The Incarnation of the Word of God

Sometimes events happen which appear merely coincidental, and yet to believers they show the complex work of God’s Spirit.
Last night, in cleaning my desk of some files I had brought from my office when I retired, I started reading some handwritten notes of mine in a folder. They were seminary notes, from perhaps forty years ago. I think I had only looked at them once or twice in the intervening years. In these notes I was copying large selections from a book I loved--The Incarnation of the Word of God, written by St. Athanasius. (I had also copied a sentence from CS Lewis who had written the introduction to the translation I was reading.) Athanasius lived and ministered in the first 3/4th of the fourth century (300’s). He was the bishop of Alexandria in North Africa.
Then earlier today (as I write this), at a small first birthday party for my youngest grandchild, I was sitting with friends of our family, a couple in their thirties who attend a Baptist church. The woman began for som…

Do Not Fear Those Who Can Kill Only the Body

What if someone broke into your house and threatened to kill you? How do you think you or I might react?
What if you were about to be killed because of your faith in Christ? What do you think you would say or do?
Or what if the fears of some came true, and the nuclear bombs began to fall?  How do you think we would respond? Does the Bible have anything to say to us about such horrible and catastrophic events?
Earlier this week I read a scripture in which Jesus specifically addresses such fears. (I had not read it in a while, and it got my attention precisely because I myself have feared the kinds of things I just mentioned.)  Jesus said, “And do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can kill both body and soul in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
These words of Jesus are sobering to say the least. But they are also comforting!
Imagine you were a Christian in a part of the world where some people wanted to kill you just because you believed Jesus is …

Looking For The Light of Eternity….

Looking For The Light of Eternity….
Last night I went outside into the cool dark night. I don’t walk outside at night that much, but I had to get something I had left in the car.  Entering a different, stiller world, I sensed the difference.  I saw half-moon hanging in the dark sky. The moon seemed ancient, almost eternal (I know it isn’t).  And yet compared to the electric illumination and the tinny sound of the television which I had left inside the house, the moon is at least a reminder of eternity.
I think if we spent more time outside, we would be more spiritual. God’s creation is beautiful and wondrous, and it inspires belief in Him. Instead we focus on our creations---what we can read with electric illumination and what we can see on television and computer screens. The fast changing and temporary images we see on these screens are the exact opposite of what is eternal. ….II Corinthians 4:18:  “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is t…

To Whom Are You Thankful? (And How Will You Respond?)

Most of us know how there is a tendency in our country to secularize holidays. If we are not careful, Christmas becomes a secular holiday which is about gift giving and Santa Claus. Likewise, Thanksgiving becomes a holiday all about eating lots of food—turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes, corn, rolls, pumpkin pie, and the Lord only knows what else. Also secular Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a great emphasis on buying/buying/buying---all the way up until Christmas.
If Christmas is a holiday where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, then what is Thanksgiving? I am sure some who do not believe in God would say they are thankful, but for me it is difficult to think of Thanksgiving as not being personal and relational. Thanksgiving is a day when we give thanks to God.
Suppose you were delivered from death in a horrible car accident. As a Christian I would give profound thanks to God for that.  A person who does not believe in God might feel joy, gratitude, and thanksgiving in be…

“Become As A Little Child”

Recently I was babysitting my three-and-a-half year old grandson while he and his brother’s parents were at an evening event.
It was early evening, and I was telling him Bible stories before bed. It soon became evident that his parents had done a good job teaching him from the Bible.  We were lying on the floor on our backs, and I would begin a Bible story. Before long we would usually come to a part of the story which he knew, and he would say the name of the character about to be introduced:  (for example, Adam, the snake, David, Goliath, Daniel, the lion [in the lion’s den].) Whenever we got to a part of a story which my grandson knew and where he could start telling the story himself, he would get this huge grin on his face that just consumed his whole face with joy.  I can still see this look of utter and complete joy when he knew a story and could tell part of it himself.  I keep thinking of it and remembering it. I am convinced there is a lesson for me.
First of all, and most obv…

“A Land More Kind than Home” -A Conversation With Thomas Wolfe and CS Lewis

Recently I decided, almost at the last minute, to go to my 50th high school reunion. Crazily, I tried at that late date also to arrange a preaching gig at the church I grew up in, but it was just too late for that. I understood, and yet something about it also disappointed me. I had attended my high school for four years, but I had attended my church, usually three times a week, for the better part of thirteen years. Seeds planted at my church had grown up in me, and I had spent almost forty years being a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then suddenly I thought of the title of the novel by Thomas Wolfe (who grew up in Asheville, NC, near to where I grew up): “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Many people have asked why Wolfe chose this title. To me the title means at least two things: First, you can’t go home again because the place you knew as home has changed. It is no longer there (as it was). Secondly you can’t go home again, because you also have changed. Even if you could go back t…

A Story About People Who Come Late

Once upon a time a man owned a field. One day he needed people to work in this field, and so very early in the morning he went out to the place where people gathered who needed work. He hired some of them to work the whole day and promised them a fair wage.Then later in the day, he went back and hired more people. In the mid afternoon, he returned and hired some more. Then one last time, about an hour before quitting time, he went back and hired even more laborers.
When the workday was done, he began to pay the workers, starting with those who had workedonly about an hour. To everyone's surprise, he paid those last workers the same amount that, in the early morning, he had agreed to pay the laborers that he had hired first and who had worked the entire day! Those workers who had worked the whole day, when they saw that those who had worked for just an hour were paid the same amount that they had been promised, were glad and said to themselves, "he is going to pay us much more …