Tag Archives: excuses

“Unlike Jesus” – A Theology Matters Retreat for Dayspring Camp – Part 5

The Lord Jesus was a “friend of sinners”!  He was!  And I want to be too.  From August 3-5 I will be leading a “Theology Matters” retreat with young people on this topic at Dayspring Bible Camp in Missouri.

In this six-part study we have already seen that we need a theology which undergirds our efforts to reach lost people.  We need a theology of lostness, a theology of friendship, a theology of worldliness, and a theology of evangelism.

Let’s notice this morning a fifth theology which we need to rightfully be a friend of sinners like Jesus was and that is —

V.  A Theology of REPENTANCE!

What we mean here is that we need a solid grasp of the great joy of starting over!  Of admitting where we were wrong.  The North Carolina preacher Vance Havner once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”  We have many excuses for not being a friend of sinners — and we want to examine one of them in this post.

The great theologian Carly Simon sang, “I haven’t got time for the . . .” (she was singing about pain, but you get the point).  “I’m too busy to get involved with unsaved people,” some Christians might say.  “I’ve got church meetings, small group, mission trips (to reach lost people over the ocean), and I need to have some quality time for myself!”

Repentance is a change of mind and heart about a matter.  The repentant believer says, “Lord, I’ve been wrong not to intentionally pursue relationships with lost people.  I’m sorry, Lord.  Please forgive me and help me be more like my Savior!”

Although there are a number of other excuses we Christians give for not spending time with sinners, this issue of time cannot be avoided. All of us have exactly 24 hours each day, right? Well, one scientifically-minded person wrote the following question to a website: “Why do we have 24 hour days if the earth actually rotates every 23 hours and 56 minutes?” One smart person responded, “23 hours and 56 minutes is one ‘sidereal’ day with respect to the stars, but by then the Earth is in a slightly different position in its orbit around the Sun, so it takes an extra 4 minutes to make one ‘solar’ day (the number of sidereal days in a year is exactly one greater than the number of solar days).”[1] I didn’t really understand that much at all. But at the very least we can say that each of us has 23 hours and 56 minutes every day to experience. And to use.

Someone named Alice Bloch said, “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.”

The Lord Jesus intentionally spent time with the lost.  He socialized with them, ate with them, fed them!  He listened to their questions; He told them stories; He loved them.  May I ask you, what are you going to do with your 23 hours and 56 minutes today?  (to be continued)




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Posted by on August 2, 2018 in repentance


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Religious Principles? (Time for a Great Cartoon)

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Posted by on June 19, 2018 in religion


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UNLIKE JESUS! One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel (Part 6)

I John 3:26 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”  Jesus-followers are to strive everyday to become more like their Lord.  But we have failed to be like Jesus in one crucial area — being a friend of sinners.  We read in Matthew 11:

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

To the three charges leveled at Jesus — being a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of sinners — I believe Jesus would have replied, “Not guilty.  Not guilty.  GUILTY!”  We saw that one of the most famous teachings of Jesus, the story of the prodigal son, was given because “the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” (Lk. 15:2).  I copied and pasted my understanding of Luke 15 in our previous post.

Let’s be honest — We followers of Jesus are NOT friends of sinners.  We sometimes are hardly friends of each other.  All of us could use a primer in basic friendship, but we are desperately in need of the challenge to be like Jesus and to develop friendships with those who need Him!

There are a variety of EXCUSES which we Jesus-followers give for not being like Him in this area.  Some which occur to me — and which we will discuss in subsequent posts — are the tyranny of time, the fear of compromise, the curse of criticism, no interest in listening, etc.  We’re going to grind away at this one topic:  our absolute need to develop serious, strategic, sincere relationships with lost people.  You will be tempted to abandon this blog, but I plead with you to stick with me.  This really is important.  (to be continued) 



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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in discipleship


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Time for a Great Cartoon: Studying and Victimhood

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-8-45-22-pm“Self-esteem” is a tricky concept, isn’t it?  For Calvin, it appears to mean thinking highly of himself despite any evidence to the contrary.

His teacher — bless her heart! — is always trying to get Calvin to work harder, to put in the effort, to actually STUDY!

But, alas, all Calvin does is come up with more excuses — well-worded excuses, no doubt — but excuses!  His claim to “victimhood” would be laughable if it were not true for some today.

Blaming others, refusing to accept personal responsibility, expecting the world to cater to your whims — these are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) signs of a culture which no longer values hard work, genuine humility, or gratitude for those who try to instill such virtues in us.

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Posted by on November 5, 2016 in victimhood


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Time for a Great Cartoon: Calvin & Hobbes on Victimhood

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 5.46.06 AM

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Posted by on July 30, 2016 in victimhood


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Time for a Great Cartoon! Religious Principles!


We’ve spent a number of posts on the issue of SPIRITUAL EXERCISE.  When one asks the question, “What are my religious principles?”, does spiritual growth show up at the top of the list?

We can use “religious principles” as an excuse for not doing anything that we ought to do.


1.  What do you do when you find yourself drifting as a believer in Jesus?

2.  What role does the local church play in helping you get back on track?

3.  What friends do you have who will hold you accountable for not moving on as a believer?

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in CHRISTIAN LIVING


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