“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Matthew 18:6-9

Be careful this passage isn’t hanging out there all by itself; the scene has not changed from 18:1-5, this is Jesus continuing to speak to their question of who will be the greatest in the Kingdom. In case you missed the last section, they asked the question and Jesus called for a little child to join them and told the disciples that unless they become like that little child they cannot enter the Kingdom, and then He goes on to say the words in our passage above. Thus, the “little ones” are those who have become like a little child so they could enter the Kingdom.

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We Should Ooze Jesus!

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

In my younger days – one of my first jobs was as a Soda Jerk. People loved to order an ice cream cone from me because I gave them a good measure for their money (the pharmacist approved of my methods). A single scoop cone always got a scoop pushed into the cone before a scoop was applied to the top. Nothing worse than an empty cone! I worked at Pink’s drugstore on West Street a block away from my home on Locust Avenue in Annapolis.

One of the reasons I write weekday devotional thoughts is to give the members of the congregations I serve and have served and others more than just Sunday morning theology. I think we need to be digging into Jesus every day – not just on Sunday – and my hope is that these daily thoughts help to trigger something inside us to want immeasurably more from our relationship with Jesus. I try to use everyday ideas and thoughts to connect us with some spiritual thought for the day so that our hearts are pricked to think more about Jesus (let me know if they help).

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Reviving Our Passion For God

New Yorker Roger Pasquier has an unusual hobby. The retired ornithologist has a keen eye for spotting dropped coins.

Since he began this strange hobby late in 1980’s Pasquier has found almost $2,000 worth of coins dropped on the New York City’s sidewalks.

In recent years he has developed some specific strategies to help him find and keep track of the coins he collects. He avoids eye contact with other pedestrians. He hovers outside of bars where careless drunk people drop money.

Since the invention of the iPhone Pasquier’s annual findings have nearly doubled since people are too busy looking at their phones to notice coins on the street.

“It’s important,” Pasquier says, “that I keep my eyes on where the money is.”

Obviously, Roger Pasquier has a passion for his hobby. What is your passion?  What is your eye focused on?

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Wandering Sheep

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18:10-14

When we left off last time, Jesus was using a little child as an illustration of the greatest citizen of the Kingdom of heaven; in this passage, the “little one” transitions into the metaphor of sheep which represents someone in the Kingdom. Verse 10 is the transitional verse; we must not disdain or “despise” one of these “little ones”.

What this means is that we must never have an attitude that would devalue anyone, for they are precious, sacred really, in God’s sight. The reason given is that they have an angel in heaven with direct access to the Father. Unfortunately, this concept isn’t developed here into a “doctrine” and we are left to figure out exactly what Jesus was referring to, and the result is that there are many ideas on this subject. The old Jewish tradition has a complex doctrine on angels; angels are directly associated with the nation of Israel. In the New Testament, angels are associated with individual churches in Revelation 2-3, and are referred to as “ministering spirits” by the author of Hebrews. This particular verse (18:10) is the one cited by those who believe in the concept of “guardian angels”. However you might view this, one thing is certainly clear; if we devalue our brother or sister, our action will come to the attention of the Father in heaven.

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Emulating the mind of Christ in an age of misinformation

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In today’s world, we are faced with an unprecedented amount of information. Sometimes, it feels like it is coming at us like water from a firehose. For the first time in history, an average person with no particular expertise on a subject has easy access to tools which allow him or her to look authoritative and to put sometimes spurious information out on the web. Add to this that the conspiracy theorists may have a lot more time on their hands than the ‘experts’, whose academic jobs often have heavy administrative loads, and you get a situation where the bad information sometimes out-multiplies the good.


Podcast- “Sovereignly Saved” (Acts 8:26-40)

Hungry and Hungover: How Our Emptiness Tells the Truth