We’re Getting Serious Well, at least as far as getting close to spring. Seriously? Winter will die, and most of us are hoping that it will be sooner rather than later. Yes, the worst winter in our lifetime will probably, hopefully, be waning itself into oblivion. Okay, we’ve acknowledged our wintry struggles and we must move on. Indeed, we are waiting for more than just the bitter cold and deep snow to subside. As people of faith we have a spiritual spring to celebrate. Our dark night of the soul must give way to the hope of light and life. We are God’s children ofRead More →

Today’s message from John’s gospel illustrates Jesus’ boldness in speaking with a Samaritan woman. The context of this was Jesus’ visit to Sychar, a town north in Samaria. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat next to a well and spoke with the Samaritan woman who had come to obtain water. To fully appreciate this situation you have to understand the in general, Jews hated Samaritans. The animosity goes all the way back to when the Assyrians invaded Israel in about 721 B.C.  The result of the invasion was that the local Jewish inhabitants had intermarried with the invaders and, according to popular opinion, polluted theRead More →

Everybody who reads this has been born. Sure, we can playfully call attention to the obvious. But the next topic, spiritual birth, isn’t as obvious. John’s Gospel reveals a great story about Jesus meeting a man named Nicodemus, someone described as “a leader of the Jews” (John 3:1). Jesus spoke with Nicodemus about spiritual birth, and how it is God’s plan for us to receive a second, spiritual birth via God’s Spirit. Nicodemus didn’t get it at first because he was not able to see beyond the literal physical birth. However, we can grasp what Jesus meant if we can appreciate the power of hisRead More →

Jesus’ temptation is quite the scene. The up-and-coming Messiah had no sooner finished being baptized than he was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness. The text (Matthew 4:1-11)  indicates that Jesus ate nothing for forty days, a feat that would leave most ordinary humans emaciated or worse.   feel compelled to weaken themselves, as if inviting Satan’s temptation can elevate them in some sort of twisted spiritual hierarchy. A more common and accepted practice of deprivation involves fasting, such as during Lent, when Christians abstain from something that tastes or feels good as a way of spirit-strengthening. Many Lenten participants fast from harmful substances, orRead More →

The chill is still gripping Michigan but you wouldn’t know it from the energetic discussion in Faith Fitness. One of our Faith Fitness members returned from a spiritual development retreat in Hawaii. OK, so we were all a little envious about the warm, balmy location far from the frigid Midwest. However, you and both know that you don’t need an exotic location to achieve spiritual health. And in any case, the real attraction was how our Faith Fitness participant described her transformative experiences. The topic is relevant given that Lent starts next week. It’s hard to believe that Ash Wednesday is just a week away.Read More →

Today is Transfiguration Sunday, a time when we consider Jesus’ true nature and learn about how we can also be transformed by God. If you somehow feel stuck in the spiritual doldrums, this story may light up your day with faith vitality. The story begins with Jesus trekking with three of his followers who are also, presumably, his closest friends (Peter, James and John). The four of these guys were in for a hike up a mountain whose location and name are lost to us today. Jesus had taken trips on, around and on top of all sorts of terrain, and yet these three apostlesRead More →

Today’s Sunday message comes from a closing section of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus quotes from the Old Testament Jewish law and then weaves it into a gospel tour de force. Be advised that the issues discussed are not for the squeamish! The notable theme of conciliation toward enemies distinguishes Matthew 5: 38-48. Jesus refers to Exodus 21:23-24, the “eye for an eye” section known as the law of retribution. Jesus flatly contradicts the law of retribution by saying that people should turn the other cheek and not resist the evildoer (Matthew 5:39). Jesus also speaks about giving freely to those who ask,Read More →

Paul chats with us through one of today’s lectionary readings, that of 1 Corinthians 1:18-37. The focus is Paul’s view of wisdom. Brace yourself, ‘cause at some point I will disagree with our hallowed biblical author. We can trust Paul, but even he is not above criticism. The gist of Paul’s idea is that we should feel good about our humble state. Okay, there’s no necessary problem here. “Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Paul is citing the social insignificance and worldly ignorance ofRead More →

Brrr! It’s cold over here. We’re nearing record lows and the frigid, silent air is freezing ice crystals on my kitchen window. My son Sean is home today due to the cold-related school closure. This means that we are both working from home today and glad that we can still be productive . Faith Fitness has no physical meeting today due to the weather but I’m still covering a topic that we will discuss next Tuesday. One of the oft’ reported statement about Faith Fitness is that we share and care. This means that we not only discuss religious topics but we support one anotherRead More →