Do Not Lose Heart

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” [Luke 18:1]

Do you ever get discouraged? Have you ever been ready to give up, because you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere? If you have, then you are not alone. It is difficult not to lose heart in the midst of difficult circumstances or when problems continually pile up. Jesus knew what the disciples were about to face, Continue reading Do Not Lose Heart

Quick to Judge

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

“Let both of them grow together until harvest.” [Matthew 13:30]

Have you ever worked hard, only to have something or someone spoil it? Speaking in another parable, Jesus said to his disciples, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.” Yet, “An enemy came and sowed weeds among the good seed.” As followers of Jesus, we work hard to sow good seed, Continue reading Quick to Judge

Trustworthiness

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by Rev. Ron Duvall

“… the LORD came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’  But Abram said, ‘O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless…?’”  [Genesis 15:1-2]

            This occasion is not the first time that God had promised Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah, before God changed their names) a child, but it was the first time that Abram challenged God to make good on the promise.  “You say I’ll have a great reward, huh?” Abram said, “But I have no heir.  What good will it do me if I have no one to pass it on to except my servant!?”

            I don’t think that God expects us to understand everything (or even a little) about God’s purpose for us – it would be an awfully small purpose if we could.  Continue reading Trustworthiness

What’s Your Perspective?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

“Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” [Colossians 3:2]

 “So, if you are serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it,” writes Eugene Peterson. Yet, what does this practically mean for us day in and day out? Peterson gives us some advice saying, “Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert… see things from Christ’s perspective.” Being serious about living this new resurrection life means Continue reading What’s Your Perspective?

Revealing Prayers

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.” [Luke 18:10]

Have you ever spent time reflecting on your prayers? Are they mostly petitions for others or pleas for help? Are they sincere confessions or litanies of gratitude? What pronouns do you use when you pray? Are they singular or plural? Jesus sets the stage of this parable by describing two diametrically opposed people. A respected church man, a Pharisee, and a despised collaborator of the Roman oppressors, a tax collector. Then Jesus, in the context of the parable, shares the content of their intimate prayers to God. Continue reading Revealing Prayers

Who is Invited?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

“One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the one who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’” [Luke 14:15]

Jesus had an invitation to the house of a Pharisee.  The people invited, in addition to Jesus, were people of influence and power within the church. So, all eyes were on the Pharisee’s special guest and the first thing Jesus did was heal a man with dropsy in front of the Pharisee’s home even though it was the Sabbath. Now no one dared to dispute his actions, Continue reading Who is Invited?

Becoming a Neighbor

July 10, 2019

Which of these three, do you think was a neighbor to this man who fell into the hands the robbers?” [Luke 10:36]

 The parable of the Good Samaritan indicts good church people. At first the good pastor sees the individual in distress, but not wanting to get her hands dirty her eyes avoid contact and she walks by. Then a respectable church leader spots the individual and rushing to the next church meeting he avoids getting involved.  What happens next surprises the first hearers of these words, Continue reading Becoming a Neighbor

Thanks, but No Thanks

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

“Ah Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.” [Jeremiah 1:6-7]

What is your excuse? Are you too young or too busy? Are you unskilled or overqualified? Are you just scared or believe you are just too old?  Jeremiah thought he was too young. Sarah thought she was too old.   Moses thought he wasn’t eloquent enough. Throughout scripture God calls people whose first response is, “Thanks, but no thanks, God.” Continue reading Thanks, but No Thanks

Are You Sure?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head… Follow me.” [Luke 9:58]

Jesus’ words can surprise and even offend us at times. After someone made this declarative statement to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus remarked, “But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  I hear in his words a deeper challenge. I hear Jesus saying, “Are you sure, really sure you want to follow me? Continue reading Are You Sure?

The Power of Your Story

“The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’” [Luke 8:38-39]

Healed and whole the man just wanted to be with Jesus. To travel with Jesus. To experience the transformation of others by Jesus.  Who wouldn’t want to be in Jesus’ entourage? Yet, Jesus said to the man, “return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” I can see the bubble above the man’s head, “Return home? Continue reading The Power of Your Story