Archive for the ‘Idolatry’ category

Spiritual Practice #7: Move Towards Greater Financial Integrity and Generosity

November 23, 2016

blessedLet’s talk about money. We all know that money is necessary – for all sorts of things. I think we also know that money can be dangerous. It can put our spiritual lives, our relationships, and our emotional, mental and physical lives at risk. The apostle Paul isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know when he says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

But money can also be a very good thing. It can serve good and even holy purposes. Generous giving is even mentioned as one of the spiritual gifts (Romans 12:8). So while money can become a curse, it can also be an incredible blessing. (more…)


September 24, 2013

ThomasOn Sunday we talked about the three core activities of the Christ Life – worship, discipleship and witness. When I came home from vacation a few weeks ago, I said that I could envision spending the rest of my ministry focusing on those three things, and that if we could learn how to do those three things well, we would probably be coming pretty close to being the kind of church God calls us to be.

A phrase in this morning’s Old Testament reading got me thinking about worship, that activity which focuses us on the glory and reality of God.

As surely as the Lord lives.…” Words spoken by both Elisha and his servant Gehazi, but with entirely different meanings and intentions.

Naaman, the Syrian commander who was healed of his leprosy after following Elisha’s instructions to bathe seven times in the Jordan River, tried to offer Elisha a reward. Elisha refused: “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.”

After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So he ran after Naaman and made up a story of a couple of prophets showing up at Elijah’s house. “My master asks, ‘Could you please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing?’ Of course, Naaman obliged. (more…)

Dysfunctional Gods

February 14, 2012

Rachel stole her father’s household gods” (Genesis 31:19). Jacob is on the run again in today’s Old Testament reading. Only this time it’s at the Lord’s bidding: “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” Laban, the father of Jacob’s two wives, has become suspicious because of accusations Laban’s sons have been making about Jacob. Gossip, innuendo, backbiting, jealousy – you know, typical family stuff. Rachel and Leah have had enough of their father, and so welcome the opportunity to leave home: “Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us.” Rachel and Leah were “sold” to Jacob for seven years of labor each. Understandably, they felt used and exploited. (more…)