Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tools for Transformation II: Repentance

As with humility, repentance can be easier to discuss or describe than to practice. But as we reflect together on how God works to shape us a whole persons in Christ, there's no avoiding repentance--and not just as a one-time event, but as a way of life. We can also confuse repentance with contrition, regret, or saying "sorry." Repentance embraces those, but is really about changing the way I think, feel and behave. So, what have you learned about repentance? Where and how has it been transformative in your own life? What makes it hard, and have you discovered some ways that make it "easier"... or even a joyful undertaking?


smokin joe said...

Repentance is hard, especially without divine help. If I am not mistaken, one possible translation of the Greek word is “to turn around.” In other words, if we are going south, we turn around and go north.

It is not as hard to recognize and confess our sins, to ask forgiveness for our sins, even to take responsibility for our sins. It is darn hard to stop sinning and live differently – to go in a different direction.

I have been recognizing my anger, confessing it, asking forgiveness of my children and wife for it and taking responsibility for it for years … but it has been a VERY slow and difficult process to turn around and stop being angry. I guess momentum will tend to carry us in the same direction we have been moving in … Perhaps I should write a book called "Long disobedience in the same direction" :-)

Like humility, repentance is an important part of the spiritual foundation. This may be why the very first command of Christ is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17. Peter also put repentance in first place in his famous sermon in Acts. 2. but notice that before he told them to repent, they were "pierced to the heart" and asked "what shall we do?" That has not happened yet with my Tuesday night group, which is probably a testament to the low level of the power of the Spirit operating in my life...

Here is a portion of the outline of Gothard’s study on Repentance:

In order to Repent we must...
1.Recognize God’s presence. (Isaiah 6:3,5)
2. Change our minds. (Rom. 8:5, 2Cor 3:14, 4:4, Phil 3:19, 4:7, Luke 24:45, Heb 8:10)
3.Grieve in our hearts over sin. (2 Cor. 7:10- Luke 22:62)
4.Walk away from sin. (Romans 13:14)
5.Take action directed by God. (Acts 2:28)

Bruce said...

Even if we can't do much with the idea of repentance, we need to keep it always in the toolbox of "very first things" in the Christian life. That is, even if it is hard to repent once or repent always, we should always hold on it as the rule, the maxim, the standard, the law and the first part of the gospel.

John the Musician said...

Repentence, hmmm... that's a tough one indeed. To be completely honest the major "turn arounds" in my life have been over very long periods of time and have often been more like minor course adjustments leading to larger course adjustments. It seems like often God will say, "turn a little to the left here." It seems that the way that holy spirit works in our lives is all about the small victories leading up continuously towards spiritual "health."

Brian Emmet said...

I agree with, and have been helped by, everyone's comments. I like the idea of repentance as a life-long project/process, and appreciated Joseph's honesty in sharing a bit of his repentance-process with regard to anger. I also liked John's picture of small corrections resulting in large trajectory changes, and Bruce's counsel that, whatever else we're doing, repentance is always a good thing to do.

Repentance is one of those seemingly upside-down aspects of the kingdom--in order to become truly happy, I have to embrace some unhappiness. One of the things that drives us towards repentance is the pain of our current life--my anger, my lust, my pride, etc. eventually drive me to a point of intolerable pain. By the grace of God, I am enables to repent, and then experience increased joy, comfort, relief, freedom, confidence, assurance, etc.

So perhaps we should ask God to make us "uncomfortable" more often than we do! "It is the kindness and severity of God that leads us to repentance."

smokin joe said...

regarding asking God to make us uncomfortable, you go first! I may not have all the discomfort in my life that I need right now, but I certainly have more than I want.

Patrick said...

Hey guys, good comments! thanks for the free encouragement!

I like what Brian said about grace. It seems though I read some where that God grants us the grace of true repentance. I'm glad b/c I know that I sometimes don't want to change, but in His grace, He helps me do it nonetheless; sometimes by changing my desires altogether. Other times it is steps of faith that I don't quite understand.

JTM, I echo the "long-term" idea. I'm glad for it, too. I'd probably fall apart if I had to change everything at once.

Brian Emmet said...

I should have made clearer (thanks, Joseph) that not every experience of pain or discomfort is an indicator that we need to repent. So my suggestion about "asking God to make us more uncomfortable" needs to be nuanced and contextualized. It can certainly be the case that the pain or discomfort we are experiencing are due to our having repented, not because we haven't.

smokin joe said...

Repentance is a violent process of tearing ourselves away from ourselves and refocusing on the ‘other’. We are born with an inward inclination to please and satisfy our own desires, regardless of the damage to those around us. In relatively mature people this self-orientation takes on very subtle and ‘spiritual’ looking forms, but it can still be just naked narcissism.

Repentance is a fundamental internal realignment from gazing at our own image in the mirror to gazing at the awesome image of God, like Isaiah we cry out “woe is me, I am a sinful person living among sinful people.”

Issiah 55:9 sums it up: his ways are HIGHER than ours, and his thoughts are HIGHER than ours … repentance turns us away from our impoverished ways and our pitiful and inadequate thoughts to his richly higher thoughts.

Muslims have understood this violent process. ‘Islam’ means ‘submission to God.’ Jihad classically means waging war against your own flesh and your own sins in order to overcome them to submit to God. The only thing lacking in the Islamic view violent repentance is the gracious invitation of a loving father who is determined to help us:

Isaiah 55 opens with these words:

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.

True repentance on a massive scale, leading to deep and lasting spiritual formation is profoundly necessary in this new generation in order to rise up and be the church who ‘thinks’ Gods thoughts and follows God’s “ways”.

After Isaiah repented, his response was "here am I - send me."

May God be merciful. Inshahalla. Si Dios quiere.

John Norton said...

I connect with the statement that repentance is a violent thing. A violent act against myself, perhaps, violence against my pride, violence against my self-confidence.

In Shakespeare's Henry VIII, the humiliated character Wolsey repents in a powerful scene:

"I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me, and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream that must for ever hide me."

The most difficult moments of repentance for me have been when I have "ventured far beyond my depth." Thinking I knew, and then, in an instant, realizing that my direction, my wisdom was twisted and flawed.

steve H said...

Thanks for the description of repentance as violence. Is that what Jesus was talking about when he said the violent take the kingdom by force?

John M. said...

Good posts, all. I’ve been thinking about the image of “violent” repentance and “incremental, course correction” repentance. My understanding of repentance has historically been of a very black and white, 180 degree turn-around experience i.e. violent.

It seems, though, that as I grow older, I see less pure black and white and more shades of gray, both in my experience and understanding. I’m going to propose a “theory of repentance,” based on the Engels Scale that incorporates both of the above models.

For any who don’t know, the Engels Scale is the idea of a scale from minus 10 to plus 10, with -10 being no belief in God to +10 being a mature follower of Jesus, with zero being the point of “conversion”.

My theory is simple: Moving from -10 to 0 requires a series of incremental course corrections. Moving from -1 to 0 requires that violent turn around Joseph describes. From that point of conversion forward from 0 to +10 requires more incremental course changes that fit into the life-style of repentance view-point. Assuming that anyone besides Jesus ever arrives at a +10, that person would still need to periodically course correct to stay on course and maintain their maturity.

This idea accommodates real life, at least for me. I decided “once-for-all” a long time ago to forsake the world-system-Kingdom of darkness matrix and embrace God’s Kingdom and Jesus as Lord, but to my chagrin, again and again, it does not make me immune from besetting sins and character flaws. I have had numerous “violent” repentance sessions over the years. But in many instances the future found me violently repenting again for the very same besetting sin. So, a lifestyle of incremental repentance is a necessary reality for me.

smokin joe said...

I don't know ... I have found almost every step from +5 to +8 or +9 to be excruciatingly painful and somewhat violent ... +1 to +5 was probably also that way but I have blocked it out of my mind ...

maybe it is incremental violence....

smokin joe said...

interruption: if anyone wants to wish Billy Long a happy 60th birthday.... go to this blog link and leave your best wishes:

here's the username (email) and password for this bog.
username (email address):
password: williamtharonlong

John M. said...

Joseph, re "incremental violence", you're probably right. It sounds kind of like a new terrorist strategy, but repentane is definitely doing violence to the darkness and sin in our lives, and ultimately to the kingdom of darkness.

smokin joe said...

perhaps we should define some of our terms.

'violence' in this case probably means experiencing the pain of our sinfulness, and then making a conscious choice to deny ourselves and take up our cross in surrender to God in that particular area, while asking for God's unmerited help and grace.

It seems to me, that with a few exceptions, we are almost always motivated by pain to change. St. Paul said, "through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God."

At the same time, the process of change itself is painful, although it yields sweet relief after. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

So we get to choose our pain: continuing in the pain of our sin and its consequences, or the pain of surrendering our will to the cross of Christ.

Jace said...

Hmmm... violence... sounds fun! jk =OP Alrighty I wanted to post up the info on how to connect to Ventrilo. I ended up going with ventrilo after having tried out the alternative of paltalk simply because it "felt" better to me /shrug we'll let the historians figure out whether or not I was right to do so.
Anywho here's what you do:

1. Go to your local walmart or another equivalent store and buy a pair of headphones with a microphone. These usually run about 20 bucks depending on quality. Make sure they are for use with a computer, usually it will say that on the package.
2. Go to, go to the "download" link on the left side, download the Ventrilo Client that best fits your operating system (most likely the first option for windows 2000 and newer)
3. Once you've download the client program and plugged in your headphones (headphone jacks are usually color coded as well as the computer jacks so you shouldn't have a problem there =OP) Open the Ventrilo program (you'll probably have an icon on your desktop.
4. Once you open Ventrilo you should see a couple options the answers are as follows:
>Click the arrow pointing to the right on the right side of the field "User Name"
>Click "New" and enter your user name into the pop-up (you can also enter a phonetic so that you can hear the name being said when logging into vent or switching channels)
>Click "Ok"
>Next click the arrow pointing right at the right side of the field entitled "Server"
>Click "New" and add the name that you want to call the server (i.e. Covthinklings)

>Next You'll fill out the "Hostname or IP" field with
then you'll fill out the "Port Number" field with
and finally you'll fill out the "Password" field with

>At this point all information needed should be filled out and you can simply press the "Connect" button on the right side of vent in order to connect to the server, there will be several different channels and you will see if there is anyone in one of the channels and you will be able to join in if you like. =O)

Brian Emmet said...

This from Robert Webber's recent book, "The Divine Embrace":

"The issue of metanoia is an issue of continuous identity. Who shapes the very nature of your being from day to day? St. Paul clearly teaches these two identities--one with Adam, the other with Jesus [cites Rom 5:12]... Paul's point is that we are in solidarity with Adam. We belong to him. We do what Adam did. We continuously rebel against God and unfold life in the wrong direction. Like Adam, we listen to the wrong voice. The voice says, 'Find yourself,' 'Be yourself,' 'You are the independent master of yourself,' 'Truth lies within you,' 'Be true to yourself.'

"The question here is not primarily that of doing bad things. The real issue is with whom do you identify... Adam or Jesus? To enter God's embrace means a continuous turning from Adam-identity to Jesus-identity."

I cited this, not to differ with what's already been said, but to add to it.

smokin joe said...

excellent point! and essentially, to turn from Adam to Christ is to turn from our own self-willed perogative and turn to Christ ...

I think there is a second level of identity problem in this as well. What you point out is the more fundamental theological truth, but a secondary sociological truth is that we often find our identity in all kinds of place other than in Christ: in our friends, in our family, in our peer group, in our wife, husband or girlfriend;

we are inherently social creatures who need to measure our self worth by another ... and draw our world view from our 'plausibility structures' (subculture).

It is essential that we orient ourselves around our identity in Christ ... and that we plug into his Truth (that 2nd item is a bit more complicated).

I'm waiting for you guys to show up on ventrilo ... I'm locked and loaded and ready to go....

John the Musician said...

Yup we finally got ventrilo going after a lot of frustration on my dad's part and a lot of "fear and trembling" on mine. I forgot to mention a couple things and those are:
1. I would recommend getting a simple "jack input mic" if you don't already have one as the USB mic's can be a bit complicated with installation and what not
2. Once you set up ventrilo and connect you might have to modify some settings in the "setup" tab, first I recommend using a "push to talk" key which when pressed will enable you to talk and when released will deactivate your mic. I use Left alt for my push to talk key. Also, on the top right side of the setup tab there are two options for input and output device and you might have to change these depending on where you plug your mic/headset in. Feel free to call me if you need any help setting it up.

Back to the topic at hand (and sorry Brian for stealing so much blog space =OP) I wanted to mention that I've also had to recieve a lot of healing for my "paassivity." It seems like what adam chose was the path of least resistance and I find myself choosing that path quite often. Although I've noticed some huge "turn-arounds" in my attitude towards engaging life, perhaps that's more of what I'm talking about with the course ajustments. Seems like the proccess towards identifying with Jesus and taking the path of most resistance is a slow but steady shaping into the person God intends for us to be.

Brian Emmet said...

Hey, I just need to actually go to a physical store and physically purchase a physical object! Know how much time and effort that takes?

I found Webber's insights intriguing, which is why I wanted to share them. It can be so hard to uncover the sources from which we seek/gain our identity--as Joseph pointed out, there are theological sources (+ and -), sociological, and probably others. Maybe one way to get after this is to ask, "When you look at yourself in the mirror, who/what do you see?" Yes, we have to get past the initial responses of "Plug-ugly old dog" or "Smokin'!" or whatever, to the level that looks at that reflection and says, "Who are you, really?" The sum of your successes.. failures... some sort of balance sheet between perceived success and failures... the produc t of chance, accident, parents, culture... or a new creation in Christ?

John M. said...

Here's a second-hand quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago" that I picked up from our Headmaster at school.

"...In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well suppied with systematic arguments. And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirriings of good. Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the liine separating good and evil passes not through sates, not between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts...So, bless you, prison, for having been in my life."

It seems to comment both on humility and repentance. And it speaks of pain and the "violence" of extremity. It must take a lot of humbling and repenting to say that last line sincerely.

John M. said...

Sorry for not acknowleding the three exellent comments preceding the Solzhenitsyn quote. They came in over top of it while I was typing. Good discussion.

smokin joe said...

I think this identity issue is why solitude and silence have always been part of classic Christian spiritual disciplines.

It is hard to let go of our social identity(s) as long as we are caught up in social interaction. In other words, it is hard to find out who we are 'in Christ' as long as we are busy living up to the role that others expect of us. Phil. 2:5 or 6 talks about Jesus being 'stripped' of his divinity ... or one might say his heavenly identity...

This is probably what Solzhenitsyn (sp?) experienced in prison. I remember how disorienting it was for me after I left pastoring a church and found myself in my first semester in graduate studies. None of the students knew who I was, nor were they interested. None of them had read my newsletters. None of them knew or cared that I used to speak to large groups of people. I had to build an identity all over again, from scratch. Along the way, I found myself plugging in more closely to the Lord and his view of me.

It is good to find a place of solitude and silence to let go of our social identity and to try to open the eyes and ears of our heart. It is good periodically in life to be stripped of everything that defines who we are -- in order to turn to God to define us.

This is a hard thing to do. It has always fascinated me that the worst punishment in prison is to put a prisoner in 'solitary' confinement. Some people lose their minds in solitary.

Jesus says, if anyone would come after me, let him take up his cross, deny himself and follow me.

The clock is ticking -- we better get moving.

smokin joe said...

wow ... getting really quiet in here!

I was reading Psalm 116 this morning and it occured to me to never be too proud to beg! Especially when you are at the end of your rope.

Psalm 116 (The Message)
1-6 I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn't know which way to turn;
then I called out to GOD for help:
"Please, GOD!" I cried out.
"Save my life!"
GOD is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
GOD takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

Brian Emmet said...

I've been reading Tim Keller's little book "The Prodigal God" and making some connections between it and this discussion. Keller points out that the focus/point of Jesus' parable really isn't the younger son/brother; it's the older brother, the one who, at the end of the story, is standing, angry, outside his father's house. Both brothers are equally "lost", but it is the older who appears to be in the most serious peril. Luke begins chapter 15 by noting that many "younger brothers" (i.e., whores and tax collectors)were coming to Jesus and hearing him gladly, while the elder-brother Pharisees were tsk-tsking, "This man is a friend of sinners and even eats with them," thereby making exactly the same point as the elder brother in the parable!

I think I am an elder brother "in recovery" (including repentance, the blessed beginning of recovery).

Michael said...

I have been tracking along with the comments on repentance.
Joseph, your comments on social identity and the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude helping us find our indentity in Christ I believe softens us up for repentance. If I remember Dallas Willard's comments he called the disciplines the indirect method toward change.
Also your thougths on begging for mercy, hit the home with me too.
Brian, I read comments about Keller's book and indentify at times with the older son.

Repentance is a hard topic mostly because I don't know how to repent. I change my mind so many times around sins and short comings I want to repent of that I am not sure anymore how sincere I am in wanting to change. I know the difference between forgiveness and repentance I am not sure if I ever make it to repentance. I do think that repentance doesn't happen as often as we ask forgiveness and at times we use the word repentance when what we are really doing is asking God for forgiveness.
For me repentance has to be my response to the Father's initiative to change me, I am not sure I can make it happen. Self-help books (including the christian versions) make it sound so easy. All we have to do is stop tasting and touching and we are there.
Paul tell us that it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. I hope that is true, because I am not sure harshness or accusations have ever made me change my mind or direction.

Part of the violence of repentance and yet the joy that is also set be for us, is that we see our sinful selves and all of its ugliness and at the same time the Father gives us a deeper revelation of Himself to cling to where we find life.

Isn't repentance like the guys on the road to Emmaus? They left Jerusalem discouraged, disappointed, and disallusioned, Jesus meets them on the way, there eyes are blinded (I believe due to there unbelief) unable to recognize them, Jesus opens up the scripture, reveals himself to them (part of the repentance process), when the arrive in Emmaus he suggest that he is continuing on his journey, but there desire for more of what they heard, they urge Jesus to stay (also part of repentance). Finally it is in the breaking of the bread that they recognize Jesus, then in repentance (mixed with joy) they return full tilt back to Jerusalem. I find great comfort in the knowledge that Jesus is willing to walk with me on my journey out and away from home to help me in my journey back. I don't think I could live without knowing this to be true.
This is long, but it makes up for the times I didn't write something.

smokin joe said...

well said Michael. These last two discussion threads have really got me thinking.

I once saw a study on the conversion of St. Peter. The question was, when did Peter actually repent and get saved?

Was it when he was in the boat, and he said to Jesus "depart from me for I am a sinful man"? or was it when he had the revelation that Jesus was the messiah, the son of the Living God?

Was it when many other disciples began to abandon Jesus in John 8 due to the 'hard sayings" and Peter said "you have the words of life." Obviously, it was not at the last supper when he swore to stick with Jesus until the end.

Or was it after the resurrection Peter and John ran to the empty grave? or when Jesus cooked breakfast on the beach and Peter fished all night, and then jumped into the water to swim to Jesus?

Or was it possibly when Peter had the vision on the roof and went to Cornealius' house and learned not to call any ethnic group unclean? Or maybe when Paul confronted him for inconsistency in Antioch?

The truth is, it was a journey with a whole series of choices with a whole lot of repentance all along the way.

Michael said...

Joseph, I think that is part of my point. I can't make myself repent, but I can follow the Jesus and want to follow him.
G.Campbell Morgan wrote a book entitled "How to Live" The True Estimate of Life. In Chapter four, "Wouldest Thou Be Made Whole" he breaks down the healing of the man beside the pool of Bethaisda who is waiting for the water to stir and someone to put him in. For me it was great reading. Some quick comments from that chapter:
1. Why does the writer mention the length of time of the this man's illness?
2.What impact would that have on his mindset?
3. Why does Jesus ask him if he wants to be made whole?
4. What is the connection of this man's confession to Jesus?
5. Jesus' command to take up thy bed and walk, why is that important?
6. Finally Jesus warns him, "Go and sin no more"

Campbell makes one point which I think is important: Until our desires are wedded to Jesus desire for us, we wont change. And that can take time. For this man, Jesus patiently waited until year 38.

smokin joe said...

yes it can take time -- it can take a 'life-time'. i am more and more struck about how few people arrive at advanced ages with sweetness, joy and peace in their lives. Even people who have supposedly been Christians all of their lives ...

(by-the-way, my deepest prayers and condolances to Dennis Cole and Steve Humble for the loss of their mothers ... Evelyn Cole was one of the dearest and sweetest ladies I have ever known ... and although I did not know Steve's mother, his testimony of her love for the Lord and service to her husband is moving. My wife, Debbie feels sad and lonely … all of the women she knew over the last 3 years who were struggling with cancer are gone to be with the father).

I guess I think about this more recently for two reasons: I am very aware how fast my life is slipping past me -- at 57 my youth slipped away so rapidly -- and I am also at times tempted to be disappointed that I did not find the wholeness and healing of the past several years at a younger age. Why did it take me 30 years plus to deal with some of these issues?

On the other hand, I am grateful to have a chance to 'do over' some aspects of my life at 57 rather than 77 ... and as I watch my elders ageing, I realize that most people -- even Christians -- take unresolved emotional issues with them to the grave, if not actual sins.

my highest goal at this point in my life is to forget what lies behind and to press firmly and consistently into God – further up and farther in – I want to go as far as I can into his purpose in this life – and die smiling and not grasping to hold on to this life.

Nice talking to you Michael, I always enjoy what you have to say …

Brian Emmet said...

Amen to repentance being a long, life-long undertaking... and it takes time for all the reasons listed: my own hardness of heart, fear of change, pride, doubt, ignorance, etc. I appreciated Joseph's picture of ending our days with a divine "sweetnesss"--and Michael, so good to hear from you again! Your contributions are always worth waiting for!

Perhaps we spend something like the first half of our spiritual lives noticing the sins of everyone else; then, in the second half (very roughly speaking), we are brought face-to-face with the "elder brother within," and then the real work has at least a chance of beginning. I am comforted by the thought that life truly is short, but eternity is... well, "long" just doesn't do it justice.

Unless we are Catholic in our thinking here and suspect that we may spend the "first part" of eternity in purgatory, finishing our work of repentance.

John M. said...

Michael and Joseph, great conversation. What you all have articulated, expresses exactly what I was trying to say about "incremental" repentance vs. "violent" repentance. It's obviously not either or, but both and. What I was touching then is what you all are talking about now -- the path or walk of repentance.

Michael I totally resonate with you about repenting so many times and asking forgiveness so many times that you're not really sure which one you're doing or if it is truely possible to repent.

It's so wonderful when Jesus graciously encounters you (like the road to Emmaus) and ushers you along toward his goal for you, and makes his goal yours.

I had that kind of experience earlier this week in a phone session with Joseph's friend, Sam Lopez. I feel that I've moved from Romans 7 to Romans 8. I wanted to get there, but felt stuck in Romans 7, not knowing how to get beyond it. The Lord through Sam's gifts graciously and powerfully ushered me into Romans
8, giving me new hope and faith and motivation to turn my back on past besetting sin and move into the future in his victory and provision.

I wanted to repent, but couldn't, fully and "violently" withou his gracious interventiion.

Brian Emmet said...

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm feeling a bit whimsical, but another benefit of both these blog chats and the ventrilo conversations mentioned elsewhere, at least for those of us trapped in the old wineskin of the American church model, is

[wait for it]

sermon illustrations! The serious and sincere part of my whimsy is that these conversations have helped me in my responsibility to help people understand and follow Jesus, and I am grateful to all you who participate.

John M. said...

What does this parable say about repentance? (Matthew 21:28)

"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'

"'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

"Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.

"Which of the two did what his father wanted?"

"The first," they answered.

Brian Emmet said...

"To obey is better than sacrifice"?

smokin joe said...

and most often harder!