Pastor Jeff's Top 5 of 2015

As we reflect back on 2015 and anticipate the new year ahead, we thought it would be fun to share Pastor Jeff’s top 5 blog posts of 2015. Wishing you a 2016 full of joy, hope, gratitude, and love!

5. One Way

one way signRecently a friend confided that he was troubled by John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Like many others, my friend was troubled by the way that this verse is often interpreted. The interpretation goes something like this: “God will only accept, and give entrance into heaven, those who believe certain doctrines about Jesus, like his virgin birth, his divine/human nature, his substitutionary atonement. Everyone else will be rejected and condemned.” More…


4. Respect The Office

Oval OfficesmNero became Emperor of Rome in 54AD at the age of 17. History suggests that he ordered the death of both his mother and his first wife. He tortured and executed many Christ-followers after the great Roman fire of 67AD. Nero’s reputation as a madman was so extensive that some early Christian theologians believed that he was the antichrist who would one day return and bring destruction.

Nero was Emperor when Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, which is what makes these words from that letter so extraordinary:

First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior. – 1 Timothy 2:1-3 More…


3. Muslims and The Golden Rule

MuslimSmThe headlines continue to be filled with disturbing news about the spread of a radical and violent strain of Islam in many parts of the world. These headlines have created lots of concern and fear, and rightly so. But they have also brought out a disturbing strain of judgment, even among those who claim to follow Jesus. All Muslims are being judged by the actions of radicals.

For instance, Prince Charles recently made statements condemning the actions of ISIS. The article was entitled, “Prince Charles Makes Devastating Statement about Islam…Muslims Are Outraged. Muslims don’t like to hear the truth.” Suddenly the condemnation of radicals has become the condemnation of all Muslims. That post was enthusiastically shared by some of my Christian friends. More…


2. Empathy

empathy1The long arc of God’s activity in the world is moving toward restoration. We live in the hope that one day God will fully restore all that sin has destroyed. “Behold, I am making all things new” are words that hold a promise worth leaning into (Revelation 21:5).

As followers of Jesus we don’t just wait for restoration to happen. We are called and empowered by God’s Spirit to participate in God’s restorative movement in daily life. But how do we do that? How do we bring restoration to classmates, co-workers, neighbors and family members who are struggling? More…


1. Cecil and Justice

CecilsmThe news last week about Cecil the Lion was tragic. If the allegations that the hunter and his guides intentionally lured Cecil out of an animal preserve to shoot him illegally are true, I hope that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Poaching needs to be stopped.

But I found the global response to this news story more disturbing than the poaching itself. Here are just a few of the responses that were directed toward dentist and hunter, Walter Palmer:

“I’d gladly hunt him for free.”

“He should rot in a cell in Zimbabwe for the rest of his life.”

“Burn in hell murderer.” More…

 

Jeff Marian is lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minnesota

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