A Call to Repentance

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 13:1-22


13 Some who were present on that occasion told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices. He replied, “Do you think the suffering of these Galileans proves that they were more sinful than all the other Galileans? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did. What about those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more guilty of wrongdoing than everyone else who lives in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did.” (Luke 13:1-5, Common English Bible).

When I read today’s passage, my first thought went to the idea of free will. Jesus keeps asking if it was because of sin that someone died. Then he quickly, before anyone has the chance to answer, “No I tell you.” Initially, my thought was, “No, they didn’t die because of their sin. It was free will.”

I was wrong. It was a call to repentance. It is a call to repentance. But, though I titled today’s post, “A Call to Repentance,” this is not going to be what you might think. It will not be a hellfire and brimstone saying things like, “REPENT LAST WARNING,” or “REPENT OR PERISH.” While both have Biblical standing and even application to this passage, I also know and believe in Paul’s words, “The greatest of these is love.” To use an old cliche, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

The word “repent,” we think means confession. It is that, but it is also more. To repent means to confess and turn around. To repent means not only do we confess but we also make a real and lasting change in our lives. If we are committing sin by slandering another person, not only do we confess our sin, that we slandered someone else, we also change our behavior, not only that we will no longer slander that person but that we will not slander others either. I could list sin after sin but it would be my hope that you get the idea.

Do Jesus’ words in our lesson mean if we fail to repent we are bound for hell? My job is not now, nor has it ever been, to determine who gets heaven and who gets hell. No, it isn’t my job. It isn’t the job of any pastor. My job is to proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ. I know what this text, as well as other texts, say. I get it. But, what I also know is, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I also know that the one who hasn’t committed sin can cast the first stone. These are Biblical ideas just like the message of repentance that is our lesson today. I can’t ignore the other texts in order to uphold this lesson.

All that being said, I know and I do proclaim, for all of us, it is time to repent. When we repent, God who is love, “…will forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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