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Spirit of God

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon Christians gathered in Jerusalem and the Church was born. From that point forward, we have understood God's Spirit to be—in some mysterious, unquantifiable way—the animating force that guides, strengthens, and equips God's people to carry on...

Nothing Less

When it comes to hope, so often we either have too little or we place it in the wrong things. Some of us have trained ourselves not to hope, having been disappointed too many times along the way, and some of us have known feelings of despair for too long even to consider the possibility of real...


The Christian church in the United States is living in a kind of exile: after centuries of enjoying social, cultural, and political power and influence, the church increasingly finds itself alienated from the centers of power that it once took for granted. Some see this as a crisis and seek a...


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...

The Christian church in the United States is living in a kind of exile: after centuries of enjoying social, cultural, and political power and influence, the church increasingly finds itself alienated from the centers of power that it once took for granted. Some see this as a crisis and seek a return to the center of American society. But the biblical record—full of experiences of exile—commends a very different approach. Using the book of 1 Peter, and in conversation with Daniel, Esther, and Jonah, this series explores what a creative, constructive, faithful response to our modern exile might look like for the church today.

The Church in Exile

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Audio Video 1 Peter 1:1-2

After the people of God suffer dislocation and exile at the hands of Babylon in the 6th century BCE, exile becomes an important controlling metaphor for how they understand their collective life in a challenging world, even long after they return to their homeland. For the Christian church today, exile remains a useful lens through which to view the challenges of faithful witness in a fast-changing world.

Be Holy

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Audio Video 1 Peter 1:13-23

Part of what it means to be an exile is to navigate the persistent challenge of delineating between “us” and “them.” Exiles hold their distinctiveness in tension with their participation in society, and going too far in either direction can compromise Christian identity and damage Christian witness.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Audio Video 1 Peter 2:2-10

From the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land until the destruction of Jerusalem and beginning of their exile, their identity as a people was tied to place: the Land, the Holy City (Jerusalem), and the Temple. The loss of home and the experience of exile, however, forced Israel to rediscover its identity as no longer rooted in a particular place, but rooted instead in their covenant relationship with God.

Free & Honorable

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Audio Video 1 Peter 2:11-17

How to bear faithful witness in the world to the good news of God's kingdom depends to a great extent on where the church finds itself. Exiles face a unique set of constraints and challenges as they seek to live faithfully. Following the example of Daniel and heeding the words of 1 Peter, the church today can find wise guidance for how to shape our lives in ways that honor others and yet hold fast to the freedom that is ours in Christ.

Ready to Answer

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Audio Video 1 Peter 3:13-22

Exiles who are called to a distinctive way of life are also instructed to be prepared to answer for their distinctiveness—to make a defense of their hope. In a world so often characterized by thin and misplaced hopes, our readiness as the church to declare our unique hope is critical to our witness and essential to faithfulness.

Stewards of Grace

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Audio Video 1 Peter 4:1-11

At the end of the day, the life of a Christian exile is oriented in a very particular direction: toward the world. In the story of Jonah and some of the closing remarks of 1 Peter, this orientation becomes inescapably clear.