If you've ever been touched by someone who committed suicide, you know that it leaves more questions than answers. More pain than peace. And unfinished grief that lasts a lifetime. In today's message, we hear God's vision for Jesus spoken over him just before Jesus himself was tempted by Satan to commit suicide. God said, "You are my Son. Whom I love. And with you I am well pleased."
Epiphany is when we celebrate the magi who came seeking Baby Jesus born King of the Jews. Around 200 AD, folklore made them three kings according to the number of gifts they brought. But in reality, these were Persian astrologers, astronomers, and scientists familiar with both the Jewish prophecies about the Messiah’s birth and uncommon astrological occurrences believed to indicate the birth of a new king. Interesting how these pagan seekers fo
Throughout this Christmas season, I have been struck by the word wonder in the Christmas story. Joseph wondered. Elizabeth wondered. Mary wondered. And the shepherds wondered. In other words, they were each curious about the Good News of Jesus' birth which the Angel Gabriel had told them. Wonder simply means that they didn’t have to have everything sorted out or set about what they believed. They simply n
We all need encouragement. When Mary was newly pregnant with Jesus, she had her older cousin Elizabeth who was also six months pregnant with John the Baptist. The story tells us that upon greeting Mary at her doorstep, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She welcomed Mary in such a way that encouraged her in the way she needed most. Sometimes, the way we experience God in others is through the way they act as encouragers in our
Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive earthly father, was a righteous man. This meant that he lived faithfully according to the Old Testament Law. More importantly, however, he was also a man after God’s own heart. So when he was confronted with the news that his fiancé, Mary, was pregnant through the Holy Spirit and by him, he had to choose between being right or doing right. With God’s help through th
When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would give birth to Jesus, she was very afraid. But differently than Zechariah, Joseph, and the Shepherds, we see how her response was one that opened up the possibility of God working in and through her. She wondered...
Anyone who has done any work on their genealogy knows that sometimes we can come across some juicy stories in our past, good, or bad. The same is true when we dive into Jesus’ genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew includes the stories of a deceiver, a prostitute, an adulterer, and a virgin, each of whom God used to birth the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Isn’t it great that God has room for every story in his family and can use even the wo
"Leave no trace behind" might be a good mantra while wilderness hiking on a trail, but it doesn’t relate well to the trail of life. Everyone will leave a legacy for those who will follow us in life, good or bad. The Apostle Paul was very concerned about the spiritual legacy that he was leaving behind for Timothy, his young protege. One last time, he encouraged Timothy to keep the main thing the main thing…Jesus Christ crucified, dead, bur
If it were our last days on earth and we knew that our loved ones were in theological peril, what would we say to them? Of what would we want them to be absolutely certain? That’s where we find the Apostle Paul with his charge to Timothy, his spiritual son. Paul exhorted Timothy that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ was different from the those of imposters because it reflected what Paul taught, professed, believed, and lived. And his characte
As the Apostle Paul endured his final imprisonment in Rome, he dreamt of what the Church in Ephesus could become. In this week’s text from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, we hear words of encouragement to Timothy regarding the sort of Christian leadership that would be required for the church to thrive.