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”

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”

Seeing with Kingdom Eyes

The Lord’s persuasive invitations to discipleship are the common threads woven into our Scripture lessons over the past couple Sundays. Those gracious, open invitations to be counted among Jesus’s followers immediately compel a tax collector named Matthew to quit his lucrative job raking in big bucks for his Roman bosses and to join the communityContinue reading “Seeing with Kingdom Eyes”

Cross Training

We typically sing the rousing lyrics on a Sunday in Lent: “In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o’er the wrecks of time.” The idea of the cross towering over various “wrecks” across the ages became all-the-more poignant in the harrowing days of anger and grief after 9/11. That twisted, iron-girder cross rising fromContinue reading “Cross Training”

Heart health

Old Testament prophets have miserable, unenviable jobs. God taps these individuals – mostly men but also a few women – to proclaim bracing messages of doom and gloom to wayward souls who’ve strayed far from the fold of God. Over the past few Sundays, in our exploration of the story of God with us, we’veContinue reading “Heart health”

Drawing the Line

Chaos seems to be the order of the day for God’s first people, the Israelites. Not long after the Lord their God rescues them from the bonds of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites begin stepping way over the line, far out of bounds, and deeply into dangerous territory. They most definitely are not meeting God’sContinue reading “Drawing the Line”

The Scapegoat

The glass shattered with a nauseating pop. And somewhere on the other side of a broken garage window, my cousin’s carelessly tossed rock landed with a sickening thump. My cousin and I sprinted like mad down an alleyway hoping to find some cover. And over our shoulders, an angry voice cried out after us: “Hey,Continue reading “The Scapegoat”