Posts from 2023

Posts from 2023

Opening the Door to 2024

As the expiration date on the year 2023 swiftly approaches the University church can look back on a wonderful year. The sweet fellowship, mountains of service, and attention to our divine mission has carried us to the doorstep of another year, and the future looks as bright as our history. It is difficult to think of the University church without thinking about Focal Point, one of our main projects each year. This year’s slate of speakers was not only top…

Five Factors of Acts 2:38

In Acts 1:8, Luke reveals a general outline of the book as a whole, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Their witness to the gospel would begin in Jerusalem and make its way to Rome where it would be set to go to the “end of the earth.” While the book records…

Brothers, What Shall We Do?

Hundreds of thousands of Jews milled the streets of Jerusalem shopping, talking, and laughing. In a moment everything average about that day stopped. They heard a whooshing sound, and it drew everyone’s attention to a group of crazy men who were marginalized when their leader was punished for blasphemy. Now they were drunk at nine o’clock in the morning, spouting gibberish, and making a spectacle of themselves as the multitude watched. Then Peter stood, saying, “These people are not drunk,…

Overcoming Prejudice

The natural human tendency is to embrace homogeneity. People are most comfortable around others like themselves. Computer programmers often form friendships with other programmers. Competitive runners develop a community with other runners. This extends beyond work and recreation to race, gender, and religion too. Often, “outside our comfort zone,” simply means someone is surrounded by people who don’t share their interests, understanding, or cultural background. Few people in history exemplified this phenomenon like the ancient Jews. Israel was called God’s…

Why People Love Christmas

Another holiday season has arrived with lights, glitter, and tinsel in tow. Joy and smiles dot the landscape as people search for the perfect gifts and attend parties and gatherings. Decorations go up, animosity goes down, and for a little while the world seems in harmony. What is it about the holidays that so many love? Throughout the year, other days of celebration are popular, but none of them come close to the popularity of Christmas. I think the holiday…

An Astronomical Connection

Connections. As humans, we crave connections and relationships. They help us become part of a community and build emotional ties, and strong bonds. They even help us find links to our past. In the song, Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram lift the burden of their separation, singing, “Even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star” (lyrics by James Horner). The stars that…

A Few of Our Favorite Things

What brings joy? Babies. Puppies. Brown paper packages tied up with string. Our names written in heaven. When the disciples return after their limited commission of preaching the arrival of the kingdom, they are ecstatic at their power to cast out demons. Jesus saw this as the falling of Satanic power and the dominion of heaven was coming to the earth. Then Jesus says, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that…

A Blood Contract

I remember the feelings of impending doom and responsibility as I entered the title company. In just a few short minutes I would begin filling out information, signing, and initialing hundreds of forms to buy my first home. Few decisions in my life required more commitment—marrying my wife, having children, and buying the jar of Serendipity Salt that crystallized in my spice cabinet. Fear, nausea, and the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome set in the closer I got to the…

Support for Israel?

It was 1947 and millions of refugees needed a home. They moved into an area inhabited by a peaceful diverse population. Instead of joining the existing population, the Sunni Muslims drove the Sikhs and Hindi out and formed the new nation of Pakistan. That same year, in the aftermath of WWII, Jewish refugees were seeking a homeland. The region of Palestine was home to a vast Arab population, but among them many Jews lived peacefully. The United Nations sought to…

Don’t Be Mean

Who robs a blind man? Who mocks someone who is bald? Who curses someone who is deaf? Who looks at someone in adversity and takes advantage of their limitations? It sounds like bullies on the playground, but God warned the children of Israel, “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:14). I read that and thought, “Why would someone do that?” People…

No Fear

It was late one night when my wife was pregnant with our second child, and I couldn’t sleep. A looming sense of dread and fear settled over me. How could we afford a second child when we were barely making it as a family of three? I could taste the fear and it was bitter, but there was nothing I could do to change the circumstance—I had to change my response. Fear impedes progress, paralyzes action, and stymies thought. Everyone…

A Relationship with God First

People looking for a relationship often go to hangouts, social events, and even clubs trying to meet other people. Sadly, most of those frequenting these places are not looking for a long-term commitment, thwarting the efforts of those who are. Other people look closer to home: school, church, and work. But here again, a lot of people cannot seem to find the right person. This is especially true for believers who are looking to marry someone of “like precious faith.”…