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Showing posts from March, 2014

A Helpful Lesson from World Vision

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The recent World Vision decision and then its remarkably quick reversal on the matter of supporting gay monogamous spouses as employees provides a good moment for all of us who are Christians to reflect. Particularly, those of us who are in leadership roles in Christian ministries ought to pause for a moment. Without speaking directly to that particular issue, it is helpful to think about the challenges and temptations that we all face in seeking to be part of an expanding influence for Christ in a world which is increasingly non-Christian or even, anti-Christian. Specifically, it may be helpful for us to return to passages of Scripture that may lie neglected in the back pages of our Bibles. I commend to you the letter of Jude. In that epistle, the author reveals that his original intent what to write "about our common salvation." His goal was to focus on our "unity" in the gospel. However, his agenda has switched. He explains "I found it necessary to w…

Why I Don't Ride a Motorcycle

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When I was a kid, I had a model of a classic Indian motorcycle on my shelf. This past Friday evening, my wife, MariAnne and I were meeting friends for dinner. The location was near Trabuco Hills, California and when you get out that way the roads begin to wind up and down through the hills and valleys. Coming around a bend, we were suddenly stopped by the police who were blocking the road and rerouting drivers. There had been an accident. We couldn't see what had happened from there but the detour eventually put us closer to it than we wouldhave liked. At a nearby intersection, there was a car with a motorcycle smashed into its windshield.
The scene took me immediately back to my high school years. I was driving home from a part time job on a Saturday afternoon and there on the road ahead was a guy that I knew from my childhood. Roger was coming back to work on his motorcycle. He went out to pass a few vehicles and the front car never saw him. Roger died instantly.
I have plenty of…

Pursuing Christian Virtue in an Anti-Virtue Age

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In 2012, the Guinness beer company produced a clever advertisement. In it, a border collie is competing in a sheep dog competition in which the objective is to herd a group of men into the pub on St. Patrick's Day (see Guinness Ad). The commercial has stuck in my mind for reasons quite different than the Guinness company intended, I am sure. It serves as a light-hearted reminder of what is a not so light-hearted reality for those of us who are pastors or parents. Shepherding is tough work. Our goal is to do all that we can to guide the people whom God has entrusted to our care to reach the place of true rest and refreshment. The stewardship that has been given to us is to lead God's people progressively forward into Christ-like maturity against the unrelenting enticements designed to draw Christians away from God and down into darkness.
One of the great encouragements for myself in my calling as a pastor (and as a Dad) is to recognize that this is not anything new. I…

Forgiveness - God Doesn't Think Like We Do

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"For my thoughts are not your thoughts..." Isaiah 55:8

Isaiah 55 is a widely known and quoted Bible passage. Most often, it is remembered and repeated because it contains a strong affirmation that God never allows His Word to fail. Verse 5 reads "So shall my word be that goes out of my mouth; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
What makes this a standout passage is not simply that it declares that God's Word will successfully effect whatever purpose that He intends. It is what God intends that makes it glorious. God purposes to extend forgiveness freely, and generously, beyond any of our wildest expectations.
It should be noted that Isaiah 55 is an invitation to wandering and rebellious sinners who are languishing in the emptiness, poverty, slavery, and misery of their sinful choices. It is a lavish call to return to God filled with hope that God will truly forgive, rest…

Birth Marks

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My Dad with my new nephew, Liam
I have a new nephew. Liam Steven Clayton Dibbley was born a few days ago. I am looking forward to being able to meet Liam and if he is anything like his two sisters, he will be a good looking and bright addition to our family.            One of the things that inevitably happens when a child is born is that people begin to look for family resemblances. "He has got his mom's nose" or "he's got that dimple in his chin just like his brother or sister." Even when people experience the blessing of adoption, it isn't long before you start to recognize phrases and behaviours that definitely reflect the parents.

In this blog post, I want to consider the biblical teachingon the "new birth". In particular, I want to look at observable characteristics that indicate that a person has truly experienced the new birth. They have been "born again" into the family of God. That is why I entitled this page, "birth mark…

Orienting Yourself in the Wilds of Suffering

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I want to introduce you to the idea of trinitarian triangulation. It is a simple but, I think, very helpful idea. Simply stated, it is the practice of gaining perspective on yourself and your situation in difficult and perplexing times by keeping three things in view. Actually, it is the practice of keeping three persons in view - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Let's say that you are planning to go on a hiking trip out into the wilds of the Rocky Mountains or along the Appalachian Trail. A course on orienteering will teach you how to use your compass to determine your exact location by using two permanent visible landmarks. The goal of this knowledge, of course, is to find your way to your destination by always being aware of where you are at any given time. Being "lost" is that extremely distressing feeling of not knowing where you are and, therefore, unable to figure out where you are heading.
There are many times that we can feel "lost" in the unset…