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Showing posts with the label Jesus

FAITHFUL | 40 Days of Focus, Day 14

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“You shall not commit adultery."
(Exodus 20:14) We've all heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Actually, that's a myth. First, in no way does that mean your particular marriage only has a 50% chance of lasting a lifetime. It simply means that at one point in our nation's history (a couple decades ago now) for every 2 marriages in a given year, there was 1 divorce. The divorce rate was half that of the marriage rate.

This phenomenon occurred on the heels of court rulings that gave women more authority and control in filing for divorce proceedings. When women were given the chance, they were finally able to end a bad marriage. Imagine being stuck in an abusive marriage, or knowing your spouse is sleeping around, and not being able to do anything about it.
In reality, however, the divorce rate has been on the decline - dropping around 18% over the past decade? Why? Because newly married young people are staying together longer. True, fewer young adul…

LIFE | 40 Days of Focus, Day 13

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“You shall not murder."
(Exodus 20:13) I think it's safe to assume that the majority of us could read this command and think, "Done. Next!"

All in all, it seems pretty easy not to kill people. I personally don't know any murderers. The overall rate of murder and violent crimes is on the decline throughout most of the country. So...odds are that you will see command number six and think, "I'm good."

But you know it's not that easy. If it were that easy, Jesus wouldn't have had to bring it up in the Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."
(Matthew 5:21-22) I find it helpful to refr…

SABBATH | 40 Days of Focus, Day 11

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“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
(Exodus 20:8-11) Sometimes I think we forget just how revolutionary the Bible is/was. Remember that this was a nation of former slaves. How many holidays do slaves get? Zero. How many days off in a week did they get? Zero. To live was to work.

For God to take this nation of former slaves and then REQUIRE one day of complete rest from work EACH WEEK was truly foundational in granting them a new identity. They aren't slaves anymore, and to prove it, God says stop working.

The whole notion…

NAME | 40 Days of Focus, Day 10

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“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."
(Exodus 20:7) Your name is the loudest, most important word in your vocabulary. From before you were born, you were probably addressed by name. Your parents chose a name that was important and meaningful to them in some regard. When someone needs you, they call your name. You want people to know your name and call you by name. If they don't know your name, especially after some time knowing you, or they get your name wrong, it can leave you feeling insulted or demeaned.

It can be frustrating to hear your name too much, however. When someone says your name just to say it, that almost feels like an affront, an abuse of your identity.
"Daniel. Daniel. Daniel. Daniel. Daniel. Daniel..." WHAT?!

Or worse, when someone ascribes some actions or beliefs to you, associating your name with something you would never do or think or condone, it can leave you feel…

IDOLS | 40 Days of Focus, Day 9

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“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."
(Exodus 20:4-6) The second of the 10 Commandments is a prohibition against crafting an image of a created thing in order to bow down to or worship it. Remember, the Hebrew people have just spent many generations in the land of Egypt which was overrun with idols and images. They were everywhere! If you go to Egypt even today and look at the ancient ruins, there are temples and idols and statues and carvings everywhere you look. They depict the pharaohs and the gods, retelling their collective stories in which they found their identity.

Some pharaohs ramped it up to ele…

FLY AND SWIM | 40 Days of Focus, Day 5

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And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
(Genesis 1:20-23) On day two God separated the waters above from the waters below. Now on day five God filled the waters below with fish and the sky with birds. For the first time the Earth is inhabited by creatures that can breathe and move and mate and fight and hunt and forage and multiply and spread out and start families. There is something of free will within the order of creation.

These living creatures are the first to receive a blessing from t…

Let No One Separate

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On Wednesday one of our students, Lauren Woods, read a monologue that I had written for our class on Mark 10. It's one thing to read and discuss what Jesus says about marriage and divorce. It's another thing to imagine what kind of real world impact his words had - and continue to have today.

The monologue is based on Mark 10:1-12. The full script is below if you want to follow along or read it on your own.

LET NO ONE SEPARATE
Performed by Lauren Woods
Written by Daniel Lee



I remember it like it was yesterday. Every new bride is nervous in the beginning. Will he like me? Will he think I’m beautiful? Will I be able to satisfy his needs? How many children will I give him? What will our life be like? Could he ever possibly love me?
All these questions and doubts were swirling through my mind throughout the entire wedding ceremony. He seemed a nice enough man. My father had made all the arrangements with his family. He was ten years older than me. I was barely a woman – only thirteen.…

You Can't Go Home

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Do you remember this Bon Jovi song?
Who says you can't go home? There's only one place they call me one of their own Just a hometown boy born a rolling stone Who says you can't go home? Who says you can't go back? I been all around the world and as a matter of fact There's only one place left I wanna go Who says you can't go home? It's alright, it's alright, it's alright, it's alright, it's alright
I don't know that I agree with Jon. I think there comes a point when "home" doesn't feel like home anymore. I moved to Columbia, TN, in 1998, when I was entering 5th grade. I went away to college at Harding University in 2007. It was my home for about 9 years. It hasn't been my home for just as long now.
It's weird going "home." My parents still live there. A lot of my classmates are still there. My best friends from high school are still around there. But it's not home.
I've always been able to relate to the sto…

Regional Rabbi Allegedly Controls Storms, Demons; Thousands of Pigs Killed

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Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be a journalist for the local Galilee Times newspaper in the days of Jesus...
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Regional Rabbi Allegedly Controls Storms, Demons; Thousands of Pigs Killed

Earlier today, reports poured in from around the Sea of Galilee. This lake, a hub of fishing and other industry in this rural area, has lately been at the epicenter of some amazing claims. The latest witness reports indicate that a stronger than usual storm sprang up overnight, stirring the entire lake into chaos. Several fishing vessels were caught in the middle of the intense gale and were nearly capsized. According to several witness accounts, a Rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth allegedly stopped the storm as quickly as it had arisen.

Peter, one of Jesus' disciples and appointed spokesman for the group, told reporters, "The storm came on us more suddenly than I've ever seen. One minute it was clear sailing. The next, everything was pitch black, and ou…

Is He Ignorant or Just Plain Evil?

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Are you familiar with Godwin's Law? Back in the early 90s, American lawyer and author Mike Godwin developed a law of civil discourse. Basically, Godwin observed that the longer an argument raged on, the more likely it would be that at least one party would compare the opposing party to the Nazis and/or Hitler.

How much more true are his findings thirty years later!

There's something interesting that happens when we disagree with someone. When we think someone is wrong and we are right, then they must be 1) ignorant, because anyone who truly knew the all the facts would come to the same conclusion as us, or 2) blatantly evil, because if they know the facts and still disagree with us they must have some inherently corrupt worldview or agenda.

We have come to believe that no reasonable person would be X. We are reasonable people, so we believe X. That person doesn't believe X; therefore, they must not be a reasonable person - either ignorant of the facts or unreasonably evil…

Who Are These Guys?

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If you want to win the gold medal for basketball in the Olympics, you can't get much better than the 1992 USA "Dream Team."
This group of men would go down in history as "the greatest sports team ever assembled." After a disastrous 1988 run at the Olympics - losing to the USSR and settling for bronze - the USA recruited professional players for the first time ever. This hall-of-fame lineup included Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Scotty Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Carl Malone. They were a force to be reckoned with, to put it lightly.

Needles to say, the Dream Team put the US back on top by winning the gold medal in 1992. And it wasn't even close - the closest game happened to be the gold medal game against Croatia and was won by 32 points (117 to 85).

The sheer dominance of this team, their performance and teamwork, cannot be understated. They took the world by storm and are now a thing of legend. They were the best…

Biblical Enneagram Types: FIVES

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Fives are some of the unsung heroes of the Enneagram. They don't like the recognition and the spotlight. They don't seek to be honored at banquets or showered with public praise. Fives know what they know and they do what they do - and they do it well. I've never met a Five who wasn't at least somewhat knowledgable in virtually everything. Fives are the researchers behind the project. They are the quality engineers making sure your new car runs perfectly. They are the chemists developing new, safer, more sustainable formulas and medicines.

If you have a five in your life, you know they are great to have around. They're like a walking Google search. Ask them a question, and they can probably give you an answer. If not, they'll disappear for a while and then come back with one.

Fives read the Encyclopedia for fun as children.

Fives, often called Observers or Investigators, are not typically very outgoing - which is interesting because they share a line with Seven…