Regardless of our age, vocation, gender, or background, Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow him. Following Christ is never an easy task - it is always a hard pursuit.
The Mississippi River establishes a natural border between a number of states - two of them are Tennessee and Arkansas. At least that was the case until March 7, 1876 when one small town in Tennessee was relocated from the eastern bank of the Mississippi to the western bank. In roughly twenty-four hours, the river abandoned its course along the western side of Reverie, TN, and established a new channel east of Reverie. One morning the river was on the west, and the very next day it was on the east. Forty-two years later, the Supreme Court had to determine that the town should remain part of Tennessee rather than be annexed by Arkansas. Almost 142 years later, the citizens of Reverie (which is still part of Tennessee) send their children to Arkansas schools and have their mail delivered to Wilson, AR.
How far is too far? Where are the boundaries for physical contact prior to marriage?
Christianity has always held fast to the idea that sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage. Outside of marriage, it is always a sin - either as fornication or adultery. Not many people, especially those in the evangelical community, dispute this notion. However, how should a Christian think about conduct that may be sexual in nature, but isn't sexual intercourse? The Bible isn't clear on that and we each figure it out individually, right?
A number of modern day artists are transforming common, everyday trash into notable works of art. Sayaka Ganz hopes to reduce waste through creative use of discarded objects. Paul Villinski collects discarded beer cans from New York streets and transforms them into cross-cultural symbols of rebirth. Ann P. Smith creates animal works of art from broken electronics and machine parts. However, the concept that lies behind all these artists' work is nothing new. Jesus has been practicing the exact same kind of artistry for thousands of years.
Have you ever bought a used car? There's a certain trepidation that goes along with such a purchase. It's easy to be suspicious of a seller's integrity and wonder if there's anything he's not telling you - some crucial bit of information that might reduce the value you place on his vehicle. Or have you ever walked through a public market in a country where every price is negotiable? The uninitiated naturally question whether someone is trying to take advantage of them. The Lord envisioned exactly these kinds of transactions when he gave the Old Testament law to Israel.