Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Luke 1:30-35 The Christmas Kingdom


In the gospel of Luke, the Christmas story starts before Jesus’ birth. About nine months before Mary gives birth to Jesus, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Mary is a young godly girl who has never been married or been with a man.  But she’s betrothed, or what we can call engaged, to a carpenter named Joseph. But when this angel shows up, her life changes. The angel Gabriel greets Mary, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary of course is troubled by this supernatural visitation. What has she done to deserve God showing up to her? I know I would have felt scared if an angel showed up with a message from God for me. So here we have a young soon-to-be-married woman who has found favor with God. This is the background of the very first Christmas. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reflections for Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving dinner is a time to reflect on the year and thank God for all the ways He has blessed us. Here are some thoughts on thankfulness from the Bible to help you thank God this year:

1. Being thankful reveals where we are spiritually (Rom 1:21).

2. Being thankful has nothing to do with how much we have or don’t have. 

3. Being thankful is very different from being pleased with ourselves and our own accomplishments (Luke 12:16-20). 

Monday, November 17, 2014

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 How to Comfort Others


What’s the best way to comfort someone in pain? How can we comfort those who are experiencing real hurt? Most of us aren’t born with a skill set for comforting people in pain. In fact, statistics show that we’re actually getting worse at comforting other people. From the year 2000 to 2010 the ability to empathize dropped 40% among college students. That means that a huge segment of our population has gotten worse at showing concern. With the rise of technology and entertainment, we’re forgetting how to be kind. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What is the Gospel?


What is the gospel? My first semester at seminary I showed up feeling called by God to become a pastor and I couldn't say what the gospel was. Sure I had an idea. Isn't the gospel that we're "saved by faith" or that "Jesus rose again"? The word gospel comes from the Greek word that means "good news." Mark 1:1 tells us the gospel is "the good news about Jesus the Messiah." So what about Jesus' life and ministry is good news for us?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Job 7:1-21 Bitter Life. Unfair God.


Do you feel hopeless? Do you feel lost? Do you feel like the darkness won’t lift? In the 1500s a priest named John wrote about the darkness. John wrote the famous poem, “Dark Night of the Soul.” John was a man so devoted to God he renamed himself “John of the Cross.” John named himself after the cross because he wanted to crucify his sinful desires. He did this through practicing community, poverty, fasting, silence, enclosure, and prayer. He was what we might call today Pius, ascetic, or intentionally holy.  He was also pretty mystical or what some might now call charismatic. So if John were alive today, he probably wouldn’t attend our church. But there’s s till a lot we can learn from the way John suffered.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ode to a Mentor


My mentor’s name is David. We met at a local pastor’s gathering where he took voluntary interest in me. I needed a mentor and he wanted to make disciples by caring for the next generation of pastors. For the next year and a half I knew him, David poured into me. He taught me the importance of sharing life stories together, hunting each other’s sin, and giving each other grace.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Job 1:1-22 The Problem of Evil


Sometimes bad things happen to good people with no explanation at all. Maybe some of you have heard all the bad things that happened to an orphan from Kansas. This girl had a lot of bad things happened to her. One day a tornado destroyed her home and carried her and her dog away. The storm takes her to enchanted land where she immediately commits accidental homicide.