Why Boaz is NOT Ruth’s Kinsman-Redeemer

BoazSandalUnder the Bible’s laws for the Jews, there was a certain institution called levirate marriage. The laws of levirate marriage are found in Deut 25:5-10. These laws required that if a man died, his brother must marry the widow and produce an heir. Here you go:

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. “And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. “But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ “Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ “then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ “And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’ (Deuteronomy 25:5-10, NKJV).

Under the law, the child would the child of the brother who died.

The man who undertook such a marriage was called the kinsman redeemer. Continue reading

Legalism for the 21st Century

oldswimwear.jpegIn the 18th century it was showing any skin, sabbath breaking, or failing to wear a hat in public (men).

In the 19th century the church added going to the (live) theater and playing cards.

In the 20th century it was dancing, drinking, movies, tattoos, and piercings.

In the 21st century, all that stuff is okay. But legalism still thrives under a different guise. The church has rightly shed its archaic taboos. Thank God. But we’ve substituted a different legalism. Not a legalism of rules, but a a legalism way more depressing and harder to spot. Continue reading

The Magic Pill

magicpill.jpegWhat cures all, solves all, heals all, comforts all, is free for the taking, and most people have a huge supply sitting on their shelves?

“I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 2:21; 5:13, NKJV.

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One more thing… (about this weekend’s message)

alfredeneuman.jpg What, Me Worry?

Yes, the tagline of my favorite cartoon face, Alfred E. Neuman, inspired the title of this last weekend’s sermon. A message on worry. Click here to listen/watch/read it. It’s usually posted on Wednesday; this week probably on Thursday because of the holiday.

I based my message on what Jesus said about worry in his Sermon on the Mount.

For me, the most important point was a new perspective on Matt 6:33:

““But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33, NKJV. Continue reading

Hell Froze Over?

Sorry for the break in blogging. I was at the General Council for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, this year in Orlando, FL. Wasn’t able to blog while I was away, but I’m back on track now. Thanks for your patience.

Read this paragraph from one of the most famous sermons in English-speaking history:

jonathanedwards.jpg “O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.”

Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” stirred America’s first great revival in the 1700’s. It was a sermon that blasted people without Jesus to hell. Seminaries and pastoral training programs used to consider this sermon required reading.


Compare that quote with this one, in an interview with Spencer Burke. Spencer Burke operates the most popular website for the emerging church–with over 100,000 hits a month, I’ve been told. He is talking about his book, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity. Continue reading

The Absolute Need for Doctrine and Theology

Who wrote those marvelous words, and when? Okay, I know it’s a tough question, so I’ll make it easier. Guess a decade in which you think these words were written (they’re all from the same essay).

Here’s a picture of the author: I’ll tell you more about her on the next page.


“Theologically, this country is at present in a state of utter chaos, established in the name of religious toleration, and rapidly degenerating into the flight from reason and the death of hope. We are not happy in this condition, and there are signs of a very great eagerness, especially among the younger people, to find a creed to which they can give wholehearted adherence. This is the Church’s opportunity, if she chooses to take it.”

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33 Killed at Virginia Tech: Other People’s Craziness


If you watch the news, I’m sure that you are saddened and angered over the evil, cold-blooded murders at Virginia Tech. Our hearts go out to every parent, family member and friend who lost a loved one so suddenly and so horrifically. Our hearts also go out to every student and young adult across the country who is coming of age in such a difficult culture. We pray for you.

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Laugh Attack

It’s all Pam’s fault. She started it. This has never happened to me before.

I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically, at church, on stage, while preaching, during the middle of a message, while reading Scriptures. I mean snorting, out-of-breath, laughter with tears coming down my face… in front of an almost-packed house and our comfortably full Video Cafe where over a hundred more people watched a live feed. Har! Har! Har! laughteronback.jpeg

This has never happened to me before. At least not while I’m preaching.

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The Case of the Missing Hair

I recently celebrated a birthday. I’m not a fan of it. Celebrating birthdays, I mean. I prefer to fly beneath other people’s birthday radar. Just let me slip silently into my twilight years.

Unless you’d like to send money. That would brighten my day. Or take me bass-fishing.

Yesterday I wore a baseball cap. This very hat, actually: cap-brown.gif

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Chuck the Chicago Mechanic

The following encounter is true… it happened in Chicago at a repair shop in the 1990’s. The repair shop wasn’t Chuck’s and wasn’t named after him. He just worked there… 

Here’s a teaser: this is the start of my Easter Message this weekend… what do you think the point is?

Chuck the Mechanic

car on lift

I’ve got to tell you the story of Chuck, the car mechanic. Some time ago my car needed a brake job. This was when I lived in Chicago. So I brought my car in, and they took it right away, put it up in the air, and started working on my car. I struck up a conversation with a very interesting mechanic named Chuck.

Chuck was a guy’s guy. He was tough. He was smart. He was completely rough around the edges. Meaning he was a typical, blue-collar tough guy.

The only thing that Chuck knew about me was that my car needed brakes… actually it needed to have the wheel cylinders rebuilt. So Chuck felt all kinds of freedom to say all kinds of things to me, because to him, I was just another normal guy just like him.

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