Does Your Bible Have An Asterisk?

In a random illustration of my Easter sermon I asked a question. I quoted Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then I asked.

Can you?

Do you really believe it?

Or. Does your Bible have an asterisk? 

Imagine this, “I can do all* things through Christ.”

*—Except that one thing.

*—Well, maybe two. Yeah, there is that one more thing.

*—Honestly... I think there is a whole lot God can’t do in or through me.

Where have you mentally inserted an unbelieving asterisk? What Scripture stops you cold? How is your practical atheism revealed? Why can't you fully trust God to be & do what He says in the Bible?

“I can do all* things through Christ.” 

*—Except leave that worrisome situation in God's hands alone.

*—Except to accept God’s forgiveness and move beyond shame.

*—Except _____________________________________ 

What’s your asterisk? 

Confess it.

Ask faith. 

Live without exception. 

Green Eggs and Ham Theology

I could not, would not, on a boat.

I will not, will not, with a goat.

I will not eat them in the rain.

I will not eat them on a train.

Not in the dark! Not in a tree!

Not in a car! You let me be!

I do not like them in a box.

I do not like them with a fox.

I will not eat them in a house.

I do not like them with a mouse.

I do not like them here or there.

I do not like them ANYWHERE!


Emphatically declares the frumpledy-hatted creature in the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham. Just before he relents. Tries the green eggs and ham. And decides he likes them. 

Life is like that. We don’t like something. Until we do.

While preaching John 9 this morning, I was thinking about the Pharisees. Yes, I can preach and think at the same time. I’d encourage you read the entire engaging chapter now. 

Quick context: Jesus heals a man born blind; nobody believes it; man has to prove he is who he is even to his neighbors; man gets hauled before the Pharisees; even man’s parents get called as witnesses. 

The Pharisees had decided Jesus was a sinner—guilty of breaking their Sabbath—and could not have healed the man before their interrogation had even begun. 

The legalistic Pharisees would not believe it possible for Jesus to perform such a healing. More than would not, it seems that they could not believe it. Such an act was outside their realm of possibility.

The Pharisees had Green Eggs and Ham Theology: Jesus could not, would not… Jesus didn’t fit their theology. 

In verse 27, when the formerly blind man pokes the persistent Pharisees, “Do you want to become his disciples too?,” they get mad and throw him out. Could not, would not fit what you like, get angry and throw them out. Always effective. Get what you want. Ignore the evidence. Go on with life—your could not, would not life. Your God-in-a-box life.

How many of us, how many times, do we put God in a could not, would not box? 

We don’t think He could? We don’t believe He would? We put Sovereign God in a box walled by our own limited experience and incomplete imagination. 

We’re like the Pharisees. We’ve got Green Eggs and Ham Theology. And we wonder why God doesn’t do more in our lives?

Could we, instead, be like the man born blind when he declares of Jesus in verse 25, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 

Could we?

Would we?


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The Jesus Who Isn't

Jesus: likable guy.

Kid’s loved him. Folks crushed close just to be near him. He was accused of having too much fun. He was the life of the party. He even brought life back to dead parties. Literally.

He rebelled against the status quo while making peace between us and God, our Great Judge. He called out sin while paying the price for it’s penalty. He enjoyed being among us only to be broken by us.

Jesus: what’s not to like? 

That depends. Do we like the Jesus who is? Or the Jesus who isn’t?

When we don’t like Jesus—most the time—it’s because we’ve got the wrong Jesus. The Jesus who isn’t.

That’s the Jesus who won't do what we want, how we want it, and when we want it.

That’s the Jesus who can't do what we want. It’d be sinful or just plain bad for us.

When Jesus isn't who we think or doesn't do what we want, we tend not to like him.

Who does that reveal more about? Jesus? Or us?

We tend to like the Jesus who isn’t. The Jesus who isn’t real, but is a god of our own creation. The Jesus we’ve fashioned, according to our own image or understanding. If only he’d perform as we like! But, of course, that’s the Jesus who isn’t.

How do we get to know the Jesus who is? Simple: read our Bible, lots, to be challenged and changed; pray, to be empty of self and full of him. Simple, yet not easy. That’s the Jesus who is.