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This Child Was Uncontrollable Until This Happened

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You clicked on the story, didn't you?

Well, I have to be honest. I made up that headline with the intention of you clicking on the story. It's a tactic often used in what is known as "click bait." These are stories with ambiguous headlines like the one above that are designed to pique your curiosity enough to get you to click on the story. Once there, the author or the site gets money from ad revenue based upon their visitor numbers.

It's a scheme, and we all fall for it. We just can't resist clicking on the story to see what it is all about. Usually, it's nothing, but you click and read and they get revenue. So the cycle continues.

Sometimes it is even worse than that. People will literally make up false stories to sway your opinion about someone or something. Usually it is politically motivated. It happens on both the left and the right.

It's the phenomena we know as "fake news." With the advent of social media, fake news has exploded. Al…

Entitlement

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Jesus is entitled.

Do you realize that? Of all the talk in our culture about entitlements and people who feel entitled to things they didn't achieve, Jesus Christ actually is entitled. And he deserves it.

You see, God is entitled because he's God. He made the universe. He is the embodiment of goodness. He is perfect. He is all powerful and all knowing and ever present. By being God, he is entitled to our worship, devotion, adoration, and obedience.

In a sense, that's what the Ten Commandments were about. They ratified God's covenant with Israel, but also stipulated that Israel was to only worship God, to obey his commands, and be completely devoted to him. Then, he went out to describe the proper ways to do that.

God is entitled. Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is entitled to those things as well.

And yet, despite that, Jesus did not take those entitlements while on earth. Paul writes in Philippians 2:5-11, that Jesus did not take advantage of his divinity on earth. He…

Staying Strong on the Inside

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I have no desire to be a caretaker pastor.

If you don't know what a caretaker pastor is, then let me explain. It's a term for a pastor who simply takes care of the people in the church and does not worry about being innovative, evangelistic, or doing anything that might rock the boat. Caretaker pastors generally keep the people in the church happy rather than trying to make strides to grow the church in a significant way.

Generally, this term is applied to older pastors near retirement. They see the end in sight and so they concentrate on keeping things quiet in the church. No conflict means a smooth ride out of the church and into retirement. I've seen it too many times.

Often it means that the church is slowly dying. The pastor, rather than rescue the church, is content with keeping members happy. Happiness and peace often means more than growth and evangelistic efforts.

I get it. Churches all over America are dying. More will close this week. It's easy to fall into…

Only the Beginning

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Death is not the end.

What a wonderful thought and phrase. For a Christian, we know that separation at death is only a temporary parting until we see one another in heaven again. More than that, we know that at death, the soul departs the body and enters heaven and the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That became very real to me this week. My Grandpa died. He had been fighting cancer and dementia for many years. The battle took it's toll. He couldn't get out of bed. He hallucinated about people and objects there were not there. His personality changed. As other diseases progressed, he lost his sight. He was a shell of the vibrant person he once was.

So when I got the call early Monday morning that he had passed during the night, I wasn't sad. I was relieved. I knew he was in a better place with a new body and a perfect mind in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He could walk and run and see clearly. He was no longer limited by a body of death.

Paul knew that al…

Sharing Joy

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As a minister, I keep two mental lists.

In one list, I think of all the people I have let down. These are people who didn't follow Christ or who walked away from the faith. These are people, when I see their social media posts or get a communication from them, and I see their life heading in a negative direction, I just shake my head. I wonder what I could have done better. Where did I fail?

The other list, though, is much brighter. These are the people who are strong in their faith. Despite cultural oppositions and finacial struggles and illness and life itself, they have maintained a strong faith in Christ. I see it in the way they live life and how they speak of others. I still speak fondly of them and eagerly consume their social media feeds. It does my heart good to see them serve Christ as adults and parents. When I remember them, I remember them with joy.

In Philippians 1:3-11, Paul communicates the same thing about the church of Philippi. He remembers the church members f…

A Divided House

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On June 16, 1858, after Abraham Lincoln was nominated by the Illinois Republicans to be their candidate for the United States Senate, he gave an acceptance speech that became famous for his doctrine for America.

Quoting the Bible, Lincoln said "A house divided against itself cannot stand." It is thought by many to be a statement that cost him the election to the Senate, but may have won him the keys to the Oval Office just two years later.

You see, Lincoln believe that a United States was a stronger nation than a divided one. He was talking of slavery--the dividing line between the North and the South and the cause of so much political dissension in his day. He believed that as long as the North was free and the South was slave, the Unites States weren't united. They were divided and the country was weaker for it.

Later, as the Southern states seceded from the Union--in large part because of Lincoln's election to the office of President--he used this doctrine to sup…

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

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I often remember my Great-grandmother.

To many people, she was Elizabeth Robertson. To me, she was Ninny. She spoke softly but lovingly. She always wanted to know what was going on in my life. She loved and cared and made the best grilled cheeses. I don't know that she made them any different than anyone else, but they always tasted better than anyone else's. That is still true to this day.

She was a Christian woman who never shied away from her faith. She was a constant presence at her church. She talked about Jesus in such loving terms. She shared her faith with her family. To this day, I feel the impact she had on my grandmother and my mother and on me. I don't know that I would be a pastor today if not for the legacy of my Ninny.

It's a stark reminder to me that I, too, will leave a legacy with my own children, grandchildren and others. My actions and my words will long outlive my life. I hope it will be in a positive way.

At the end of the book of Ruth, we get th…