For most of us in this room, I imagine, there is an unhealthy form of family first. From positions of privilege, with relatively unlimited resources at our disposal, we can make family the center of our universe. We can turn family, which God created to be a good thing, into the very reason for our existence. The dangers is when we make family first our religion - when we treat family AS our mission.Read More
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The people who did answer mostly said that the commandment they knew was: “God helps those who help themselves.” That phrase is no where in the Bible, but most Americans think it is. It’s this idea that my good destiny, my good fortune, my good reality is really up to me. Sure, God will help me too - but ultimately, I have to get the ball rolling first. And if that’s true, the opposite is also true - anything bad that happens to me is really my fault.Read More
It seems that the Bible supported some pretty horrible practices throughout history. So all of us in this room must either be horrible people that support cruel and inhumane practices, or we don’t actually think the Bible supports those practices. But you can’t really know what it says until you read it and understand what you are reading.Read More
Devotion isn’t about emotional or passionate attachment. It’s about a commitment to meeting together anyway. It’s about staying close to God and God’s people, about syncing up our heartbeats together regularly. It’s about reminding ourselves over and over that when it comes to the most vital thing in life - our God - we’re not alone, even if we’re alone everywhere else in the world.Read More
All told, many of us spend a good portion of our lives exploring and re-exploring our identity, and at each turn or transition, it’s easy to find ourselves asking this question again...Who am I?Read More
We’ve been preaching through the gospel of Mark and today is pretty exciting because we’ve reached a turning point. This passage is the hinge on which the whole gospel turns. The fundamental pivot point centers on the question that dominates the gospel: Who is Jesus?Read More
But in every city, in every country, in every culture the world has ever known there are those things we just kind of…get used to. Maybe we don’t see them after awhile, or if we do, they start to feel normal, even ok. Social divisions. Gender gaps. Racism. Injustice. Fear. They’re monsters, walking around our cities. And lots of us just kind of feel powerless to change them. So, we don’t. We accept them. We live among them. They become normal after a while. And when this is how we approach the seedy systems of our city, and the world? Everything kind of stays the same as it’s always been. Monsters become normal. But what if God is inviting us to do something about it?Read More
And so here, now, before this woman, Jesus enacted for his disciples the logical conclusion of that form of exclusionary tribalism. It’s kind of a “here’s what this actually looks like when the theory is confronted with real life” moment.Read More
The world seemed to be against them in that moment. As much as they tried to strain and fight, they couldn’t seem to get where they wanted to go. And so many of us, when we look at our lives, at our world, the wind seems to be against us too. We try and we try to get out of debt and we just can’t. We try and we try to find a home to live in and we just can’t. We try and we try to lose weight, get healthy, make the grade and we just can’t. We try to make the relationship work and we just can’t. Everything we do to climb out, make the break, make things work, and it just doesn’t. Everything we do to try and better our lives, to get out of the storm, and over and over, we get shoved back to where we started, or further back. The wind is against us. We just can’t catch a break…Read More