Being Direct

February 27, 2020

“Where do you want to go eat?” is always a question I have a direct answer to. If I’m with a group and this question arises, I can always be counted on to give a direct answer. The Gospel of Mark cannot be described as being indirect. Words are not wasted. In fact, in some cases, we might wish there were more words. What was Jesus like as a kid? What does Jesus’ family tree look like? What were the circumstances around his birth? There are three more gospels with more of God’s word for us to understand the answers to these questions and more words for us to begin to grasp God’s great love for us through the sending of his only begotten Son.

Surprised by Much?

February 26, 2020

Growing up, my brother Shaughn and I loved spending the night at Mamaw and Papaw’s house. The bedroom we slept in had two single beds. It was an interior room without any windows so it got really dark and I especially loved that! I didn’t need a night light as a kid. I could sleep so deeply in that room...until Sunday morning came and Papaw came in playing the air bugle horn, flipping on all the lights, and yanking the covers off of two squinting grandchildren, gleefully calling us to get up and get ready for church.

Understanding Motivations

February 25, 2020

Paul arrives in Rome and calls the Jewish leaders to meet with him. He knows what has been said about him all throughout his journeys. Rumors spread far and fast. He has heard all of the rumors and slander about why he’s doing what he’s doing. He wants to address any misunderstandings up front so we can then proceed to clarify his purpose and deliver the gospel. Paul clarifies his motivation in the face of what he assumes could be a hostile audience: “It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” The crowd’s response must have been somewhat surprising to Paul. They haven’t received letters or word saying anything bad about him. They are eager to hear what he has to say because they’ve heard a lot of talk about the followers of Jesus.

Faith Under Fire

February 20, 2020

There’s a well-known line J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It reads, ““It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” We can all relate to that statement. It’s much easier to stand up against people who seek to do us harm, but that becomes increasingly difficult with those for whom we have great affection.

Good Stewards

February 17, 2020

Today we are focusing on an important idea, “Your priorities are what you do, not what you say you do.” I can easily make a list of priorities, but it is how I live my life every day that demonstrates what is truly important to me. We are assessing our priorities and values, with the intention of giving God our best.

Big Enough for Everyone

February 15, 2020

The Jews in this passage are pretty determined. They are so eager to kill Paul, that they committed to not eating or drinking until they did so. Forty of them. Forty Jewish men, religious men, trying to follow God, who said, “Thou shall not murder” were seeking to kill a man because he had different beliefs about their faith. Because Paul was teaching others about Jesus and the number of Christians was growing, these forty men of faith felt they had to take Paul out of the equation in order to secure the faith of their fathers.

The Truth

February 13, 2020

Here is the last verse from yesterday’s reading: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” And here is the first verse from today’s reading: The crowd listened to Paul until he said this.

What Shall I Do?

February 12, 2020

Remember from our reading yesterday, Paul had just been beaten by an angry mob, rescued from near death, and chained by military officers. In the midst of being hauled off to jail, he asked to defend himself.

Groupthink

February 11, 2020

When I read these verses, the phrase that comes to mind is “mob mentality.” Paul had been warned that the Jerusalem Jewish Christians had it out for him, because they thought he was dissuading others from following the law of Moses. In fact he was not doing that, he was simply teaching that there was another way, the way of Jesus.

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

February 10, 2020

Paul had been warned by the prophet Agabus that if he went to Jerusalem, he would be handed over to the Gentiles. Paul’s friends begged him not to go, but he would not be deterred, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Following the Spirits

February 6, 2020

The noted philosopher, theologian, and Jesuit Priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. "Today's passage reminds us that the faith journey God is calling all of humanity to, is a spiritual journey that seeks to lead our hearts, imagination, and our spirit back to a "right relationship" with God.

Following the Spirits

February 6, 2020

The noted philosopher, theologian, and Jesuit Priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. "Today's passage reminds us that the faith journey God is calling all of humanity to, is a spiritual journey that seeks to lead our hearts, imagination, and our spirit back to a "right relationship" with God.

The Gift of A Courageous Faith

February 4, 2020

Today's passage reminds us that while Christ's love will transform our lives for a "right relationship" with God, the transformative power of Christ's salvation in our lives will also disrupt and transforms how we live and relate to a world built on conditional love.

A Good Reminder

February 3, 2020

Here we are! It’s Monday morning. A new week of work, school, family, life, and love is before you. So is this scripture. This morning we are taking a look at a scripture that has a clear message of who we are and whose we are.

Who Annoys You?

January 30, 2020

Wow! What a remarkable chain of events that unfolds all because Paul got annoyed! He had had enough. The evil spirit was causing the woman to speak the truth but Paul was hearing the sound of what was said. Paul could hear the tone and inflection. Paul knew the source was evil. Much like the soldiers and crowds mocked Jesus, the way this evil spirit spoke through the woman probably sounded similar and Paul’s patience ran out. He casts out the spirit which then provokes the owners of the woman and the crowds to accuse, beat, and imprison Paul and Silas.