Good Coffee

In order to be of full benefit, a Christian must, like good coffee, be:

  1. Allowed to mature (shown their need),
  2. Picked (called),
  3. Put through the fire (tested),
  4. Ground (emptied of self),
  5. Mixed with others (taught to love), and
  6. Steeped (put to work).

Woe! Really?

I cringe when I read the “woes” Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and lawyers in Luke 11. Take, for example, when He says, “But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the other” (Luke‬ ‭11:42‬ ‭HCSB‬‬). These Pharisees did a good job of putting their religiosity on display. They faithfully obeyed the “tithing law” with their material possessions, but they did not provide justice to the downtrodden nor did they love God.

Jesus went to on to pronounce the following woe on the experts in the law, “Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in” (Luke‬ ‭11:52‬). These men had everything necessary to help everyone know and practice true worship, but they distorted it (or kept it to themselves) so the people were kept in darkness. But why was Jesus so harsh on these leaders? It makes me uncomfortable to hear how sharply He rebuked them. Continue reading

How Much Do You Love?

In our world today, there is a pervasive idea that in order to go to heaven, a person must be good. Of course, no one knows how good they must be in order to get in, but that doesn’t seem to bother many of us. We can always point out at least one person who is worse than us.

Unfortunately, the Bible teaches that no one is good enough to get into heaven on their own merit. In fact, Jesus taught the exact opposite. Jesus regularly made comments to the effect of, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

In Luke 7:36-50, there is a delightful story about a Pharisee, a Rabbi, and a prostitute. Jesus (called “Rabbi” by many) was invited over for lunch by a Pharisee. While they were enjoying a pleasant meal, a sinful woman entered the house, knelt at Jesus’ feet weeping, washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, kissed his feet, broke open a bottle of fragrant perfume, and poured it on his feet.

Indignant, the Pharisee thought to himself, Continue reading

Mission San Juan Capistrano

“The bells. I love the bells.” -Mother (Beethoven Lives Upstairs)

On Saturday, my brother-in-law and I went to Mission San Juan Capistrano to learn about some of California’s history. Armed with a camera, a desire to learn, and stomachs full of Mexican food, we knew we were in for a good time.

At the entrance we paid our fee ($9 for me; he got a military discount of some undisclosed amount) and were given headsets and a stack of paper, including a map and other information about the mission. In an attempt at efficiency, my bro-in-law and I decided to follow the audio tour outlined on our map. After listening to the first recording, we abandoned the endeavor and decided to wander around aimlessly (a much more enjoyable option).

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Main Courtyard

From the main courtyard, I snapped a few photos and we made our way to the old chapel. Continue reading

Josiah’s Covenant

Two long blasts. The old man scratched his head. The city watchman had just sounded two long blasts on the horn. It had been years since that signal had been sent. “What does it mean?” He asked himself.

Looking down at his hands he counted on his fingers and said, “one long blast means the king is returning. Three short blasts means that the military needs to gather. But two long blasts… I don’t remember.” As he mumbled to himself, suddenly the herald cried out, “everyone to the temple!”

“Ah, yes! That’s the sound that means we must assemble at the temple! How long has it been since everyone gathered together at the temple? Too long, apparently.”

Continue reading