Jesus Felt and Feels

Three earthy, relatable characters – a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer – played important roles in last Sunday’s Scripture lesson. Writing ancient-but-ever-true words to his young protégé Timothy, the apostle Paul lifts up a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer as images of what it means to become a devoted follower of Jesus andContinue reading “Jesus Felt and Feels”

A Soldier, an Athlete, and a Farmer

The apostle Paul, for more than a month of Sundays, has been serving as our explainer-in-chief of any and all matters related to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Here’s where we’ve been: First to the Romans and now to us, Paul weaves a stunning daisy chain of faith and belief: We can rejoice inContinue reading “A Soldier, an Athlete, and a Farmer”

Freed from, Freed to

Freedom isn’t free. The history of this country proves the point. Thus, we Americans treasure being free from all manner of oppression and injustice. Perhaps that’s where your heart and mind go – we are “free from” – when choruses of national song and anthem wave over the land of the free and the homeContinue reading “Freed from, Freed to”

Love Is

Some of the most elegant prose in all of literature provides our Scripture lesson this morning: 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul’s gripping testimony to the power of love. The passage places love and all its nuance at the center of life for a faith community of ever-maturing disciples. Love is the absolutely indispensable qualityContinue reading “Love Is”

More Than I Can Bear

The apostle Peter last Sunday provided the latest installment in the biblical story of God with us. Peter’s fellow Jewish Christians, like him new to faith in Christ, were upset, because Peter was breaking bread with non-Jews, a social and religious taboo of Peter’s day. But Peter calmly shares with his disgruntled contemporaries an amazingContinue reading “More Than I Can Bear”

Relationship Assessment

Some of the most dramatic chapters in the discipleship story of God with us come in the Acts of the Apostles. It begins, as we heard a couple weeks ago, with the jaw-dropping account of Jesus returning to heaven, which catches the apostles flat-footed and leaves them gazing up into the sky. Spectacular moments likeContinue reading “Relationship Assessment”

Look Around, Not Up

For the past few weeks, the story of God with us from the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John has been fueling our discipleship. Time after time, over and over again, we’ve heard Jesus extend the invitation to drop everything and follow him. Drop your old ways of self-centered thinking, and followContinue reading “Look Around, Not Up”

Vines and Vineyards

Committing one’s self to faithful discipleship in Christ is not for the faint of heart. In the story of God with us, in the process of our spiritual resurrection, in the fueling of our discipleship, the Cross of Jesus takes center stage, and our willingness to let our everyday lives be shaped by that CrossContinue reading “Vines and Vineyards”

Passing through Jesus

Unlike the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in which Jesus teaches through parables, John’s Gospel doesn’t include any parables. Instead, Jesus reveals himself through his much-beloved “I AM” sayings: “I AM the bread of life.” “I AM the light of the world.” “I AM the resurrection and the life.” “I AM the way, theContinue reading “Passing through Jesus”

Least, Last, Lost

The biblical story of God with us, as of last Sunday, has brought us to a place of invitation. Our recent Scripture lessons have brimmed and teemed with simple, straightforward, yet gracious offers from Jesus to “follow me.” Accepting the Lord’s invitation to discipleship with humility and gratitude holds the potential to change each ofContinue reading “Least, Last, Lost”