Luke 16:19-31: The Dishonest Manager–praised for his astuteness, not his dishonesty

“The Parable of the Dishonest Manager” or, with the older title, “The Unjust Steward.”  An owner is wealthy, and others relay rumors to him about his accountant, who is squandering his assets.  This manager is stealing by overcharging on his commissions.  Unlike a wage by the hour or collecting a salary, he earns his income […]

Jeremiah 23:16-29: Live in the Truth

Yoke2

Still in the insecurity of your childhood, running through the house.  Crash!  A prized piece of your mother’s fine porcelain lay broken on the floor.  A few moments later, words are flying from your mouth on how you didn’t break your mom’s china. The contrived deception now spins its web around you, in your mind […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 14: 2 Maccabees and Purgatory

Purgatory2

Recap After we had looked into prayers for the sainted dead in 2 Maccabees, one person in class wanted to explore the verse that followed.  Your teacher tactfully avoided doing so to keep the Lesson on task.  Today, to honor this person’s august wishes (it is August, after all!), we delve deeper in to what […]

Romans 6:19-23: Sin’s Wage vs. God’s Gift

Faith is the Gift of God 2

All around us, whether infiltrating the air or intertwining itself into the tapestry of our culture, is an assumption.  To be free is to be the boss, under no one else’s thumb.  Now, at first, who will disagree?  Oh, how gratifying and cathartic, until we realize we turn ourselves into self-made gods.  Only scan human […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 13: 1-2 Maccabees, Pt. 3

Paul and Onesiphorus 2

Recap In 164 BC, with the ouster of Antiochus Epiphanes from Israel, the Israelites began to celebrate a festival every year to remember the dedication, or restoration, of the Temple.  For the one who claimed to be God in human flesh was defeated and proper worship restored. Jesus used His celebration of this feast (John […]

Church History, Lesson 4: The Didache, Pt. 1

The Didache 2a

Recap In 49 AD, the Church met in her first council to resolve issues of incorporating Gentiles into, then, an ethnically Jewish Church.  The Gentiles did not need to be circumcised for, as the Apostle Paul would later write, baptism supersedes circumcision in the New Covenant (Colossians 2:11-13). However, Gentiles did need to give up […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 12: 1-2 Maccabees, Pt. 2

Cleansing the Temple 2

Recap A representative of Antiochus confronts Mattathias in his town to be the first to offer a pagan sacrifice and become a “friend” of the king.  When Mattathias refuses, another man steps in, hoping to receive favor.  Angry, Mattathias kills both the opportunist and the king’s agent.  The Maccabean revolt begins. At first, Mattathias focuses, […]

Matthew 5:20-26: Be Reconciled

From Reconciled to Reconciling2

In Nashville, Illinois, I served as a vicar before moving here to be your pastor.  A few years before, someone collapsed during the Divine Service.  With the ambulance called, the service stopped for about 20 minutes, and the paramedics soon arrived.  A seriousness descended, a sense of “this is for real.”  An impromptu prayer rose […]

Church History, Lesson 3: The Normalization of Church Practices

Anointing Oil

Bringing Gentiles into the Church   Recap and Introduction Last week, we followed the Church as she spread to Samaria during Jewish persecution.  Christians fled proclaiming Jesus as the world’s Savior from sin and the Deliverer of eternal life.  The Church’s first pastors, the Apostles, however, did not flee with the others (Acts 8:1). So, […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 11: 1-2 Maccabees

11, Timline Leading Up to the Maccabees

Introduction 1 Maccabees describes the attempts at Hellenization by the Seleucid ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (1:1-2:70), moving on to cover the exploits of Judas Maccabeus (3:1-9:22) and his brothers Jonathan (9:23-12:53) and Simon (13:1-16:24).  Judas and his brothers battle to remove the Greek influence from Israel. The book was written after 134 BC since the […]