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Pondering how you live and what you are spending your time on is a worthwhile practice. Jesus teaches us that since it is so easy to get off track and get bogged down by all the wrong things, it's good to reassess and make necessary changes when we sense something is either missing or out of balance. The text is Matthew 25. It's the first Sunday of…
 
Unsurprisingly, healing people was a big part of what Jesus did in the short time he spent here on the earth. He healed people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I think it's safe to say that whatever brokenness we have, God desires to address the multiple levels of brokenness in our lives and our world. In today's teaching, Jesus reminds us…
 
It makes little difference to Jesus which side of the line we put ourselves on. We all know people who are quick to give their opinions whether we want them or not. We also know people who are so quiet we have no idea what they think. Some of us chastise ourselves because we should have spoken up, while others cringe when they play back a conversat…
 
A true authentic spiritual life leads to inner freedom, Jesus teaches. This kind of inner freedom draws out the very best of us. From experience, we know we don't suddenly get freed up from all our fears, anxieties, and bad habits overnight. However, Jesus insists, "I've come that you might have life," and it's a better life than we ever dreamed po…
 
We criticize others because we are impatient. We don't tolerate those who behave differently from us. We expect people to act as we would, and when they don't, we become angry. Getting stuck in the endless loop of criticism and anger is easy. It often begins in small ways, but before long, it takes on a life of its own. Jesus addresses criticism in…
 
Yes, it is possible to live without resentment, Jesus teaches. You have what it takes to learn how to live without carrying around a lot of past offenses, betrayal, and disappointment. It's about learning how to use your faith to propel you forward. Life was challenging for the first listeners, who complained they needed more faith. More faith isn'…
 
Jesus, on several occasions, teaches about the reality of finding ourselves lost. It's no surprise to God we find ourselves in situations and messes we cannot fix. We may feel spiritually lost, without a place to belong, and with people who don't know us. We may be in circumstances that cut us off from joy. Sometimes, we make choices that lead us i…
 
We are living in times of unprecedented change. Sometimes it feels like everything is spinning out of control. "Hold on to that image," Jeremiah the prophet would remind us, because the Divine Potter has a hand in all of this. Any kind of massive change may certainly feel out of our control but there is One shaping us and guiding us through it all.…
 
Trouble in the family or conflict at work or with friends? The division is necessary and expected. Jesus taught that if you are committed to living a life of integrity (wholeness) and being true to yourself you will divide away from anything or anyone that hinders you from moving ahead. Growth of any kind often causes division. The text is Luke 12 …
 
Trusting God has nothing to do with being some kind of goodie-two shoes, Jesus teaches. Off course, you will make mistakes and sometimes they will be massive ones but that doesn't mean you are not a person of great faith. Trust moves ahead despite fears and mistakes and takes the next step. That's great faith. Hebrews 11. Pod 140…
 
Money is not the problem for most of us, Jesus teaches. Greed is the problem and we can be unaware of it. When we lack contentment and always want just a little bit more, when we spend our time and energy pursuing more, chances are, greed is urging us forward. Today we look at Jesus' wisdom on money and possessions in the Parable of the Rich Fool. …
 
Have you ever wondered if your prayers make any difference? Today, we look at Jesus' advice when he is asked by a student, "Teach us how to pray." If we look at prayer as a way to guide God into acting, Jesus' corrects our understanding and reminds us God doesn't need help knowing what we need. Prayer isn't about encouraging God to do anything. Pra…
 
It's bound to happen. There will come a time when you are rejected, misunderstood, or criticized. How do you deal with that? Will you react with anger and hostility, or will you respond by staying on track? It's easy to be derailed by the wrong people. Jesus teaches James and John and us a better way to respond when people come against us or don't …
 
Nicodemus thinks that his religion is all about rule-following. "No," Jesus said, that's not enough, and it will never bring you peace. Trying to do the right thing doesn't change you; what changes you is developing a trusting relationship with God. Trust is the foundation for transformation and inner change. Nicodemus tried to live a good life; he…
 
A part of spiritual maturity is learning to speak the truth even if people disagree and criticize you. It's not easy because sometimes it's easier not to get involved. Today, we look at the life of the first followers of Jesus, who model for us a courageous boldness when speaking out truths that need to be said. The text is Acts 2. The day is Pente…
 
Yes, my life might be a drop in the ocean, but Jesus says, "Your life is a world changer, Oh and by the way, it's really not all up to you; It's the Holy Spirit that changes your life; those around you, your circumstances, and the world." Don't get bogged down by asking the wrong questions. The first task is learning how to wait. The text is the Bo…
 
Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice; they don't follow the stranger's voice." Following Easter, the disciples/students of Jesus had to learn how to listen in a new way. Jesus would no longer be there to guide them in face-to-face conversation. Like us, the first students had to figure out what is God's leading and why is my idea? Today our topic is…
 
Like most emotional/spiritual healing, it takes time to forgive yourself. If we get stuck, you can be sure the Spirit of God has a way of getting our attention so we can carry on the process of finding complete freedom. Today, we look at Peter after he failed Jesus, and we listen in on their conversation. The conversation gives us insight into how …
 
It took more than an empty grave to help Jesus' first followers to believe he was alive after he died on the cross. No one was convinced that the open grave was good news. Jesus had to go out looking for the disciples, and everyone needed different things to help them trust. Isn't that the same as us? No one found Jesus; he found them. The same is …
 
Jesus was never hesitant about discussing his death. The disciples thought it would be disastrous if Jesus died, but God had another plan. The only way to get to life is through death. It's the same in our lives—Jesus models what happens in death. We have to learn how to release it before we can receive it. Matthew 12:38-42…
 
One of Jesus' closest friends, Mary, never let the disapproval of others hold her back. She moved ahead despite people's misunderstandings and criticism. Mary didn't feel the need to defend herself. She was too busy doing what she knew she should be doing. We can learn a lesson here when tempted to protect ourselves or our actions. Text John 12:1-1…
 
Even when we want to move ahead and begin something new, take another direction, or make a significant life change, sometimes our sense of inadequacy stops all forward movement. Simon Peter (JC's right-hand man) would say, "Yes, I had that, but you have to push beyond it." Feeling insecurely unqualified for the task is part of the experience. Faith…
 
Learning how to love has got to be one of the hardest life lessons as we follow Christ. However, loving well doesn't mean we will not offend others. The response of Jesus' listeners to his first teaching made them so furious they wanted to hurl him off a cliff. Jesus infuriated people because he insisted on telling the truth. Love never compromised…
 
I think the Holy Spirit is the most neglected aspect of God, Jesus; we have heard of, God, yes, we have an idea about God, but the Spirit not so much. It's intriguing to note that Jesus didn't begin his teaching, healing, or outreach of any kind until he was sure the Spirit-empowered Him. Today we are looking at Jesus' baptism and the difference Sp…
 
If you have trouble trusting, God you are in good company. From the beginning chapters of the Bible throughout the book, people tend to question, argue, doubt, and even laugh at God's promises. Today we look at Zechariah's story, which indeed must confirm that God has a sense of humor. This teaching will begin the Christmas series, part 2, next wee…
 
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