Paul wrote to a church in Philippi contending with issues of arrogance and disunity. Arrogance and disunity act as prohibitors to imitating Christ’s love as a community. Arrogance and disunity were distractions, and Paul extended grace to the Philippians by reminding them of what the love of G-d in Christ had accomplished.Read More
During the season of Lent, we are wandering our way to the cross and empty tomb. It is a season where we wonder what will happen next. Will disagreements keep us divided? Will we continue to legislate Law in a way contrary to Paul’s declaration that Everyone who calls on the name of” Jesus will be saved?Read More
We have missed the mark, and so on Ash Wednesday, the marks on our foreheads are a reminder to us to ask for forgiveness and try again. The Good News tonight is that on the cross and in the victorious empty grave we will find on Easter morning we are made righteous before G-d.Read More
Jesus sought these three men out. Before he was teaching on the banks of the Sea of Galilee they were a group of business partners who had a bad night at work. Before Jesus stepped into Simon’s boat, Simon was just a guy trying to clean his fishing gear and go home. But that’s the way discipleship works. Before you or I decided to be a follower of Jesus, Jesus revealed the awesome abundance of G-d.Read More
The awesome thing about the identity we receive through our baptism is that this identity is freely given to us without reservation and with the promise that the One who was chased from his hometown will be with us.Read More
Like the magi, we approach the manger not knowing all of the answers. We approach the manger not having all of the junk in our lives we continue to carry with us not quite figured out. We approach the light of the manger still struggling to over come the curse of sin that we fall back into no matter how many times we think we have overcome it.
The reality of what happened in Emmanuel laying in the manger is found in those who had forgotten or ignored the promise made by G-d. The good news changes the reality for all people, and invites all of creation to enter into the grace of G-d regardless of what the powerful say. Regardless of what the darkness of sin says.Read More
This is what makes the Good News different from the promise of security and peace offered to us by empires and the elite. The Good News of Emmanuel is a particular promise available and revealed through particular yet unlikely means, in particular yet unlikely places, and at particular yet unlikely times. We can expect the Good News to be revealed to us through powerful kings and prophets but also through those we are told are not capable of bearing such a promise and those who had forgotten the promise all together.Read More
The preparation John is calling for is a change in orientation, not pointing to guilt or shame, but instead facing in a new direction. A direction that allows the refiner’s fire to burn away the damage sin has done to creation and then live in the hopefully light of the coming Christ.Read More
While we look at this season of anticipating a birth we have to also remember that Christ has already been born, and we now live as a Church awaiting his return and with his return the fullness of the Kingdom of G-d will be made known to us.Read More
When we are baptized, named and claimed as beloved by our Creator, we proclaim Christ as our Savior and promise to serve Him as Lord. That was a bold profession to make 2000 years ago and it continues to be so today. It is a declaration that Christ is Lord and everything else is secondary. Our allegiance lies with Christ, because of the promises made at our baptism which means the truth for our lives looks different from those who do not make the same proclamation.Read More
The saints of the past and us today have flaws. They, we, fell short of what Christ describes as the greatest of the things we are supposed to do. But in Christ loving us as himself, the saints and each of us are made righteous. What once was thought to separate us from the love of G-d is no more and Christ invites us to join him and the saints around His table. Clothed in the righteousness of Christ through our Baptism into His life, death, and resurrection, and not our own self-righteousness, we are declared holy. The greatest commandments, loving “the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” and loving your neighbor is a little less daunting knowing that before we ever attempt to fulfill it, Christ first loved us. Christ fulfilled it for us.Read More
Much of what we do as followers of Christ is based upon mystery. From the basics of how exactly did Jesus turn water into wine or how the feeding of the 5000 actually happen to the sacraments - Baptism and Communion - there is much that we claim to know but what we think we know pales in comparison to the mystery that still remains.Read More
What Jesus said to the disciples shapes our lives as followers of Jesus, individually, and as a community. Discipleship means following Jesus with childlike reliance and living a cross-bearing life that resists the power and prestige we grasp for when our own security is in question.Read More
Quoting Genesis instead of echoing Deuteronomy, Jesus told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of G-d, G-d’s disruptive reign, will empower those previously without power. Social structures designed to keep people groups in their place will be disrupted. This point is driven home further when Jesus double-down, using children, a segment of the population viewed as property, to illustrate what kind of dependency, reliance on G-d, will be necessary to be apart of the Kingdom building work Jesus has begun in his own ministry.Read More
Everything leading up to Jospeh’s rise was counter to the cultural norms. His rise to Pharaoh’s court forced Joseph to enter into the ““culture of now”” and convince them it was time for a change to prepare themselves for what was about to happen.Read More
How we earn money is a clear and accurate indicator of our priorities. We might speak out in favor of honest work that others should be doing but do we follow the same prescription in our own businesses? We can earn by following the footsteps of someone else but at some point we have to begin living into the calling G-d has place on our lives because what you are called to will look different than what your mentor has been called to. We can preach about Sabbath and ethical practices but if we are not observing them ourselves our true commitments become more apparent.
Living in unity with one another means that we love one another just as Christ loves us, even if they don’t do things the way we’ve always done them.Read More
More often than not the phrase is used in a cavalier manner. I do not doubt the sincerity of the hymn being sung in worship and prayed corporately or individually. The problem with this phrase arises when it is used without the acknowledgment of the blessings G-d has already given to America.
Hasn’t G-d already blessed America?Read More
The Bible says a lot of things. It is a collection of books telling the story of the people of God. It is a book of covenant, heartache, promise, lament, renew, and hope. But “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it,” creates a problem.Read More