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There are stories about Jesus that we love to hear and to tell—stories of surprising compassion and radical love—and then there are those stories that don’t jibe with Jesus as we ordinarily imagine him. These stories present Jesus in a way that can be difficult for us to incorporate into the larger...

Home for the Holidays

Each of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—approaches the story of Jesus in a unique way and with a different purpose and audience in mind. Entering into the world that each of these storytellers creates is like walking into someone’s home and encountering sights, sounds, and smells...

Ephesians: Salvation for Service

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is less anchored in the actual circumstances of a particular faith community than some of Paul’s other letters are. Instead, Ephesians reads almost like a sermon, with Paul hitting head-on some of the most important theological issues of the early...

Holy Habits

Devout Christians have long sought after something called “holiness.” We have misunderstood this pursuit as a striving toward perfection, which is obviously out of our reach in this life. Holiness is better understood as spiritual strength or fortitude, and our spirits are not made strong...

Upside Down

Life in the midst of a global pandemic is not at all what we have come to expect it to be. In fact, it feels in some very significant ways that the world itself has been turned upside-down. This is disorienting and disconcerting. It changes our outlook, our actions, and our relationships. And it...

Grace in the Wilderness

The prophet Jeremiah declares that the people of God "found grace in the wilderness" (Jer. 31:2). Although Israel's years of wandering were filled with challenges, the wilderness was where God shaped them and where God's abundant grace was made manifest to them. We are living through our own kind...


Before the particular history of the people of Israel begins in earnest with God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12, there is another history—a prehistory. The stories of Genesis 1-11 which make up this prehistory are origin stories: stories that invite us to think about why the world is the way that...

Maundy Thursday 2020

Everyone Will Know Thursday, April 9, 2020

Last Words

When the four gospel accounts are combined, Jesus speaks seven times from the cross, commonly referred to as the "Seven Last Words" of Christ. During the weeks of Lent we take a careful look at these important sayings of Jesus, spoken in his dying moments. In so many ways, they distill not only...

20/20 Vision

Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light" (Matt. 6:22). At the start of a new year and a new decade, it's a good time to get our (spiritual) vision checked. Are we seeing things clearly, or has our vision been blurred, blocked, or...

(Not Yet) Advent

"Advent" means arrival, and in the life of the church Advent marks a very special arrival: that of the Christ child, born to a poor family in a rural backwater of the Roman Empire. But the fact that Jesus has already arrived is only half of the story—the "already" of Advent is balanced by a deep...

"Advent" means arrival, and in the life of the church Advent marks a very special arrival: that of the Christ child, born to a poor family in a rural backwater of the Roman Empire. But the fact that Jesus has already arrived is only half of the story—the "already" of Advent is balanced by a deep and resounding "not yet." As we look at our lives, at the church, and at the world, we see evidence all around that God's work is not yet done. And so Advent points us beyond the fact that Jesus has already arrived to a second arrival that we have not yet witnessed: that of the kingdom of God, the completion of God's work in our lives and in the world.

(Not Yet) Fulfilled

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Audio Video  Isaiah 2:1-5 & Matthew 24:36-44

Advent is a time that we often look to the words of prophets in scripture and point to ways that these words have been fulfilled in Jesus. Not as often, though, do we point to the ways that these words still have yet to be fulfilled in the world.

(Not Yet) Whole

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Audio Video Isaiah 11:1-10 & Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist arrives on the scene with a brazen call to repent and be baptized. There was fire in his tone and urgency in his voice. It is hard for us today to grasp that urgency, and very easy to ignore the need for true repentance. Advent can be a wake-up call for the church: a time to remember our need to repent, to be made whole, and to turn our hearts toward God's coming kingdom.

(Not Yet) Enough

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Audio Video  Isaiah 35:1-10 & Matthew 11:2-11

Israel was waiting for so much more than a Messiah; they were awaiting God's decisive action on their behalf. But when they assumed that God's action would serve Israel's narrow benefit, they failed to grasp the full scope of God's work. When the church adopts a similarly narrow focus—assuming that God's work in the world is (or should be) for the church's good—we miss the expansiveness of God's grace and the broad intention of God's coming kingdom.

(Not Yet) Overcome

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Audio Video Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 & Matthew 1:18-25

This world is not perfect by any measure—it remains full of strife and pain and sin, in spite of the fact that Jesus has defeated the power of sin and death. So what gives? We find our answer to this question as we consider the means of Jesus's arrival and the purpose for which he came.

(Not Yet) Here

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Audio Video Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 & Luke 2:1-20

The Christ child has arrived, Jesus is here. But Jesus is at the very same time not yet here. This puts us in a challenging in-between, living in darkness but aching for the light that we have glimpsed, the light that we know is coming. The good news of Christmas is more than an ancient arrival; it is a promise.