Search

Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

Author

Joe Reed

Follower of Jesus, husband of Michele, father of the greatest kids, associate pastor at Lewis Lake.

What We Have Here Is A Failure to Mistrust

by Pastor John Lawrey

where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 5:20b-21

If you are following along at home, you might be wondering “Dude, where’s my country?” I won’t recite the tedious list of wrongs done in the name of coronavirus, but one stands out head and shoulders above the rest: closed and restricted churches. The salt in the wound is that blue state governors have restricted churches at the same time they have provided unfettered access to abortion, marijuana, alcohol, and the somewhat misnamed “peaceful protest.”

Something ought to be said about the blatant inconsistencies, hypocrisy, and double standards, not to mention a two-tiered justice system, but this article is about something much bigger: Will we even have a civilization at the end of this, and if so, what kind? 

Continue reading “What We Have Here Is A Failure to Mistrust”

On Authority & Boundaries

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus

I want to noodle over with you the notion of authority, the right to impose one’s will on something or someone else, which also comes with the right to inflict pain upon the non-compliant. Jesus claims all authority in heaven and on earth, which means he has the right to impose his will on anyone or anything. He will reward those who comply and punish those who don’t.

Continue reading “On Authority & Boundaries”

Caneday/Sandlin: Responding to the New Social Justice Religion

With many thanks to Dr Ardel B. Caneday and P. Andrew Sandlin for joining us, along with Pastors Bob Dalberg and David Smith to discuss one of the more pressing issues in the church today, and to David Gonzales for putting the conversation in an attractive format.

Here’s the link to the recording.

Holy Kissin’

Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Romans 16:16

When I got in the truck to head to the church this morning (which Violet refers to as “Bob’s house”), I left with the kind of smile on my face that can only come from being kissed goodbye by a loving, lovely wife and an adoring, adorable two-year-old daughter. On my way, half-listening to John MacArthur’s excellent sermon from this past Sunday again, half musing on church life in the era of Covid, and half wondering why I enjoyed those kisses so much, my mind began to dwell on the Apostle’s oft-repeated exhortation to “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

Continue reading “Holy Kissin’”

Alice in the Palace

Alice, did you know your Daddy loves you?” 
“Yes!” 
“Alice, do you know Jesus loves you?” 
“Yes!” 
“Alice, pretty soon Jesus is going to send some of his friends to get you so you can go visit him, ok? They’re really nice and you don’t have to be afraid.” 
“Okay.” 
Then she looked up at me with a smile and a twinkle in her eye and said, “But you can’t come with!” 
Not yet. But soon enough.
- Alice in the Palace

Today, June 8, marks the second anniversary of Alice’s death. Two years since we’ve gotten to hold her; two less years until we see her again.

To mark the day, I want to make her story available to as many as possible, so this week it’s available on Amazon for $5.99, which is about as low as Amazon will allow. If you buy the print edition, you can get the kindle version free.

It gives me great delight to know Alice’s brief life continues to be used by God for the good of his people. For my part, I read Alice in the Palace again over the course of a couple nights this week, and it was sweetly painful and pleasurable to relive that journey. After all, remembering her always makes me happy, and if her death didn’t still hurt a little bit, that would just suck. I had some memories I’d quite forgotten about jarred loose, and it was fun to hear her voice in my head once again.

I was happy to discover that the things I was thinking and writing about God then are the same things I’d write today. I might be able to say it better, but wouldn’t say it and different. I am happy to offer no regrets or retractions. His promises have not failed us.

What I wouldn’t give to go back to this moment however so briefly.

To buy Alice in the Palace, click here. If I was good at marketing I’d say leave a rating and a review, but I’m not.

To read an article I wrote for our church newsletter about some of the way Alice’s death has impacted my life, see here

jr

This evening several of us were blessed to be able to visit with Drs. Ardel Caneday and P. Andrew Sandlin as they worked through biblical teaching concerning matters of the relationship between church and state.

Nowadays it’s like life’s autopilot is broken, and so much of what we used to do automatically we now have to figure out all over again. I’m thankful for these two brothers God has gifted with good minds and courageous hearts to help us think through this, um, what shall we call it, brave new world?

Watch the conversation here

You’ll need this password to access it: 1j$@^=S#

Essential, pt. Deux

When I get to heaven, I plan to make two requests: First, and for obvious reasons, I will file for an exception to the no-marriage policy for Michele and me. Second, Vasiliy, “my Russian friend,” and I desire to be next-door neighbors for all eternity.

I hope to bring Vasiliy to Lewis Lake soon and ask him to recount how, in his younger years back in the Soviet Union, he used to wake up in the middle of the night (a different night each week), make his way down dark streets and alleys for a mile or so, careful to not rouse the dog stationed outside every house, sneak into a dimly lit, tightly shuttered home where he’d find a small group of Christians slowly assembling. To minimize suspicions they spaced out arrivals and departures, since being found out by the KGB could mean years in a Soviet prison, and believe me, that was no picnic. Finally assembled, a few songs were quietly whispered, prayers would be offered, someone would read the Bible, someone share a few words, then he’d slip silently back home, crawling into bed around 4AM, only to get back up at five to begin a grueling day of labor under the cruel, corrupt communist regime.

Continue reading “Essential, pt. Deux”

Essential

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Psalm 122:1

Now that we are, for better or worse, temporarily but intentionally shuttering certain businesses, activities, and institutions, and I have my fingers crossed that the civil liberties taken from the American citizenry will be handed back to us as freely and quickly as they were taken, we find ourselves categorizing certain kinds of activity as “essential” and others as “non-essential.”

The concept of essential is simple enough: In this particular pandemic, the value of certain activities continuing outweighs the progress made against the coronavirus if they were stopped. The societal value of getting your hair cut and colored is less than the value of spreading COVID-19 to everyone at the salon, so let’s just all suck it up and deal with being and looking at uglier people for a while. In our purest moments, we admit that good looks are a luxury, not a necessity. On the other hand, if we, in the name of public health, quarantine the guys who feed the gerbils running the wheels at the electric company, we’ll quickly discover the tragedy of thousands dead from COVID-19 is a picnic compared to the catastrophe of world in blackout. You think life is hard now.

A hierarchy of essential is emerging. Doctors – essential. Theaters – not essential. Grocery delivery trucks – essential. Elective surgery – not essential. Dismembering the inconvenient unborn – essential. Liquor stores – essential. Eggs over easy, bacon, and white toast, served with a smile every Wednesday morning by Lois, my favorite waitress, who hasn’t bothered to take my order for a year because she already knows what I want – not essential. Lois and I, not to mention the café owner, might disagree.

Churches are now wrestling to find their place in this hierarchy – how essential are they? This is the question I want to explore for a little bit.

Continue reading “Essential”

Luther & Whether One May Flee From A Deadly Plague

Keeping in mind that 1527 is not 2020, Wittenberg Germany under Charles V (if memory serves – and it may not) is not Central Minnesota under Trump and Walz, and the Black Death is not COVID-19, basic human nature remains identical across the ages, medical mysteries still persist, the need for careful thinking and wisdom remains as persistent as ever, and the voices of the past whose value is proven by the fact they continually echo down the corridors of history nearly five centuries later are still worth hearing.

To that end, I encourage you to read some Luther as he wrestled through the advice he would offer to those seeking for a wise course of action during a time of plague. Basically the question was “stay, or flee?” I give you a sample here, at no expense to me, and hopefully great benefit to you:

We must pray against every form of evil and guard against it to the best of our ability in order not to act contrary to God… If it be God’s will that evil come upon us and destroy us, none of our precautions will help us. Everybody must take this to heart: first of all, if he feels bound to remain where death rages in order to serve his neighbor, let him commend himself to God and say, “Lord, I am in thy hands; thou hast kept me here; thy will be done. I am thy lowly creature. Thou canst kill me or preserve me in this pestilence in the same way as if I were in fire, water, drought, or any other danger.” If a man is free, however, and can escape, let him commend himself and say, “Lord God,
I am weak and fearful. Therefore I am running away from evil and am doing what I can to protect myself against it. I am nevertheless in thy hands in this danger as in any other which might overtake me. Thy will be done. My flight alone will not succeed of itself because calamity and harm are everywhere. 

Martin Luther

Read the entire piece here (and I say this more by way of command than information).

The lazy may check out Dr. Steve Nichols’ treatment of it in five minutes, with a little Cranberries intro music thrown in here. Your indulgence will be smaller, but something is better than nothing.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑