Things that no longer bother me

“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty.  Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me” (Psalm 131:1).

At least, I hope that’s true of me.

A young minister texted to say he was studying the various explanations and interpretations about the day of the Lord’s actual crucifixion, the number of days/nights He was in the tomb, etc.  “What is your theory?” he wanted to know.

I replied that I don’t have a theory, that for a lot of reasons such questions do not bother me.

He did not say whether that was a satisfactory answer.  But it’s the truth.

A lot of things I used to obsess about and study and address in sermons no longer bother me.  Part of it–I would hope all of it–results from a mature perspective of the world and the call of God.  Some things just do not matter to me that much.  If you the reader disagree, that’s fine and it’s your privilege.  I’m not saying the Lord makes all His disciples the same. The variety of His gifts and calls seems endless.

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Servanthood: A different kind of leadership

“…your servant, for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). 

God wants you to be a leader, Christian.  But not your garden variety kind of leader, where you have lots of followers who obey your commands, groupies surrounding you to anticipate your whims.

God calls you and me to be servant-leaders.  A servant leader is the kind the world knows little of, the type that is counter-intuitive, we might say.  That is, it doesn’t look or feel like a leader but it is.

Once again, the way of the Lord is upside down compared to the world’s way.  (You’ve noticed that, have you?)

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“Oh, how long it’s been since I’ve seen you!”

Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:16). 

Songwriter Robert Sherman was attending the birthday party for Will Durant, the 85-year-old who with his wife Ariel had recently produced the enormous set of volumes on The History of Civilization.  It was a feat of incredible magnitude for which they had won all kinds of awards.

One month earlier, Sherman had spent several hours with Dr. Durant during which they discussed literature and film.  But now, in the crowded reception, Durant just cannot place Sherman.  He knows he’s supposed to know him, but cannot get beyond that.

Know the feeling? I sure do.

Bob Sherman said Will Durant would stare, smile, and try to make the connection. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head.

Finally, Durant said, “It’s good of you to come.  It’s been a long time since I have seen you.  Too long.”

Sherman, relating this story in Moose: Chapters from my Life, called Durant’s words  “an all purpose statement.”

And Sherman understands the problem.  The older we get, the more prone we are to forgetfulness.

Do you have a similar story?  Here is one of mine.

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If I were to preach a sermon on homosexuality

“And such were some of you.”  (I Corinthians 6:11).

On a social-media platform the other day, pastors admitted their reluctance to address homosexuality for the obvious reasons: it is such a hot-button issue, good people differ, and the historic Christian position is becoming more and more a lightning rod.

I’m a Southern Baptist.  I’m a Bible-believing conservative follower of Jesus Christ.  I find nothing in Scripture to support homosexuality or a lifestyle consistent with that practice.  Not a word.  (I need to say that up front because some might question this from what follows.)

Pastors need to address such issues as homosexuality, transgender, and same sex marriage in their sermons.  No church wants or needs a steady diet of it, to be sure, but neither should we shy away from these hot potato issues.

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Lessons in prayer from a blind beggar

A blind man sat by the roadside begging.  When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he began to call out, “Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:35fff)

The blind beggar of Jericho had a name, at least in a way he did.  Bartimaeus they called him, according to the account in Mark 10.  However, Bar-Timaeus means “Son of Timaeus.”  This tells us no one really knew his name, only that his father was a man known to some.

Bartimaeus was blind.  In that culture, no options existed for a blind adult other than to beg.  Perhaps someone helped him to his begging place each day, we don’t know.  We may assume that he was unwashed, that he needed a haircut last year and had not had a bath in memory.  By any standards of the day, his situation was clearly hopeless.

Maybe so, but….

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How to select your “life verse”

“Lord, to whom shall  we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).  

Your life verse is not just a cute, catchy line that looks good on a bumper sticker.

Your life verse understands you.  It sums up a lot about your life.  It has your number.

Your life verse knows your deep, dark secrets.

When you were young, you were still finding out who you were and had yet to encounter life’s bruises and hurts. You could not have found a verse that “fit” since you didn’t know “what size you were,” to stay with the metaphor.  But by this time, you have lived enough to carry scars from disappointments and battles.  You have failed and sometimes failed bigtime.  You have hurt and cried and cried out to God.  And now you are ready to find your life verse.

Your life verse won’t necessarily make you happy.  It may be a reminder of the scars you wear and a few you have inflicted.

Here’s mine.

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