Dear Corinth,

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:1-9).

This is how Paul begins his letter to the Corinthian church. He greets them, calling them sanctified in Jesus, and then thanks God for his brothers and sisters in the city of Corinth. This letter is coated in the love that Paul has for this church; yet, this church is not perfect. And though Paul loves them, he also addresses some serious issues that this church is struggling with, and corrects them. Continue reading

Greed and Skeksis

In Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, an alien race known as the Fallen urSkeks are banished to the world of Thra. In an attempt to purify themselves, they try to use the heart of Thra, the Crystal of Truth, to cleanse themselves of their darker nature. Instead, each urSkek is split into two beings, the Mystics and the Skeksis.

While the Mystics embody the urSkek’s spiritual and peaceful side of their nature, the Skeksis embody their materialistic and violent side. The putrid creatures represent the very nature of greed itself. They hoard treasures for themselves, use the natives of Thra to fulfill their own pleasures, gluttonize upon the produce of their subjects, and defile the Crystal, draining its energy to extend their own life-forces. They trade the health of Thra and her creatures for their own. And when the Crystal is no longer enough, they then use it to drain the essence of Thra’s children, feasting upon Gelflings and Podlings like fattened cattle. The Skeksis only see Thra and her children as things to be used for themselves, easily casting them aside when they can no longer satisfy. And yet, the appetites of the Skeksis are never satisfied, for they crave more and more. Continue reading

For the Gospel

Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (Titus 2:9-10).

Paul wrote these very words to one of his friends and disciples in one of his letters, to Titus. In what we call chapter two of his prose, Paul is describing what the Christian household should look like. That older men should be: sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness (Titus 2:1-2). That older women should be: reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:3-5). And that younger men need to be: self-controlled (Titus 2:6). Paul instructs the household to live a Christian lifestyle, so that their very lives reflect Christ, so that their witnessing may not be obstructed by hypocrisy. He then instructs the last member of the household to: be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Continue reading

You’re Invited!

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” Continue reading

Peace

Shalom, brothers and sisters. May peace be upon you during these chaotic times.

Let us lift up our prayers to the Great Physician for the world during this time of pandemic. For these are trying times of sickness, fear, and scarcity. Yet, weren’t we warned that we would endure such times? For though the Kingdom is here, it is not yet in its full glory, for the god of this world is still given control. We still live in a world of sin and brokeness; therefore, let us not be surprised when such times come upon us. Instead, remember that your Father in heaven, who cares for the smallest sparrow, is still caring for you.

Though we are going through trials, let us not endure them like those with no faith. Instead, let us endure them with the peace and hope that comes from heaven. Continue reading

Build-A-Bear Religion

“The Most Fun You’ll Ever Make.” This is the slogan of Build-A-Bear Workshop, a popular brand found across malls, stadiums, and other locations throughout the United States. It’s an interactive experience that allows kids to create a fluffy friend.

The child must first choose from rows of plush for the right one just for them. Will their next friend be a bear? A dog? How about a unicorn? Or maybe even a Mickey or a Pikachu! Once they have made this critical decision, the child then gets to choose their friend’s voice, stuff them, and give them a heart and their first hug. They then get to dress their plush from a plethora of hats, jackets, bows, and boots, before naming them, and finally, taking their furry friend home. It’s a neat experience that allows a child to be involved in the creation of their new toy, and allows them to customize the toy just the way that they’d like it.

It’s fun getting to create, customize, and to make a product just the way you want it; however, are you guilty, of treating the Bible the same as a Build-A-Bear Workshop? Continue reading

“Blind Men and the Elephant”

Blind Men and the Elephant
by John Godfrey Saxe

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!” Continue reading