Remember Zacchaeus? He’s the diminutive rich man who wanted to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was fortunate to be near Jesus, who was strolling by one day amid a crowd of onlookers. Sadly, Zacchaeus couldn’t see Jesus because too many people lined the path. Undaunted, he climbed a tree to get that sweet view. The spectacle of Zacchaeus huffing up a tree prompted Jesus to stop and call him down. “I will stay in your house,” Jesus told Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5b). The wealthy tree-climber slid down the trunk (hopefully without getting splinters). Meanwhile, observers criticized Jesus’ invitation because Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a despised role inRead More →

Today’s Luke passage (18:9-14) has Jesus telling a story about two praying men. To emphasize the importance, consider that a comet is headed straight for us. As with the dinosaur catastrophe about 75 million years ago, we are now the species at risk for extinction. Now what? Do we bury our heads in the sand or do we put it all on the line and trust God? The situation in this Sunday’s message encourages us to choose the latter option. Aside from any literal comet hurling at earth, we face an immediate risk when we trust in too much religion (the outward, legalistic & showyRead More →

Today’s message arises from Jeremiah 31:27-34, where the prophet reflects on momentous change. “The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Jeremiah 31: 31). The situation in Jeremiah’s day was that the Jewish people had been taken prisoner to live in the conquerors’ land of Babylon. This Babylonian captivity aroused deep reflection about who and what it meant to be Jewish. The comforting thought is that God listens to the cries of the oppressed. But all is not normal or convenient: God is advocating fundamental changes that theRead More →

Today’s passage presents a case of bad financial management (Luke 16: 1-13). Our tale begins as Jesus discusses a rich master whose financial manager was stealing. The master confronted the manager and told him to give an account of what was going on. Knowing that his crime would soon put him out of a job, the manager acted cleverly by cutting the debts owed by his master’s customers. The wicked manager did this because he wanted to appease potential new employers. (Note: Any master otherwise willing to hire the dishonest manager should be suspicious of being duped in the same manner.) When the master discoveredRead More →

Gratitude arises from a proper attitude. That’s the gist of today’s message woven from Jeremiah and Luke. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah (29:1,4-7) initiates our message by encouraging the Jewish exiles in Babylon to settle down and leverage their spiritual resources. There was a disturbing new reality in the wake of the Israelites’ exile from Palestine (587 B.C), and Jeremiah’s message encouraged the captives to make the best out of a deplorable situation. In this way, Jeremiah told the people to stop complaining and to live in an optimistic and practical manner. Fast-forward to the present and many people today continue to act like exasperatedRead More →

Today’s message arises from 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Paul’s letter originally directed to his friend and disciple Timothy. We may not be the original audience of Paul’s letter, but we value it for timeless insights. Paul begins with a reminder about what God provides, the momentous gift of faith (requiring periodic rekindling). The flames of faith can change over time and may not burn as bright. Nonetheless, God’s Spirit is likened to a sacred energy that generates spiritual vitality. Due to diverse internal and external factors, the light of God’s Spirit can be dimmed. We can become passive, apathetic, and a soul sleepiness may lessen ourRead More →

There’s a double whammy today. God speaks with us through Paul’s message in 1Timothy as well as through Jesus’ teaching in Luke. In 1Timothy 6:6-19 Paul warns against the relentless pursuit of riches, emphasized by the statement “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (6:10). To counteract this wealth-sickness, Paul encourages spiritual riches, which involves perceiving our eternal life in heaven as the true wealth. Paul also admonishes those rich in this world to be cautious and humble, to “storeRead More →