Today, the proverbial rubber meets the road. We’re talkin’ spirit. The Spirit. The Holy Spirit. This is a crucial topic because God is spirit; each of us created in God’s image means that we also have a spirit and as such we are extensions of God’s presence. Jesus promised that, after he left, he would send the energetic, marvelous Spirit of God. Why is the Holy Spirit sent to us? Perhaps it is because Jesus didn’t want us to be left alone. Jesus also didn’t want us to be without power insofar as we are agents of God’s transforming presence. God accomplishes worldly tasks throughRead More →

God’s promises are great. As an example, read this biblical promise from the book of 1Peter that will be the focus of today’s message:   “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10). This aforementioned verse is deeply reassuring in that it reminds us of God’s love, mercy and grace. We can offer a succinct interpretation like this: When things go really, really bad, we can count on God’s Iron-clad promises. Now mind you, we sometimes do notRead More →

The Apostle Paul was a neat guy. Aside from his saintly spiritual status, the man did some bold things that can continue inspiring us today. Case in point is today’s episode from Acts 17:22-31 wherein Paul goes to the heart of ancient intellectualism and makes a clever appeal. The dominant religion in the Roman areas was what is often referred to pejoratively as polytheistic paganism. This ingrained worldview had been dominant for millennia prior to Paul. Significant indeed was Paul’s challenge of the Greco-Roman statues, icons, and the complex mythical universe within which people lived and breathed. And to top it all off, Paul spokeRead More →

Religious people live in a world of eternal possibilities. What drives this? For one, the all-encompassing claims people find in sacred texts gain a life of their own. The Bible is full of beliefs originating from the ancient world where they were first thought-of / inspired / spoken by a prophet, apostle or even Jesus. These various beliefs were listened to, interpreted, eventually written, passed down, reinterpreted, and cherished by subsequent generations of believers over the course of almost two-thousand years. And here we find them today, in our neatly-bound modern Bibles subject to our own interpretations, biases, and prejudices. Consider today’s lectionary selection fromRead More →

The Bible is loaded with the metaphorical use of language. This situation involves analogies, figures of speech, hyperbole and similar constructions. The biblical writers understood the power of rhetoric and the creative use of words in presenting spiritual topics. Even today, the effective use of language can grab attention and make a point with the power of poetic persuasiveness. Today’s message from John’s gospel is a case in point, where the writer compares Jesus to a gate through which shepherds and sheep enter. Jesus is not a literal gate, and we get that, but the suggestion is that Jesus functions as the portal or entranceRead More →

Here we are two weeks out of Easter. As time passes, we may face an increasing struggle to maintain our spiritual momentum. Nonetheless, our lectionary scripture selections remind us that God’s message continues, along with Jesus’ enlivening presence. In Luke 24:13-35 we have the story of the post-resurrection Jesus walking alongside two of his disciples, who at first didn’t know it was their Lord accompanying them. Only later, during a meal with these and other followers did Jesus reveal himself. Aside from this evidence of Jesus rising from the dead, a lesson here is that we are called to share our faith testimony with allRead More →

In Easter’s wake we visit the Apostle Peter attesting to the importance of Jesus. Peter spoke to a group of likely critics, yet he reached out to those able to hear, the true “Israelites” as he referred to them. Nonetheless, Peter placed guilt for Jesus’ crucifixion upon his fellow Jews. Such blame is an ongoing controversy because of the implications and ramifications of anti-Semitism. Many scholars emphasize how the Romans who occupied Judea in the first century were ultimately responsible for Jesus’ death. Whatever is the case, there seems to be sufficient culpability among the various authorities and powers in ancient Jerusalem. Now, brace yourselfRead More →