The Heart of the Question | Pathway to Discipleship Week 5

To long for Jesus and to know him are two aspects of discipleship that rely on our ability to ask and face the right questions. Many people are deconstructing faith and Christian tradition because of their thirst for something more and longing for something new. The church needs to be(come) the kind of community where people adopt the right posture to ask and face courageous questions that lead to a fresh encounter with Christ and a deeper relationship with one another.

Finding Jesus

Luke is distinctive among the gospel writers for featuring Jesus as a twelve-year-old. This narrative illustrates Mary and Joseph’s commitment to nurturing and raising Jesus, evident in their consistent observance of the Passover. The story unfolds with the anguish they experience upon realizing Jesus is missing after a full day of travel. Upon discovering him in the temple conversing with teachers, Jesus responds to their inquiry with characteristic questions.

Improv | Advent Week 4

Throughout the Christmas story, two things are clear: (1) God is in control, and (2) God is not in charge. This is an important lesson for everyone who feels pushed around by others.

Where God Should Be | Advent Week 3

One great surprise about God revealed in Jesus at the incarnation is God’s vulnerability. God is not confined to safe or polished spaces. Instead, he enters our mess. He shows up in “places God isn’t supposed to be,” exposing himself and entering our realities, messy as they might be. To this end, we don’t have to leave our own vulnerable states or situations to find God. He meets us there. He joins the struggle with us, making himself vulnerable right alongside us.

The Future of Love

In his Great Commandment, Jesus shows his genius and authority by bringing all of the feast and fruit of the Scriptures into one seed, bursting with potential harvest. It is the double pulse of the heartbeat of God. He not only pulls in every command of the past but unleashes and prefigures the future of love.

Behold the King | Easter Week 6

The Ascension gets little attention in today’s Church but to the early Christians it was the climax of the gospel. In the Ascension, Jesus is not only savior but King. What does that mean for the way we work, and witness, and worship?

The Test | Lent Week 1

Throughout the exodus story, God is “testing” the people (15:25), and the people are “testing” God (17:2, 7). But what does that mean? How are we tested today?

Deliverance | Epiphany Week 4

For all who are in bondage, God promises deliverance, but that usually involves more than we think.

Drawing Out | Epiphany Week 3

The work of Jesus is to form a New Community devoted to another way of life and through that community to offer an exodus (a way out) from the anxiety and exploitation of bondage.

Beginning with Moses | Epiphany Week 2

When Christians talk about Jesus, we start with Christmas, but when Jesus talks about himself, he starts with Moses (Lk. 24:27) because, apparently, it is impossible to understand or appreciate who Jesus is apart from Moses’ life. Beginning with Moses, what is the meaning of Jesus’ life? And how does that change the way we live out Jesus’ life in the world today?

With | 2022 Advent Week 4

The most important word in Christmas is not ‘for’ but ‘with’ (“God with us!”). Between them is vast difference. Only by being ‘with’ us does God deliver us. Only by being ‘with’ others (not just ‘for’ them) can we participate in their deliverance.

An Unfinished Easter | Season of Easter Week 2

In Mark’s gospel, Easter is unfinished. Jesus is risen in the negative space. Power is subtle, hope is deferred, certainty is mixed with confusion, and joy is mixed with fear. Easter is a treasure, but we carry it in jars of clay. Mark’s account of Easter is for the weary, the skeptical, the frustrated and the faint of heart.

The Kingdom of God and the Redemption of Power

From Palm Sunday (“Behold your king comes to you…”) to Good Friday (“Hail, king of the Jews…”) the last week of Jesus life – Holy Week – is the slow and unwelcome rise of a new king whose power increases as his popularity wanes. The story is a parody to kings and their powers. What is the power of a crucified king? How is it different from ours? What are the new “laws of power,” as informed by Christ’s journey through Holy Week?

A Tale of Two Sons

One is deeply suffering and is brought by his father to Jesus for healing. Another has yet to suffer and is brought by His Father to experience glory before His suffering will lead to the healing of all people where they might also join Him in glory.

Kingdom Communities | Kingdom of God Week 5

The kingdom of God comes one gathering at a time, when citizens live together with God and for the world. How does the kingdom of God advance? What is the place of the local church, or the Christ-centered business or team, in that advance? How do we avoid the temptation of an Empire?

Kingdom of Priests | Kingdom of God Week 4

God’s vision for a new society involves a “kingdom of priests,” which is odd because priests build seminaries, and not kingdoms. Yet Isaiah says we “will be called priests of the Lord, (and) named ministers of our God,” (61:6). What do priests do? How are they different from the prophet that everyone wants to be? How do we co-opt our jobs to do the work of a priest?

Unexpected Worshippers | Ironies of Christmas Week 5

That the “king of the Jews” would be worshiped first by Gentiles, adherents to a pagan religion. If salvation is of the Jews (see John 4:19-22), why should the first to worship this salvation come from regions far outside of Israel, indeed outside Jesus’ own religious heritage? Wasn’t there anyone closer, maybe someone within Judaism to authenticate this moment? Or did God intend something else by sending magi, strangers from another region and cult? Are these the kind of worshippers God seeks?

Suspicious Origins | Ironies of Christmas Week 1

The “Holy One to be born” came from seemingly suspicious origins – Egypt, Nazareth, a suspect lineage, and an unmarried mother. Why would God choose such questionable origins to usher in one who would “save his people from their sins?” What is revealed about God’s character and how he interacts with humanity? Could it be that our expectations, just like Israel, have been misplaced?

Search and Rescue

When we take on the responsibility of shepherding others, it means that there are going to be times when we need to actively participate in search and rescue. There will be times when those who are part of our cadre of care, drift away.

Beloved | House Rules Week 2

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, before he has accomplished anything, he is baptized and the Father pronounces a blessing over him, saying things about him that every person longs to hear. Against a culture of criticism and contempt, strong families use language that blesses.