Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Bar room brawls
do not make men.
Candlelight charisma
does not make love.
Anyone can fight
strike a match.
Real love is demonstrated
in broad daylight.
Real men are molded
by the hand of God.

Small Bites - Philippians 4:8 - A Good Report

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8  

Different versions account for this to be anything of good report or commendable, thus it is admirable. The word here is also another of Paul’s unique words that he compounded for emphasis – euphemos.  (Ironically it is pronounced “you famous,” with a slight accent on the last syllable.)

“Eu” – to fare well or prosper; to act well.  This word is used in all the “well done” verses in the New Testament.

“Phemos” – fame, report, as in notoriety:  “is of good repute.”  

Used this way, this compound word is an expression of a forthcoming good omen – being expectantly positive.  The value of such good news was based on whether it was well-received, well-served or well done.  The expectations of Jesus’ miracles made for “good report.”  It drew people to him because they needed this good news in their lives. They needed hope.  They needed possibilities.

Jesus’ news, His Good News, is still noteworthy today.  It offers hope where it is needed most.  It offers possibilities that contradict the offerings of the world.  This kind of “report” or news is the opposite of most of the news of our day.

We expect bad news whenever we turn on the television.  Constant bad news creates a culture of catastrophe which, because of hopelessness and diminishing possibilities, immobilizes us.  A culture of bad news keeps us from activity and moving forward.  It sidelines us instead of leading us onto the playing field. 

Where do you find admirable things to contemplate?
Should we have more praises than prayer requests?
Do we prefer bad news?

We are to bring to reckoning, take an account of admirable things.  It will take some work to do so.  We may have to do our own investigative reporting on places of hope.  We may need to bring to light those events in our area and in our lives that demonstrate where good is extolled, where possibilities exist and where opportunities are grown.  

Display this good news!

[Ref:  Matt 9:26, Luke 4:14]

Friday, February 17, 2017

You Belong Here!

Small Bites - Philippians 4:8 - Lovely

  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, 
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8
Lovely.  "Prosphiles” is the Greek word used here and used only this one time in the New Testament.  It is one of those made-up words Paul likes to use for emphasis to call attention to a greater meaning (like gi-normous).  It is a compound word.

            “pros”- to the advantage of, to be nearby, towards
            “phileo” – community love, affection, fondness, kiss

What is this “lovely” then?
Think about the things which draw you toward affection for each other.  Think about things which put you near the expression of fondness for the community of Christ, which could include a physical display of affection.  In Paul's middle Eastern culture, it could include radical expression like a kiss on the cheek.  In our culture, it might include a hug or a warm handshake. This is particularly important because in western culture, people can go weeks without a touch that was a true expression of friendship. Let companionship and camaraderie be the goal. Especially in light of Jesus' call to unity (John 17), this makes complete sense.

What display of affection and inclusion 
would be appropriate in your cultural setting?

What can you do to move love towards
 Christ’s community?

That would be lovely.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Oahu 2016

Small Bites - Philippians 4:8 - Purity

  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,
 and right, and pure
and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

How many of you want to be more Christlike?
How many of you want to house 
the fullness of the Holy Spirit?

Paul gives us the door which will take us into the presence of God:  purity.  Purity carries some other definitions, but at the heart of its biblical meaning is this:  a complete devotion to God.  It involves an undivided heart; no conflict of loyalties, no mixed motives.  It is a condition of the heart.
In the New Testament, the sanctity of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit weighs in on the definition.  It is a spirit of desire of unification and obedience which brings every thought, feeling and action into the subjection of Jesus Christ.

One of the problems of modern, western thinking is the concept of dualism – where we see ourselves with separated dimensions (heart, soul, mind, body….social, work, etc).  These concepts were not as delineated in New Testament thinking.  That is why purity is a complete devotion – no words without action, no thought without passion.

What are examples of purity you can think of?

In  1 Timothy 1:3-6  Paul means to have his young mentee to stay true and focused on correct doctrine and not get “off track” of the goal – seeking Jesus.  Notice purity’s “context:”  vs. 5 - All Christians should be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, clear conscious and sincere faith.”  Paul did not like endless arguments;  he wanted people focused through love toward a single-minded lifestyle.

What are examples of this picture of purity?

Purity also has the obvious notion of protecting oneself from sin.  1 Timothy 5:22b – Do not participate in the sin of others.  Keep yourself pure.  2 Timothy 2:22 – Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust.  Follow anything that makes you want to do right.  Pursue faith love and peace.  Enjoy the companionship of those who call upon the Lord with pure hearts.  

 It becomes obvious that sin/faithlessness defiles the heart. 

What might it mean to keep one’s heart motivations
consistent/undivided/free of conflicting motives?

The disciple, John, then gives us the ultimate purity picture:  1 John 3:1-3 
 All who believe the following will keep themselves pure just as Christ is pure…  we are named as God’s children.  We will be like Christ when we returns… We will see Christ as he really is.
This makes purity not the goal, but the vehicle which will take us into the presence of God.  Another analogy might help:  you want to go to your favorite destination.  You pay your money.  You arrange everything.  You know to get on the plane – which one and when it leaves.  You carefully plan your day so you can be sure to get on that plane.  You don’t want to miss it!!

 Purity is my "ticket," my "vehicle" to reach my goal
of a life with God.

Carefully plan so as to not miss this vehicle to greater glory.