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  • January 2014

    bible-stuff-john-4-24

    God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 NIV

    These are words spoken by Jesus to the famous Samaritan Woman at the Well. Jesus was more or less on the run from the Pharisees on his way back to Galilee. Jesus and his Disciples traveled through Samaria and through the city of Sychar. Jesus, tired from his journey has a seat near the well at around noon.

    Jesus was alone. His disciples had gone to get food. A Samaritan woman came to get some water, at noon. This is apparently not the time women get their water. She was an outcast. Not only because she was Samaritan and the Jews considered Samaritans half-breeds, idol worshipers and false-Jews. She was an outcast even among her own people. Jesus later tells her why. Because she has been with five husbands and is living with a man who is not her husband at all. I love that Jesus, though acknowledges her sin, seems to be thrilled that she told the truth about it. “You are right when you say you have no husband,” he says, and ends with, “What you have said is quite true.” [click to continue…]

    nothing

    If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. James 1:5 CEV

    I like the book of James. It’s not just that we share the same name… we see the working out of our faith very similarly.

    Our verse today finds itself in the very first portion of the very first chapter of James. It is a part of the introduction to a letter. The verse also lays out one of the main themes of the book: Wisdom. In our verse James instructs the church that if they need wisdom, God is the one to ask. Sounds simple, and it is, but we’re due a little digging. [click to continue…]

    MontyPythonGod

     

    Today’s Verse

    Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh,from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV)

    God Cannot Be Mocked?

    The first part of Galatians 6:7  sounds so hard and mighty. I can’t read it without hearing a thundering preacher in my head. “GOD CANNOT BE MOCKED!” Then the voice trails off with threats about how God will destroy us all or something just as horrible. Out of context this seems like a lie. God can be mocked. So I had to address this issue first, for my own sake if anything. [click to continue…]

    mmd-ep10-you-didnt-have-to-be-so-nice

    One more week of celebrating the moments that make every day worthwhile. This time its:

    Being interviewed by Rey Brown from “I Like Family” podcast, A lady at the school said I was very kind, I got Jenn’s new car stereo in, I had a woman as my contact picture, I recreated the Nobody’s Listening theme song, Started posting NLPast Rewind episodes, I was able to fix a bunch of RSS Feed issues, Talked out my fear of writing with Jenn, Ambrosia from Publix, A great email from an NLCast listener, A writing breakthrough, Watching Harry Potter with Jenna, Skipping church, Reading to J and Making a schedule for the week. PLUS a ton of your MMD moments! Enjoy!

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    using-puppets-memory-verse

    Using a puppet or live character to help teach the verse to children is in no way a new concept. My first experience was seeing Willie George trying to get Uugene to learn a verse. I would cackle my head off at his mistakes. It’s rare not to see a traveling kids evangelist use a puppet or live character helping with verses or main points of the lesson. Why is it so popular? Because it works.

    I was emailed recently about a puppet character I had performed while speaking for the AG Southern Missouri Kids Camp in 2012 called “Super Star”. He was a hit with the kids and the adult leaders. The email was from a pastor who wanted to start a similar thing in their own service and wanted to know if I had any advice. I realized that I had never written anything on the subject. Below are the results of answering that question. [click to continue…]

    more-than-you-can-handle

    I saw a comic strip today on Facebook. A little boy is standing before his bedraggled mom and apparently has some bad news. The caption reads, “Before I tell you what happened, Mom, remember… the Lord will never give you more than you can handle.”

    handle-comic

    Har har. It’s rare I find stuff like this funny. And though it was drawn well, the joke definitely goes in the “Christian Cheese” category (which I’m sure I will write about at a later date). I mention it because the caption is an example of a concept that many Christians believe but is completely untrue. Many believe that God will not allow any circumstances to come along that we can’t handle. I’ve heard people quote it. I’ve heard Pastors reference it from the pulpit. [click to continue…]

    not-to-judge

    Read 2 Corinthians 5:16 below. I’ve included various versions. Read them all if you like. They all say pretty much the same thing, but reading them all gives you a better understanding of the original text since each is translated in a slightly different way. I actually encourage you to read the entire chapter. It’s easier to understand a single verse when you know the context.

    16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one [f]according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. (NASB)

    16 So from now on we don’t look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don’t anymore. (NIRV)

    16 We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. (CEV)

    16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. (NKJV)

    Chapter 16 starts out by talking about the human body.

    Basically defining it as a tent that we live in while we’re on earth. It’s a home that we will one day leave for our eternal home. Our bodies keep us from eternity for now, but in the mean time it is also tool God has given us to please Him and we will one day be judged for the deeds that body does, good or bad.

    So our bodies are apparently in existence to help our Spirit get things done. In a way the text is minimizing the importance and usefulness of the body (can be destroyed, keeps us from Heaven) but then points out it’s usefulness in obeying and pleasing God.

    Our bodies are how we outwardly express our devotion to God and God’s devotion to others. How many of us think of our bodies in that way? I just think about how fat my body is most of the time. It’s how I enjoy my movies, video games. It’s how I drive around, hug my kids, type out blog posts. But although our bodies are limited, in usefulness and duration, we are to use it in ways that will be judged as good. Just like anything God has given us, we are accountable to Him for how we’ve made use of it. Boy am I in trouble. I have a lot of explaining to do for what was going on between ages 14 and 16.  [click to continue…]

    depression-is-not-spiritual

    Major depressive disorder and Anxiety are not Spiritual Issues. They are mental issues. Depression and Anxiety are no more spiritual issues than a broken leg is. Do you know how I know this? Because honestly prayer, activities, church, ministry, life changes, attempts to flush out sin, none of those things improved my depression and anxiety. Medication did. Medication that alters the chemicals in my brain so that it functions as it should. If it were a spiritual issue… would medication work? I would say no. I am not aware of any spiritual issue that medication has any effect on.

    It makes me nuts that someone can have cancer and we’re 100% supportive. No one in the church would ever dream of accusing them of being out of the Will of God or in a situation where they need more faith. But those who struggle with depression in our more traditional or ignorant churches find themselves inundated with input that is not only completely unhelpful, it actually compounds the problem. [click to continue…]

    amos

    This is a continuation of commentary on Amos 5:14-15. So read the first part first. This is the second part.

    “Choose good instead of evil! See that justice is done.”

    Good and evil. I immediately think of the evil villain tying the damsel to the railroad tracks. A few thoughts later and I’m thinking of those who kidnap, those traffic human beings, those who murder, steal and those who judge others. There are also the evils of child abuse, spouse abuse, self-abuse through the use of drugs and excess alcohol, gossiping, and countless others. Followers of Christ enjoy a little perk we call grace. Since early Christianity we have rested easy knowing that our sins are forgiven and our place in heaven is secure. And though that place is secure, we must not take advantage of that grace. [click to continue…]

    mmd-ep9-let-it-go

    It’s another week of celebrating the little, tiny wonderful things in life. Things like:

    Getting cake; my kids getting to hold my iPad; not having a great day, but making it into a good one; taking down Christmas lights with controlled anger; torturing my son; solutions to my hard drive woes; a good day of writing and inspiration; fixing Christmas for my wife; successfully recovering nearly every meaningful file from the failed drive bringing an end to the hard drive debacle of 2013; crushing my man dot between 12 packs of soda, getting a Buzz Lightyear from Tokyo, Japan; and throwing ice to enhance my performance of “Let It Go”.

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