The Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27)

ten_minas

Jesus told two parables about servants entrusted with money; the parable of the talents and the parable of the minas. In both stories a nobleman goes on a journey (okay, so we know it’s Jesus), and before he leaves he entrusts his servants with his wealth. In both stories the man returns and promotes those who have got a good return on their investment. And in both stories there’s one displeasing servant who does nothing and who subsequently loses what he has been given.  Parable of the Talents  Parable of the Minas  Where?  Matthew 25  Luke 19  How many … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

Parable of the Talents 504

Once upon a time there was a man who went on a journey and before he left he entrusted three servants with his money. When the man returned, he praised the two servants who had doubled his money, but the third servant, who had done nothing, was thrown outside into the darkness. The parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) is used by some to say, “Jesus paid a great price for you. If you don’t work hard to give him a return for his investment, he will toss you into the outer darkness. So get busy for Jesus.” This resonates with those who see themselves as servants rather than sons of God, … [Read more...]

Grace Party – Out Today!

Grace Party E2R

My new book, Grace Party, comes out today. I’m super-excited about this one because it may be the most prophetic book I’ve written. By prophetic, I mean it paints a picture of life as it should be. It bears witness to the abundant life that is ours in Christ. Here’s an excerpt: Christians ought to be the most joyful people, yet many are not because they have been sold a joyless gospel. They’ve been told they have to maintain their salvation or make themselves holy, and since these are impossible tasks they are as miserable as Pharisees. Sure, there is joy for the repentant sinner, but … [Read more...]

The Kingdom of Heaven is a Party

Grace Party square

My new book, Grace Party, comes out next week. Here’s a taste... One of the best parties I have ever been to was a surprise party. It was a hot, humid Friday night in Hong Kong and Camilla and I were running late. We were supposed to be at church for our weekly prayer meeting, but one of us was taking her sweet time getting ready. No need to mention names. When we finally arrived at church, the place was dark. I flipped on the lights and was greeted with a shout of “Surprise!” I was shocked to find a room full of people, all dressed in colorful sixties’ gear, waiting to celebrate my … [Read more...]

What Makes the New Covenant New?

Homer_New Covenant

There’s a classic scene in The Simpsons where 8-year-old Lisa is offered a large check. Monty Burns has made a $120 million from an idea that Lisa gave him and he wishes to give her a ten percent share. But the money represents ill-gotten gains from harvesting the sea, so Lisa says no. Lisa later apologizes to her dad for not taking the money. Homer replies, “I understand. But we really could’ve used that $12,000.” When Lisa explains that ten percent of $120 million is a great deal more than $12,000, Homer has a heart attack. Homer’s bad maths makes me think of Christians who don’t … [Read more...]

What is the Law Written on Our Hearts?

Law in our hearts

Six-hundred years before Jesus came, the prophet Jeremiah spoke of a new covenant that God would make with his people: “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Jer 31:33-34) What is the law that God writes on our hearts and minds? Here are three things it is not: It is … [Read more...]

The Law Written on Our Hearts is not the Ten Commandments

Law in our hearts

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Heb 10:16) “This is obviously a reference to the law of Moses,” says the law-preacher. “The Ten Commandments were written in stone, now they’re written in the hearts and minds of God’s people.” Not true. Here are seventeen reasons why God has not written the Ten Commandments on your heart: 1. The law inflames sin (Rom 5:20) and the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Why would God want to stir up sin in your life? 2. The law … [Read more...]

Two Good Books on Healing

Healing the sick

When you’re sick, the last thing you want to hear are pithy, powerless platitudes from people who are healthy. What you want to hear is good news from someone who has experience healing the sick. This is why I recommend two outstanding books on healing. Diving Healing Made Simple, by Praying Medic The first book is probably the most practical, down-to-earth book on healing you’ll ever read. There’s no hype, just good instruction from a paramedic who has met and healed many sick people. (An ambulance medic who wrote a book about divine healing. Brilliant!) Here’s a taste: God is the only … [Read more...]

What about Ananias and Sapphira?

Thenardier

Recently in Connecticut, a pastor stood in front of his church and confessed to the sin of adultery. Then the pastor fell down dead, right in front of everyone. This proves that God expects his people to live holy lives and if they don’t, he’ll kill them. Of course, that’s complete nonsense. The story is true - a Connecticut pastor really did die - but the interpretation is all wrong. The fact is, God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. But what are we to make of Ananias and Sapphira who, like the poor pastor, dropped dead in a church (Acts 5:1-11)? The bizarre deaths of Ananias and … [Read more...]

The Number One Verse on the Old Covenant

It_is_finished

Some time ago I published a list of the top 12 verses on the new covenant. It seems only fair that I also give some air-time to the number one verse on the old covenant. Here it is: “It is finished” (Joh 19:30). What is finished? That old rule-keeping order that demanded perfection from you without lifting a finger to help. The writing was on the wall but now it’s on the cross (Col 2:14). Your sins have been forgiven and the books have been closed. The old has gone and the new has come. Sounds like good news to me! Happy Easter! … [Read more...]

The 9 Lies of Religion

Truth v lie

“I came into the world to testify to the truth,” said Jesus. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). These are strong words. If Jesus put them on his Facebook page he’d get roasted. “Jesus, how dare you claim to have the inside track on truth? Why must we take sides? How ungracious. How divisive. What gives you the right? Who do you think you are?” Jesus testified to the truth because only the truth can set you free. Religion, on the other hand, keeps you bound with half-truths, bent-truths, and damnable lies. By religion I mean the universal quest for … [Read more...]

Continue in the Grace of God

cycling uphill

In the New Testament we are exhorted to continue in God’s kindness (Romans 11:22), continue in the faith (Colossians 1:23), continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), and continue in what we have learned and been convinced of (2 Tim 3:14). In short, we are to continue in the grace of God: When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. (Act 13:43) In the mind of the secure believer, these are healthy exhortations that lead us in the path of life. But … [Read more...]