The Roman playwright Horace, who lived and wrote in the days of Julius Caesar, criticized the other poets and playwrights of his day because every time they presented a problem, in the plot line of their stories, they utilized one of the many Roman gods to resolve it. In regards to their propensity to interject such gods, Horace said, ”Do not bring a god onto the stage unless the problem is one that deserves a god to solve it.”
In Isaiah 9:6 we read a Messianic prophecy written nearly seven hundred years before the birth of Christ which says:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This is a popular passage this time of year when many people choose to focus on the birth of Jesus because of its association with Christmas. For the record, Scripture does not indicate when Jesus was born nor does it instruct us to celebrate the day of His birth. Regardless of the absence of such information from Scripture, many in our culture still associate the birth of Jesus with the holiday that is celebrated on December 25. Interestingly, Isaiah’s prophecy challenges us to focus not so much on Jesus’ birth, but on Jesus’ identity because understanding who Jesus is allows us to comprehend why Jesus came. So, over the next few weeks, as the birth of Jesus is prominently displayed and mentioned in our culture, we will explore the identities associated with Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 in order to answer the question posed by the popular hymn, “Why Did My Savior Come to Earth?”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention posted an article on their website entitled, “Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Epidemic,” which documented research from the past decade on sleep-related behaviors. According to their research, thirty percent of adults report getting an average of less than or equal to six hours of sleep per night when they actually need at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. In other words, many people fail to get the rest they need even though it is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and I would contend that many Christians fail to get the rest they need because they fail to recognize that rest is an expectation of God.
Although the Thanksgiving holiday traces its roots back to the 17th century and was first observed nationally under the presidency of George Washington, it did not become an annual holiday until 1863 by proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. In Lincoln’s address regarding the Thanksgiving holiday, he noted that all blessings “are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” His statement is reminiscent of Habakkuk 3:2 in which Habakkuk prayed, “LORD, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” It is only fitting that recalling God’s awesome blessings and seeking His constant mercy, like Habakkuk, should ignite within us a heart of gratitude. But are we constantly grateful or does the thanksgiving mentality only impact us once a year?
The congregations associated with the Church of Christ have always identified themselves as non-denominational. For centuries this was a peculiar identification, but in recent years it has become very popular for congregations to claim that they are non-denominational, especially among the community church movement. According to a June 12, 2015 Christianity Today article, “over the last four decades, there has been more than a 400 percent growth in Protestants who identify as non-denominational.” With the growing popularity of non-denominational congregations it is important for us to consider what that means, and why the churches of Christ have maintained that identity.
Why Does the Church of Christ Teach Definitive Parameters on Marriage and Divorce?
Earlier this year, we presented a series of articles about the beliefs and practices of the churches of Christ that were thematically arranged around “why” questions, such as “Why Does the Church of Christ Believe That Baptism is Essential to Salvation,” "Why Does the Church of Christ Lack Musical Instruments in Their Worship Services,” and “Why Do Churches of Christ Observe the Lord’s Supper Every Sunday.” Since the writing of those articles, it has become evident that a few more “why” questions need to be addressed, the first of which deals with the subject of marriage and divorce.
Christianity’s stance on marriage and divorce frequently finds itself in opposition to culture’s stance on marriage and divorce. This is because one’s stance on marriage and divorce is predicated on who or what one deems to be the authority on the subject. The congregations affiliated with the “Church of Christ” acknowledge that marriage is an institution established by God, not by man; therefore, He is the authority on this subject. And the churches of Christ acknowledge God as the authority on marriage and divorce because Jesus acknowledged God as the authority on marriage and divorce. In Mark 10:2-12 (and its sister passage Matthew 19:3-12), Jesus was asked by the Pharisees to weigh in on a doctrinal dispute regarding marriage and divorce. Jesus responded not by consulting cultural practices or government standards, but by referencing the expectations instituted by God when He established the first marriage. Notice what He said in Mark 10:6-9.
Have you ever heard the phrase “fully involved?” To me, that phrase refers to whether or not you want all of the fixings on your sandwich at Firehouse Subs. However, that phrase actually comes from the world of firefighting. In firefighting jargon the phrase “fully involved” is a “term of size-up” indicating that “the fire, heat, and smoke in a structure are so widespread that internal access must wait until fire streams can be applied.” If I understand this terminology correctly, then it means that a structure is “fully involved” when it is completely engulfed in flames to such a degree that the structure is inaccessible. Or, to say it a little differently, a structure is “fully involved” when it is consumed by the fire to the degree that it is dangerous to the fire’s opponents.
October is my favorite month of the year, and here’s why.
First, October is one of the best months for sports. It contains the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series. It contains the heart of the college football season with conference competitions and unexpected upsets happening nearly every weekend. It is also a month that hosts NFL games and ushers in the NBA season. So, October is wonderful because it neatly packages all of these sports into one extraordinary month.
In aeronautic terminology “attitude” refers to “the orientation of an aircraft’s axes relative to a reference” point such as the horizon. For the record, I am not an aircraft aficionado so my explanation of aircraft terminology is based on my own research and therefore susceptible to flaws. But as I understand it, the attitude of an aircraft is its position relative to other objects on the axes of roll (i.e. rotation from the longitudinal axis that is controlled by the aileron and determines the angle or banking of the aircraft’s wings), pitch (i.e. rotation around the lateral axis that is controlled by the elevator and determines the up and down movement of the aircraft’s nose), and yaw (i.e. rotation around the perpendicular axis that is controlled by the rudder and determines the side to side movement of the aircraft’s nose).
First things first: I’m a rule-follower.
This doesn’t mean that I ALWAYS follow the rules (just ask my Mom), but I’m a rule-follower by nature. I respect authority, obey rules/laws, and absolutely HATE to be “in trouble” with anyone.
So, keep that in mind as you read this article…