This week I'm featuring the first of two podcasts I was privileged to be a part of with Pastor Jeff Jackson and Bryon Mondok of Shepherd's Staff Mission Facilitators whom I've worked with for many years. Shepherd's Staff has also been and still is our agency for handling our missions support for many years.
I hope it's an encouragement to you and gives you some insight about orality—what it is—and biblical storying and how it became one of the ministry tools I gained in the process of doing ministry overseas and at home in the US.
Some choices are easy while others seem impossible. On any given day, we make hundreds of choices, often without realizing it.
We choose when to get up—even though it may be out of obligation or commitment. What we eat, drink, wear, and where we go or don't go are all choices.
But it's easy to choose without choosing—to settle into a routine—even to let others make choices for us. Whether we choose or choose not to choose—we alone are responsible for our choices.
Science isn't as reliable as you might think. Many spurious scientific claims and discoveries are and can be proven false.
For example, Cold Fusion—the 1989 claim of two scientists that energy could be produced via electrolysis of heavy water—could not be replicated nor verified by other scientists.
Recently, the claim of parallel universes being a possibility is making a comeback of sorts on the internet. The operative word is possibility. Since it can't be proven or disproven, people can hold onto this as some hope for life beyond our planet.
Evil is real and present in our world. Evil is typically characterized as moral vileness or violent and intimidating power. But not all evil is that obvious.
Evil is often more subtle and secretive. It doesn't want to be exposed. It doesn't want to be discovered nor accept responsibility for its own evil nature and actions.
Many voices call out to us—to be heard—to capture our attention. Some are audible. Most are not.
We may need to listen to or shun the subtle and silent voices. Some of these are our conscience, God's voice through His Spirit and His Word, our own base, selfish nature, or the devil—our adversary and the enemy of our soul.
Our conscience is a subtle and silent voice we need to hear and heed. When we don't, we pay for it in the long run. Why? Because of choices we make or don't make in response to our conscience. When we ignore or shut out our conscience, we become deaf and hardened to it.
Siblings have a unique relationship. It's more than the relationship of best friends—although I know siblings who are truly best friends. I've seen this with my mom and her sister and my own daughters. This can also be true of brothers and some brother-sister relationships.
The relationship of siblings is unique because they share similar DNA. This can be a good and bad thing and leads to what I call the love-hate element of sibling relationships. They can be each other's protectors or advocates then arch-enemies within minutes of each role.
I've seen this over and over again in my own family and with other siblings.
The early chapters of Proverbs have several admonitions addressed to a son but they are not gender-specific. Yes, it sure seems like it but they were written during ancient times. Women did not have the place they have now in most societies.
Many admonitions also focus on the dangers of immoral women, which sounds hypocritical coming from King Solomon who had a thousand wives and concubines. But figurative language is used a lot to emphasize a point, even overstating it.
In the ancient world—long before printing presses and the world-wide-web—most people didn't have the opportunity to learn to read and write. Education and literacy were the privilege of the few—mostly the wealthy.
Even today, much of the world's population is non-literate or has limited literacy. God in His great wisdom instructed those who wrote the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21) to write in a memorable way—using stories and parables and poetry with lists, alliteration, illustrations and other forms of figurative language.
An old English proverb says the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Intentions are like ambitions without action. Unless there is follow-through, intentions become rash commitments or poorly conceived plans.
A common example is the New Year's resolution that sounds good and useful but isn't carried out or sustained. Intentions can be rash—not thought through carefully or without consideration of possible consequences.
The Bible is anything but boring. It's filled with stories that rival the pop sci-fi, action, adventure, and mystery books and movies of today. Some Scripture is graphic with both sexual and violent encounters that would require ratings for "mature audiences only" if put on a TV or movie screen.
The blunt and honest account of many stories, poetry, and prose found in the Bible confound many. The depravity of people is not sugar-coated. There's no spiritual spin on God's part.