Pirahna Pond and Gossip Graveyard

Pirahna Pond and Gossip Graveyard

Communities are made up of people, and these people meet at conversation crossroads.

Simply put, conversation crossroads are places where people talk and tell what they know. You probably know that God cares about people, but did you know that the conversations we have matter as much to God as the people we have them with or about? The Apostle Paul zeros in on this issue in Ephesians 4:29—5:2.

I’ll condense those verses so you can more clearly see the commandments they contain:

  • No evil talk out of your mouth
  • No words that tear down
  • No words empty of grace
  • No gossip; no slander; no malice

I want you to come on a trip with me and visit two conversational crossroads. The first is Piranha Pond and the second is Gossip Graveyard.

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Takers and Givers

Takers and Givers

In the creation of the new community, Israel, God gives them a simple command. Do not steal. Respect established boundaries. Return to the owner what does not belong to you. Power is not the privilege to take what you want. Scales and balances must be fair.

Treat each other as God wished to be treated in the garden—His boundary respected, His ownership recognized, His creation tended, His gifts appreciated. Honor the property of others. Respect ownership. No stealing.

I remember well the night my family was robbed. We lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the time. We had walked to McDonald’s for ice cream with our two children.

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A Decent Proposal

A Decent Proposal

Affairs are everywhere, even reaching as high as the White House. Adultery has infiltrated our marriages, our entertainment, and our society.

As we’ve been reminded with the latest news headlines of the Ashley Madison website hack, married people are registering in droves to cheat on their spouses. The Ashley Madison website boasts about having almost 42 million anonymous users and claims it is the most popular website for married dating encounters. Really?

I realize I have the home field advantage of calling adultery a sin here on my blog, most likely being read by Christians. Place me on a talk show today, and I’d be booed and hissed for suggesting that marital faithfulness is the primary covenantal bond for the human family and should be championed as the way marriage is meant to work.

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Life Is Sacred

Life Is Sacred

Years ago when a preacher preached on the sixth commandment, the applicable points of relevancy were looks that could kill, murderous words, and criminal attitudes. Today the stakes are higher. Many of us know people who have been murdered.

Had I been ordering the Ten Commandments, I would have placed this one last. It seems that this is the epitome of dehumanization, the end of a slippery slope of sin. I’d keep the first four in place, because the erosion of life is rooted in a blatant disregard for the God who gives life. If we can make our own idolatrous gods, use God’s name to endorse our will, turn Him into our genie in the religious bottle, then we can de-sacralize the life God created.

First, we erase the Sabbath pattern that is meant to remind us of our relation to God. Then we dishonor our parents who gave us birth, placing ourselves at the center of the familial universe. Next we break our promises to those we marry, then we take from others what is not ours, then we twist the truth for our purposes, then we want their life, then we take it.

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Keeping the Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath

Everybody I know is tired. You are tired. I am tired. Your work wears on you. Your expenditure of energy in people, places, and things drains you. Your spirit is fatigued.

You shoulder major responsibility. You make life-altering decisions. You hire and fire. You give counsel. You care for an elderly person. You keep an eye on a feeble neighbor. You bake a casserole for the funeral of a friend.

You listen to complaining people. You hammer nails. You chase a toddler all day long and then wake up three times a night to coax him back to sleep.

In addition to the work, you battle the monotony of doing the same things repeatedly. Laundry breeds in the closet. School homework is eternal.

Customers keep showing up. Things break and require fixing, again. Grass grows. Snow has to be shoveled. Reports are due by the end of the week.

Little ones hit the floor, feet and mouths running. Paperwork stacks up. Planes line up on the runway. Your inbox, mailbox, and voicemail are full. Bills stack up. Groceries disappear. Gas tanks plummet toward empty.

We’ve done these things all our lives, every week, most days. And we grow tired of the rat race.

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The Ten Commandments: The Gift of Heaven

The Ten Commandments: The Gift of Heaven

In the Book of Exodus, God acts and something inexplicable happens. Slaves are set free. The powerless are empowered for a journey thought impossible. The powerful are left in shambles with their firstborns in the mortuary and their army at the bottom of the sea. God rewrites the expected ending. The dying live; the living die.

In essence, Christians see the shadow of resurrection in this story. God moves in a way that creates a future where there was none. A dead end becomes a new highway. People without need for a map now browse travel brochures. They are going somewhere. Their future is blessed by God. Tomorrow is a gift.

Out of this come the Ten Commandments. They come on the other side of Egypt, on the other side of liberation. They are not given as an exit plan from Egypt or a road map to the Promised Land. They are given after God has already acted on their behalf. The commandments are given to people who used to be as good as dead and are now vibrantly alive—and free.

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Hallowed Be Your Name

Hallowed Be Your Name

It costs one million dollars to use the name, Krispy Kreme. They are the best doughnuts this side of heaven. I’m convinced that angels own the recipe and their melt-in-your-mouth creation is simply divine. My friend, Dan, checked into the franchise price and discovered if you want to sell doughnuts and you want to call them Krispy Kreme, the price tag is $1 million.

But compared to Disney, Krispy Kreme is pocket change. Last time I checked, Disney’s name is worth $15 million. You get the rights to the name with all the legal requirements attached. There are places you can and can’t use the name. Things you can and can’t do with it. If you pilfer, slander, or misuse the name, you will meet the well-heeled lawyers whose job it is to protect the use of the Disney name.

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