Jesus’ Hope

Did Jesus hope for anything? We find no mention of it in the Gospels. For me, hope has been the engine moving me forward. I hope for flourishing relationships, fruitful projects, increased supply that frees my time, exciting new adventures. Hopes like these propel me beyond the dutiful and mundane. After experiencing dashed hope fresh […]

Dislocation

One of the most painful experiences is being kicked out of a group. Relationships matter. We need the encouragement of others. We thrive on shared visions, values, experiences, and simple things like food and fun. However, it is not unusual for followers of Jesus to face the pain of separation or dislocation. It happened to […]

Window Shopping

It’s hard to find a balance between making our own plans and waiting for the Lord to arrange things. I tend to feel lazy while waiting, and pushy when pressing on with my own plans. James warned us against being too confident in those plans. Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall […]

Resuscitation or Resurrection?

I guess that most of us, when we talk about resurrection life, mean resuscitation. Let’s face it; we tend to love our lives, with their relationships, dreams, hopes, possessions, health, and so many other facets that give them quality. When part of us dies we want it back—exactly as it was. We have little or […]

The Synagogue Official

Chemical tests are helpful but the results are sometimes unwelcome. Sodium rhodizonate is an example. When it is applied to something containing lead, like older paints, it turns red—helpful to know, because it warns of poison, but potentially expensive to fix. There’s a reaction when Jesus and religion make contact too. It happened with one […]

Possessing Canaan

Twelve men had returned from an inspection of their new home in the hill country of Canaan. It was time to present their report to the extended family and sell the idea of possessing Canaan quickly. However, the men were divided. Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go […]

Swimming in the Purposes of God

Large rivers flow smooth; it is hard to discern the current. The same can be said of the purposes of God. But when we find His current, life takes on a meaning and direction it never had. That was true for the disciples after Jesus rose and sent His Spirit. One example is when Peter […]

Acceptance

The walls lining the road to hell are plastered with Satan’s favorite religious posters and memes. They announce half-truths. One reads, “God loves you just as you are.” In fact, love is bigger than acceptance. Perhaps the most toxic inhibitor of spiritual growth is the idea that God accepts us as we are. It is […]

Reflections of a Fisher of Men

What plans we had when we were younger! We worked all hours on the lake. We saved every spare denarius hoping to buy our next boat. What dreams! A small fleet; dominating the Galilean fishing business; building nice houses; acquiring land for animals, olives and vineyards; enough servants to semi-retire. It all changed that day […]

The Ventriloquist’s Puppet

Spiritual growth goals can become idols. When I long for God to re-order my life to be more fruitful there is a danger that I unconsciously imagine Him saying what I want Him to say. I act like a child on a trail, running ahead of its parent. “Look at this view.” “What pretty flowers!” […]