A Surprising Need for Freedom

When Jesus addressed the people of Nazareth in the synagogue he received an unusual reaction. Understandably, they were surprised when he applied a prophetic declaration from Isaiah to himself and in so doing indicated that he was their Messiah. They revealed surprise and wonder, because Jesus had grown up among them. Some of them knewContinue reading “A Surprising Need for Freedom”

Knowing Jesus

How do we know we belong to Jesus? John, whom we also identify as “the Baptist”, was a prophet in the mold of the Old Testament. Theologians consider him to be the last of the Old Testament prophets. In his message to the people he was blunt and even harsh. To the people who cameContinue reading “Knowing Jesus”

What do you do when the truth isn’t credible?

The birth of Jesus recorded in Luke revealed a dilemma for Mary and Joseph; who is Jesus, Mary’s baby? The truth was that Mary had become pregnant, not by Joseph, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. In their world, as today, this is not a credible explanation. This reality left Mary and JosephContinue reading “What do you do when the truth isn’t credible?”

Dealing With Affluence

For those of us who live in the developed world, we have the challenge of dealing with our affluence. It is important for us to recognize the dangerous snare that the so-called American Dream lays out for us. While the American Dream promises comfort and an appearance of security, it has a high cost ofContinue reading “Dealing With Affluence”

Misguided Leadership

Pilate’s condemnation of Jesus reveals what happens when personal interests interfere with the practice of justice. Individuals in power may have more of a desire to maintain or enhance their position, rather than doing what is right or just, because it could conflict with their a desire to maintain or promote their position. It isContinue reading “Misguided Leadership”

Free-Will or Fate

At times people wonder if they truly have free will, whether they make their own decisions or if they are just robots making decisions that fate or a higher power has predetermined. In John’s Gospel we see an incident that gives us a glimpse into how both free-will and a predetermined plan work together. TheContinue reading “Free-Will or Fate”

What is Eternal Life?

Because of the name “eternal life” it is natural to assume that it means simply living forever. The common understanding is that it is life not on earth, but in some beautiful place where we will see all our loved ones who have died before us. We might even imagine that we become angels someday,Continue reading “What is Eternal Life?”

Believe Jesus’ Warning

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus instructed his disciples to watch and pray that they might not fall into temptation, because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Earlier that evening, Jesus had warned Peter that Peter would deny him. However, Peter refused to heed Jesus’ warning. When Jesus told PeterContinue reading “Believe Jesus’ Warning”

Childlike Forgiveness

The topic of forgiveness reveals another example of Jesus’ teaching—that unless we become like children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Children respond to hurt very differently than others who are older. When a small child gets hurt while playing with other children, he or she goes to a person in authority: mommy,Continue reading “Childlike Forgiveness”

Pray Boldly

In the Old Testament, men like Abraham and Moses boldly made assertions to God. In the case of Moses, Scripture informs us that God changed his mind due to his bold prayer, even though God had commanded Moses not to pray for Israel. Moses disobeyed God’s command and prayed that God would not destroy IsraelContinue reading “Pray Boldly”