to start.
Who here has had a splinter? Not looking for a show of hands or anything, but I’m willing to bet that most of you have at one time or another. If you haven’t, then you must have thicker skin than I do, or you never come into contact with wood. The other week I had a splinter on the side of my finger, and I managed to get it out with tweezers. I recall one time earlier this year, I had a splinter for a couple of days that I could not get rid of, and when I was in the hospital visiting my father, I convinced one of the ICU nurses, well, I just asked her nicely, to remove it, and it took her a bit of effort to get rid of the thing. Splinters are unpleasant. But they are a normal thing that we experience from time to time.
Splinters are also very, very, small. If you’ve ever removed one and taken a look at it afterwards, it was likely only a few millimetres long, and not even one millimetre wide. A tiny and insignificant thing by any measure, other than the amount of discomfort it can cause.
Continue reading Four Small Things
Read Daniel 3:12-18 to start.
I imagine the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is a familiar one for most of us. King Nebuchadnezzar commissioned a great golden image and had all his officials bow down and worship it in a show of obedience and loyalty. The three aforementioned Hebrews, unwilling to bow down to an idol in direct defiance of God’s laws, declined to do so, and there were repercussions. They were hauled in front of the king and asked to explain themselves, and were given a second chance to comply. They still declined.
Continue reading But If Not…
Read Psalm 38 to start.
Two Sundays ago, when I was asked to preach this morning, I had no particular sermon topic in mind. Sometimes I have ideas and notes well in advance that are waiting for the right time or for some inspiration before preparing a sermon. There have been times I’ve carried around an outline of a few points to use in a future sermon scribbled on the back of a bulletin tucked in the front of my Bible for months before I use them. Well, this time I didn’t have any of those. I had no idea what I was going to preach about today. But I trusted that God would give me something to say, and hopefully with enough time to prepare something coherent. Nothing came to mind immediately, though. I had a complete blank.
Then God showed me a sign.
Continue reading Not to Complain…
We’re probably all familiar with one of the incarnations of Kids Say the Darndest Things. It’s a rather contrived show, but it is true that children says some interesting, outlandish, and frankly inexplicable things. But also amusing things. At least my children do, and I’ve kept track of some of the best comments they have made. Everything below is a statement one of my children have made, quoted verbatim, along with their age and the context.
Kids, I’m sorry for this in advance.
Continue reading Stuff My Kids Have Said, Volume One
Read 2 Samuel 3: 17-31 to start
This evening we’re going to be looking at an Old Testament character with a dark history. I could spend the entire time reading verses where he is mentioned and where his actions are described, both positive and seriously negative, but for the sake of time I’ll try to only read short sections as applicable.
The person I would like to look at is Joab. An Israelite general, specifically the commander of David’s army, and a competent, brave, and successful leader, we see Joab time and time again in the books of 1 Chronicles and 2 Samuel in particular. One of three sons of David’s sister Zeruiah, Joab was a valiant leader. He led the capture of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and conducted a number of successful military campaigns against hostile foreign neighbours. He also provided good advice to David on a number of occasions, such as in dealing with Absalom, and in the census of the people in 2 Samuel chapter 24. But as we saw a moment ago, Joab was also a murderer, and it is that aspect of the man that I would like to consider this evening. There are four specific accounts of murders that Joab committed, with four different motives, and we are going to look at each of those this evening.
Continue reading Motives and murder
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-7:1 to start.
I know what you are probably thinking, and yes, this might sound familiar. That’s because I spoke on this same passage last month. You might remember, the topic was unequal yokes, about believers being joined in partnership with unbelievers, and how problematic that is. There is more to the passage than that, I only discussed a few of the verses that we read. Today we are going to look at something different, although something no less important.
You might also remember how I talked about cars and tractors, and how they are not the same, they are not compatible. Don’t worry, this morning I’m not going to talk about cars or tractors. I’m going to talk about boats.
Continue reading Be Ye Separate
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:18 to start.
As you probably know, I have four children. There are some things they know, and some things that they don’t. When I think about things that they should know, sometimes I recall certain spiritual principles that I have been taught, some of which might seem very basic, and some that I have heard perhaps many times, but that I’m not sure how solid a grasp my children have on them. I don’t know for certain how solid a grasp any of the young people here would have on these principles, or for that matter, what level of understanding the adults listening this morning would have, or could use a refresher on. There are a lot of things that we can likely all use a reminder about from time to time, after all.
The principle that I would like to consider this morning is the idea of an unequal yoke. It’s a familiar one to me, one that I recall being cautioned about in my younger years on many occasions. This was something that was brought up at Youth Group as something to be exceedingly wary about. And this may well be something you’ve heard before and understand, or something that you may be thinking “Eh, what’s the big deal?” or something that you don’t know about at all. But before we get into that, some information. About vehicles, to be exact.
Continue reading Unequal yokes
Read Luke 18:1-8 to start.
As you probably know, I have four children. They’re pretty great kids, not perfect, but of course neither am I. They are good at some things, but others, not so much. One thing they are generally good at is asking for things. And when I say ‘good at’ what I mean is persistent. Their actual asking skills, well, those can be hit and miss at times. But when my children want something, they generally ask for it. Sometimes they ask only once. But then there are other times when they ask so many times it more than makes up for it.
Continue reading Squeaky wheels
Read Hebrews 9:1-10 and 10:1-4 to start.
Long, long ago, way back in 2001, some friends and I discovered a silly website called Homestar Runner. For several years they put out weekly three minute long cartoons, occasionally longer items, which were generally amusing and entertaining. The creators funded it by selling merchandise, I still have at least one or two of their t-shirts.
One cartoon they did in I think 2004 was a parody of children’s TV shows, and featured a ridiculous song about counting. It went like this, “Stave it off, one two three, and now you can count to three.” The joke was that then it was going to be repeated fifty times, which of course would be annoying and pointless, so it ends after the song plays just twice more.
Continue reading Stave it off