Saturday, December 4, 2010


Amnesty is something that a lot of people do not like. Well they don’t like it when it is applied to other people. It doesn’t seem fair that it lets people get away with something that I can not get away with. Amnesty differs from a pardon in that a pardon grants release from punishment while amnesty forgets the crime. A governor or president has the power to grant amnesty to people convicted of a crime and sometimes even before they are convicted. President Ford granted former president Nixon amnesty for any crime he may have committed during his time in office. I did not like that at the time.

There are times when amnesty makes sense as when a violation of the law is committed for a good cause. Other times it happens for political reasons. I am happy that God grants me amnesty for my past sins. I do not have to earn it for it is part of grace and forgiveness in Christ. 

Friday, December 3, 2010


One of the early followers of Jesus was a man of the Hebrew tribe of Levi that provided the priest of Israel. His name was Joseph and because of his goodness and kindness the disciples gave him the name Bar Nabas which in English has been slurred to Barnabas. “Bar” is the Hebrew word “Son of” and the word “nabas” means “encouragement.”

Joseph the son of encouragement sold a piece of land and gave all the mone to the church and this act encouraged others to do the same. Joseph the Levite became known in the church simply as Barnabas and led Paul on his first missionary journey.

Today we need more sons of encouragement in the church.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Youth Sunday Evidence

I once served as a Pastor for a Christian Church in Texas with an interesting youth group. Once a year they held “Youth Sunday” where they did everything in the service. Usually, but not always, the youth group simply followed the regular order of worship. One year they went a little crazy.

In school the seniors had been studying Roman history and modern day legal systems. This juxtaposition created an idea for Youth Sunday. They became very secretive about their plan though I was in on it. They recruited some of their school friends to help and the results were memorable.

On Youth Sunday the congregation arrived to discover “Roman Solders” Standing guard at all the doors, except the alley door. Our youth group members quietly ushered everyone to enter the catacombs via the alley door. The fellowship hall had been decorated like Roman underground tombs.  That is where they were worshiping when the Roman guard burst in and arrested everyone.

As Pastor I escaped but the board chair and one elder was put on trial for being a “Christian” and therefore a traitor to the government. The elder was found guilty and ordered to be hung on a flaming cross. The pompous board chair was acquitted for a lack of evidence.

If you were accused in court of being a Christian would you be convicted?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


In this impersonal world, we may sometimes feel as if we are only a number. It becomes easy to feel lost in a crowd or be at a party but alone in the corner. The other side of that personality coin is to be so involved with our selves that we have to be the center of attention where ever we are.

At the center of our being is a deep need to be noticed and important to another person. We are not designed to be totally alone all the time. Even when we feel alone Jesus reminds us that God knows the number of hairs on our head and we are never truly alone. Our spirit longs for connections with God and with those around us. Be at peace and open your spirit to the Holy Spirit and feel the presence. 

Monday, November 29, 2010


Repeatedly the Gospels tell us that Jesus would leave his disciples and go off alone to pray in solitude. Solitude requires separation and seclusion from everything and everyone in our life.  The example Jesus set reminds me that I need to get away by myself from time to time to be alone with God.

Solitude is difficult for me and easy for others. Yet in those times of solitude I have found blessings and renewal. If Jesus the Son of God needed solitude for prayer in order to recharge  his spirit how much more do I require the same kind of spiritual recharging.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Day of Advent

Today is the First Sunday in Advent and I have been meditating on the meaning of that word. Mathew, Mark, and Luke describe the birth of Jesus as a human boy. The Gospel according to John tells us about the ADVENT of God coming to live with us.

I have been enchanted by the power of words since I learned how to read. When I learned in English class how to diagram a sentence and name its parts, nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, I was enamored by the various uses of words. Though in some ways I was like the boy when asked by the teacher, “What is a synonym?” he replied, “It’s a word you use in place of another when you can’t spell the first one.”
The English translation of the Gospel according to John says, “the WORD became flesh.” This is so much more than “W-O-R-D” it is an expression of power. While it is an accurate translation it does not quite bring to us all of the power of the original Greek text. What is translated as “Word” in English is “Logos” in Greek and carries a lot more information. The more accurate phrase would be, "The power of God became flesh."  During the season of Advent - from today until Christmas Eve - we prepare our spirits to celebrate this most powerful event. 

May your Advent 2010 be a blessing for your spirit.