Category Archives: Jesus

Making Jesus look great.

In the beginning

The earth was created first. There was nothing else but the earth and a giant empty universe.

Light comes next. Light comes from the sun, but the sun doesn’t come until three days later. So, this light comes from where? God?  And there’s a day/night cycle, so the earth is spinning, and this light comes from one direction. Or does the light circle around the earth?

In these primal days, God is alone with earth, spinning, dancing, before the drama of humanity begins.

The earth is the oldest thing in the universe.

Advertisements

Once Naked, Now Clothed (or the profound tragedy of Genesis 3)

Man has not resembled his first design
since the Honest Garden was lost to him.
He took God’s warning words as breath benign
leaving his naked nature to sin’s whim.
God’s first design gave something else to us –
a pristine pattern for our human role –
A want for union unadulterous
with God, to bare the organs of the soul
that drive the blood, not hind’ring nakedness
of either spirit or skin with our dress.
In that Honest Place, man was pronounced “good”
where heaven met with blood and meat of mud.
But haste he made to taste the nuding fruit.
And now our pattern is the fig leaf suit.

Apology, Poverty and the Evangelical

It’s Wednesday and I have the day off. I led a youth retreat this weekend called Fall Forward. One girl put her faith and trust in Jesus for the first time. That’s why I do what I do. It was a great weekend, but retreats always exhaust me. On Sunday afternoon, after we returned, I lay down at 4:30 to “take a nap.” The next time I woke up was 3:00 AM the next day. A long weekend, that’s why I have the day off.

I spent part of the day watching the movie Blue Like Jazz about Donald Miller, the author of a book with the same title as the movie. Continue reading

The Top 10 Weirdest Old Testament Laws

Leviticus was God’s contract with Israel. Like any other contract, Leviticus is boring. But it also has its moments. Some of the Old Testament Laws are quite bizarre. Here’s a top 10 list of the strangest.

We begin with two… uh, shall we say ballsy laws.

10. Keep your hands off the goods, ladies.

According to Deuteronomy 25:11-12, if two men were engaged in fisticuffs, their wives couldn’t come to their rescue by grabbing and twisting the other man’s private parts. If she did, her hand would have to be cut off. An episode with all that action would certainly boost the ratings of Real Housewives.

9. Sacrificing animals with damaged testicles is forbidden.

In Leviticus 22:24 it says, “You must not offer to the Lord an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut.” This kept the Israelites from attempting to offer animals that couldn’t reproduce, and thus were less valuable.

Next, we have a couple laws of the culinary variety.

8. Eating locusts: good. Drinking blood: bad.

Eating most bugs was forbidden, but insects with jointed legs for hopping were okay. This included locusts, crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers, Leviticus 11:21-22 says. However, drinking the blood of animals is an abomination, according to Leviticus 17:10-12. So all of you Twilight fans who were Team Edward, because he mercifully only drank the blood of animals, were wrong. I also shouldn’t have eaten all that blood sausage while I was visiting my sister in Ireland.

7. Your hamburgers must be plain.

In Exodus 23:19 it commands not to cook a goat in its mother’s milk. Some interpreters see this as a ban on mixing meat and cheese. Additionally, Leviticus 11:3 permits the eating of animals with divided hooves that chew the cud only. So you couldn’t eat horses, because even though they chewed the cud, they didn’t have a divided hoof. And even though pigs had divided hooves, they didn’t chew the cud. In that case, I guess the meaty, cheesey, bacony deliciousness that is the Baconator would have to be taken of the Wendy’s menu. Booo!

Now we move on to some simple laws that had drastic punishments.

6. Excommunication for not celebrating a national holiday.

Any Israelites who didn’t celebrate Passover were supposed to get kicked out of the camp forever in obedience to Numbers 9:13. Does this mean I was justified as a kid in egging my grumpy neighbors who didn’t hand out candy on Halloween?

5. Death for desecrating or working on a Sunday.

… Or Saturday, in the case of the Israelites, as prescribed in Exodus 31:14. Everyone needs a day off from time to time, so observing a Sabbath rest is actually an awesome law, but isn’t Sunday afternoon often the most convenient time to mow the lawn? If you got caught clipping the turf as an Israelite – BUSTED.

4. Death for rebelling against your parents.

Are you one of those teens who cussed their parents under their breath, or snuck out to a party without permission? In Exodus 21:17, a kid who cursed their parents was to be put to death, and in Deuteronomy 21:20-21, rebellious teens could be stoned by the townsfolk. As a youth pastor I’m really glad this law has passed away, or I might not have too many teens to hang out with.

Here’s a couple laws about sculpting your luscious locks.

3. Tell the barber to take it easy on the sides.

Not too many people prefer the reverse mohawk look, but apparently God does. In Leviticus 19:27 the prescribed holy haircut involved not cutting the hair on the sides of the head, or trimming the edge of the beard. This look would help the Israelites stand out from the people of the other nations.

2. Burn it with fire!

If an Israelite wanted to set themselves apart as especially holy to the LORD, he could take the vows of a Nazirite. The three vows included no eating grape products (wine, raisins, etc.), never cutting their hair, and no close contact with a dead body. But what if someone randomly died in your presence? Too bad. According to Numbers 6:9 and 18 you had to shave off your long hair and burn it in a fire, and you could never be a Nazirite again.

And now for one of the strangest passages in all of Scripture…

1. Dust bunnies: the first lie detectors.

According to Numbers 5:11-31, if a man suspected his wife was having an affair, but had no physical proof, he could take her to the priest. The priest would sweep some dust off the Tabernacle floor, and mix it into a vessel of water, and make the wife drink it. If the dusty water didn’t make the woman sick, then she was innocent, but if her belly swelled up with pain, then she was guilty. It’s even weirder if you read it straight from the Bible.

So there you have it, the ten weirdest laws in the Old Testament.

All joking aside, God gave the Israelites the Old Testament Law because he knew they wouldn’t be able to keep it. It would lead them to realize that they needed a Savior. At the perfect time, God sent his one and only beloved Son into the world, Jesus Christ, who lived perfectly according to the Law. At the end of Jesus’ life, God punished him for our sins, so that by faith in him, his perfection could be given to us, and we could be presented as blameless before God. Jesus saves us from God’s just anger for having broken God’s laws.

That’s the Good News of the New Testament.

Annoying iTunes Updates, Leviticus, and what it Means to be a Servant of Jesus Christ

“I have read and agreed to the terms and conditions.”

It seems like iTunes updates their software every other month. I power up my MacBook, get ready to listen to some music, and then, BAM! “A software update is ready to be installed.” Continue reading

The God Who Is Self-Existent

God, you are the God who is self-existent, and you depend on nothing.

You exist because it is your nature to exist. You’re the God who calls himself Yahweh, which means “I Am Who I Am.”

You are Creator, and not created. Your Word says, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Continue reading

The God Who Is Triune

The Scutum Fidei, a diagram frequently used by...

God, you are the God who is Triune, one God existing in three persons and I cannot understand you.

You are three persons equal in being but subordinate in role. Each person is distinct, each person is fully God, and each person possesses the perfections of God in their entirety. You are three but one in purpose, agreement, essence, nature and existence. You are unified to the degree that you are one. Continue reading