August 19, 2018
How would our lives change if we lived like everything belongs to God?
I grew up in cattle country. Whenever we would drive anywhere, we could see cattle grazing. And if those cows happened to be grazing on a hillside, my mother would invariably break into song. Do you remember the little chorus, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills?” Great song. But do we really believe it? And do we live as though we believed it? Continue reading
August 12, 2018
Have you ever found yourself in exactly the right place at exactly the right time? Maybe you think that’s the kind of good luck that only happens to other people. But have you ever pulled into the parking lot just as a space was opening up near the door? Or have you ever arrived in the produce aisle just as the clerk was restocking the lettuce? Those are little wins, aren’t they? You happen to be in the right place at the right time.
And sometimes there are bigger wins. A few years ago there was an ad on television that showed a young man on his way to an important job interview. As he was hurrying to catch the bus, he noticed a man struggling to change a flat tire. He looks at his watch, he looks at the bus, and he looks at the older man wrestling with the lug wrench, and he makes a choice. He takes off his jacket, rolls up his shirtsleeves, and grabs the lug wrench. Continue reading
August 5, 2018
We’re starting a message series today called Exponential. When it comes to faith, when it comes to life, when it comes to God’s blessings, we tend to think addition. We want God to add to our lives. But our God thinks multiplication. And God’s version of multiplication is always exponential. When God multiplies, it’s to the “Nth” degree.
Think all the way back to the Garden of Eden. What did God say to Adam and Eve? God said, be fruitful and … multiply. He didn’t say be fruitful and add. He said be fruitful and multiply. Continue reading
July 29, 2018
If you thought this series on Living Like Jesus was going to be a checklist of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ you are probably disappointed by now. Living like Jesus isn’t that simple, is it? We have to look for God in the interruptions and depend on God alone to provide for our needs. When evil seems to be taking over, it’s only by claiming our identity in Christ that we can overcome that evil.
As we learned last week, we have to stay in the boat with Jesus, instead of running ahead to where we think he’s going. And living like Jesus means having gut-wrenching compassion for those who don’t know him. That means allowing ourselves to be touched as the “fringe of his cloak” in order to be Christ’s healing touch in the world.
Today’s reading gives us the final installment of this sixth chapter of Mark. We’re about to move out of the mundane and into the miraculous. Continue reading
July 22, 2018
We’re working our way through the sixth chapter of Mark’s gospel this month, taking a deep look at what it means to live like Jesus. It’s more than just doing what Jesus does, and saying what Jesus says. Living like Jesus means having the same purpose and identifying ourselves completely with Christ. This is an act of continual surrender.
So far, we’ve learned that we need to pay attention to interruptions, because that’s where God often shows up. But sometimes we have to really look for God in order to see God at work. And we have also been reminded to depend completely on God’s provision for us, if we want our lives to be fruitful. Last week, we learned that when evil seems to be winning the battle inside us and in the world around us, the only thing that can save us is finding our identity in Jesus Christ.
Mark likes to insert one story into another, and the story of John the Baptist’s execution last week was one of those insertions. Now Mark brings us back to Galilee, as the disciples return from their preaching expedition. It’s been a good trip, and they are eager to tell Jesus all about it, but they are also really tired. Continue reading
July 15, 2018
Have you ever noticed that bad stuff always seems to happen just when you thought things were great? I’m a pretty optimistic person, but as I get older, I notice myself becoming wary whenever things start going well. I start “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” And I think I know exactly when I started this business of anticipating the worst whenever life was really good. Continue reading
July 8, 2018
It’s time to shop for school supplies already! New school supply lists are fun, but not as much fun as the packing list for summer camp. You have to pack light, because you carry your own pack when you get to camp. You need a flashlight, and a towel, and …. not a lot else, really.
I remember one girl came to summer camp with a duffle bag carefully packed by her mom. It was a five-day-four-night camp, so the mom had packed four changes of clothes for her daughter. A pair of socks, underwear, a T-shirt, and a pair of shorts were all rolled together in four bundles. Continue reading