They Should Have Been Enemies

Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He faced hostility from opposing teams. He faced animosity from baseball fans. He even faced resentment and suspicion from his own teammates on the Brooklyn Dodgers.

During one game, the taunting became unbearable. While playing second base, Jackie committed an error. The Boston players and fans began to heckle Jackie mercilessly. That’s when legendary shortstop Pee Wee Reese walked over from his shortstop position and put his arm over Jackie’s should and began talking to him.

No One Will Snatch You

Greg’s father died of cancer. Greg was understandably distraught. I had been introduced to Greg through my oldest daughter. I met with Greg the next day in an empty classroom at Shoreland Lutheran High School. As I worked to comfort and console Greg, I asked him if he believed everything he was being taught at Shoreland. He immediately buried his head in hands on the table. He didn’t answer for a full 30 seconds.

Finally, Greg answered, “I want to.”

Breakfast with Jesus

Nutrition experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast provides fuel for the body and brain after an overnight fast. That’s where the name originates – breaking the fast! A healthy breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels. It can improve mood and lower stress levels. In studies among children, breakfast can improve behavior and has been linked to improved grades. Just like any other organ of the body, the brain needs energy to work its best. Eating breakfast is healthy for the body and brain.

The War Against Death

Some of our 3rd grade boys know that I’m as geeky as they are. They’ve seen the various Marvel superhero movies. They asked me to talk about Avengers: Endgame which opens April 26. It is the most anticipated film of the year. Fans – our 3rd grade boys included – have been waiting a year since the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

If you haven’t seen Infinity War yet, here is my spoiler warning – at the end of the movie, half of the superheroes disappear into dust.

Take and Eat; Take and Drink

Here we are again, at the most significant, most sacred weekend in our worship life as Christians. Here we are again in spirit in the upper room, at the foot of the cross, and — wonder of wonders — staring into the empty tomb where Jesus of Nazareth is not. This weekend, again, is truly the high point of our worship life.

There are probably a few of us are a little sad at this time of the year. Why? Because this means the end of our weekly Lenten suppers. No more fried chicken, sub sandwiches, tacos or a table full of deserts.

Save Us Now!

Our English language doesn’t quite catch it. To us, the name Jesus and the Hebrew word Hosanna sound completely unrelated, but in their original language, they make beautiful harmony. Let me explain.

When the angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of the very Son of God, he also gave her God’s command: “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “You will call him Yeshua (Joshua or Jesus),” which literally means “the Lord saves.”

Watch and Pray

It was in a garden, where everything was perfect, that Satan came to Adam and Eve and slipped poison into their minds using his lying, forked tongue. This ruined everything. Death began to seep into all creation: flowers began to wither; animals lost their tameness; fruit began rotting on the trees; insects began biting. Man went into hiding from a God whose visits he used to look forward to with such eagerness. Man began aging, and laboring, and sweating, and suffering, and dying. Adam and Eve lived a long, long time the Scriptures say, but they would eventually bend over and shrivel back into the dust from which they were formed. Their sin would bring an even worse fate. So they wanted to talk and listen to Satan? Well, by their rebellion against the will of God, they and all their descendants earned the right to do just that forever, in hell.

Fighting Temptation: Living with Past Guilt

My daughter, Lydia, turns 16 at the end of April. She has her temps right now. Very soon she will have her real driver’s license. I can tell when she’s been driving my car because the steering wheel is lower, the seat is closer (even for me), and the rearview mirror is tilted.

After I get over the bruised knees of trying to get into the car, I raise the steering wheel, move back the seat and readjust the rearview mirror. But, I’m fine with tilting the mirror back to where it needs to be. That means she was using it.

I Am He

In John’s gospel, there are times when Jesus intentionally kept his identity hidden, at least initially. Think, for instance, about his long conversation with the woman at Jacob’s well in John chapter 4. Jesus and she talked about a bunch of things, and Jesus (whether she realized it right away or not) was ministering to her soul. Finally, she said expectantly, “I know that Messiah is coming.” It wasn’t until that point that Jesus said, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” In other gospel accounts, you remember how many different times Jesus told either his disciples or the people he had healed not to tell anyone that he was the Christ—“Hush, hush.”

What Is Truth?

The title on the web banner was enticing: “Fight Back With Un-Fake News!” More than enticing, it struck one of our society’s recently exposed nerves. In March 2017, 60 Minutes also ran a segment investigating the production of fake news. The segment showed how writers design stories to look official and believable. One programmer demonstrated how the number of “Likes” on Facebook can be manipulated to make fake news stories look much, much more popular than they actually are. People fall for the trick: If so many appear to be reading it, it must be true. Sadly, this is our world. Photoshopped pictures alter reality. Breaking news is written on a blog from a couch in a man cave. What to believe?