It’s almost impossible to talk seriously about religion without the name of Abraham coming into the discussion. Three of the world’s largest religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, trace their faith back to Abraham, the patriarch. Why is this ancient father such a powerhouse? It’s not because the guy was perfect. That’s seen in many ways, and none the least is that he lied about his wife, not only once, but twice, to save his skin.
Authentic faith was the root of this man’s success with God, which caused him to get up and trust God profoundly. His story picks up in Genesis chapter 12, where God first comes onto the scene of Abraham’s life, and the patriarch launches out in a tiny step of faith after the other. What would it look like if we were to dissect his faith for a moment? In short, it was risky. (more…)
I was in an enormous Boy Scout troop from sixth grade through early high school and earned my Eagle Scout in December of 1984. This was a time before politics took over the BSA, and it had a much more manly culture then. Now, you should understand that the difference between our unit, Troop 80, and other Scouting programs was the sizable number of men committed to the cause. Because of their dedication, our Troop became one of the largest in our area, if not the entire state of Texas. Through hard work, patience, persistence, and strategy, the Troop incorporated and even built its own meeting hall.
Very few Boy Scout outfits achieve such stature. The other Troops in the area hated us. Of course, that just made us more proud of who we were. One of my friends, an Eagle Scout with another Troop, always talked like we were the Imperial Guard from Star Wars or something. We were big and tough and victorious at Field Day events. Indeed, it takes a strong commitment from a solid group of men to create such a program.
I believe this intersection of Scouting and my journey was a providential move God brought into my life. (more…)
If we were to take Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, and Sylvester Stallone and roll them together into one guy, we might get a glimpse into who Samson was. The boy was just enormous. In reading the history of Samson in Judges 13:1-5 it’s clear that he had a great future ahead of him. God chose him to lead His people, and Samson was uniquely gifted for the task. Few of us, if any, are gifted like Samson, but we are all created for divine purposes. I love the way King David talks about our uniqueness in Ps 139:13-16. Samson was strong, and his future was bright, but somewhere along the way, he fell. (more…)
Four times in Joshua chapter one, the great leader was exhorted to be strong and courageous. I find that interesting. Why would this be such an urgency? Because apparently, Joshua wasn’t very heroic then. The nation of Israel was about to head into the Promised Land. This military campaign was something they had not done before, and Joshua was charged with leading them. The possibility of fear was substantial. The danger was immense. The unknown was profound. God’s odd battle plan of marching around Jericho to take the city seemed ludicrous. Wouldn’t an artillery bombardment and Marine frontal attack make more sense? The “What ifs” were compounding by the moment. (more…)
Who would it be if you had to choose a man from the Bible that resembled you? I’d go with Peter in short order. Maybe it’s because I can relate to Peter’s apparent ADHD and ability to speak before he thought things through. While there is truth to that similarity, the more significant parallel between us would be the pendulum swing between Peter’s strong faith and his sometimes stronger fear which he gave into. I get that.
When people drum up illustrations of strong faith, they often highlight the occasion when Peter stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus walking on the water. None of the other apostles dared that adventure. Then, however, things went south with Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus, focused on the waves around him, and began to sink. Peter started in faith, but his fear overpowered him leading to his failure.
The more significant lesson of faith, fear, and failure may have come from his denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75. (more…)
As noted in my blog post last week, while I had not yet seen The Sound of Freedom, I knew beyond doubt that the Guardian’s review of the movie was completely biased and fancifully fictitious. Having now seen the entire film, I can say that I was first impressed with the historical narrative and firmly believe that my pre-judgment of the media criticism was confirmed and spot on. True events inspired the movie, which journeys with former Homeland Security agent, Tim Ballard, rescuing children from human trafficking and pedophilia crime. The film is more than a mere action thriller, but a trumpet blast of awakening people to the expeditious growth of this vile crime all around the globe, with the US being a prime consumer. That would seem like a positive thing.
So, why have numerous media outlets and left-leaning journals targeted the film for destruction? Are human slavery and the sexual trafficking of children an illusion, as they claim? (more…)