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...]

From Death & Despair to Vitality & Life

During Bible Study this week, we studied the early church in Ephesus and were surprised to read about new disciples who “[had] not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:1-2) Such a declaration is hard to imagine among Jewish Christians, but reminds us the early church was made up of not only Jewish, but also Gentile believers. The significant role of the Spirit of the Lord … [Read more...]

I Love You, But…

Who among us hasn’t uttered the words, “I love you, but I don’t like your actions?” Parenting seems to bring that statement out a lot. You adore the child God has entrusted to you, yet sometimes cringe at their choices, decisions and actions. It’s easy to turn the gaze inward, and question yourself, thinking, “What did I do wrong? Where did I lead them astray?” And yet we know that … [Read more...]

How Long, O Lord?

You may have heard me share that my two favorite books in the Bible are Leviticus and Lamentations (followed closely by James). Lamentations presents this beautiful dichotomy between the terror and heartache of daily life, and the mercy and love of God. In the midst of describing untold despair, the writer of Lamentations pauses, looks heavenward, and proclaims, “Yet this I call to mind … [Read more...]

Do Not Neglect Your Gift

In a tender exchange between father and son, I witnessed the passing of a baton from one generation to the next - an exchange filled with great hope, anticipation, and sincere prayers for a God-filled future. So intimate was the moment, I felt like I was trespassing; and yet I had been welcomed into the moment, so I sat, watched and learned. So too is our scripture passage from 1 … [Read more...]

Walk in Love

I write this devotion on Election Day, having stood in line at my polling place for almost an hour, and now proudly wearing my “My Vote-My Voice” sticker. Around the nation, American citizens are gathering to cast their vote in local, state and national elections. But regardless what is on your individual ballot, it is the presidential race which has clearly garnered more attention, … [Read more...]