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 →