Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Children see the world differently. For a toddler, a caterpillar is a miracle. For a kindergartener, a tall pine is a modern marvel. For any kid wearing galoshes, water is as much for joy as it is for survival. Then, somewhere in our childhood – in adolescence, maybe – peer pressure mounts to outgrow suchContinue reading “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise”

Another Day in Paradise

Technically speaking, God’s Tenth Word tackles coveting. “Thou shall not covet” your neighbor’s house, or your neighbor’s spouse. Not another’s servants or hired help. Not a donkey or an ox – or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. Or a friend, and even a stranger. Just so we’re all on the same page, toContinue reading “Another Day in Paradise”

No Other Gods before Me

Over the years, I’ve preached sermon series on any number of themes, but for no reason in particular, the one topic I haven’t touched in depth is the Ten Commandments.   So, for the next 10-or-so weeks, we’re going to be unpacking that list of do’s and don’ts – given by God to Moses, aContinue reading “No Other Gods before Me”

At Our Best

Some of the Bible’s most intriguing and inspiring stories describe events or phenomena that are exceptional and unprecedented. In those-remarkable-but-rare instances, God’s Holy Spirit in Christ is uniquely present, and like a match set to a pack of firecrackers, the Spirit sparks a chain reaction of explosions that inspire awe and wonder. This morning’s ScriptureContinue reading “At Our Best”

Sober Inebriation

Amazement and astonishment – awe and wonder – have been hallmarks of our Scripture lessons these past few Sundays. Consider, for a moment, where the ancient words of the story of God with us have taken us: Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus leaves earth in physical form. His body returns to heaven, where GodContinue reading “Sober Inebriation”

‘Those Days’ Are Now ‘These Days’

Oddly enough, the Old Testament book of Joel hatches from an infestation of insects – more specifically, a swarm of locusts so efficiently devastating the countryside of Israel that famine and starvation are very real possibilities. By Joel’s reckoning, the buzzing disaster swarms large in divine judgment upon the Lord’s sinful people, who eventually getContinue reading “‘Those Days’ Are Now ‘These Days’”

Faith by Walking Around

In his multi-chapter lead-up to this morning’s lesson, the apostle Paul employs breathtaking language to explain first to the Ephesians and now to us God’s plan of salvation. God firmly intends, Paul writes, “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under Christ” (1:10). Heaven’s plan begins with God saving humanity “by graceContinue reading “Faith by Walking Around”

Who Fixed the Roof?

When Mark is your Gospel pilot, best you buckle your seat belts tight. For he takes off into the story of God with us on a short runway, and it’s wheels-up before you know it. As we’ll hear shortly, Mark at the start is a man of few words. He wastes no time launching usContinue reading “Who Fixed the Roof?”

Holy Spirit Stuff

Certain sects of Christianity are sometimes accused of being a lightweights when it comes to championing a robust theology of the Holy Spirit. This morning’s Word of the Lord tearfully reminds the faithful how vital the Holy Spirit is in our lives and precisely why we need the Spirit of God in Christ. Understand, first,Continue reading “Holy Spirit Stuff”

From the Pastor: Taking Up Your Cross

“The next day, the great crowd that had come to the Passover festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!’” (John 12:12-13) TodayContinue reading “From the Pastor: Taking Up Your Cross”