Who’s our faith doctor? Mark 1:29-39 finds Jesus continuing his exciting ministry. No sooner had Jesus finished teaching in a synagogue than he began practicing what he had been preaching. Jesus accompanied the twin sets of brothers (Simon & Andrew, James & John) to Simon’s house, where they found the mother-in-law feverish. Jesus healed her, and then word spread because Jesus spent the rest of the day healing sick and demon possessed persons. After the busy schedule, Jesus got up before sunrise the next day and went to a deserted place to meditate. Jesus didn’t simply preach about healing and restoration, he practiced them. There’sRead More →

In Mark 1:21-28, we find Jesus teaching in a Capernaum synagogue (which is a Jewish house of gathering, similar to what a church would become). Jesus’ teaching didn’t seem to generate much controversy—at first anyway. This implies that Jesus was recognized as a teacher—a rabbi—and that it was an ordinary expression of his accepted social role. But this is where the normality ceases. The content and manner of Jesus’ message aroused a magnificent response. “They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). Jesus’ style and substance transformed him into . . . Read More →

Yearly Yearning You may pause in a moment of disbelief as you spy that prominent 2015 staring out at you from your new calendar. Undaunted by the specter of a new year, you grasp the calendar and flip the page to “January.” Yes, another year is upon you. Don’t fear; stay calm and carry on. Calendar drama aside, ponder how you’ll traverse the 365 days of the New Year. Trust God to get you through all challenges. Do what you can with what you have, while you still have it. Meanwhile, I appeal to you to consider New Year’s resolutions. How many have you made?Read More →

We focus on another disciple-building day in Jesus’ early ministry. The situation was such that John the Baptist had been arrested and was out of the scene. Jesus was moving forward with his mission and gathering his inner-circle of followers. Jesus’ foundational message to the world was simple yet full of life: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15). The time was right and the kingdom our Lord was building attracted spiritual seekers. Two sets of fishermen brothers (Simon & Andrew, James & John) responded to Jesus’ invitation as they wereRead More →

Read John 1:43-51 and you’ll discover how Jesus went a gatherin’ one day. It wasn’t silver or gold that the Lord sought, but something far more valuable: disciples. It’s not surprising that Jesus needed followers. Key to a founder’s success is securing a dedicated cadre of supporters. In today’s verses Jesus begins by calling Philip, who then went to find Nathanael and rally him to Jesus of Nazareth. Philip was convinced that Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah. Duly excited, Philip rushed to Nathanael, whose skeptical reply questioned Jesus’ origins. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). CynicismRead More →

Today’s message emphasizes Jesus’ baptism and the visit of the three Magi, events which together constitute the liturgical celebration known as Epiphany. In more general terms, an epiphany is any revealing or manifestation of a divinity, superhuman being, god, etc. Let’s start with the visit from the kingly Wise Men or Magi. Speculation is rife over the identity of these royal-esque individuals. Regardless of who or what these men represented, it’s certain that they were important figures attesting to Jesus’ status. One plausible explanation is that the Magi were Persian Zoroastrian priests who had divined Jesus auspicious birth through astrological calculations. The Zoroastrian religion continuesRead More →

Today’s deliciously different text (John 1:1-18) traverses rarefied theological air and sets-up Jesus at the highest point in the heavens. Seldom is Jesus’ divine nature narrated more magnificently as John attempts. Equating Jesus with the light, life and power of universal creation teases our understanding. Regardless of your take on this, John’s startling language activates our imagination. John’s Greek word logos describes what we translate as “Word” in John’s Gospel. But this isn’t just any word, it is the word. The biggest, greatest, first-event in the universe type of word. John presents Jesus as the message and mechanism of creation. Then it happened. Jesus theRead More →