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As followers of Jesus it is easy to feel conflicted about wealth. How much is too much? Am I supposed to sell all my possessions? Is it is a sin to be rich? As a human creation, money easily takes the place of God in our lives as we look to it for our worth and security. But in the end, money is uncertain and unreliable and when we make it our life…
 
When Jesus teaches us to pray he tells us to long for the reality of heaven here on earth. What he doesn’t tell us to ask for is to escape earth so we can go to heaven. When we see that we are called to be citizens, ambassadors, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven here on earth we begin to see that our hope is not to leave this place but to set up o…
 
The gifts of humility, contentment, and trust are best received in the wilderness, but they are easily forgotten in the Promise Land. Moses’ last words to the Israelites can be summed up simply as “remember." He warns them of the dangers that come with forgetting where they came from and who brought them there: pride, entitlement, and self-reliance…
 
When the Israelites find themselves on the threshold of the Promise Land they are faced with the decision to trust God and move forward or to reject God and head back to Egypt. Their threshold moment helps us understand our own, what to do when we are headed into unknown territory and there are giants all around. We can be on the lookout for God’s …
 
Impatience, inconvenience and influence can often lead us to taking matters into our own hands and finding our own way forward, apart from God. The idols of our lives seem to offer certainty, comfort, and control, much like the golden calf did for the Israelites at Mount Sinai. But when we really step back and see them for what they are, we realize…
 
When people decide to follow Jesus, they are set free from the bonds of sin and death and given a new identity. But much like the ancient Israelites who wandered in the wilderness, Christ followers often find themselves taking one step forward and two steps back. They praise and then forget. They trust and then question. They might even wonder if G…
 
God’s rescue of the Israelites out from captivity in Egypt is the defining narrative of Israel. But freedom from bondage required more than just leaving Pharaoh’s territory, God also had to set them free from the mindset and fear imposed by Pharaoh as well. The Israelites show us that even when God shows up in miraculous ways it is still hard to tr…
 
Living in the wisdom of God might seem foolish to some, kind of like relying on a kid sheriff who rides into town on a tortoise. Yet Paul tells us that even God’s most foolish-looking plan is wiser than any human plan. We see God’s wisdom most fully in the message of the cross, even if it is a stumbling block to some or folly to others.…
 
Life is full of bears, whether we go looking for them or they find us. When we face suffering in our lives it is tempting to try to go over it or duck under it, but in the end we simply have to go through it. But Paul reminds us that even in the midst of suffering we can glory in God’s goodness and love. We have to go through it, but we don’t have …
 
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” When we hear this challenge from Jesus it is natural to think that God is displeased when we make mistakes. Yet fear of mistakes leads us to excuse, blame, and hide. Instead, when we know God’s perfect love for us first, we are able to love ourselves and others even when we mess up.…
 
When we experience a break in relationship it is easy to go either go on the offensive or defensive, but either option leaves us more estranged. Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation, meaning it is His mission to restore and renew broken relationships of all kinds. As we learn to leave or corners and step in towards one another we can l…
 
The resurrection of Jesus was a cosmic victory that defeated death, dealt the fatal blow to evil, and ushered in the new reality of the Kingdom of God. Yet it is not enough to know the power of the resurrection in general. Like Peter, we need to experience it personally as well. Only then can we move from relying on what we can do for God to trusti…
 
We all have grand ideas of who we think we should be, and we all have moments when we come face-to-face with how far we fall short of that. Peter was convinced that he would be faithful above all the other disciples, but when it came down to it he denied Jesus when it counted the most. His failure left him distraught with grief and shame, but Jesus…
 
Throughout his time as a disciple, Peter made plenty of mistakes. His human failings were included by the Gospel writers to teach that even though Peter was flawed, Jesus still continued to reveal more of himself to him. This is great news for us. Though we make mistakes and even go so far as to undermine God’s plans, he still loves us and uses us …
 
Just because something looks right on the outside doesn’t mean that it is right in the inside. When we settle for poor substitutions in place of God we find ourselves dissatisfied and longing for more. The state of our heart is always revealed through our thoughts and actions. When we learn to treasure the right things the intent of our heart follo…
 
Too often what we think is self-awareness is actually just self-centeredness. When we lose sight of God it is easy to rush the future or carry the past into the present, and in doing so we can sabotage the good thing God has for us. Only when we increase our God-awareness can we increase our self-awareness, and then we can attend to the present wit…
 
It is far too easy to find ourselves overwhelmed by life because we have said yes to too many good things that aren’t always the right things. When obligation drives our decisions we can feel burdened, anxious and, resentful. But Jesus wants us to choose the best thing first, and promises that all other things will flow from that.…
 
Jesus wants more for you than sin has to offer, but he can’t want it FOR you. Choosing the life available to us in Christ requires surrender and sacrifice. Jesus shows us that we will lose our lives one way or another, and we get to choose what that looks like. When we accept all that God wants for us we move from self-preservation to self-giving l…
 
In a world that is obsessed with self-improvement it is easy to believe that you need to change in order to be acceptable. And unfortunately the church has reinforced this mindset more than not. But Jesus shows us that God’s love is unconditional and he delights in you just as you are, no matter where you find yourself in life. His radical acceptan…
 
When bad circumstances come our way we too easily we believe that God must be behind them in order to punish us or teach us a lesson. It’s easy to assume that God is keeping score and just waiting to give you what you deserve. But Jesus shows us that when we assume God is more concerned about the rules than anything else we are often blinded to his…
 
Don’t settle for less. Make sure you get what you’re worth. When it comes to work we look or recognition and reward to assess if we are valued. It is easy to be dissatisfied and long for the land of opportunity or resentfully stay out of obligation. Bt when we start with grace our entire perspective on work shifts, and we can stop focusing on what …
 
Whether it is finding the right friends, settling down with the right partner, or having the right number of children, we all look to our relationships to bring us happiness. And when we don’t feel happy it is easy to assume that we simply have the wrong relationships. But what if happiness is the wrong goal? What if relational contentment came not…
 
What would you do if you had just a little bit more money? Do you always feel like financial contentment is just out of reach? Most of us feel like all we need is just a bit more than we have to get ahead. But Jesus tells us financial contentment is less and matter of money and more a matter of heart. Changing what we love can make all the differen…
 
The Reformation brought about the most dramatic and well-known correction movement in church history us back to Scripture and Jesus over doctrine. Yet it still made many of the same old mistakes - compromise, violence, and separation. How is the reformation still unfinished, and what does it look like to bring about correction for the church today?…
 
From the crusades to the inquisition, there is no denying that the church has done terrible things in the name of Jesus. Whenever the church has justified violence as a means to an end it has become a tool for evil in the world. How did the church stray so far from Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies and forgive those who persecute us? And how can …
 
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Once the church was free from the fear of persecution it was able to unleash a charitable movement the world had never seen. However it also was left susceptible to the corrupting influence of politics and power, resulting in division, infighting, and vying for control. How can the church today recapture…
 
In the 2nd and 3rd centuries the Church faced great persecution from without, but it also faced grave dangers from within. The libertines and the legalists that the apostles had warned about had organized into Gnostics/Marcionites and Ebionite/Montanists. These movements within the Church threatened to displace Jesus from the center of the faith. T…
 
Jesus said that the world will recognize his disciples by how they love another. But truthfully, the church hasn’t always lived up to this calling. While the early church survived against all odds, today’s church has every advantage and yet is rapidly diminishing. How can we become an irresistible church once again?…
 
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