Bible verse - 1 Corinthians 13 - Love is patient, love is kind, love never fails - 2015

Who Is My Neighbor?

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put [Jesus] to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:25-29

In a world where globalization and internet access blurs the borders of nations and shrinks the felt distance of far-away places, the question of “Who is my neighbor?” takes on new paradigms. Continue reading

People of the Dirt

A friend of mine recently shared something that got me thinking. She is also here living in Berlin, a city dubbed “the atheist capital of Europe” on a continent referred to in plenty of missiology studies as “post-Christian” and “hard soil.” Continue reading

An Uncomfortable Mercy, Part 2

This is the second half of a blog post about understanding God’s mercy because, well, I had a lot to say about that. To read the first half click here

All of us need Jesus – both “good” and “bad” people. But when we try to contain God’s mercy, to withhold it from people who we feel don’t deserve it, we alter the definition of the word and show that we really don’t understand God’s mercy in our own lives, much less anyone else’s. Do we know better than He who is worthy of redemption?

This is the problem that the older brother had in the prodigal son parable (Luke 15:11-32). Continue reading

An Uncomfortable Mercy, Part 1

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.
James 2:12-13

We love the idea of mercy… so long as it’s extended to us, to those like us, to those who “deserve” it. But when we think of mercy extended to those we deem less deserving, to those who we might consider our enemies, often that’s another story. Mercy, in its truest form, makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes there are situations where we see mercy extended and, like the prodigal son’s older brother, there’s a twinge in our hearts saying, “But that’s not fair.”

But God did not make that distinction with us. The very definition of mercy predicates that it is shown to the undeserving, otherwise it wouldn’t be called mercy. We all once were enemies, opposed to God, and rather than condemn us with righteous judgement He extended mercy. That mercy came to us in the person of Jesus Christ; Jesus is at the crux (literally) of mercy being extended to those who really don’t deserve it. Continue reading

Light and Darkness

Bible verse - Ephesians 5 - Children of the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7

The Bible uses the imagery of light and darkness many times. Here, John is writing in response to a growing idea of dualism brought on by the Gnostics of his day. This dualism supposes that God is both light and dark and sees everything in life as a battle of light and dark, spiritual versus material, good versus evil, and we’ll just have to wait and see who wins. But John directly counters that idea and says that God is light, and in Him no darkness exists. We see in Creation that light wins— darkness is always overpowered by light for as far as the light reaches. Even a small amount of light shines in the darkness, but a small amount of darkness doesn’t actually remove the light; it just obscures it. Light always wins.
Continue reading