We all have a way we interpret and react to the suffering of ourselves and others. We must recognize and resist any temptations to resolve it for others. The truth is, only God knows why He allows the suffering of the innocent; our role as listeners is to point those who are suffering to God, Who is with the broken-hearted. Through us mourning with them and encouraging them to be emotionally authentic with God, our friends are most likely to meet the challenge, be refined, and develop a greater love of God for who He is, and not merely what He does for us. In so doing they become more like Jesus Himself, who is God’s ultimate answer for suffering.
At times we all see ourselves as unimportant, unlovable and too small to matter to anyone of importance. These thoughts typically take us into dark places. Yet, in spite of how we perceive ourselves, we are never insignificant in the eyes of God. Beyond the branches in the air and robes on the path, Palm Sunday announces to Jerusalem and to you “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey.” This is great news – for us and for the world.
You can sometimes tell a lot about a person, from the way they die. Stephen, the “Jesus is Lord” movement’s first martyr, is one of those cases. The narrative of Stephen in Acts 6 and 7 gives us great insight into someone spiritually mature – someone described as “full of grace and power,” “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” and wise beyond his peers. So how is it possible that someone like that would drive the leaders of a nation into a mob frenzy that ends up killing him? The answer is a surprising one: because God was looking for someone to deliver a strong message to his leaders (“your God is too small!”), and in so doing plant the seed of a disciple-making movement beyond the understanding of anyone else living at that time.
Throughout the Bible Jesus is portrayed as The Good Shepherd. In this well-known Psalm, we see many of the benefits of following Christ including living with Him in Heaven for eternity. To receive the benefits, we must see ourselves in the proper perspective and follow Jesus, The Good Shepherd, wherever He leads us.
All of us, no matter our status of faith, encounter times when it seems Jesus is far away. In this post-resurrection account, we find two travelers literally experiencing just that. Suddenly Jesus himself appears and as he walks with them, unbeknownst to them, Jesus listens to their hopes and dreams and disappointment, revealing a pattern […]
King Jesus was born in Bethlehem not Rome. His arrival in this small unnoticed town demonstrates that our king came to shunned places and overlooked people in order to be with and exalt them. Do you ever doubt God’s presence and love? This 4th week of Advent be encouraged, Jesus has come to be with […]
As we discovered last week, receiving God’s grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus leads to a fresh start in a whole new life. Yet, this is just the beginning. After we believe in Jesus, he extends a new invitation, “Abide in me.” To abide means to live in a close continual dependent relationship with our resurrected Christ through the presence of his Holy Spirit who indwells all who put their faith in him. In this message we discover more about this beautiful way of life as well as the rewards for all who rsvp with a “yes” to this incredible invitation.
These four verses are one of those “head-nodders” of scripture. One of these short nuggets that’s easily passed by, because it makes enough sense and sounds familiar enough on the surface, not to feel the need to go deeper. But when we engage Jesus’ words, we find more there than we first realized. Our eyes are the lens through which we perceive reality, and they’re closely connected to our hearts. What we see informs what we serve, and what we serve informs what we see. What we believe leads to what we perceive. What we choose to focus on, leads to what we become. Jesus is the light that our eyes need to be focused on, to expose our own inner darkness, so that we can become wholly bright!
The Prodigal Son just may be the best short story ever told. It’s incredibly concise, yet has both deep sorrow and joy in the midst of scandal and strained relationships. As we look at each of the story’s three characters in succession, it’s obvious that the one thing even more extravagant than the younger son’s self-indulgence, is the Father’s self-sacrificing love. Yet it’s all lost on the older son at the end […]
When heaven is silent we often wonder, “Where is God?” and “Does He care?” Beginning in the mid 400’s BC God’s voice was suspended from Israel and many gave up hope. Yet everything changed in 5 or 6 BC when God announced and then sent His promised Anointed One through a virgin in David’s town. Some received Him, others did not. This message travels from the days of Caesar Augustus to our own because He came not only to be with 1st century Jews but He came to be with you as well.