The Curious Case of Demas

“Demas has deserted me.” 2 Timothy 4:10.

I am curious about this biblical character, Demas. His name is only mentioned three times in the New Testament. But there is intrigue and mystery and disappointment surrounding him. What happened? Where did it go wrong?

Demas is mentioned in Philemon 24. Paul mentions him along with other, more prominent names like Mark and Luke. He is one of those Paul calls a “coworker.” It suggests Demas traveled with Paul, shared the gospel with Paul and planted churches with Paul. It leads us to believe that he started well in ministry and made a valuable contribution to the kingdom of God.

Colossians 4:14 says, “Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas send you greetings.” It seems just a bit odd Continue reading

Not Obscure to Him

I’m finishing preaching a series of messages through the book of Colossians. What a great book of the bible! The last chapter tells the names of many who are obscure to all but the most ardent of bible scholars. There are mentions of people like Tychicus and Aristarchus and even the only mention of a man named Jesus who is called Justus. (Talk about a tough name to live up to!)

These verses, and other places with similar lists, remind us that the bible is filled with the names of people who are not so well-known. You may know about Paul and David and Moses, but perhaps not about Benaiah or Epaphras or Ehud the left-handed Benjaminite. Those names Continue reading

Personal Responsibility

“It isn’t my fault!” we say. “I’m not to blame!” we insist. So, we find someone or something to blame. We blame our parents, family, friends or enemies. How can we be responsible when our families were so dysfunctional, or our friends so persuasive, or our enemies so capable? We blame our circumstances. The job was too hard, the hill too steep and the sun was in our eyes.

But God is consistently insistent that we take personal responsibility for our actions. He doesn’t play the blame game. He doesn’t allow us to shirk or deflect. Christians are well served, therefore, to be honest about our failures and clear in who is responsible for our decisions.

Exodus 32 unfolds the intriguing story of Continue reading

Three Things I Want the Next Generation to Know

Great words form my sweet wife and well worth the read!

wateringcanblog

“My people, hear my instruction;
listen to the words from my mouth. I will declare wise sayings;
I will speak mysteries from the past— things we have heard and known
and that our fathers have passed down to us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but will tell a future generation
the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
his might, and the wondrous works
he has performed.”  Psalm 78:1-4

Thirty five years ago my life took a dramatic turn.

I married a man who loved the Lord and who had committed his life to serving Him in full-time in ministry.  Just days after we married, we left our home state of Illinois and moved to our first home, sight-unseen, to an apartment within walking distance of the seminary. Low paying jobs and full-time schooling meant that our time in Texas was difficult, but sweet.

And…

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#SBC17 Our Greatest Need

If programs were our greatest need, the Southern Baptist Convention (and Evangelicals as a whole) would have accomplished all the Lord asks of us long ago. Programs are fine, even good. We need the practical application of our faith. But programs and methodology are not our deepest need.

If behavioral changes were our greatest need, we might whip people into obedience and call it a day. Right behavior is good, even critical. We need to do the things God asks us to do and avoid those he tells us not to do. But this is not our deepest need.

If cultural battles were our greatest need, we could Continue reading

#SBC17 My Hopes

The Southern Baptist Convention meets in Phoenix for the annual meeting in just a few weeks. This will mark the end of my brief service as 1st VP. While I wonder how the convention will ever make it without me in this role (I’m pretty sure no one else besides me is wondering that!) here are some of my hopes for Continue reading

#SBC17 What I Look Forward to in Phoenix

The Southern Baptist Convention is in Phoenix, AZ this June and it will be different for me. I am the 1st Vice President of the Convention this year. That plus .79 cents (plus even more for taxes) gets me a soft drink at Circle K. There isn’t much power to the position but I did have a chance to learn more about the SBC. I will even lead a brief part of the convention on Tuesday afternoon. (A good time for controversialists to make their move if ever there was one!)

Here is what I’m looking forward to at the convention in Continue reading