Featured Post

The Distractions of the World

Mark 10: 46-52 “46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, B...

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Distractions of the World

Mark 10: 46-52

“46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.  51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”

The blind man, Bartimaeus, had his sight restored because he called out to Jesus despite the crowd noise, despite people telling him to be quiet.  Despite his disability, Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was.  He called him “Jesus of Nazareth” and “Son of David”.  He also knew that Jesus could heal him.

The world is a noisy place, full of distractions and temptations.  We often think that our voices are lost among all the noise and clatter of this life.  But Jesus heard the voice of Bartimaeus, even in the crowd.  

And Bartimaeus, throwing his cloak aside, went to Jesus and was healed.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Thursday, September 21, 2023


Mark 10: 35-40

“35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

A lot of talented people who play sports say they want to be champions but they are not willing to make the many sacrifices necessary to do it.  They like the idea of the prestige of being a champion but eventually they realize that there is a lot of time, work and effort that they are not willing to commit to.

James and John have asked Jesus if he would give them the honored seats when Jesus is in His glory.  Jesus asked them if they were willing to make the sacrifices necessary for this honor and they both answered “yes”.  But we know that they were not yet ready to “drink from the cup” or to suffer in the way that Jesus suffered.  They did not know what saying “yes” meant.

When we say yes to Christianity,  do we know what we are saying?  Do we know that being a Christian means that we are to live a life that is set apart and that such a life requires sacrifice?

Will we drink of the cup?

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

God's Generous Love

Matthew 20: 8-16

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’9 The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

I picked cucumbers one very hot summer when I was a teenager.  There were acres and acres of cucumber vines and we were paid one dollar for every large burlap sack full of cucumbers that we picked.  Some of us worked very hard and picked several bags full.  Others played around and were not as successful.  But when we were paid, we were paid as a group for the total number of bags that we picked, not for our individual accomplishments, and the pay was split equally among us.   I did not think this was fair and was angry and bitter.  

God is generous, and he is generous in ways that don’t always meet with our approval.  The reward that we receive for our faith is eternal life.  It does not matter that we may not have had faith the first 50, 60 or 70 years of our lives.  We receive eternal life as if we had been  Christians all of our lives.  

It is not by our merit that we are saved.  It is not how hard or or how good  we work in the field.  It is the fact that we are in the field when the day ends. At the end of the day, all who are in the field of faith are given the reward of eternal life. 

This is God’s generous love.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Christ’s Love for Us is Transforming

John 15: 12

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Christians are to love one another as Christ (and God) loves us.  We are to love with grace, benevolence, mercy, patience, persistence, and sacrifice.  Love offered in this way is a transforming, life changing love.  

We are to be known by our love, not just in the confines of the church, but by the world in general.  Our lives are to be examples of Christ’s transformative love to everyone with which we interact and in every place we go.

We will never transform the world through our anger or hate.  It will only be transformed through love- benevolent, merciful, patient, persistent and sacrificial love.  

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Monday, September 18, 2023

God’s Love is Sacrificial

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

John 15:13

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

My wife, Melanie and I were on our way to Raleigh, taking our son to his first year of college at NC State when we witnessed a terrible one car accident.  The car flipped several times before landing upside down.  

We pulled over and my son and I ran towards the car.  While running, I began to imagine the car catching on fire or exploding and I wondered how much I was willing to sacrifice for this person that I did not know.  Was I willing to risk my life and that of my son to rescue him; to die so he could live?

God came into the world in the actual person of Jesus Christ, and sacrificed himself for our benefit; so that we could have a relationship with him; so that we could have eternal life.

What is it that we are willing to sacrifice so that others will know God?

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier

P.S.: The driver of the car was not injured and managed to crawl out the passenger side window before my son and I reached him.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

God’s Patience and Persistence

2 Peter 3: 9

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

When I was five or six years old I attended vacation bible school at church.  At the assembly one morning, the minister said that he would be glad to talk to anyone who wanted to become a Christian.  After the assembly,  I approached the teacher in my classroom, and told her that I wanted to talk to the preacher about how to become a Christian.  She took me to his office and the minister talked with me for an hour or more about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, salvation, etc.  

When I was eight years old,  the church gave me a bible.  I took it home and put it on a table in my room and every time I walked by it I felt the strangest urge to pick it up and read it.  It was a while (years)  before I did this, but eventually,  I did.  

When I was 20, I met my future father-in-law who, through his example, showed me the living Christ.

There is no limit to God’s love.  God’s love is patient and persistent.  God reaches out to us even when we do not know him.  God sends people into our lives who point the way to him.  God causes us to be in places that call us to him.   God’s quiet, almost silent voice speaks to our hearts,  over and over.

All we have to do is listen.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Thursday, September 14, 2023

God’s Mercy

Luke 6: 36

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

When a person proves that he or she is not worthy of our trust or respect, we have as little to do with that person as possible. God, on the other hand, loves us despite our sins, despite our unworthiness and sent his only son into this world to save us. 

God’s love is merciful.  God hears the cry of the suffering, and forgives the sins of the sinful.  With God, there is the promise of the second chance, a new beginning, and a new life.

Because God is merciful, said Jesus, we should be merciful to others.  “Go,” he said, “and sin no more” (John 8:11).

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)