Bible Posts

Misquoted Verses of the Bible (Mt. 21:13)

Misquoted Verses of the Bible (Mt. 21:13)

This post is part of a series looking at misquoted verses of the Bible. Click here to see others.

Most people reading this know that I work at a church which earns the title of “megachurch.” According to Christianity Today, this is used for any church with at least 2000 people in weekly attendance. Depending on who you ask this is either exciting to be a part of or an abomination of what church should be. The specifics as to why you might hear either of these responses differ greatly. Let me tackle one of them.

At Central we have a bookstore (pictured above). Actually, we have some version of a bookstore at most of our campuses. This is common for a church of our size. For full disclosure, the bookstore even falls under my area of oversight. One of the comments I’ve heard repeated over the years is a joke (sometimes said sarcastically without humor intended) about Jesus coming in and overturning the tables of our bookstore. Depending on how familiar you are with the Bible, this may or may not make sense. It’s a reference to when Jesus made a scene at the temple. Here’s the scene:

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Jesus According to Mark

Jesus According to Mark

This is part of a series of posts on the Biblical view of Jesus. Click here to see them all.

I officially started my Master’s program at Fuller Seminary this week. One of the things I’d like to do over the next few years I’m going through this is to blog some of the relevant studies from my classes. Obviously, much of what I’m doing won’t be interesting to the typical person. With that in mind, I ask for a bit of grace as I attempt to find which of my interesting insights are also interesting to my readers. My first class is a New Testament introduction and one of the assignments is to read each book of the Bible and list verses which tell us the author, audience, situation, purpose, and view of Jesus which we find in that book. The first week’s assignment was the Gospel of Mark, and a fascinating part has been going through and documenting the view of Jesus we see in Mark’s account. If lists like these are interesting to my readers I could turn these into a series of posts throughout the next ten weeks. If not, I’ll just show you how Mark talks about Jesus and we’ll pretend we never had this conversation.

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The Way

The Way

I experienced a first this week. A lady in our church introduced herself to me and told me that she got a tattoo based on a sermon I taught awhile back. She then showed me her arm and I asked if I could take this picture. She referenced how I talked about the early Church in the book of Acts when it simply referred to those Christians as followers of “the Way.”

Here are the examples:

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You Have Been Set Free

You Have Been Set Free

It’s sad how often Christians live as if God’s power in us makes no tangible difference. We intellectually accept the Holy Spirit but rarely live as if it should change anything. Reading through Romans chapter six this week gave me a great reminder of our liberation in Christ.

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The Difference Between the Manger and the Cross

The Difference Between the Manger and the Cross

“Though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

As I reflect on another Christmas I realize how much faster the season goes as you get older. As a kid the days are eternity. You find different methods to keep your sanity while you slowly count down the days one by one. You rip paper rings or cross off boxes on a grid. As an adult, you stare at a daunting checklist of actions all to be done before you are even remotely prepared for Christmas. Nobody wants to be the guy who finally gets his lights and tree up on Christmas Eve to enjoy them for all of a handful of hours.

Regardless of how much time we get each year to slow down and enjoy what Christmas is about, we each have our core traditions and celebrations. Part of that for me is a reminder of the concept the prophet Isaiah first introduced us to of Immanuel, or God with us. That’s the shocking, unexpected story we reflect on each year. God came to us. And even though He didn’t look as we might imagine, this little baby cleared up all our misconceptions and questions about what God is really like. As the author of Hebrews tells us, “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” Hebrews 1:3 (NLT). Jesus had God-radiation oozing off of Him. You couldn’t see Him or come in contact with Him without experiencing the Divine. Everything else must now be measured by Him. What an incredible human life!

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The Weight of Words

This post originally appeared in the East Valley Tribune.

As a person who speaks in front of crowds on a regular basis, I often get into funny conversations with people I meet. We have five campuses across the Valley so most people in our church hear me preach at a distance. When all you know is what you see from afar, or on video, real life has a way — evidently — of surprising you. I’ve been told that I’m shorter than they thought and even that I have more gray hair than they’d expect. I’ve been told all manner of observations that catch me completely by surprise. People tend to turn off their regular social filters in moments like these. Normal etiquette falls by the wayside as blunt truth takes over.

As I’ve experienced this strange occurrence over the years, I’ve realized that this happens in an even greater capacity in a different context. Specifically, when we talk with someone who is hurting. Oftentimes when we don’t understand a person’s pain, we tend to say incredibly insensitive things to them. While my conversations with people can be comical, conversations with a hurting person often add to their pain.

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