Showing posts from 2017

The Christmas Story Began with a Forerunner

Alternate Title: Why Did We Hear from John the Baptist Before We Heard from Jesus?

As I enjoyed Thanksgiving, I looked forward to Christmas and I couldn’t stop wondering:  Why did the man we call John the Baptist need to tell the Jews that Jesus was coming?  I’d never thought about it before.  Why is he part of biblical history?  And why did God lay out such an integrated and impossible duo of supernatural pregnancies for Baby John and Baby Jesus?  The Christmas story began with the pregnancy of John, who was selected by God to be a forerunner to Jesus.  He was precursor both in birth and in ministry.  So, the Christmas story is not complete without the birth of John the Baptist.

So, why did the Jews need a forerunner? Wouldn’t they still have their Messiah, and wouldn’t we still have the Gospel, without John the Baptist?

Let’s consider their situation…

The Jews expected a Messiah as promised from God.  They expected a King who would rescue them from their misery and oppression; a Redeeme…

John 1, a Rhyming Paraphrase

To help ring in Christmas, I hope you enjoy this paraphrase of John 1.  I wrote it in Seuss-like meter so it might help engage the kids in your life (including the big ones).  The first chapter of John introduces Jesus as the Savior for all - the Son of God, and the Messiah for which the Jews waited so long.  We also get to know John the Baptist, God's chosen messenger who explained the good news of Jesus to the Jews.  Read about how it all plays out...

The Gospel of John Chapter 1 - He Who's the Word
There is a He, who is also the Word. This He who's the Word, spoke before He was heard. He spoke before ears Were on heads that could hear, With nothing around, Not even the ground.
This He who's the Word, is also the Maker, He's with God, and is God, but no, not a faker. He surely made all, Like trees, short and tall. There's nothing, for sure, That's not made by the Word.
Now, John was a man who the Maker made later, To speak of this Word across the equator. He spoke of a Li…

Whiter than Snow

Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalms 51:7b
Many of us love snow, at least visiting and enjoying it for a while.
It offers a variety of good, clean fun. I enjoy a white Christmas every year.  To me, the more snow, the better.
It makes me smile. So I hope you enjoy this post about what snow is
and how God wants to make every one of us "whiter than snow."
(What follows can be read aloud to a group.  It is a Gospel presentation and a celebration of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  If you want to share this with a group, you have my permission to read it.  That’s why I wrote it.  Or, feel free to make it more interactive.  Ask questions.  Solicit thoughts to get listeners engaged.  And pray that they will understand, appreciate, and accept the cleansing blood of Christ and His Gospel.)
Whiter than Snow

Fresh snow on a calm day brightens us with a special purity.  It’s as white as we can imagine, and it captivates us as it dances from the sky in gentle brilliance…

A Clarification: Do We Stick It Where It Suits Us?, Part 2

This article is a follow up to my previous post called Do We Stick It Where It Suits Us?  It’s a response mostly to alleviate my own rookie blogger mistake.  I failed to anticipate the amount of emotions generated by an article that includes the word ‘President.’  For some of you, this was perfectly fine, but it colored the message for others.
So, allow me first to apologize.  To keep the article just a little longer than a reasonable word count, I chose not to round out a couple points even though my gut told me they needed more explanation.  My points were biblically based, but I did not consider that emotionally charged words like ‘president’ or ‘government’ can compete with what I was trying to communicate.  In hindsight, I should have split the post into two articles.  I'm sorry for missing this important reality.
I will try to resolve that issue here.  Let’s start with some assumptions and general comments. My intended audience is Christians who care about their relationship …

Do We Stick It Where It Suits Us?

Many of us fail to honor and respect those who hold positions of authority.  We are sometimes more interested in how they and their organizations might serve us, rather than how we might sacrifice in the name of honor and respect.  We cry, “Injustice!,” and often decry our parents, our bosses, our schools, our safety net, our government…even each other when our allegiances don’t match.  We can fight for the oppressed, yet disintegrate the cause because we don’t honor those with the authority to improve the situation.  We can rally against discrimination, and discriminate in the process.  And, at a more basic level, we can defy our parents when all we really want is their support.  Do we cry for peace and justice while raising a fist at government, at those who disagree with us, and even at innocent bystanders?
If we don’t believe in an absolute truth and a supreme god, then maybe all of the above is okay.  We can make our own rules – rules that suit our own ideals (and cravings).  We d…