God at Work

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
“The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things… For in him we live and move and have our being’.” [Acts 17:24-25, 28a]
 
It has never been clearer to me that God does not live in shrines made by human hands. God is not waiting for us to show up back in the sanctuary, as if that is the only place God can engage us.  We know this is not so, but often we forget.  Barbara Brown Taylor wrote a book entitled, “Leaving Church,” and in it she reminds us of this truth. She has questions for the church Continue reading God at Work

Hope that Sustains

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

“Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” [1 Peter 3:15b-16a]

How is your hope barometer these days?  The writer of Hebrews reminds us saying, “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Even so, fears have risen within all of us as COVID-19 unleashed its fury across the globe.  It didn’t matter whether we were capable Continue reading Hope that Sustains

Eager to do Good?

Monday, May 11, 2020

“Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.” [1 Peter 3:13-15a]

Are you eager to do good? In the midst of this crisis I have worked with a group of people through the Redlands Charitable Resource Coalition that have been eager to do good.  Over 27 volunteers have worked at three pop up food locations seven days a week since March 19, 2020. Numerous community members stepped up Continue reading Eager to do Good?

Dare to Fail

Mother’s Day  – Sunday, May 10, 2020
“11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. “[John14:11-14]
 

A number of years ago I worked with three other small church pastors and we put together a sermon series entitled, “Chase the Lion.” The series was based on a book by Mark Batterson with the same title.  I don’t remember all the details of the series, but I do remember the manifesto that challenged Continue reading Dare to Fail

A Map?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

“5 Thomas said to Jesus, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to Thomas, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” [John 14:5-7]

Thomas seems slow to understand what Jesus is trying to say, asking, “How can we know the way?”  Thomas sounds like he wants a map, but Jesus responds saying, “I am the way.” Can you imagine Thomas’ disorientation? I hear Thomas thinking, “But you’re not a map!” Yet, I believe Continue reading A Map?

Deeper Meaning

Friday, May 8, 2020
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” [John 14:1-3] 
 
This passage is often read in the context of memorial services as we celebrate the life of a loved one. Jesus shares these words with his disciples shortly before he is crucified; on the night of his arrest. He is reassuring his disciples that he goes before them and prepares a place for them. Yet, to read this only as our eternal place Continue reading Deeper Meaning

Into Your Hands

Thursday, May 7, 2020

You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. 15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.” [Psalm 31:3-5, 15-16]

The psalmist recognizes that God redeems and saves. It is apparent from the psalmist’s own words that his own ingenuity is not enough. His adversaries are greater than his own resources. So, the psalmist surrenders to God saying, “Into your hands I commit my spirit… my time is in your hand.” This is not resignation, but a realization Continue reading Into Your Hands

Rescue Us Speedily

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. [Psalm 31:1-2]

In the midst of this pandemic, imagining God as a rock, a refuge, and a strong fortress has been comforting for many of us. In the midst of our storm-tossed lives it is comforting to have a strong anchor, a faith that holds us secure. The psalmist is facing adversaries. He is being attacked from multiple fronts and is seeking God’s help pleading, “Rescue me speedily.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful Continue reading Rescue Us Speedily

Bragging Rights?

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” [1 Peter 2:9-10]

This passage has been used as a badge of honor, rather than a call to action; as a way to exclude, rather than affirm a weighty responsibility. The people of Israel were chosen by God. Yet, they were not chosen because of their pedigree or for their glory.  They were chosen for Continue reading Bragging Rights?

Good Riddance

Monday, May 4, 2020

“Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” [1 Peter 2:1-3]

Headlines, even in the midst of this pandemic, seem to be filled with malice and envy, insincerity and slander. Yet, Peter isn’t writing this letter to a local newspaper audience; he is addressing the exiles of the Dispersion, that is, good church folk!  Yikes!  Is there malice or insincerity, envy or slander among us?  I certainly, pray not.  But, when humans are bereft Continue reading Good Riddance