The Building Blocks

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” [Romans 5:3b-5]

The Holy Spirit is at work in us, pouring God’s love generously into our hearts so that we can endure whatever troubles or celebrate whatever joys might come.  How have you experienced the Holy Spirit at work in your life? How has or does the Spirit fill you with love? The visual image of pouring in this passage is powerful for me. I can easily envision myself Continue reading The Building Blocks

Not Just an Event

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

“God will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” [John 14:16b]

When you think of the Holy Spirit, what words or images come to mind for you? With Pentecost this coming Sunday, we may envision dancing flames or the effects of a mighty wind blowing things around a room. Words for the Holy Spirit found in Scripture are varied depending on the translator – Advocate, Counselor, Friend, Helper, Comforter, and Spirit of Truth. Whatever words or images come to mind for you, Continue reading Not Just an Event

May Be One

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

“The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be completely one.” [John 17:22-23a]

Our passage on Sunday is part of Jesus’ final prayer recorded in the Gospel of John before he was betrayed and arrested.  Jesus prays for those who will come to know God through his disciples.  Throughout this section of the prayer Jesus emphasizes his hope, “That they may be one.”  Yet, as those who have come to know Christ through the lineage of those who heard the good news through the disciples, we have failed miserably at oneness. Continue reading May Be One

Quick With Excuses?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

“Jesus said to the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” [John 5:6]

Jesus’ question sounds absurd to me. Think about chronic pain that wears you down every day or a chronic condition that is debilitating, not for a month or so, but for thirty-eight years.  Of course, the man wants to be healed! But does he?  Change is hard. This man’s world would be turned upside down and inside out. He has spent 38 years poolside. No craft or profession. No 401K building up over the years. No job experiences other than waiting Continue reading Quick With Excuses?

Timelessness of Love

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:35]

Love. It seems so simple, yet we know how difficult it is to love one another. This new commandment that Jesus gives, “That you love one another, just as I have loved you,” is demanding. Jesus’ love for his disciples causes him to bend his knee and do the mundane task of washing their feet.  Jesus then tells his disciples, “No one has greater love than this, Continue reading Timelessness of Love

It Takes Courage

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

“When Lydia and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.” [Acts 16:15]

Lydia was a merchant, a dealer of purple cloth, in a historical time when women had no status unless they were part of a male head of household. Yet, her story doesn’t mention a male business partner or husband. She courageously stands on her own Continue reading It Takes Courage

Essential to Faith

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

“Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” [Luke 24:38]

Theologian Paul Tillich writes, “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is essential to faith.” I appreciate Tillich’s perspective, because I have often considered doubt as a crucible for faith.  Doubt keeps us curious and open to new possibilities.  If we are certain, we sometimes cannot receive new thoughts or ideas or understandings. Where has doubt fueled your faith? Continue reading Essential to Faith

Resurrecting God

Sunday, April 21, 2019 – Easter Sunday

“While the women were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living dead? Jesus is not here, but has risen. Remember how Jesus told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” [Luke 24:4-7]

The glory of Easter has dawned for the tomb stands empty. The women had come to the tomb numbed by grief, yet resolute in their desire to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial.  Yet, instead of a shroud wrapped body, they encountered two individuals in dazzling clothes. I personally cannot imagine the disorientation experienced by these women that morning. Continue reading Resurrecting God

Surprising Presence

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. [Luke 24:10-11]

It is frustrating to not be taken seriously.  Yet, it happens to all of us at one point or another. What’s really frustrating though is if our thoughts are discounted simply because of who we are whether it is because of our gender or age, ethnicity or status.  I remember an experience one evening a few years back Continue reading Surprising Presence