Loss of Life Gives us an Invitation to Engage. The second way Jesus was in a World of Pain was not in Egypt, but in Bethlehem.  There is a blood bath going on this Christmas.    All the children under the age of two will be killed.   And this example of Jesus is an invitation for you and I to draw near to Christ and engage in our broken world.16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:  18 “ A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children,  Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”Some parts of Christmas can be filled with sadness. Herod killed off all the male children under two.   As the reader read this… images of the Passover would come to mind. God just said He called his son out of Egypt, just as He called His people out of Egypt.   His deliverer, Jesus, was delivered from a evil dictator who was killing off kids, just as Moses was delivered from an evil dictator who was killing off all the kids.    Matthew is showing us that Jesus is our Passover. He is our Moses. He came into an evil world that kills off children ~without a second glance.   Paul notes that He is our Passover Lamb in 1 Cor 5:7b“For Christ Our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.”

The first passover lamb came into a land filled with slavery, abuse, genocide, and infanticide, and God made a way of escape. The Second Passover Lamb (Jesus) came into a world of pain too.

Two questions come to mind as I read this prediction from Jeremiah.

1) Question 1: Why is “loss of life” Such a Pattern in History? (Exodus, Jeremiah, Matthew, etc.)

18 “ A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children,  Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”

Where did human rights come from?  Where did this idea of civil rights come from?  When did “not killing children” become a societal ethic?  It has not been a historic way of thinking….

Aristotle said, “you can tell by common sense that some people don’t have same value and worth.”  Hitler taught Eugenics and had a list of which races were worth more than others. He systematically killed off the “less value” races on his list because they were less evolved. Historically, basic human rights given to all individuals was NOT common thinking.

Brian Terany, history teacher at Cornell, proved human rights come from:

  • Christian jurists in middle ages meditating and reflecting on creation ex deo. They reflected on the fact that if all humans are made in God’s image, then they all have God given inalienable rights.
  • Martin Luther king in his writing the American dream.  He said that the founding father were influenced by the Bible.  Dignity is injected by creator.  Luther said, “There are no greydation in image of god. From the base black to the whitest white. all are significant on gods keyboard.”
  • Hospitals. David Bently heart.   Christians were first to help the poor and common folk with medical care.  In Saint Effrum in the year 350, a plague hit the city of Odessa.  Christians opened a hospital to all affected. That was unheard of.  First public hospital in Rome was created by a rich Christian woman named Saint Fabiola. She went into streets to find women needing care.
  • Fredrick Nietzsche despised Christianity for its compassion and love for weak and outcasts rather than an ethic of power and will -as I mentioned last week.
Of course, for me this issue is very personal. Why? My son Quinn was seconds away from being destroyed. While he was 4 months in the womb, his birth mother walked into an abortion clinic to have him aborted. She cried her way out and decided to place him with someone who could take care of him.   My family is forever indebted to her decision.  It was hard, very hard for me to think about having a 10 year old, and starting over with a newborn. God had placed a longing in our hearts for a child, but I was wrestling with my own self-centeredness and selfishness.  I was surprised how shallow I could be choosing comfort over engagement.  But, 2 1/2 years later, it’s obvious that God was at work, and His call to Engage in a Hurting World is always worth the challenges.  God will challenge us to engage in ways that move us out of our comfort zone.

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There is an insidious tool that our world uses to keep us from becoming a disciple of Christ.     It creates the illusion of progress and commitment without actually making progress.  It creates a sense of “energy and accomplishment” without having any real accomplishment.   It affects our marriages, our parenting, our careers, and our faith.  It sounds like this:


  • I am planning on starting a read through the Bible plan to cover the whole Bible…   Later.

  • I am planning on a monthly date night with my spouse… We’ll start it Later this year.

  • I am planning on a new work out and diet where I lose 20 pounds… I haven’t started yet, but I will get to it soon.

  • I heard a message about memorizing Scripture and I want to take my top three weaknesses and arm myself with specific Scriptures about… I haven’t got to it yet, but I will later.

Isn’t that true. I see that in myself. I set goals for myself and the idea of setting the goal makes me feel like I’ve done something… And I have, but it tricks me into thinking I’ve done something about that goal.   I had a goal last semester to take my son and daughter out on a date once a month. The goal looked great, but Christmas came and I hadn’t actually done it.    I had a goal of going into my kids room at night once a week before bedtime to check in with them on how they are doing.  It was a great goal… but I was going to put it in practice next week. Soon 3 months went by.  I had plans for going into the birds and bees talk with my son, stage 2.0, last semester, we got two chapters in, and I put it off to LATER.   The Bible offers a lens to think about our time.

Cater to Something Greater

By Rejecting Sooner or Later

God calls his disciples and followers to Cater to Something GReater.  And doing that, will require us to reject the lie that says, “Sooner or Later, I’ll get to it.”

Paul begins in Ephesians chapter 5:15

I. Cater to Something Greater…by Walking Wisely

Eph 5:15-21  15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Catering to something greater begins as we stop walking as fools.  We begin to walk wisely. We redeem the time by walking circumspectly.  Walking circumspectly means to “notice in advance,” and “See dangers before they occur” and Watch Out where you put your feet.   Not as fools.  How do we know if we are walking wisely, vs like fools.

Photo: Chad's new book, hot off the presses

 LAst Sunday was an exciting day for me.  Over the last three years, I have tried to invest time and redeem time, by writing a book.   I’ve made small deposits of time over the past three years to this project.  In comes out in July, but we’ll let you know some ways you can order it and use it in advance in the next month.    I bring this up for two reasons:  First, it was SOOOO exciting to go to my box last Sunday and Random House sent me my first copy of Horizon’s first book.  I walked into the tech  booth and a volunteer  took a picture of it and posted it on FB. Here it is.  As I think back, one of the verses that motivated me to write this was this verse in Ephesians.  How do we redeem the time and speak to the culture we are in.    The second part of the verse that struck me was the part about “not as fools” In godonomics, I address a lot of what the Proverbs say about foolishness.

1. Fools  spend all they have  Pr 21:20

2. Fools don’t take feedback  Pr 15:5, 23:9

3. Fools don’t see danger coming  Pr 22:3

4. Fools thinking saying whatever they think is healthy.   Pr 29:20

5. Fools don’t listen Prov 18:13

6. Fools don’t learn their lesson, repeat their mistakes Pr 26:11

7. Fools Gossip Prov 26:17

8. Fools Don’t Promote Their Books in Blogs  2 Opinions 4:8

Notice how the fool never Caters to Something Greater.  He lives for gossip, ego, blurting out his comments, speaking before listening, and making strife.     There is something within the fool that he lives for.  Almost always pride.  Ego.  That is the Fool’s identity and center.  And Paul is telling Christ-followers that we have a new identity in Christ that is Greater.  There is a wisdom, access, love, security, honor, and power from God that can drive us to “Cater to Something Greater”  We live out this new identity by walking wisely, not as fools.


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I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. This article was written by a Rabbi affirming the Old Testament’s support of Free Market Capitalism.

Here’s a paragraph:

More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.

Regarding mankind, no theme is more salient in the Bible than the morality of personal responsibility, for it is through this that man cultivates the inner development leading to his own growth, good citizenship and happiness. The entitlement/welfare state is a paradigm that undermines that noble goal.

The Bible’s proclamation that “Six days shall ye work” is its recognition that on a day-to-day basis work is the engine that brings about man’s inner state of personal responsibility. Work develops the qualities of accountability and urgency, including the need for comity with others as a means for the accomplishment of tasks. With work, he becomes imbued with the knowledge that he is to be productive and that his well-being is not an entitlement. And work keeps him away from the idleness that Proverbs warns leads inevitably to actions and attitudes injurious to himself and those around him.

Yet capitalism is not content with people only being laborers and holders of jobs, indistinguishable members of the masses punching in and out of mammoth factories or functioning as service employees in government agencies. Nor is the Bible. Unlike socialism, mired as it is in the static reproduction of things already invented, capitalism is dynamic and energetic. It cheerfully fosters and encourages creativity, unspoken possibilities, and dreams of the individual. Because the Hebrew Bible sees us not simply as “workers” and members of the masses but, rather, as individuals, it heralds that characteristic which endows us with individuality: our creativity.

At the opening bell, Genesis announces: “Man is created in the image of God”—in other words, like Him, with individuality and creative intelligence.”

Check out the rest of the article for more.  The New Testament affirms those principles and more. Godonomics are God’s principles for economic development.   The New Testament affirms property rights loudly and clearly.   Many will say, “Chad, How convenient of you to ignore the book of Acts which is clearly socialistic and anti-capitalism…”  Hardly the case.   Capitalism is the “free exchange of privately held goods and property.”  Socialism is government control over business or commerce.  Marxism denies property rights and says, “no one owns anything.”   The book of Acts celebrates property rights and the generosity produced by capitalism.  Case in point: Barnabus, the son of encouragement.  He was a successful businessman who produced, profiting, saved, and gave enormous amounts of his “private property and wealth” to others.  He inspired others to give their own money away as seen in Acts 2-4.   Everyone began to assess other’s needs and give generously to the needs of both the Christians and the secular needy (impacting the skeptical leader of the land -as recorded by historian Josephus).    When Ananias and Sapphira are inspired by this businessman and want to be known as generous.   The sell their land (Private property) and take “their earnings” (Affirmed in a few verses by the Apostle Peter) and pretend to give the money away fully.   Peter confronts them about… Lying.  Not about holding the money back.  Peter affirms property rights. Peters says TWICE, the land was yours before you sold it… And the money was YOURS after you sold it.  You can do what you want with it…   The issue was not about the amount they gave (or didn’t give), it was about the motivation and the lying to God.

Back to Barnabus.  Imagine Barnabus giving all his money away totally.  It would be an amazing amount of generosity… And then what?  Barnabus would need someone to provide for him. He would need to fire all his employees since he sold the farm, the business, the supplies, etc.    Wouldn’t it be much better and generous for Barnabus to be generous to everyone by selling products that put others first which enable him to hire people and keep them employed?  Wouldn’t Barnabus inspire and equip more generosity by leading by example and giving A LOT away to others and making a means for his employees to make money so they too could continue to give A LOT of money away?  Of course.    Business and free market capitalism is the engine for generosity.   Giving everything away once is alot like Daffy Duck’s famous “explosion” on stage. He drank gasoline, swallowed a stick of dynamite, and then a match… POW!!! He blew up. It was amazing. It was a huge bang!!   As his angel floats to Heaven, his friend says, “That was amazing, can you do it again?”

Daffy says, “The problem with that act is I can only do it once.”  The same is true of one time generosity and selling all you have.    The only exception, of course, is the rich man.  If money becomes your god (the thing that is more important to you than God), Jesus will challenge you to give it ALL away.  Why?  Money, and the love of money, cannot satisfy or play the role of God in anyone’s life.

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