Archives For Parable

A Parable about Music

March 23, 2011

A team of archaeologists makes a stunning discovery. While excavating a desolate site, they stumble upon a vast collection of documents that employs unfamiliar notation. The archaeologists reason that the collection must be of great importance because of the painstaking efforts that were taken to preserve it.

After months of secretive examination by leading scholars, the documents are finally deciphered as ancient music notation. A whirlwind of secretive activity ensues. A team of leading musicians from around the world is secretly chosen and collaborates for months to examine the documents.

Finally, all the documents are deciphered and analyzed fully. Upon rendering the music into modern notation and having it played by the world-class musicians in the team, everyone is stunned by the extraordinary beauty, majesty, and grandeur of the music. Practicing for months, they prepare for an international debut for the music that all the major networks in leading countries agree to carry.

They choose to debut only the instrumental music that they discovered. The rest of the music is kept under very tight security.

The worldwide response to the music is phenomenal. Music experts everywhere deem the music to be among the finest music ever produced. Somehow, the source of the instrumental music remains a tightly guarded secret throughout the entire process.

Many leading Christian musicians who hear the music write beautiful lyrics to accompany selections from the collection. Numerous churches worldwide use the music in their worship services.

A year later, in an international press conference, the team who produced the music then makes known its identity. They reveal that this was the music used when Nebuchadnezzar demanded worldwide worship of his image. They then release the rest of the music, which is immediately enthusiastically received all over the world.

Having accepted the music enthusiastically and used it in worship, what do the Christians who did so do now upon learning of the origin of the music? Do they reason that the music itself is still fine to use, in spite of its original ancient use?

Does the fact that the music was specifically used originally for the worship of a man forever taint this instrumental music that was of phenomenal musical quality? If it were known whether the pieces of music in the collection were composed specifically for that occasion or not, would that change anything?

Prove the Will of God!

February 25, 2011

Picture a cool fall day in a Midwestern farming community in the year1947. A faithful, young farmer heads out to his fields at the break of day. He notices a slight scratchy feeling in his throat. As he puts in a full day of work, he has a sinking feeling that he is coming down with something. By the middle of the week, he can hardly swallow. Hating to go to a doctor, he tries gargling with a mix of lemon juice, apple cider, vinegar, honey, and one “special” ingredient. His throat, however, keeps on getting worse. 

Early the next week, he is barely able to swallow. Reluctantly, he agrees to go see his uncle, who is a doctor. Taking one look inside his mouth, his uncle’s face grows very serious. “Jake, you have a bad case of strep throat.” “I’m giving you a new medicine that I hope will take care of the problem; be sure to finish all the pills.” Jake takes the pills, thanks his uncle, and heads home. 

After a few days on the medication, his throat feels so much better. Because the pills were so bitter, and he is feeling better by now, he decides to stop taking the pills. He says to himself, “I am over the problem, and I don’t want to overdo this medicine business.” 

Two weeks after stopping the pills, Jake is flat on his back, hardly able to speak. Now, he has a fever and a rash. When his uncle comes and examines him, with tears he grimly informs him that he has rheumatic fever. 

For the rest of his life, Jake is a crippled man who no longer can take care of his farm or even himself. The damage to his heart was just too severe for him to do much of anything. He is unable to live out the life that he might have lived had he followed the full prescription given to him. 

God has given us His prescription for our sinful condition (Rom. 12). Although we must present ourselves to God, we must not stop with just making a decision to do so. We must go on and live out His will for our lives as He teaches us in Romans 12:1ff. 

If we do not fully follow that prescription, we will be crippled and not fulfill His will. God wants us to prove His will for our lives.

Spiritual Warfare Parable

February 20, 2011

You are returning to your home out in the country from a weekend trip with your wife. Your cell phones are dead because you forgot your chargers at home. When you are a few miles away from your home, you see thick, black smoke coming from the direction of your home. 

You rush home to find police cars and fire trucks on your property. The police prevent you from going to the house. From a safe distance, you watch what little is left of your home burn completely to the ground. Soon, you learn that the mutilated bodies of all your pets have been found in your swimming pool. 

Shortly thereafter, the police inform you that they found the bodies of three security guards out in the woods behind your home. You inform them that you had four security guards. A few minutes later, they find the fourth one. Though he had been shot four times, he managed to survive by playing dead. Just before he finally dies, he informs the police that some gang members are responsible for what happened and that they have stolen your brand new Hummer and ransacked your home before setting it on fire. 

Immediately, your thoughts turn to your three girls, whom you left for the weekend with your parents. You rush off to their home, a mile down the road. You pound on the door, but no one answers. Finally, in desperation, you break a window and get in the house. To your great horror, you find the lifeless bodies of your parents out back on their deck. 

Frantically, you begin to search for your girls. You search everywhere, but you are unable to find your eight, ten, and twelve-year old daughters. In desperation, you head for the church that you pastor, which is three blocks down the road. 

You arrive there and find the police at the church. You explain who you are and the chief with great sorrow explains that during a youth activity just a few hours ago, lightning struck during a storm that suddenly became violent and killed your three daughters as they were running toward the church to escape the storm. 

As the pastor of a large, rural church in California that has taken a strong stand for Christ, how will you cope? Will you vow to spend the rest of your life to find those gang members and see that they get what they deserve? What will you make of the lightning? Will you abandon your faith in the midst of such horrific suffering? 

Or, will you bow in worship: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD’” (Job. 1:20-21). 

And, will you think aright about what those gang members have done and about the lightning that killed your daughters? “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. . . . A messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (Job. 1:14-19).

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places(Eph. 6:12).

Resurrection Parable

February 13, 2011

Many people doubt or even deny that Jesus rose from the dead because they think the accounts of the Resurrection in the Bible are filled with contradictions. Through a parable, this post shows how that even if the so-called contradictions were true contradictions, which they are not, the Resurrection would not automatically be disproved.

PARABLE

Four part-time workers in the shipping department of a large company are working together in the warehouse. Through an intercom message, I and another worker, Jim, are called into the manager’s office. Two other workers at our work station, Joe and Sam, tell us before we leave that they hope everything goes ok.

In the meeting, the manager strongly chides me about my work. At one point, he calls in my work supervisor, Frank. Frank also briefly reproves me and then leaves. The manager then calls in Joe from the back and continues to chide me in front of Jim and Joe. The meeting ends.

Jim goes back and says to Sam, who was not in the meeting at all, that the manager really let me have it. Joe, who only came to the meeting later, comes back after some time and also says to Sam that the manager really let me have it.

Later, I come back and tell Sam that both the manager and my work supervisor really let me have it. When I get home that evening, I tell my roommate that my manager really let me have it at work today.

DISCUSSION

Sam received three reports of what happened at the meeting. Jim said to him that the manager let me have it, but did not mention that the work supervisor was also there for part of the time. Jim knew that information, but chose for whatever reason not to mention it.

If asked about a second person, Joe would say that only the manager was there at the meeting when he was there. But a second person was in fact there earlier and left prior to Joe’s arrival.

To Sam, I chose to give a more complete statement by saying that two people chided me. Focusing on the manager, I could have just as legitimately told him that my manager chided me in the meeting. To my roommate, I chose to report that I was chided by the one who was the most important. Because I did not say in the first report that I was chided in the meeting by only one person, my statements are not contradictory.

Sam would not be justified in seeing a contradiction in the reports that he received from Jim, Joe, and me. My roommate would not be justified in thinking that I had lied to him because I told him that my manager had chided me that day.

The differing reports given by the different workers and me to different people at different times do not prove that the meeting never took place nor do the “discrepancies” in the reports prove that all the reports are untrustworthy. Similarly, alleged discrepancies in the accounts of the Resurrection do not show that they are all false. Nor do they disprove that the Resurrection ever happened. To disprove the Resurrection, each account would have to be shown to be false on its own.