Persecution…or Opportunity?

Have you ever faced persecution? Real persecution? Unless you’ve spent time living overseas as a local in a creative access country, the answer is most likely “no”. We like to throw the term “persecution” around a lot these days. The checker at Walmart doesn’t wish us Merry Christmas. Our nephew’s elementary school performs a “Winter Concert” and sings “Frosty the Snowman” instead of … [Read more...]

What do you want me to do for you?

Imagine if Jesus came to you and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” What would you answer? How would you respond? Would you have to pause and think about it? Would you need to get back to him? Or would you immediately know? Would your response come easily? Would the answer be the very thing you’ve been praying about for weeks - months - years - or even decades? In the story … [Read more...]

Hearing from Prophets

Imagine being the wife of the prophet Isaiah. The wife of the man who tradition suggests was sawed in two by King Manasseh. What might you have said to him when he came home after a long day at work? “Isaiah - the people and leaders - they’re not happy, Isaiah. Hold back, Isaiah. Don’t speak so strongly, Isaiah. Say something easier to hear, Isaiah. You’re a father and husband. I need … [Read more...]

Good Friday Thoughts….from the Thief

Condemned to die and hanging on a cross. Hoisted upon two wooden boards and on display for crowds to mock and ridicule. An excruciating and shameful way to die, but truth be told, a fitting ending for the life of evil and crime I had led. My final moments took place at Golgotha - the place of the skull. I never could have imagined that at this very place - surrounded by death, pain, … [Read more...]

In the Steps of Moses…

If you hear the word “leprosy” you might think of stories of Jesus healing leprous individuals in the gospels. You would be right, but there are several other interesting stories of leprosy in scripture, including one in Numbers 12. If we read carefully, these fifteen verses are fascinating, humorous, and challenging. Let’s dig in: Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of … [Read more...]

Overcoming the Goat Curse

I’ve always been a fan of the underdog. Radically so. Even to the point of sometimes switching allegiances because “my team” was playing against the underdog team. Whether it’s because they’re the underdogs, or simply a best-loved team, or some other reason, the Cubs seemed to become America’s sweetheart team in last fall's World Series. Before the World Series of 2016, I hadn’t … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Perspective on the Temple: A Reconsideration in Light of his Jewish Context

Introduction Broadly considering Jesus within his first-century context, a picture arises of him as an apocalyptic prophet heralding the Kingdom of God, Jesus maintained a positive view of the Temple while concurrently participating in the Temple cult, critiquing its corrupted practices, and reconstituting its central role and exclusive stance toward others. Jesus challenged the Temple … [Read more...]

Becoming Great by Becoming Small

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Who said that? If you’re a Harry Potter fan like many of my children, you probably recognize this quote from a conversation between Sirius Black and Hermione Granger in The Goblet of Fire. Sirius was not the first to originate this idea, as many before him said similar things. … [Read more...]

Worshiping – No Matter the Circumstances

It was a beautiful night. Over 100 hundred gathered - from every denomination - from every generation - from across Indiana - and together we worshiped the living God - the good, good Father - the Lord of all. At times during the simulcast of Worship Night in America, one couldn’t hear the recorded voices from the speakers because the live voices in the Church drowned them out. People … [Read more...]