Advice is great, especially when it is good and people follow it. This is nicely illustrated in Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. As is true for the entire Bible, whoever wrote any part of it is not as important as the principles taught. We needn’t argue about religious myth versus actual history because in both we find truth. Sadly, there are many people who make a hobby of nit-picking. Rather than derive joy from receiving and sharing God’s principles, such folks become haters, angry with anyone and anything that challenges their ignorance. We must be on guard lest we descend into the same pit that devours them.Read More →

Today’s message reveals a poignant lesson, one from Jesus’ preaching in a synagogue. An afflicted woman arrived during Jesus’ visit and disturbed the order of service. Jesus had compassion, and he immediately proclaimed the healing power of God’s love. End of story, right? Not so! One of the synagogue leaders became indignant at the healing. This zealous critic denounced what he considered to be work on the Sabbath. What a bitter irony. This legalistic moron condemned a healing just because it may have technically violated the Sabbath. Fans of law-based religion do this all the time when they elevate narrow interpretations over love. There wasRead More →

The theme of faith continues with a lectionary selection from Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2. The message reminds us that a spiritual journey isn’t always fun and games. Faith isn’t for the squeamish! The emphasis is on how God’s people endure suffering. Throughout the ages people who embrace truth are punished by those who refuse to accept it. God’s liberating Spirit can set anyone free while human institutions often imprison. Evil is always with us. As God’s followers attempt to live free there’s always some king, some dictator, some political or religious structure ready to torture and kill. It’s tempting to associate faith in God withRead More →

Our message weaves a theme inspired from three of the lectionary readings, the first of which is Isaiah 1:1,10-20. Today’s message is a bit stark and gritty but this isn’t all bad because we’re pushing against summer slumber and August apathy. Some call the Old Testament a dark realm, burdened with traditions and ruinous rules, and warped by ancient Judaism’s suffocating ritualism. However, bursting through Jerusalem’s great Temple walls and across the faces of horrified Levitical priests is God’s proclamation to Isaiah, who shares the key to true life. Hint: The message is nothing like what we associate with the stereotypical “do this or die”Read More →

Here’s to lookin’ up, both literally and figuratively. Today’s message highlights a theme of heavenly priorities from the lectionary readings of Colossians 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21. The issue is how dangerous distractions can interfere with our revived faith nature. We must be vigilant, focused, and willing to manage ourselves. Are you ready for this life-enhancing challenge?           Colossians suggests that our greatest quality is spiritual life, such that we should emphasize virtues rather than anger, conflict and fighting. If we are not mindful of our vulnerabilities then we’ll embrace diverse vices and destructive habits, all of which drain our soul and keep us spiritually asleep.Read More →

Have you bargained with God? This topic is awkward but it can also be productive. Today’s message about trying to change God’s mind is a bit strange, but with God’s blessing and open-mindedness we can stimulate spiritual growth. There’s a prime biblical example about trying to change God’s mind from one of the lectionary readings, an Old Testament example from Genesis (18:20-32). Here, God sought to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, the twin cities near the present-day Dead Sea in Israel. When Abraham learned of God’s decision, he was alarmed about righteous people being killed along with the evil. Abraham’s bold sense of justice challenged God,Read More →

Today we review Jesus’ visit with two sisters, Mary and Martha, each of whom had a different hosting approach (Luke 10:38-42). Before we delve too deeply we must affirm an obvious point: The biblical Martha conjures a curious parallel to a contemporary American celebrity with the same first name. So well-known is this modern Martha—an author, cook, interior decorator—that it is almost reflexive for readers to fill-in the last name. The gist is that whether ancient or modern, the story of Martha stimulates a discussion about distractions and priorities. As hostess, our ancient Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. Once inside, Jesus sat down andRead More →