“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). So Noah built the ark by faith. Abraham left his country by faith. The Israelites passed through the Red Sea by faith. Many “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised” (33).

Then the mood changes: Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword” (35-37). “These were all commended for their faith…” (39). Some had faith to live; others had faith to die. Faith is a friendship, not a formula.

Herod “had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also” (Acts 12:2,3). God had other plans for Peter. The same God who received James by death designed a jailbreak for Peter that beats any escape we see on TV. James had signed on to drink the cup of suffering (Matthew 20), and he became the second martyr. He bore witness (meaning of “martyr”) to Christ’s life through his death, just as Stephen had.

The sons of thunder had found someone worthy of their zeal, and James poured out his life unto death for Jesus. He received a crown for being faithful unto death, while Herod was trying to win a popularity contest and worms ate his body when he died shamefully. We do not order up what we want by faith; we walk with God into His desired end. For some in the great faith chapter they were allowed to overcome; for others they were given faith to endure.

“If you just believe, you will be healed.” Maybe.Faith is not in faith; it is directed to a personal God who knows the outcome. We exercise faith and trust God for the results. Faith is surrender, not demand. It does not tell God what to do. It joyfully submits to the will of a gracious God.

Some people are walking “through the valley of the shadow of death.” That looks different than the green pastures and the still waters. Instead of the faith to rest they need the faith to persevere. Same God–different environment. Faith is not automatic, because God is a person, not a machine. We do not put a coin in the slot and down comes the result. We put faith in a loving God who has called us into relationship with Himself.

Jesus did not teach the disciples to be men of technique but men of the Spirit. He didn’t write a book on the art of healing, but we have a record of how He ministered to people. Some He healed with a word. Ten lepers were cleansed “as they went.” One was healed from blindness with a second touch. A paralytic was healed when it did not appear that he had the faith. We have no record of Jesus healing anyone else that day. God is a healing God, and Jesus is a healing Savior. How and when and with whom He does it remains in His sovereign hands.

This is not meant for a moment to discourage passionate and aggressive faith. It is meant to keep our hands off the control panel. We have no idea what is coming two minutes out. God sees all of history in the eternal present, and He is wise and good.


We often look for the big change, the fast track to instant sanctification. “God, radically change me–now” Conference ads don’t always help, promising the immediate–impartations, miracles and life-changing encounters. Conferences open new doors, change direction, give fresh experiences, even impartations. Every blessing (like the benediction) promises change–incrementally. We experience growth spurts, especially kids. Growing pains result. But it’s not the norm–in the physical or spiritual. Life-changing experiences usually mean change in direction, not character. That takes time.

We are being changed “from one degree of glory to another.” We are “transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” “The light of the righteous is like the dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until full day.” We are commanded to “be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12:2), taking thoughts captive–one at a time.

I built up to a twenty-four minute plank, increasing fifteen seconds every other day. Slow process. We grow physically little by little. So slow it is imperceptible. Quick growth means un-health. Think cancer. Invest little by little. Becomes a lot—over time.

The children of Israel were taught to gather manna daily. Jesus taught, “Give us this day our daily bread.” David promises, “Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day” (Ps. 61:8). Wisdom says, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors” (Pr. 8:23). We “encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13). We take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23).

Erikka misunderstood the nature of growth in plants. She pulled up ALL the flowers at age four I had JUST planted. “Why?” “I wanted to see if they were growing.” Little by little is the way of nature and the way of God. Rather than asking God to do something massive, use today to gain ground. Take in nourishment that brings growth–over time.

“The testing of your faith DEVELOPS perseverance” (Js. 1:3). “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering PRODUCES perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). Process words. Fruit is not given; it is produced, little by little, test by test. Fruit is not given; it is grown.

Hasty is not a good sign (Pr. 19:2). “An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end” (Pr.. 20:21). “If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit” (Prov 25:16). “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Pr. 13:11).

“I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land” (Ex. 23:29,30; Deut. 7:22). Faithful in a “very little” (Lk. 1917) is good with God. We go from “strength to strength” (Ps. 84:7), from “glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Exceptions: birth (including new birth), death, infilling, and second coming (“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet”). “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”–immediately (I John 3:3).


Foundations are what we build upon. I operate with these foundational truths.

GOD LOVES ME. I am the object of His relentless affection, and He shows it tangibly. He loves hearing my voice and spending time with me. God’s love received brings a clear identity, and identity drives destiny. The most convincing expression of God’s love is the death of His Son, by whom I am saved for all eternity. Love is a verb, not a vibe. The psalmist said, “Show us your unfailing love, O Lord” (85:7). It is not testing God to ask Him to do that–so I do.

MY OBEDIENCE PLEASES HIM. We have told the kids, “Our love for you is unconditional. Your behavior won’t change it. Whether we are pleased with you is another matter; that is up to you.” Same with God. Disobedience changes the way He shows His love. It hurts. When I disciplined my children, they never said, “That was fun!” Holiness is a better option than happiness, because then I get happiness as a bonus. Love is proved more by obedience than by worship (I John 3 & 4). The first commandment calls me to put God first. Worship is loving God back. Love makes spiritual disciplines spiritual delight. This includes worship, Bible study, prayer, silence, giving, fasting, and exercise. Call it “temple maintenance.” A car lasts longer through regular maintenance; so does a body.

I AM HERE ON PURPOSE. The second commandment calls me to love others as God loves me. I am here on assignment, to advance the kingdom for the King. He now reigns, though in a hidden way through His people on earth. Love and the fear of God are primary motivators for service (2 Cor. 5:10). I need wisdom to do what God gives me. Before I die, I want to say like Jesus, “I did what you told me to do.” That is faithfulness. Take a risk–dare to dream!

SUFFERING IS GOD’S GIFT TO ME. It doesn’t change my outlook of God’s love. If He chooses or allows me to go through difficulty, I don’t question His love. I upgrade my confidence in His sovereignty. God’s love doesn’t always look like love, but faith-filled people know that “God works all things for good to those who love him…” Tension and trials work for my good. I am not talking about suffering that comes from my disobedience, although the discipline also works for my good. Life is harder than I thought it would be–and better!

THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES IT HAPPEN. I don’t pull off the Christian life by resolve or grit but by the Holy Spirit. He writes the laws of God in my heart. He gives me the power to obey. It’s the mercy system, not the merit system. The fruit of the Spirit is developed by the Spirit, although I am involved in the process. The gifts of the Spirit are given by the Spirit’s sovereign working and in concert with my openness to receive them.

I LIVE FOR THE COMING KINGDOM. “Set your hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13). I live for what is not yet, giving me unfading hope and the ability to deal with the stresses of this life. Short-term pain–long-term gain!


Scripture teaches us to think generationally, from one generation to the next. The following truths surface regarding generational thinking:

HISTORY AND DESTINY MERGE. We look back to those before and ahead to those who will follow. We worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Hey, three generations right there.

The feasts helped Israel celebrate the God who worked in the past and promised faithfulness to a thousand generations. The festivals tied generations together: “Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” (Ex. 12:14). Names at one time marked the generations. I am an Anderson—a son of Anders; Ben-Adam—son of Adam. It was so much a part of the way they viewed life that if you wanted to curse someone, you didn’t go after his dad; you went after his descendants. “May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation” (Ps. 109:13).

I have told my children that I am praying for their grandchildren—who do not yet exist. I want to take seriously the responsibility of raising up giants in the land.

IT IS ALL ABOUT FAMILY. Everyone lands on the planet one way—through a father and a mother. God Himself is a Father, and He has a Son. It started with a walk and ends with a wedding. People we call brothers and sisters are joined with us for eternity with Jesus the Bridegroom.

Because family is central, the end-time revival, the big one, will feature a revival of family (Mal. 4:5,6). The prophets knew that a strong family built strong individuals and a strong nation. If we ever needed healthy families, we need them now.

OBEDIENCE IS NOT OPTIONAL. DISOBEDIENCE HURTS. The Lord told Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation” (2 Kings 10:30). His obedience brought blessings for a century. Way to go, Jehu.

Hezekiah, on the other hand, while a good king in many ways, came under judgment for foolishly showing envoys from Babylon his whole storehouse. And God said through Isaiah that his descendants would be punished. His response showed strange short-sidedness: “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). What a sad and selfish statement, thinking only of his generation and not reflecting on how his folly would impact future generations.

HONOR CONNECTS THE GENERATIONS. Children honor their parents and grandparents. Our culture has worshiped youth and not properly regarded old age. The Greek words “presbys” and “senatus,” (from which we get “senator”), and the Arab word “sheikh” all mean “old man.” Ancient cultures rightly honored age.

Youth don’t get a merit badge for being young. We pay tribute to beauty, brains and brawn. They chose gray hair; we color it. It was a sad day in Israel when “elders are shown no respect” (Lam. 5:12) and “the elders are gone from the city gate” (14). One of the curses for disobedience Moses reviewed with the nation about to enter the Promised Land was that God would send them “a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young” (Deut. 28:50).

Grandparents: tell the stories and pray like crazy. Don’t simply retreat to your rocker. Parents: walk in righteousness and pass the baton. Children: honor your parents and elders. And if you are single, don’t self-eliminate. So were Jesus and Paul, and their parenting changed the face of their culture. You can help do the same with yours.


Want to change a culture? Get married, have children, think generationally. The world has yet to see the impact of a group of families committed to living generationally. What’s that?

When we talk family, we think nuclear. Like the guy prayed: “Dear God. Bless me, my wife, our son, his wife, us four, no more.” When the Bible thinks family, it talks generations. Sin impacts four generations out (Ex. 20:5). And blessings accrue from one generation to the next.

Look at the staggering impact of the family of Jonathan Edwards during the founding of this country. He and his wife Sarah had eleven children. When an American educator traced their descendants 150 years out, their legacy included: 1 vice-president, 3 senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers, and 100 missionaries. We are seeing an impact in this generation, though not as dramatic, in the Billy Graham family. What if thirty families chose to do this and succeeded? Or three thousand?

I have told my children: “Go farther than us. Then give it away to your children.” What if each successive generation is stronger than the last? By the fourth generation, children are stopping cancer cold, seeing things that we have dreamed of.

Psalm 112 says, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (1,2). What is “mighty” to the fourth power?

Scripture speaks of both physical and spiritual fathers and mothers who pass the baton to their children. A successful passing brings an acceleration of righteousness. What happened when Moses passed the baton to his spiritual son, Joshua? They took the land. And when Joshua passed it to—whom? No one. Read the book of Judges. Momentum was lost.

A discouraged Elijah was told to mentor his replacement. When Elisha received the mantle as Elijah rode to heaven, he cried out, “My father, my father.” Elisha doubled the miracle output of his spiritual father. And when Elisha passed the baton? He didn’t. Momentum was neutralized and sin abounded.

Certainly we would not see this principle applied when the Son of Man passed the baton to a group of unschooled common workers. In fact, they turned their world on its head. Jesus spoke about “greater works than these.” They did them. The world will take note when a group of parents agree to raise godly children who raise godly children who raise godly children.

Generational thinking is foreign to us but not to the Word of God:
“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it” (Ps. 22:30,31).
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (Ps. 71:18).
“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” (Ps. 102:18).
The prophets made sure the faithful were mindful of this reality: “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation” (Joel 1:3). There it is: four generations in one sentence! (Part II coming).


“Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

“ABOVE ALL.” Love is the preeminent virtue. Let’s excel in it. “HOLD UNFAILING.” If you don’t know what to do in a situation, ask, “What would love do?” Paul already told us that “love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8). Hey, I could succeed every time–by loving!

“YOUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.” This is one of 59 “one anothers” in the Bible. Peter directs our love to people. We run into that type all the time.

“SINCE LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.” Peter learned how to live above offense, covering sins rather than exposing them. Some people feel an obligation to uncover the sins of others. Peter recommends the opposite. Unoffendable people are non-judgmental, easy to live with, full of understanding.

“He who covers over an offense promotes love…” (Proverbs 17:9). It takes the power of the Spirit to be consistently unoffendable. Solomon also wisely said, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12). One more: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).

Paul calls us to “lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). To forbear is to endure, refrain from. People who forbear keep their mouth shut. Some people go public with every grievance. They don’t have a clue about unoffendable love.

Unoffendable Christians
.know that they need forgiveness, so they extend it to others
.show the love of Christ to those who don’t deserve it
.are champions of grace, which makes them fun to be around
.choose to look past peoples’ faults to their future
.put courage in while others are draining it out
.know that mercy triumphs over judgment

Jesus was full of grace and truth, but what rubbed off on people was grace: “Of his fulness we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:16?). Amazing that the Holy One of Israel saw into the depths of the human heart and yet beamed out grace.

Two examples of how Jesus covered offenses: when the woman caught in adultery was about to be stoned by self-righteous sinners, Jesus was releasing her by declaring, “Neither do I condemn you.” The one Man who could have sent her into a Christ-less eternity lifted guilt and shame with one personal proclamation.

Another woman may have felt shame when Jesus straightforwardly revealed her brokenness: “You have had five husbands…” By the end of the conversation she was drinking from living water, feeling acceptance from the Prophet of Israel. Her vulnerability back in town brought the single most effective evangelistic campaign of Christ’s earthly ministry, because He chose to “cover a multitude of sins.”

Guilty, broken people expect shame when they mess up. They are surprised when grace is extended instead of judgment. It’s hardest to do with the people we know the best–parents, siblings, children, bosses, co-workers. What would it be like if both spouses were unoffendable?


Weeping has its appropriate time. Paul gives us one occasion: “Weep with those who weep.” Our culture is not as good at weeping as some others. Perhaps these truths can help.

God gave you tear-ducts.
He has given you the equipment. It can happen, even for big boys. Enlist the eyes more than the tongue. When Job’s three friends heard of his troubled, they traveled to him. “When they saw him…they could hardly recognize him…Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days…No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:12,13). It got messy when they opened their mouths. Presence beats preaching!

Acts of kindness trump words. Hugs and hamburgers work well. And you do not need to represent God and correct the sloppy theology of the grieving. That will right itself in time.

One sign of love is the ability to weep with people. When my wife lost our son one week before his scheduled birth, Karen said on the phone to her brother, “Thanks for crying with me.” Paul told the Corinthian church, “If one part suffers, all suffers with it” (I Cor. 12:26).

God suffers with us.
The story of Hosea is a picture of God the grieving Lover, whose heart is wrenched by His prostituting wife. He knows what grief is about. The psalmist writes, “Put my tears in your bottle” (Ps 56:18). God saves the evidence of a broken heart.

The book of Judges tells stories of Israel’s roller coaster ride with rebellion and revival. At one point we read, “And God could bear Israel’s misery no longer” (Judges 10:16). God knows our pain and enters our sorrow. Isaiah wrote, “In all their affliction he was afflicted” (63:9).

The psalmist said, “He is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18). We sometimes feel that God is distant in our pain. This scripture tells us that He is closer than ever. God holds a bias for the broken.

Jesus wept.
He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” What a description for the triumphant Son of God. He said, “Blessed are those who mourn…” Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus, knowing He was going to raise him. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He said in the garden, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. Watch here with me.” He asked for help in His grieving.

The Spirit Grieves
God the Father has emotions of joy and sorrow, anger and peace. Then the Spirit within us does as well. He doesn’t leave us when we violate His will, but He grieves. That is why we are commanded to offload destructive sin with the exhortation, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit…” (Eph. 4:30).

The People of God wept
After Moses died, “The Israelites grieved for…thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over” (Deut. 34:8). When Stephen was martyred, “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him” (Acts 8:2). They did not just say, “Oh, we’ll see him in heaven.”

One day weeping will end. Tears will be wiped away. In the meantime, we cry. Don’t save up your tears, because you can’t use them in the new earth. If you need help, the Holy Spirit who knows how to grieve can help you.


Jesus turned leadership on its head (Matt. 20:25-28). It’s not how high you get but how low you go. These truths come from His words:

Leadership by character is compelling. Leadership by position isn’t. Billy Graham has had influence more because of his character than his preaching. The Pharisees ruled by position; Jesus led from character. He said, “Come to me…I am meek and lowly in heart.” Pastors who lack character might use humor, personality, or intimidation to get the job done.

We lead by serving, and we serve by leading. The biggest need of sheep is to be led and fed (Matthew 9:36; Psalm 23:2). Some parents over-control and under-lead, as did the Pharisees. Leaders who give people what they most need rather than want are serving them.

We lead by going low. The disciples, with glory on their minds, liked the view from the top. It feels good to sit and be served. Jesus got off His seat and served. He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…” (Philippians 2:7), grabbing a towel when the disciples were unwilling to budge (John 13:4,5). True leaders look for ways to get under, to influence not by position but by performance. How low can you go?

Serving requires character more than leadership skills. A psychologist who has excellent counseling skills but a messed up family can do more damage than good. Who we are often impacts people more than what we say. That is why when Paul lists fourteen qualities necessary for those aspiring to leadership in the church (I Timothy 3), at least twelve deal with character qualities rather than skills. Those who lack the necessary character are not qualified for ministries of oversight. God is concerned with what He can do to us in order to work through us. Character is shaped in the crucible of suffering, and that means going low.

One liability of leadership is wanting to be served. We may think that our vision is more important than those “under” us, that our position is more critical than theirs. And we would rather be over than under. Where people fail to respect us, we are offended. When they criticize our leadership, we judge them rather than forgive. Our offense shows that we are going high, not low.

The face of humility is courage. The Lamb of God is the Lion of Judah. The humble are the most courageous because it isn’t about them. They risk their reputation because they don’t have one.

Courage leads to insecurity, which leads to vulnerability, which leads to relationship. If you are secure, maybe you are not risking enough. The fight on the front lines can be ferocious, which produces insecurity. If intimidated by our insecurity, we back off. If we acknowledge it to others by transparency, it increases fellowship, which brings courage, enabling us to risk!


Jesus modeled leadership skills, but He taught character. Leadership training sometimes focuses on skills. When choosing a church council, for instance, the emphasis is sometimes more often on skills. I heard a pastor say, “He is not a mature Christian, but he’s good with finances.” Danger sign.

The problem: difficulties on leadership teams result more often from character flaws than inadequate skills. King Saul had some leadership skills, but he lacked character. Skills are what a leader can do; character is what a leader is. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had both skills and sterling character, and they enjoyed great influence, unlike Bill Clinton.

I once hired a man to work with our young adults who had skills and vision. I overlooked the warning that he had some unfinished business. Remind me not to do that again.I went on promise more than performance—and regretted it. Skill does not make a leader.

Do you desire significance? You’re not alone. Two young fishermen had not only been chosen as disciples of Christ; they also found themselves a part of the inner circle. They alone saw Jesus transfigured, and they accompanied Him in the Garden. As they considered the approaching kingdom, perhaps they thought, “There are only two seats. We had better go for them before Peter grabs one.” They asked: “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (Mark 10:37).

What was good about their request? They wanted to be with Jesus.They saw that Jesus had prominence in His future. They were bold, and Jesus had said, “Ask, and it shall be given to you.” They had an ambition to be leaders, and greatness is a legitimate longing. They were thinking into the future and planning ahead. Bravo!

But their timing was clearly off. Their request came on the heels of Christ’s announcement of suffering. And it showed that they did not understand leadership—Jesus’ style.

The response was not: “You shouldn’t be making such a request.” Jesus gave them a two-fold answer. “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” (38). In effect, “You’d pay a high price for those seats.” Once they signed on, He told them that He couldn’t give them the seats anyway. It was assigned seating, and the Father did the assigning.

Courage is a function of character, not of personality, and courageous people are willing to pay the price. Leadership requires boldness, and many play it safe. Some would rather live with mediocrity than pay the price.

The other disciples heard the discussion and became indignant, probably because James and John had beaten them to it. Jesus then gave the second part of His answer, taking the normal picture of leadership and standing it on its head: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (42-44).

Jesus said in effect, “It is not how high you go but how low you get.” Gentile leaders are sitters, not servers. Slaves, by contrast, have no rights, no titles, no seat, and no ambitions. They are not served; they serve. This is leadership from the bottom up, not the top down. Want to lead like Jesus?


Wow! I wasn’t expecting such a response to the last blog–on both sides. Some are shouting, “Amen!.” Others are crying, “Legalism!”

So what is my side? I scripted the blog as my outlook, hence the title. I closed this way: “I am not ready to be dogmatic (meaning you don’t need to believe as I do), but I hope that convenience or budget are not the only considerations being taken. ‘Whatever is not of faith is sin’ (taken from Romans 14 that discusses matters open for different opinions). I have more faith for burying than burning. What about you?”

As a pastor, I would not give my opinion regarding disposition of a body unless I was asked to. And then I would do so carefully. This is not a matter of doctrine but of practice.

I said to my number one son recently, “If only everyone was more like me…” Fortunately for both of us, he laughed. How we deal with non-issues is an issue. How we deal with debatable issues is not open to debate. Relationships are a high priority in the New Testament. Love wins over personal preference. We can’t say, “Don’t be offended!” or, “You should believe like me.” We are going to have differences in the body of Christ. Can we live peaceably together and not judge others? Is your way better? Do you make people feel second rate for doing what they do or believing what they believe? Do you make secondary issues primary? “I’m right!” is not the best way to handle peripheral matters.

Paul takes a full chapter in his primarily doctrinal letter of Romans to deal with the doubtful things, those matters that are up for grabs. The first issue in Romans 14 is eating. People had different convictions about what to eat. Still do. Say the word “organic,” and you just split the crowd in two.

The issue is simple: If God accepts your brother the way he is, you get to as well. What about worship styles? Drinking habits? Entertainment? Politics? Music? Dancing? Clothes? Don’t make an issue of a non-issue. We do what we do fully convinced in heart and in thanksgiving to God–and we let others do the same. (For a longer article on the gray areas, ask for Kevin McClure’s article on adiaphora.

Since the discussion is open, here is more on my outlook:
The disciples were not thinking burial, because they were not thinking death. Jesus, however, was thinking both. Jewish men would be concerned about what would happen to their bodies. So were two unlikely Sanhedrin members, Joseph and Nicodemus, who took care of the burial, referenced in all four Gospels, in the absence of shocked and fearful disciples.So was the woman who anointed Him a few days before His death. It meant so much to Jesus that He memorialized her gift for all time: “In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Matt. 26:12,13).