Posts from February 2016

“Valuing the Undervalued” Luke 18:15-17

Parent-Child-Church Dedication Service for Nicholas James Ward

I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this week I found an article which listed the rewards of raising a child. The government calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock!? That doesn’t even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is don’t have children if you want to be “rich.”

“Valuing the Undervalued” Luke 18:15-17

Parent-Child-Church Dedication Service for Bailey James Sides

I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this week I found an article which listed the rewards of raising a child. The government calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock!? That doesn’t even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is don’t have children if you want to be “rich.”

“Taking On Rather than Giving Up” Psalm 51:1-17

Ash Wednesday Meditation

What we do on Ash Wednesday in our church is not what most Baptists do on Ash Wednesday. For most Baptists, today is another day on the calendar of following Jesus without any regard as the beginning of the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, which is a season of 40 days (plus Sundays) to prepare us for Easter. Christians all over the world have heard or will hear the same scriptures that have been read tonight. Advent prepares us for Christmas; Lent prepares us for Easter. And Easter is the foundation of our faith; without the resurrection, we would serve a dead Jesus instead of a risen Christ. Christianity is the only religion with the claim that its founder rose from the dead; founders of every other religion have died and remained dead. Lent prepares us for the celebration of Easter.

“Reputation Matters” Luke 14:1-14

It is no secret that the Pharisees did not like Jesus. He represented too radical a change for them. They only associated with people like themselves so that they could remain ceremonially clean; if they hung out with the outcasts whom Jesus attracted, they would not be able to participate in Temple rituals.
The word “Pharisee” actually means “separated one,” and they lived up to their name. They separated themselves from outcasts, but also they separated themselves from anyone who didn’t keep the Law as they did. The quest of their religion was to do the right thing and not do the wrong thing. On the surface, we might agree that their quest was noble, but in reality, they placed the keeping of their understanding of the Law to be above everything else. They regularly placed regulations and rules ahead of individuals and their needs.
For Jesus to have such an adversarial relationship with the Pharisees raises questions with this passage from Luke. Why would a leader of the Pharisees invite Jesus into his home, and why would Jesus accept the invitation?

“Today’s Lepers” Mark 1:40-45

In the New Testament, there was no person whom people avoided more than a leper. Although virtually obliterated in industrialized nations today, cases of leprosy continue to be reported in third world countries. As you probably know, the disease is a skin disorder. Ulcerated whelps form on the skin that can also affect the muscular and nervous systems. Mental decay is assured while the end result is usually fatal; it is also highly contagious. The pain from this dreaded disease is excruciating. I don’t know about you but when I am sick, I like to be pampered. If I’m not feeling well, I find comfort in the fact that someone can and does take care of me. Lepers did not enjoy this luxury. The source of their solace was people in the same boat disregarding their own suffering in trying to grant sometimes unreachable serenity.