Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Best Predictor of Future Performance 3/31/2016

"Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying." Matt 28:5-6

One of the many responsibilities of human resources professionals is to evaluate candidates for potential employment. This is a critical task in every business. The HR professional must evaluate a previously unknown individual to determine whether they would be an asset or a liability to the company. One of the most important tools used to accomplish this is known as behavioral interviewing. The theory behind this practice is, "The best predictor of future performance is past performance."

Beloved, we play the role of HR professional in our lives every day. The only reason we get on planes is because we've seen them take off and more importantly, land safely. We eat at restaurants where we do not actually see our food being prepared, because of the health department rating in every window. We believe in Jesus because he did what he said he would.

Jesus frequently told his disciples that he would give up his life but that he would take it up again. Though they did not fully understand it at the time (and Thomas not believing it all until he saw the ressurected Savior), they continued to follow him. They had seen him heal the sick, feed the hungry, minister to those in need, withstand hypocritical authorities and perform miracles never before seen. His performance lead to the establishment of their faith. They believed him so much that they completely changed their lives and began to live for him.

Jesus has said, "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-3. On those rare occasions when your faith may get a little shaky, remember his past performance and look forward to his future performance. Jesus will do just what he said he would just as he always has.

Practically speaking,


Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Claiming vs. The Calling

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side." Luke 10:30-32

It would be a great speculative exercise to wonder where the priest and the Levite where going as they passed someone in such distress. One should have no trouble determining what a priest is. For those who do not know, however, a Levite was one whose tribe members were responsible for attending to things associated with the temple, the worship that took place there and the needs of the priests. Where could they both be going?

Before that is further pursued, the fact that they "passed by on the other side," away from someone who had been injured is of particular note. Certainly tradition holds that this took place on a road that was frequented by robbers. Perhaps they were both concerned about their own safety and decided to give the situation a wide berth.

Suppose they were just in a hurry. Suppose they were in a hurry because they were late. Suppose they were in a hurry because they were late for a temple worship or class. Suppose they were in a hurry because they were late for a temple worship or class where they were scheduled to discuss how to treat one's fellow man. Just suppose.

Beloved, Christianity is not a claim, it is a calling. It is not for show but for shouldering. It is not just for hearing but for helping. It is not just for believing but being. I wonder how often we pass up the opportunity to do good on the way to "church"...where we are told to do good.

Faith without works is dead.

Practically speaking,


Thursday, March 17, 2016

What About Me? 3/17/2016

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matt 7:12

When most people think about the "Golden Rule," they think more about how they want to be treated than how they treat others. In fact, treating others well can be a means to an end rather than a pursuit of virtue. The reason for pursuing this thought is that there are those who become disenfranchised with their local congregations, particularly around the time that they stop attending for one reason or the other. Members get upset if no one comes to check on them and see how they are doing.

Let it first be said that they have a point. Who among us does not want to feel cared for by our brothers and sisters in Christ? It is a fact that the congregation has a responsibility to its members. If we do not care for one another who will? We must love others as we love ourselves and as Christ loves us.

That said, it must also be considered why members forsake the fellowship. To be sure there are a variety of reasons and it exceeds the purpose of this writing to consider them per se. Instead, the question must be asked to some of those who feel wronged, "Do you visit the absent?"

Beloved it is easy to ask oneself, "What about me?" but not as easy to make the sacrifice and show the love for others by visiting them in their need, particularly when they may have, for one reason or the other, lost their way. Much is said about cliques in the church and how only certain people get the attention of the masses. While this can be seen in any organization (let us not forget that we are still humans and still short of perfection despite our calling) this can be defeated by being the friend we wish to have. If everyone focused on building relationships and reaching out to the person normally on the nearby pew that you have not seen in a while, the problem could be virtually eliminated. In so doing, we will likely find ourselves being treated the way we have treated others. Let us think on these things.

Practically speaking,


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Trials and Love 3/3/2016

"Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' He said, 'Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.'” Genesis 22:10-12

It is well known that God promised Abraham a legitimate son through whom nations would be built long before He delivered on that promise. It is also well known that Abraham was 100 years old when the child was born thereby proving the hand of God in his life. One can only imagine the overwhelming love Abraham must have had for his son Isaac. Contemporary parents are head over heels after nine months. Abraham must have been out of his mind with adoration for his child. Can it be at all imagined what it must have been like to hear God tell him, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you,” Genesis 22:2?

Beloved, as was the case with Abraham and many others we read about within the pages of inspiration, God tests us. Through these tests, it is not He who learns things about us (He knows all) but we who learn things about ourselves. More specifically, it is through our trials that we can see where are love truly is. When the night is darkest and our health is failing, a loved one is hurting, our finances are flagging, our relationships in trouble and our hope threatened, to whom do we turn? Do we seek the face of God for our relief or do we become angry with Him for allowing the situation to occur and seek other means of relief and resolution? Could any of us have done what Abraham did in Abraham's circumstance?

As much as he loved his son, Abraham loved God more. If you are anything like me, the words "how," "what" and "why" come to your confused mind when you consider how Abraham could have done such a thing even if he had 26 children. The word of God contains the answer in Hebrews 11:19: "He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type." Abraham loved, trusted and believed God so much that it did not enter his mind that he would not walk back down that mountain without his beloved son (Genesis 22:5). Through our trials, whatever they may be, let us prove to ourselves that God is first in our lives.

As an epilogue, consider the fact that Moriah is likely the place on which Jerusalem was built. That being the case, the same mountain on which Abraham offered his son was the same place God gave His. Like Isaac, Jesus even had to carry the wood. When the scripture mentions that Abraham received Isaac back "as a type," it means that it was a foreshadowing of us all receiving Christ back from the dead through the power of God that we all might live, and that the promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3) would find their delivery. What an amazing display of love.

Practically speaking,