Friday, May 26, 2017

This week's lesson (May 20-26): be who you are

What would it be like to have a super-power . . .

But while everyone else has superpowers that are really terrific -- you know, powers like super-strength, supper-speed, or the ability to read minds . . .

Yes, they've all got the kind of super-powers that people want . . .

But your super-powers are kind of lame.

Like maybe you have the ability to communicate with small, household appliances.

Or maybe you can determine the age of rocks by their taste.

Or maybe you just smell good to cows.

So while everybody else is out there battling crime, thwarting villains, and signing movie contracts . . .

You're in a field.

Surrounded by cows.

Talking to an electric can-opener.

About that new patch of limestone, down by the creek.

Lame, right?

But that's the way I feel when we talk about the spiritual gifts listed in scriptures such as 2 Peter 1:5-7.

I mean, here we have the Creator of the Universe -- the Master of Infinite Power, and Infinite Wisdom . . . somebody, in short, who can do a lot better than the Avengers or the Justice Society.

But does He give us X-ray vision?

Does He give us a freeze-ray?

Does He give us the ability to shoot lightning bolts from our fingertips?

No.

Instead, we get things like faith.

Goodness.

Self-control.

Kindness.

And love.

Really lame stuff -- right?

But if the Master of Infinite Power and Infinite Wisdom chose to give us these gifts . . .

Lame as they seem to be . . .

Then what kind of people does this world really need?

What kind of powers should those people have?

And what kind of powers are the most difficult to practice?

Friday, May 19, 2017

This week's lesson (May 13-19): Jesus in the writings of Peter

A true story.

Maybe.

It's 1962, and a heavy-duty theologian by the name of Karl Barth is visiting the heavy-duty seminary at the University of Chicago . . .

And while he's there, a student asks him to sum up his life's work in one sentence.

So he says, "Jesus love me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

And that's it.

That's all he said.

A true story?

Maybe.

But if you were asked the sum up your beliefs in one sentence . . .

Then what would you say?

Friday, May 12, 2017

This week's lesson (May 6-12): servant leadership

1. You can't be a leader if you don't have followers.

2. That's why leaders need to take care of their followers.

3. If you want to be a leader, but you don't want to take care of your followers, then refer back to Rule #1.

-- I Peter 5:1-10 (Campbell's Condensed Version)

Friday, May 05, 2017

This week's lesson (April 29-May 5): Suffering for Christ.

1. Everyone suffers.

2. Try to be one of those who suffer for a good reason.

--I Peter 3:13-4:19 (Campbell's Condensed Version)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This week's lesson (April 22-28): living for God

I Peter 3:13-16
1. Live the kind of life that makes people ask questions.

2. When they ask questions, give gentle and respectful answers.


3. If they're not asking questions, then take another look at the kind of life you're living.

Friday, April 21, 2017

This week's lesson (April 15-21): social relationships



  • "To live outside the law, you must be honest." -- Bob Dylan
  • "In 1968, Allard K. Lowenstein and his anti-Vietnam War "Dump Johnson movement" recruited Eugene McCarthy to run against incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson. . . . A number of anti-war college students and other activists from around the country traveled to New Hampshire to support McCarthy's campaign. Some anti-war students who had the long-haired, counter-cultural appearance of hippies chose to cut-off their long-hair and shave their beards, in order to campaign for McCarthy door-to-door, a phenomenon that led to the informal slogan, 'Get clean for Gene.'"-- from the Wikipedia article on Senator Gene McCarthy
  • ". . . there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'An unjust law is no law at all.'
"Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. . . ." 
"Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. 
"We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was 'illegal.' It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws . . . "   -- excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail, published in The Atlantic Magazine.



Friday, April 14, 2017

This week's lesson (April 8-14): a royal priesthood

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Spiritual Food & Drug Administration (SFDA) warns of continuing problems with sales of tainted milk.

"We're seeing record levels of contamination" says SFDA spokesman Peter Johnson. "Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander of every kind . . . people are just guzzling the stuff."

And the result?

"Sick, weakly believers," says Johnson. "You just can't 'grow up in salvation' if you're living on this kind of thing."

Johnson adds there's plenty of pure, spiritual milk out there, "but for some reason, it's just not as popular."

Still, he's hopeful.

"They've tasted and seen that the Lord is good," Johnson says. "Maybe they'll try Him again."

#1PETER2:1-3
#ROYALPRIESTHOOD
#SPIRITUALCOUNTERFEITS