It’s In the Details

Every Friday at 9:00 AM, a few men from our church meet for breakfast. [Hint: If you want to join us, we meet each week at the Coffee Cup on North Lafayette Ave. in Terre Haute, Indiana] The food is great, and the fellowship is excellent.

Recently, as we were talking, one of the guys made a comment that stuck with me. He said he always wears his “Mickey” hat when he is out in public. The hat is the kind that guys often wear when fishing, and it has a small Mickey Mouse® logo. It is very casual but distinctive.

My friend said, “This hat is genuine. It’s from Disney®. I wear it so people remember me. They “know me.” They see what I do, where I go, and what I buy. Of course, this is a two-edged sword. They’ll know if I mess up.” His comment resonated with me.

Over the years, I’ve written several times about the good and bad of developing brands (The Brand of the Man, Building Our Brands, The Real Deal, etc.). I’m the guy that usually wears an unbuttoned denim shirt over a plain, colored T-shirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes. I learned from my wife that what I wear is called my “life uniform” – they have names for everything now!

We must not forget that Jesus told us what we are to be known for:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34–35 NIV

Unfathomable love is how we must love. Jesus also told His disciples to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves1“. These two truths are not in conflict. We are confident of this because God’s Word states:

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37:23

The “every detail” brings us back to my friend’s statement. Few people live their lives in the same town, work decades for the same company, and live their adult lives in the same home. So, as followers of Jesus, we need to be noticeable. It may be a brief time that they or we will be in the same community.

As we love people with love coming through us from God, we need to pay attention to the details in our lives. God delights in every detail of a godly person; we need to be those persons.

From people that work in restaurants, service stations, and mail delivery to educators and government workers, all should learn to recognize us and see the consistent, unalterable compassion, humility, and love that is unlike anything they ever witness from the world.

There’s a song that has received a lot of air-play on Christian radio stations. It’s titled, “God is in this story.” Here’s the first part of the chorus.”

God is in this story
God is in the details
Even in the broken parts
He holds my heart, He never fails
– Song by Big Daddy Weave and Katy Nichole, YouTube video


God is in the details. I love that message. We need to pay attention to how we live, thinking about what we say, what we do, and where we go. The apostle Paul wrote, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.[1]It is good for people to recognize us. When they see us, they should see us loving in the way that Jesus loves[2]. After a while, we will be known by them for our love.

Photo by On Shot

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1: Ephesians 5:15 NLT – Living by the Spirit’s Power – Bible Gateway
2: John 13:34 NLT – So now I am giving you a new – Bible Gateway

Baptism Chukotka Evangelical Christians

Who Did You Say Jesus Is?

Years ago, I worked with a software architect that made a trip to the headquarters of Microsoft® in Redmond, Washington. While there, he emailed our development team, giving us a first-hand account of a fictitious encounter with Bill Gates at a local Wendy’s® restaurant. His story was entertaining but insightful and pointedly honed to speak to some bad thinking in our group. His email was masterfully written.

A Different Jesus

When we look at the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, we find a similar but far more adept message to those Christians and us. At one place in his letter, he wrote:

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

2 Corinthians 11:4 NLT

The apostle Paul was writing to Christians. There are now, and always have been, people trying to lead believers away from the solid truth of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, the Son of God. Let’s not become weary or confused or abandon God’s work in us for the “next amazing thing.” Let’s cling to these words:

3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

Ephesians 4:3-6

We shouldn’t search to find what God has already given us: our place, purpose, and life in the true Jesus. If someone is preaching a new “Jesus,” they have been tricked by the enemy. As firm believers in Jesus, our Savior, we must remain like military guards, keeping out enticements that misrepresent Jesus. You know Jesus; rest in Him. You can search the world and never find more than the Christ who found you where you were. Who did you say Jesus is? For those that are His, He is our Savior, Shepherd, Redeemer, Ransom, Resurrection, Brother, and Friend.

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1: “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues.” – Matthew 10:15-17 NLT

Construction Site Georgia Usa Landscape Dirt

Digging for the Truth

Don’t allow Christianity to hide Jesus. We have nearly an unending list of doctrines, beliefs, proofs, prayers, ideology, philosophy, and all manner of jargon that fills the box of Christianity, but where is Jesus?

The Thief on the Cross

To borrow one point from my pastor’s recent sermon, the thief on the cross, next to Jesus, only knew Jesus. He had no baptism card, no letter of transfer, no catechism, no church affiliation, and no documents or witnesses that attested to his Christianity. The thief knew none of these and confessed that he deserved crucifixion, but right there, while Jesus was in the middle of fulfilling God’s plan, a plan that stretched back before Creation, Jesus took the time to save a person that trusted Him (Luke 23:39–43). That’s who Jesus is, and that’s what salvation is about.

Digging for the Truth

Man’s dogmas or doctrines don’t hamper Jesus. Jesus is looking for people that are looking for Him, even if they don’t know it. Salvation is a very personal event, unique to each person, yet universally the same in its results.

This site’s motto is “Digging for the Truth.” I started this website to dig through the traditions of Christianity, much like the Pharicitical traditions, with the intent of helping us find Jesus. Salvation isn’t complicated (Romans 10:9–10), and neither is living for Jesus (Matthew 11:28–30)). We make the Christian life burdensome; we heap doctrines, decrees, and dogmatic declarations upon individuals, local churches, and denominations.

Just Save My Life

A medical doctor could tell a seriously injured man how each instrument works, how the procedures are performed, and what the protocols are, but the injured man wants the doctor to save his life. How is that different from Christ’s salvation? A person that finds Jesus can be saved without knowing Ephesians 2:8–9. This passage explains how God saves, but a dying man or woman simply needs to ask, as the Philippian jailor asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)” When you’re dying, the “what must I do” is important; the how can be learned later.

We have the Bible and innumerable commentaries, Bible studies, Christian dictionaries, history books, podcasts, statements of faith, creeds, and videos to help us grow and be transformed. These all have their rightful place. But still, our eternal life depends upon Jesus knowing us and us knowing Him. Jesus said that at the judgment, He will say to people, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

Our Life is All About Jesus

Cultivating our relationship with Jesus is what our salvation is for. Daily, take time to talk with Jesus Christ our Lord. If we fail to nurture a living relationship with Jesus, then we are lost, and condemnation remains upon us; no amount of Christian academic education can save us.

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From One Zacchaeus to Another

Do you remember when you gave your life to Jesus? I know some of us may not remember a specific moment. Perhaps we were too young or it has been too long. Still, I hope you remember that first touch from our Savior.

Salvation seems to be out of style right now. The news of such personal contact with God appears to be a thing people hold close to themselves but covered. They will uncover the light in their local church, maybe even in a Bible study. But mostly they hold their good news tightly within them.

It is true that it doesn’t get more personal than to uncover and remove your old self. Oh, but when the Holy Spirit enters in you and Jesus becomes your savior, redeemer, righteousness, and friend. When you are reconciled to our heavenly Father. What wonder it is to be clean. To be whole. To be secure.

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

Luke 19:6 NLT

In our verse today we see the response an unscrupulous tax collector had when he came in contact with Jesus and gave his life to Him. Zacchaeus did so publically and “in great excitement and joy.” So, from one Zacchaeus to another, I rejoice in your salvation! But let us be mindful of what the writer of the book of Hebrews wrote.

“So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?”

Hebrews 2:3 NLT

There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. If you are still standing on the sidelines, come on in! Be a Zacchaeus. “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalms 34:8)

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The Word ‘Hebrew’

The word “Hebrew” means to cross over. Abraham crossed over from false gods to the one and only true God. He crossed over physically by leaving his homeland and coming to the Promised Land. The Israelites were delivered by God from the Egyptians as they crossed through the Red Sea, and then crossed through the wilderness, and then through the Jordan River, finally entering the Promised Land.

Holy Land Site

All these acts are pictures of deliverance and salvation. We also cross over from spiritual death to life in Christ Jesus and, someday, we will cross over from this world to heaven.  For all of us that have received God’s salvation, through Jesus Christ, we have crossed over from death to life. We are now Hebrews, adopted into God’s chosen people. “But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12).

vintage photograph, vintage photography, black and white, vintage

Where Are You From?

A question that often comes up the first time we meet someone is, “Where are you from?” It’s a good question because it may provide context about the person. I have a brother-in-law that grew up in south Georgia. His conversations are filled with “yes, sir, and yes, ma’am.” It’s a courtesy spoken by people from the South, and it is like comfort food to me.

If you’ve read my posts for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve lived in many places. Each time I got a new driver’s license, it showed my permanent address. Well, that state thought it was permanent 😉 , but I knew better. Still, my birth certificate never changed for my many permanent addresses.

A Prophetic Message

When we turn to Psalms 87, we find the Psalmist drawing on the culture of the Israelites and writing about the registration of people. It would be easy to miss God’s prophetic message in this brief Psalm. In verse three, we find the Psalmist praising God’s city, Zion (Jerusalem): “Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.” Then, in verse four, we learn that a time will come when some people who are citizens of nations other than Israel will be counted as having been born in Jerusalem. This is precisely how Christians live in the world today.

Every Nation

There are currently 195 nations in the world. There are at least a few Christians in every country. Even Somalia’s population has 0.01% Christians. So, there are people that were born outside of Jerusalem but are now born, by faith in Jesus, in God’s city. Wow!

Now we come to verse six of Psalms 87 and find a promise from God for every Christian.

The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”

Psalms 87:6

Birth Certificate

O, how my soul leaped with joy when I read verse six. My heavenly Father looked at me and saw Jesus in me, so He wrote of me, “This one was born in Zion..”

Almighty God wrote on my birth certificate, “born in Zion,” does yours? I pray that it does!

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Father dressing his son.

Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go

I happened to read a story written by a senior citizen in which she reminisced about her childhood. She was quite adept at painting a picture of her youth with words. It was fun to read her accounts of playing hide-and-seek with her siblings and cousins and the joy she experienced playing on her front porch. She wrote of a church that was across the street from her home. Then, suddenly, I read something that she intended as joyful, but it caused me sadness.

Their Sunday Best

This author had included a picture of her mom, dad, herself, and her siblings, all dressed up and standing outside in “their Sunday best.” She wrote that her parents had a photographer come around the same time to their home to take a picture of them each year. From her picture, it was exactly how my parents made us “dress up” on Easter Sunday.

Each year Mom would tell my sister and me that Jesus gave His very best for us, so we should meet Him in our very best. This made sense, but I hated wearing a tie as a boy full of energy. Anyway, when Mom corralled us, we’d pour into our red 1956 Chevy and drive into town to our church to celebrate the Good News of Christ’s resurrection with our congregation. At some point during our pastor’s Easter sermon, he would quote the verse that has been my joy and strength for half a century:

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Matthew 28:6–7

Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go

As a boy, I didn’t fully grasp the Good News, but I could tell it held a power that knit our small congregation together. My Mom and Dad hung on to those words – I didn’t understand the depth of the pain each had experienced from the death of their mothers and life as children during the Great Depression. Still, each adult was filled by the Holy Spirit with strength and renewal of commitment to Christ Jesus, their Savior. But this wasn’t true for the author of the story I was reading.

Paraphrasing her account, “We’d get dressed up in our Sunday best. The photographer would take our picture, and then we’d get back in our play clothes and enjoy the spring day.” Her family did not go to church, not even on Easter Sunday. Across her street were people that knew the power of “He is risen” but she and her family were just dressed up with nowhere to go. I don’t think I’ve ever read a sadder story.

How many do we know that are like the five virgins that had dressed in their finest but found themselves dressed up with nowhere to go? (Matthew 25:1-13)

Good News

Whether your local church performs a cantata or your pastor preaches his Easter sermon, let’s all remember that if we have placed our faith in Jesus, we are brothers and sisters with hope and a future because Jesus Christ has risen, just as He said.

When my wife and I were first dating, we went to a concert by “The 2nd Chapter of Acts.” I hope you enjoy their “Easter Song.”

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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high school basketball game

The Whole Commandment

When Moses, through God, had led the Israelites to the edge of the promised land, he spoke these words to them:

The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.

Deuteronomy 8:1

Notice that God’s criterion for living and multiplying and possessing the land was for the Israelites to keep “the whole commandment” that Moses had spoken to them.

Throughout God’s Word, He tells us over and over that we can’t accomplish all of what He wants to do with us and for us unless we give our ALL to Him. It’s like when a small-town high school Hoosier basketball team defeats a top-ranked team. The announcer always says that they won the game with their heart. They were all in, all of the time, and played all of the game until the final buzzer rang.

The Israelites were going into a war zone. Their mission was to take the whole land that God promised them. The Israelites were told to be all in, to obey the whole commandment and they would win. Likewise, as Christians, God’s Word tells us that before we enter the “war zone” He has assigned us to, we must put on the “whole armor of God.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

God tells us these things because He loves us. He has plans for us. We were born for a purpose, for the purpose Almighty God made uniquely for us before there was even one star in the sky. Anything less than receiving God’s all means receiving less than God intended for us. If I want to make some scones (I love scones!), I need all the ingredients. I can’t have scones without flour.

How easy it is for us to bypass the whole Word of God and feed on the “Cliff Notes®1”; those popular verses that are repetitively quoted, tickling our ears. We need to acquire everything that God makes available to us. If God thinks that we need it, we can be certain that we do!

Image by khuntersr from Pixabay 

  1. Cliff Notes®

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sun rising over a hill

In the Morning

And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate.

Mark 15:1

Wicked People

This is the way people do evil. They create committees. God always calls and uses a person to birth remarkable things. It’s been my experience that rarely anything great comes from a committee.

So, in Mark 15:1 we see the wicked creating a committee. The committee was initiated by the chief priests. But it seems that they didn’t feel like they had enough authority to go by themselves to Pilate, the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea. Therefore, the chief priests formed a committee that included the elders, scribes, and the whole council.

Committees are usually created for two reasons: to spread the blame if things go badly and create the perception of a broad constituency that support the decision of the committee. (I know I’m being rather hard on committees, but in my personal experience some, but few, make positive contributions.)

In the Morning

The chief priests believed that their newly formed committee had the power to get the Gentiles to kill Jesus. Notice that verse one says, “And as soon as it was morning.” So, these wicked chief priests had done their dirty work at night, packing their committee with people that hated Jesus and would vote to have Him killed. Then, as quick as a wink, early in the morning they had their committee.

That’s how the wicked work. They don’t trust people and they don’t want justice. They want to pack the committee, pack the pews, pack the universities with people that will follow their leadership rather than the path of justice.

So, for the chief priests, they had an evil coalition that voted to use all their political capital (influence) to affect an unfair, violation of justice, and have Jesus condemned to execution by the Gentiles. Their authority did not include executions. So, they had to persuade the person with the authority to condemn Jesus to death, and they did.

A Perfect Plan Becomes a Pickle

The chief priests’ plan was perfect but would land them in a pickle. And it would have worked if Jesus had been just a man, but Jesus wasn’t what they thought Him to be. The chief priests’ perfect plot played pitifully into Jesus’ plan.

Before Jesus died on the cross, the sky was darkened and when He died there was an earthquake. To these natural testimonies pointing to Jesus’ divinity, the chief priests’ exclusivity to the Holy of Holies was taken from them. And adding insult to injury, dead people were miraculously raised from their graves as a testimony to Jesus being the Messiah (Matthew 27:51).

The chief priests and all the members of their evil committee’s defeat began when Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) At that moment, the “Holy of Holies”, accessible only by the chief priests, was ripped wide open, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). This act by God removed the separation between God’s chosen people and God, Himself – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Then, the chief priests’ perfectly plotted plan went poof because, early in the morning, on the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead! They should have remembered that proper prior planning prevents puzzling predicaments. Christ’s resurrection was more than a puzzling predicament, it was abject agony for all the members of the chief priests’ committee!

In the History of Decisions

It seemed that everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. Instead of ending the people’s infatuation with Jesus, Jesus was back, and continuing to do the things their Messiah was prophesied to do. In the history of decisions, the chief priests’ decision is easily the worst. Just as Jesus had said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”. (John 12:24) Jesus is the promised Seed (Galatians 3:16). He died and was buried. And from His death He arose (Luke 24:34) and is still bearing much fruit; the latest count is over two billion living souls. I hope you are one of them.

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map of Newark Interstate highways

Few Find It

Imagine that you and I are in a rental car. We’re cruising down I95 in heavy traffic, heading to the Newark Airport. We’re eager to check in early because we both have some emails we need to respond to.

The batteries in both of our phones show red, and we didn’t spring for a car with built-in GPS. So, we’re navigating the old-fashioned way; we’re reading the Interstate signs. While you’re driving, I’m searching for an airport sign. We know we’re near because we see commercial flights taking off.

We see an exit for Highway 9, but we can’t make the exit. Now we are worrying. We see a convoluted mess of exits and roads that we think would put us on the Eastern Spur toll road. Perhaps that will loop us back to Highway 9. We decide at the last minute to keep driving and hope there’s another exit for the airport. Then we see a sign for Highway 9, but there’s a concrete separator between us and Highway 9!

So somehow, we end up on a city street named McClellan. It’s narrow, old, and doesn’t look anything like an entrance to the airport. But we continue on.

We see a cemetery on our right. Perhaps these are pilgrims that began this journey, but they never found the gate because their doubt blinded them.

Finally, we came upon a street sign showing Highway 9, North and South. But, of course, there’s no sign for the airport, and we don’t know if we’re north or south of the airport.

We decide to continue our commitment to McClellan and soon find ourselves on an overpass carrying us across the knot of Internet Highways. And then, off to our right, we see the airport’s control tower and a sign for terminals!

Suddenly, we find ourselves back on a highway heading towards the airport! Soon, we see a sign for the airport! And finally, we arrive.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Matthew 7:13-14

Presenting a rosy picture of the Christian life and minimizing that it is filled with trouble does not follow the lead of our Lord (Acts 14:22). It may be that the “false prophets” of v. 15 are especially those who deny that the way is narrow and hard.

R.C. Sproul

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