I was in two car accidents within the space of an hour on Sunday morning. Before you worry, everyone involved is okay. We were all very blessed.

It’s about 7:30 am Sunday morning. I’m cruising down the freeway on my way to a worship team rehearsal1. I’m not braking or turning—though the road is gently sloping to the left, so I suppose my wheels aren’t exactly straight—but I’m going too fast considering there are patches of snow and ice on the road. I hit a wet patch that sends me spinning. I strike the inside barrier probably four or five times before coming to a rest on the inside shoulder facing the wrong direction.

The first thing that comes to mind when the car stops is that I don’t have my phone on me—I had neglected to charge it the night before. I wait for a bit sitting in my car, but it’s too early on a Sunday morning for any other cars to be on the road. I put on my hazard lights and climb out of my car to see how bad it is. There’s extensive damage to both bumpers, a busted out headlight and a broken taillight, and I’m sure there’s frame damage. The damage is much worse than the last accident I was in, so it’s probably totalled. As luck would have it I had come to rest directly opposite a freeway exit, so I dash across the freeway intending to find a gas station where I can make some phone calls.

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  1. For those who don’t know, I play the drums in worship service every Sunday morning. We rehearse about an hour before first service. []

Word of Wisdom Promises

In Sunday School today I stumbled across a familiar phrase in an unexpected place. I recognized the wording from the LDS scripture passage D&C 89:18, but here I was reading it in Proverbs 3:8: “It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

In both places, it is given as a blessing coupled with a commandment. This spurred me on to a wider study of the Word of Wisdom1 and the promises it offers for obedience to its principles. As it happens, each of the Word of Wisdom promises can be found in the Bible with no apparent connection to any health regulations.

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  1. If this is unfamiliar to you, see the LDS Church’s official information regarding the Word of Wisdom at Mormon.org. You may also wish to read all of D&C 89, where the principle can be found in LDS scripture. []

Is paid ministry unbiblical?

Anonymous said:

The concept, in general, of being paid for godly service is spoken against in the Bible reference below [Hebrews 5:4]. Also, it’s referred to when Elisha’s servant takes money and is then cursed with leprosy. … I just don’t understand why the practice of being paid for ministry ever started or is still in effect today if the Bible speaks against it.

I knew when I blogged about my pastoral internship it wouldn’t take long for someone to ask this question. It’s certainly a very important issue and I’m glad you brought it up. I’ll try to answer it as best I can.

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The Symbol of the Cross

For the benefit of my Evangelical friends who may be reading this, let me start out with some context. Mormons do not display crosses either inside or outside their church buildings or in their homes. They don’t wear cross necklaces or glue plastic crosses to their bumpers.

Many Evangelicals wonder why Mormons seemingly avoid the cross, and many even think of Mormons as un-Christian because of it. They may cite verses such as Matt. 16:24 or Mark 8:24 in defense of their judgement, but I would submit that they are misusing the passages. Jesus did not say, “take up your plastic cross necklace and follow me.” Obviously, the cross he refers to is a metaphor for the persecution Christians face in their walk, not an actual tangible cross.

Verses like 1 Cor. 1:18 get more to the point, but still shouldn’t bother a Mormon. Mormons claim to preach the cross; they simply don’t use the symbol of the cross in public worship or displays of piety.

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The Definition of Forgiveness

An LDS young woman visited my Sunday School class yesterday. She has submitted her mission papers in anticipation of serving a mission, but hasn’t yet received her call1. She was invited to church by a co-worker, who is a member of our class.

The class is currently studying couples from the Old Testament, and yesterday we discussed the relationship of Hosea and Gomer as told in Hosea 1-3. This chapter draws numerous parallels to God’s relationship with man and centers around the concept of unconditional forgiveness.

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  1. Mormon missionaries do not choose where they will go on their two year missions. They submit paperwork to church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah and wait to receive a letter directly from the President of the church. The President, who is considered a prophet, allegedly consults God and through revelation is told where the prospective missionary should serve. In this way, the young man or woman’s mission call is said to have come directly from the Lord. []