this went thru my mind


Alzheimer’s: Seeing the Hidden Grace of Alzheimer’s by Colleen Carroll Campbell

“We live in a culture that exalts rationality, autonomy and productivity above all else. What good could there be in a disease that robs its victims of all three?”

Correction: How (Not) to Correct Another Christian by Frank Viola [required reading]

“While this article is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the subject … here are 14 things that I learned about correcting another child of God.”

Giving: 8 Observations About Sacrificial Giving

“… the people of Israel went all-in as they brought their gifts for the tabernacle. Here are eight observations I made about their giving (from Exodus 35–36).”

Maturity: 5 Marks of Mature Behavior by Jim Martin

“Emotionally immature people can do great damage to others. This is compounded when these same people perceive themselves to be spiritually mature. I’ve seen this far too often.”

a pointed post-election sermon


Let me, my brothers and sisters, frankly speak the truth in love. I’m trying to imagine what this world would be like if the uninhibited and relentless passion and zeal I’ve seen expressed by so many Christians the past several months over politicians – people they don’t know – was expressed instead for the Christ they claim to know. I say this to our shame, my brothers and sisters.

And so, in light of politics, the past several months, and last night’s election, let me share several portions of Scripture with you today that have been running through my head many, many times of late.

Our Lord himself said to his disciples: “… I have chosen you out of the world, and you don’t belong to the world …” (John 15.19) Ponder this statement.

Similarly, it is our Lord Jesus’ half-brother who reminds us: “God stands against the proud, but favors the humble.” (James 4.6) If you give any care for human politics, then you know this statement works both sides of the street. The Holy Spirit is speaking to us all.

In light of that truth, the apostle Paul, a man hounded by every human government he ever encountered once he came to faith in Christ, spoke plainly to the church, reminding all Christians: “Our citizenship is in heaven. We look forward to a savior that comes from there—the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3.20) Understand, when he said “we look forward to a savior” from “heaven,” he meant he did not look for, expect to see, work toward having, try to find or even yearn to raise up a savior from the earth.

He said this in light of what he had said earlier, namely: “Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world …” (Philippians 2.15) It grieves me to say I have seen and heard far more grumbling and arguing, cursing and cussing, among Christians this recent political season than I have from those yet to believe. How my heart bleeds over this sad fact.

Instead of vile thoughts, hate-filled words, a spirit of seething loathing – all over the politics of this world and plastered on our Facebook pages at that! – “Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. … The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.” (James 1.19; 3.6)

Again our Lord Jesus speaks directly to us and says: “The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how terrible that darkness will be!” (Matthew 6.22-23) Consider what this means.

Well then, post-election, what is a Christian in the U.S. to do today? The same thing we are called to do daily: “First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceful life in complete godliness and dignity. This is right and it pleases God our savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2.1-4) Let us do just that. For the sake of Christ, the world, and ourselves. In that order.

Therefore, let us “Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5.17). Let us begin with ourselves, freely and frequently confessing that we daily miss the mark awfully and often, that we are sinners saved only by God’s great mercy, and that we are truly dependent on his goodness and grace for anything good in our life or any good toward us. For only then will we see others, rightly, and be moved to extend similar grace and good.

And as we pray and allow him to work his holiness through us, let us remind ourselves often that our hope is not in any human, be they perceived as powerful or not, and the one we long to see appear in power comes from no party or place on this earth, for as Christians “… we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2.13) And so, let us have the mind of Christ, speak the words Christ would have us speak, and do as Christ would have us to do, not simply carried along with the outgoing tide of this world and its ways.

Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through you and me. Amen.

it’s time to be civil (20)


#11. Mind your body. … Be ready to make little grooming-related sacrifices for the sake of those around you. If you carpool or use public transportation, don’t wear strong perfume or aftershave lotions. You don’t want to overwhelm your fellow riders. About perfumes in general, there are those who dislike them or are allergic to them. Make sure that your wearing perfume at work is not a problem for your coworkers. …

“No one will be physically closer to you for a longer time than your companion, your spouse, and your family. Make sure that your body care is such that it adds to their pleasure in being with you. Let’s disabuse ourselves of the rather common notion that although we are expected to be well groomed in public, there is nothing wrong with a little private slovenliness. This is part of a larger assumption that good manners may be forgotten when we are with those closest to us. On the contrary, being civil to them is one of the most concrete ways we show them that we love them. Love is not simply made of feeling. Real love is made of doing.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); p. 82,83