Posts filed under: Life

The news story was one that no one wanted to hear. Police had been called to a house to investigate a 911 call. It appeared to be a murder-suicide tragedy. 

Sadness creeps in…

Then you find out that the victims in this story were an elderly couple. 

Sadness grows deeper…

If the news that this tragic event involves an elderly couple was not enough, it is released that this couple was identified by neighbors as a retired pastor from the area. 

That’s just too much…

I wish that I could say that the scene that I have just discribed was fictional and completely made up. The truth is that this is a news story that has impacted an area close to where we live within the past week. 

Alongside the sadness that this story brings stands a gigantic question: What led to this?

The part of this news story that has got my stomach in knots is that the apparent reason behind this murder-suicide is that “the couple’s health was fleeting and they struggled to take care of each other.”

Read that again… “the couple’s health was fleeting and they struggled to take care of each other.” 

My wife and I have recently been talking about the biblical mandate of community among the Body of Christ. If there is one thing that has been struggling in many churches, it is the practice of biblical community. 

This tragic news story should be an alarm for all churches: we desperately need community! 

I know that we have busy schedules. I am as guilty as anyone of putting too much on my plate. This does not excuse us from doing what we have been commanded by our Lord to do: 

I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13:34-35 CSB)

Jesus was not talking to the masses when he spoke those words. He was speaking to his disciples. The way they cared for and loved one another would be one of the greatest witnessing tools the Church would have. It would be an undeniable characteristic of those who belong to Jesus. 

This whole thing has brought three prayers to my mind:

  • I pray that this story is an anomaly. I pray that this is not one of many stories that show that the Church is not doing as well with “community/fellowship” as we thought we were. 
  • I pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort the family at this time and bring healing. Can’t imagine the pain they are going through at this time. 
  • I pray the Church would not be blind to the desperate need of community. May we not be fooled into thinking that meeting one-two hours on a Sunday morning constitutes community. It didn’t work for the Church in the first century, and it will not work in the 21st century. 

 

Faithful is a word that seems to be a buzz word today.  It seems so hard to find a true manifestation of this word in our world today.  When you do come across something that meets the criteria to be called faithful, then you need to make note of it.

I was reading in the Bible recently about how God had used a man named Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  Joshua took over for “the man,” Moses.  These people had been delivered from a life of slavery and mistreatment that lasted for generations.  The journey from slavery to the Promised Land was not an easy one.  It lasted for an entire generation because of unfaithfulness and distrust of the people in God’s word.

In Joshua 21, we see that the Israelites did not wander forever.  God brought them into the Promised Land as He said that He would.

So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers. None of their enemies were able to stand against them, for the Lord handed over all their enemies to them. None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.

Joshua 21:43-45  CSB

For the casual reader, this may seem to be just a neat way of ending up that section of the Israelites moving in to the Promised Land.  If you look closely though, you will see that there is much more in those verses than just a summation of what happened.

The LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers…  The LORD did not generalize on the promises that He gave his people.  The Bible tells us here that the LORD gave all the land He had sworn.  He didn’t give part… He didn’t give most… He gave all.  This seems to be a pattern with God.

The LORD gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers.  The LORD once again kept His word by giving them peace on every side.  This was a peace that covered all borders.  This was a peace that was promised to a people that had not known peace in centuries.

None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed.  Everything was fulfilled.  Read that last line again… everything was fulfilled.  That means that nothing was left undone.  There were no loose ends.  There was no halftime here.  God kept His word fully and proved Himself faithful.

Now I imagine – and it doesn’t take much imagination when you read the accounts – that the people wanted to see God’s “faithfulness” a little sooner than it came about.  The truth is that God’s timing – especially in context of His faithfulness – is perfect. God is never late, but He is never early either.  God always comes through and proves Himself faithful.

What is it in your life that you are looking for God’s faithfulness about?  

I cannot think of a better song for today. 

Saturdays are days that I have looked forward to for most of my life. Getting to sleep in late… no school… laid back schedule… Looney Tunes in the morning (where did they go?)… ball games … on and on…

I still love Saturdays to this day. I may not sleep in like I once did, but Saturdays are days where you can do what you want to done easier. I especially like Saturdays from September to January with all the football going on.

This week, I have been reflecting on events that took place during the first Passion or Holy Week leading up to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We come to one of the hardest, if not the hardest day of the week. I call it “Silent Saturday.”  This includes much of the time between the cross and the empty tomb. 

The only thing really mentioned about this time period in the Bible is found in Matthew’s gospel. 

“The next day, which followed the preparation day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come, steal him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” “You have a guard of soldiers,” Pilate told them. “Go and make it as secure as you know how.” They went and secured the tomb by setting a seal on the stone and placing the guard.”  (Matthew 27:62-66 CSB)

Those who had pleaded for Jesus’ death wanted to make sure that He stayed there. They had shut this rogue Rabbi up, and they wanted to make sure things went back to the way they were when they were calling the shots. 

What strikes me more than the paranoid (yet rightful) worry of the religious leaders of that day was the silence that is found in the Bible. The is not much at all mentioned about that day. 

I can understand that though, too. If the One that you had put all your hope and dreams in was suddenly gone, would you really feel like doing much? I can imagine the remain disciples hiding out wondering if there would be a knock at their door from those who had Jesus killed wanting to do the same to them. 

Some of the most difficult times in our journey of faith with God are those of silence.  It seems that God doesn’t say or do anything. One can easily think that God has either been bested/stumped, doesn’t care, or left the scene and we are all alone in the situation. 

The truth is that Saturday was silent because God wanted it so. I’ve come across some material that leans on the thought that Jesus was taking a Sabbath from His work on this Saturday. I could see that in one sense. I think it is more about what was said in the prophet Isaiah: 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so my word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”  (Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-11‬ ‭CSB‬)

What looks like apathy or abandonment to us was very different to God. Jesus had already said that He would be raised on the third day (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:22‬). This was all part of the plan. A day of letting all of what had already taken place sink in was in play, but the silence wouldn’t last forever. 

You may be in a period of silence. I would encourage you to take this time of silence to remember what God has done for you, already taught you, already done in you. Then, lean on His understanding and trust His timing. God is always right on time… not too early, never too late. 


Welcome to Good Friday. That title has always been a little confusing to me. Growing up there was the joke that went around saying it was good because we got out of school and it was typically good weather so we could enjoy the day off.

I would find out later that it was called Good Friday because on this day around 33AD, Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world (Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19).

How could something that was so brutal, so shameful, so wrong be considered good in any sense? What sadistic person said, “Let’s remember this day as something good and put it on the calendar to remind us!”?

I’m not sure who that person was, but I am so grateful that they did.  It is days like this that I am reminded of just how often that God wants us to see that there is so much more than what appears on the surface.

The saddest day in history is also one of the greatest.  On this day… on that hill called Golgotha/Calvary… the Son of God took the sins of the world and dealt with them!  It turns my stomach to think about all that Jesus went through – the mockery, the shame, the beatings, the torture – it was all because of my sin.  All that junk that Jesus went through was meant for me.  But because of the love that God has for us, He took it so I didn’t have to.

May this day be so much more than another “day off” for us.  My prayer is that it would be a day of reflection… a day that we remember the high price that Jesus was willing to pay just to redeem us.  If anyone needs any proof that they are cared about, they need only to turn their eyes to that hill called Calvary and see God hanging there with arms wide open saying, “I love you this much!”