God of All Nations: The Story Continues
Colossians 3:11-14

We live in a society that is divided, terribly divided, and the divisions seem to be multiplying. There are racial divides. A variety of leaders are calling for you and me to huddle up and side with our “own kind,” the only ones who can be trusted. There are socio-economic divisions with hostilities oozing from those that want to pit the poor against the rich and the rich against the poor. We’ve not learned that money, or the lack thereof, is no indicator of integrity, honesty, or generosity. Political parties have become more polarized than OSU and OU fans. Political policies have become America’s new church dogma. Instead of the titles of “Republican” and “Democrat,” their zealots prefer “saints and sinners,” depending on whose side you are on. There are gender and sexual orientation battles being waged by the LGBTQA community and women who march and fight against the oppressive perils of a patriarchal society. And in the Church, among the followers of Jesus, there are religious divides as wide as the Grand Canyon as conservatives, evangelicals, and progressives lob theological molotov cocktails over the pews at one another. The list of divisions in our society keeps growing and new dividing lines seem to be added each and every day. Continue reading “God of All Nations: The Story Continues
Colossians 3:11-14”

Holiness Wrapped in Humanity
Colossians 1:15-23

Colossians 1

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It’s almost Christmas. There are presents under the tree. The wrapping paper, pretty bows, and all of the other items that people use to decorate the gifts they will give to their loved ones are flying off the shelves so that last minute gifts can be in place for the big day. You know, when you get right down to it, all of the wrapping paper, pretty bags and such really serve just one purpose – they are meant to conceal the true contents of the package. You just can’t have folks finding out too early what you gave them for Christmas. There would be no anticipation. There would be no “give me a hint” or “Can we open just one before Christmas?” So that our secrets won’t be given away we wrap up our gifts until the time is right for little hands to shred the paper and bows and explode with excitement! Continue reading “Holiness Wrapped in Humanity
Colossians 1:15-23”

The Big Picture
Colossians 1:1-15

Anyone who has any ambition of accomplishing something truly monumental needs first and foremost to have the “big picture” in clear view. When Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1507 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he didn’t just pick up his brush and begin painting. He labored for months over hundreds of sketches, colors schemes, and themes before he ever began setting his scaffolding in place. Michelangelo painted while lying on his back from 1508 to 1512, working meticulously on every detail until the Chapel was completed. It has been said that one day Michelangelo was painting in an obscure corner of the Chapel when he became frustrated with his work. He was so frustrated that he decided to blot out what he had done and start over. One of the workers who was working in the Chapel said, “Michelangelo, why do you worry over something nobody will ever know about?” The great artist said, “Because I will know.” It was the big picture that gave him the endurance, stamina, and vision necessary to complete the details of his work with such determination and focus.

Continue reading “The Big Picture
Colossians 1:1-15”

Quickened
Colossians 2:13-14

In the fall of 1997, I participated in the Promise Keepers Day of Prayer held in Washington DC. Over a million men, from across the country stood in the gap for our nation, our families, and our churches. That day was filled with powerful experiences, but one in particular stands out in my mind. A buddy and I were coming back from the Lincoln Monument. We were both pretty sedated by all the real life history we had just witnessed up close. All of a sudden, from behind us, we hear this piercing blast. My instant reflex was to duck and run! As I turned around, I saw a fellow holding this strange looking curly horn. It was a shofar. I had never heard anything like it; the sound went through me like a hot knife through butter. It felt like something awakened within me when I heard the blast and at the same time, something was being shaken. Two years later, I received my own shofar and began to learn more about its spiritual significance and symbolism. There is no other natural instrument more suited to quicken the soul like the shofar. And no other instrument represents the voice of God like the shofar.

Continue reading “Quickened
Colossians 2:13-14”

Redemption, Honor, and the Blood
Colossians 1:13-14

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

In C.S. Lewis? masterpiece, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the message of redemption is beautifully illustrated. One of the brothers betrays his family for the pleasure of his own appetite. His action rightfully makes him the possession of the wicked witch. But the creator of Narnia, Aslan, sacrifices his own life in place of the guilty one. By doing so, Aslan basically transfers his value and worth to the boy. This act demands honor on the part of the recipient. The once selfish and deceptive sibing takes his place among the warriors to defend Narnia against the wicked schemes of the witch. Aslan?s blood bought him freedom from the death he rightly deserved, and now he gladly serves the one he could never repay.

Continue reading “Redemption, Honor, and the Blood
Colossians 1:13-14”

Holiness Wrapped In Humanity
Colossians 1:15-23

It’s almost Christmas. There are presents under the tree. The wrapping paper, pretty bows, and all of the other items that people use to decorate the gifts they will give to their loved ones are flying off the shelves so that last minute gifts can be in place for the big day. You know, when you get right down to it, all of the wrapping paper, pretty bags and such really serve just one purpose – they are meant to conceal the true contents of the package. You just can’t have folks finding out too early what you gave them for Christmas. There would be no anticipation. There would be no “give me a hint” or “Can we open just one before Christmas?” So that our secrets won’t be given away we wrap up our gifts until the time is right for little hands to shred the paper and bows and explode with excitement!

Continue reading “Holiness Wrapped In Humanity
Colossians 1:15-23”

Holiness Wrapped In Humanity
Colossians 1:15-23

It’s almost Christmas. There are presents under the tree. The wrapping paper, pretty bows, and all of the other items that people use to decorate the gifts they will give to their loved ones are flying off the shelves so that last minute gifts can be in place for the big day. You know, when you get right down to it, all of the wrapping paper, pretty bags and such really serve just one purpose – they are meant to conceal the true contents of the package. You just can’t have folks finding out too early what you gave them for Christmas. There would be no anticipation. There would be no “give me a hint” or “Can we open just one before Christmas?” So that our secrets won’t be given away we wrap up our gifts until the time is right for little hands to shred the paper and bows and explode with excitement!

Continue reading “Holiness Wrapped In Humanity
Colossians 1:15-23”