April 24, 2017

Difficult Scriptures: Luke 12:49-56

I was pressed into service to preach on Sunday because of an illness, and I was delighted (delighted, I say!) to learn that the Gospel text for Sunday was Luke 12:49-56. Oh boy. I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be […]

Why the Change in the Crowd?

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the […]

Difficult Scripture – Why Did Jesus Stop Reading When He Did?

Over the past several Fridays we have been looking at extracts from Michael Spencer’s upcoming book, Reconsider Jesus – A Fresh Look at Jesus from the Gospel of Mark. In our extract a few weeks back Michael Spencer wrote: The good news is about God and what God is doing. It is not about me. […]

Difficult Scriptures: Romans 5:12-17

12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those […]

Difficult Scriptures: The Sermon On The Mount

I saw it coming, just like you sometimes see a car wreck coming. The preacher used the verses in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ most well-known sermon dealing with divorce to talk about marriage. He talked about strengthening our marriages and how important marriage is to God. How the family is the first institute ordained by […]

Difficult Scriptures: John 1:35-38

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them,“What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), […]

Our Misogynist, Genocidal God, And Other Supposed Problems With The Bible

There are some Old Testament representations that can understandably give us Christians headaches, especially when we want to represent the Bible as inspired of God, authoritative, and trustworthy. We affirm (for good reason) that God is good and loving, and yet it is hard to reason through what seems to be endorsements of cultural sins […]

Difficult Scriptures: Mark 8:35

Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self (Mark 8:35, The Message). There are times I like a verse or passage from The Message better than any other translation, and this is one of them. You may be more familiar with the way most other Bibles […]

Difficult Scriptures: 1 Peter 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, NASB). The devil? The devil made me do it. Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Just how does the devil devour one? Where does he go to prowl? Does Satan still bargain […]

Difficult Scriptures: John 6:52-69

The Jews began to quarrel with each other. They said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus told them, “I can guarantee this truth: If you don’t eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have the source of life in you. Those who eat my […]