Following, Losing, and Living

Art by Patrick Murphy The following is a meditation on Luke 9:23-24 from my personal journal.  *** “If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will…

God with the Smelly and Beastly

With Christmas just past, I’ve been thinking about one of the names by which Jesus was announced: Immanuel, “God with us.” “God with us” was a prophetic name first uttered by Isaiah in a prophecy (Isaiah 7:14).  Matthew tells us Jesus fulfilled this prophetic appellation when he was born (Matt. 1:23). Jesus’s birth as a…

House of God (Reprise)

Art by Patrick Murphy “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it” (Gen. 28:16). As we said before, the Lord revealed to Jacob that God was in His house. Bethel means, “House of God.” It shows Christ and His people as God’s dwelling, God’s house. The Lord is in us!…

An Unexpected Christmas Greeting

The other day, as I was just waking up, I said, “Merry Christmas, Lord!”  It was a quirky thing to do.  I had never wished Jesus a merry Christmas.  The things one does when half-awake! Quite unexpectedly, the Lord replied!  He said, “I Am Christmas.”  True enough, right?  So a merry Christmas to all of…

House of God, Gate of Heaven

On his way to Haran, Jacob stops for the night. He puts a stone beneath his head and sleeps.  He dreams of a staircase that goes from earth to heaven with angels traveling up and down. Echoing His promise to Abraham, the Lord tells Jacob He will give him the land and bless all peoples…

Ever Change from Carbon to Chlorine-Based?

I had the following article published in the religion column of our local paper. You’ll notice they re-titled the article. But I’m not the first author to differ with an editor 😉 *** Each year, a change comes over our house the day after Thanksgiving. A tree grows in the living room bearing brightly colored,…

Pickled in the Spirit?

Our pastor started a sermon series on topics that can be controversial among Christians. The first was baptism in the Holy Spirit, which the pastor asked me to teach on. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is something I, admittedly, haven’t spent much time thinking about. I believe the Spirit would rather focus us on Jesus…

Disciples and Division

Recently, I read Christian History magazine, issue 120: “Calvin, Councils, and Confessions–How the Church became the Churches.” Church history is a hobby. I identify less with a particular tradition than with anyone in Christ. I love church history because I see it as my history–Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. Issue 120 discusses the spread of Reformed…

Social Bulimia

In August, Seattle’s mayor called for the removal of two statues: one, a confederate monument, the other a statue of Lenin. This followed the decision of officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and the destruction of a confederate soldier statue in Durham, North Carolina. The latest fad has been…

Eavesdropping

“Esau realized that his father Isaac disapproved of the Canaanite women, so Esau went to Ishmael and married, in addition to his other wives, Mahalath daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son” (Gen. 28:8-9). Isaac sends Jacob to Laban in Paddan-Aram to find a wife. He sends Jacob off with a command: “Do not marry a Canaanite…

The Tightrope Walker

  I ran across the following poem recently and thought I’d post it.  I wrote it when I was a new believer and was seeing (for the first time) my fallen state and need of God.  Many things have changed since then.  What hasn’t changed is the greatness of Christ and my dependence on Him,…