At the risk of this column’s being mistaken for one by my syndicated Kilgore News Herald colleague Dr. Roach, I encourage everyone to take care for themselves, their families, and their pets in our August East Texas heat! Especially those who work outside should drink extra water and, when they can, take breaks inside air-conditioned spaces. And, after several fatalities nationwide, apparently not to leave either family members or pets in turned-off cars does not go without saying.
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As we discussed in a recent Midweek Bible Study, the passage almost sounds like it is meant to be funny. After Jesus heard Martha and Mary’s sending to Him that his friend Lazarus was ill, St. John’s Gospel account essentially tells us that, “since” Jesus loved them, He stayed two days longer where He was before going to Lazarus. We might ask, “Who does that?” In this case, apparently Jesus did!
I am nearing the end of a sermon series on the parables of Jesus. After spending ten weeks preaching them, my favorite has to be the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). This story does not let any of us off the hook, and most importantly, it is one of the best illustrations of our heavenly father’s unconditional love.
The Gospel Reading for many this past Sunday was the historical illustration of a Samaritan who loved as himself a man whom robbers left half-dead on the road in front of him (Luke 10:25-37; confer Leviticus 19:18). Jesus used the illustration to try to get an expert in the law to realize th…
The Kilgore Police Department has long recognized that clergy and their congregations are an abundant and dynamic community resource. In order to more fully engage the faith-based community in our combined Community Policing concept, a Clergy and Police Alliance (CAPA) program has been developed.
I recently heard my seminary president, Craig Barnes, preach a sermon on the phrase “if only.” Dr. Barnes said that when “if only” surfaces in a conversation it usually focuses either on the past or the future. “If only I had saved better for retirement.” “If only I had taken that other job …
This past week our nation observed the anniversary of its Independence Day. Regardless of our American forebears’ sin throwing off their God-given ruler, 243 years later, for better or for worse, we have the form of government that they left to us.
There was a crowd of superheroes dancing to the beat of their own drum in First Christian Church’s gym this week. They came to join the ‘Jesus League,’ to become super-followers of Jesus in the sixth annual Special Needs Vacation Bible School hosted by the Main Street congregation, and they found many sidekicks waiting to celebrate alongside them
“How much poison does it take to kill you?” That was what the title of my presentation at a national youth conference this past week asked attendees. Of course, I was not trying to encourage them to take their own or anyone else’s physical life but to get them to think about how much false teaching it might take to end their spiritual life.
Self-help books flood the consumer market. Researchers claim that by the year 2022, the self-improvement industry will have a total market value of 13.2 billion dollars. The titles of these books speak for themselves.
When something that we consider bad happens to us or others, we may focus on the problem’s cause, not only in order to try to change the situation but maybe also to assign blame, perhaps even to God. In at least one case, however, God challenges us to focus less on the past cause and more on the future purpose for which He can use the particular suffering or affliction.
The 86th Texas legislative session ended this past Monday with the House’s passing but the Senate’s not voting on a bill related to decriminalizing some possession of marijuana. My News Herald colleague Rev. Will Wilson argued for the bill in his May 12th column, which teased my different perspective that now follows.
The headline on a Barna Group report out this past April (based on interviews conducted between April and August of 2018) was “1 in 4 Practicing Christians Struggles to Forgive Someone”. The details of that report indicated that 23% of practicing Christians (defined as those Christians who said that their faith is very important in their lives and who had attended a worship service in the preceding month) reported that they could identify someone whom they could not forgive, and of those only 28% said that they wished they could forgive that person.
God spoke the following promise through Isaiah: “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24 ESV). That promised behavior of God contrasts sharply to the prior behavior of the Israelites that a few verses earlier God judged for the following reasons: “because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen” (Isaiah 65:12 ESV).
At time of writing, the Texas legislature is considering a bill that would take steps toward decriminalizing possession of marijuana. If the bill passes, those caught with less than an ounce would have to pay a $500 fine instead of being arrested and incarcerated. I want to express my support for this bill from a theological perspective. In fact, I believe that no one should be criminalized at all for mere possession.
Aside from its being the Third Sunday of Easter and other things, tomorrow also is Cinco de Mayo: not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain, as that is September 16 (1810), but the 1862 date of the outnumbered Mexican army’s victory over French forces, a victory that arguably affected not onl…
The Easter lilies and chocolate eggs at the grocery store have now gone back to the discount rack. The Easter egg hunt and egg roll will not happen again until next year. Your families have now gone back home. There will be plenty of parking spaces left when you show up to Church tomorrow morning, and the same pews that are usually sparse or empty will be so again, just like most other Sundays. The Sunday after Easter is often called “low” Sunday, the other being the Sunday after Christmas. It’s called “low” because the attendance on this day is usually a fraction of what it was the week before.