How God Responds to Violence – Edmonton, Vegas and the Wicked Tenants

The Millennial Pastor

Matthew 21:33-46

Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” (Read the whole passage)

Over the past week, we have born witness, once again to violence and tragedy in our world. Last Saturday night, in Edmonton, a police officer was hit by a car, and then stabbed. And then hours later the same attacker hit four people with a u-haul truck…

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The terrible power of the angry mob and the God who stands firm

The Millennial Pastor

Matthew 21:23-32

… And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things…. (Read the whole passage)

There is something about an angry crowd that makes the hair on the back of your neck tingle.

If you have ever been near to a group of angry protestors or near a mob you would know that the kind of tension an angry group of people create is unique. Because of this, an angry mob is always something that makes the news. The protests and violence in Charlottesville this summer commanded…

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How to Handle Scandal – a Biblical guide for Christian leaders today

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

Scandal.

It’s been with God’s people for thousands of years. You might say it began with Adam and Eve scandalously eating the forbidden fruit. Then there was Abraham’s scandalous habit of trying to save his own skin by allowing local warlords to take his wife into their harems to bed at will. Or the most notable example in Scripture: King David seducing Bathsheba, getting her pregnant and then killing her husband rather than face up to what he did; the nation found out anyway.

Didn’t anyone in the Bible ever try to head off scandal before it became full-blown?

At least one person did. In 1 Samuel 2, Eli the high priest and his sons served in the tabernacle of the Lord, charged with administering the sacrificial offerings the people brought and leading them in the ways of the Lord. The problem wasn’t with the people. It was with Eli’s…

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WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE TURNS AWAY FROM GOD As I write this, we’re entering another holiday season. No time of the year is more intimidating for people who must deal with difficult family members. And no family member is more difficult than the one who once had a vibrant faith but has since turned away from God. For some, it’s even harder because it’s not the uncle they see once a year but a child, a spouse, or a parent. The holidays only deepen the sadness over that person’s ever-present lack of faith. The Bible gives us a well-known story of a loved one who turned away from God: And [Jesus] said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” —Luke 15:11-32 ESV What can you as a believer in Jesus do? I don’t claim to be an expert on this issue, but I will offer the following. 1. Understand that turning away from God is turning to self The “oldest lie in the book”: Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” —Genesis 3:1-5 ESV Back in my youth, people who turned away from a Christian view of God often turned to other faiths. Today, in contrast, my experience is that most people who reject Jesus don’t go elsewhere. They instead reject all belief. Or this is what they claim. Fact is, though, the “reject all belief” option doesn’t reject all belief. It instead accepts a belief that I can be my own god. Sound familiar? If anything, it’s the ultimate in self-centered thinking. When someone we love turns away from God, it is an act of extreme selfishness, and we must understand it as such. 2. Understand that turning away from God is a sin. Black sheep with white sheep Romans 14:23 makes it clear: “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Don’t candy-coat another’s walking away or call it by some romanticized nomenclature such as “going on a quest” or “finding herself.” This is a genuine battle, and it should never be excused or downplayed. Faithlessness is a sin. 3. Understand that you are likely NOT the one who will restore that lost person As Americans, we want to fix problems. Something in our national psyche makes it impossible to sit still while a problem exists. We demand change. And if someone else won’t make change happen, then you and I will. Don’t go there. In the story of the prodigal son, the father understood that whatever change would come over his lost child, he would not be the one responsible for it. Let God work in His timing in the life of a prodigal. Most likely, God will bring awareness, as was the case in the prodigal son. 4. Pray for that lost person My advice for prayer is to pray that God would… …break the power of sin in the prodigal’s life. …run that prodigal to the end of his or her means. …show the prodigal that he or she is incapable of assuming the role of God. …show that prodigal that God alone fulfills. …bring that prodigal back “home.” 5. Never stop praying for that lost person Pray always. Never give up. Never, ever give up. The Bible does not say explicitly, but I believe that the father of the prodigal son never stopped praying for him. The father’s response to the son is exactly the kind one would expect from someone who never gave up on prayer. 6. Never stop showing lovingkindness to that lost person Obviously, we love this person if we care enough to worry about his condition. But too often we resort to “tough love” when we should instead display lovingkindness. Always respond to the lost person with lovingkindness. You will be tested in this perpetually. Be kind, and never think that harshness will triumph. Sometimes, you may have to speak a difficult truth. Do so only when guided by God and not by your own desire to change the person. Again, you are likely NOT the change agent in that prodigal’s life. Instead of trying to be the hammer, be the place of safety. 7. Never stop trusting God I cannot add to this: This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. —Psalms 18:30 ESV I don’t believe there is a believer in Jesus in this big country who lacks for a family prodigal. We are all in this together. If you know someone who is distraught from watching a loved one go astray, be there for that fellow believer. Perhaps you can pray for each other’s prodigals. Never stop praying. And never, ever give up hope.

The Canaanite Woman and Charlottesville

The Millennial Pastor

Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” (Read the whole passage)

The early church had a problem. It didn’t know what to do with the gentiles. Within a just a few decades of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension the small but growing communities of followers of Jesus the Messiah, didn’t know if or how they could include gentiles or non-Jewish people among their ranks. This question of inclusion vs exclusion caused a lot of struggle and conflict for those early faith congregations.

Today, we continue in this long season of ordinary time to hear the stories and episodes of Jesus’ ministry. And while it may seem like the gospel stories have been conveniently arranged in way that allows us to tell the story…

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The Value of Giving People Space

An excellent article, we often try too hard to do the work of the Holy Spirit, we need to present the message live the message and listen. It isn’t nagging and not always pushing isn’t giving up it is letting the Holy Spirit water the seed you have planted. Most times being a friend, doing friend things and being who you are without the constant nag is all that is needed. Like Peter said “…be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks of the hope that is within you..” I often think that this is the reason our witness is strongest when we live out the message of the Gospel when under stress.

Samaritan's Song

I hate, I hate, I hate being harassed by salespeople while I am shopping.

If I go into a store, after a salesperson greets me – which is normal! and fine! – I am the sort of person who wants to be left alone.  Do not follow me, pointing out the virtues of every product I am looking at.  Do not give me hollow compliments on my good taste.  Do not walk behind me, nodding and making little murmuring sounds.

It’s funny, because my husband is the opposite.  It excites him enormously when a herd of salespeople descend on him.  He loves asking questions and getting recommendations and being guided.  But I do not.  Because when I’m being followed like that, all I feel is pressure.  Buy this, buy this, buy this, is the beating heart behind every single second of our interaction.

When I went shopping a while…

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