Life in the Valley of Death (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Life in the Valley of Death (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Not only does the Spirit/Breath enter and enliven the bones littered on that valley floor when Ezekiel, at the Lord's invitation, invites Him to do so. The Spirit of the Lord puts Ezekiel on that valley floor to begin with. The Spirit, you see, is in the business of taking what should not be able to live and to cause it to thrive. 

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Changed for the Better (Acts 10:34-48)

Changed for the Better (Acts 10:34-48)

We can only imagine the suspicions, fears, and prejudices that would have kept Romans and the local folks of the country they occupied apart. But the Gospel of Christ changed both [Peter and Cornelius]...for the better. First, through Peter, drawn by God to bring a message of life to Cornelius, this foreigner receives the Life-giving Spirit of God and is washed in the water of new birth. But the risen Jesus, Lord of the nations, changes Peter too. Before the encounter is complete, Peter sees the bond between all people that the Gospel of life makes possible: "I understand now that God shows no partiality" he confesses (10:34). All people are to be changed by the One who was crucified, but now lives! All are to know and to live in His love...and be changed for the better in the process. 

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In the Hands of the Healer (Acts 3:11-21)

In the Hands of the Healer (Acts 3:11-21)

The truly Good News is that no matter what diagnosis our earthly doctors give us right here and now, no matter what measure of physical or emotional pain we might be dealing with today...the prognosis for all who place themselves in the hands of the Great Physician is sure. In Jesus, our sins are forgiven. 

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Sons and Daughters of Encouragement (Acts 4:32-37)

Sons and Daughters of Encouragement (Acts 4:32-37)

The early church was not always a place of perfect harmony, but testimony to the Christ who on the third day "rose again, from the dead" bound the people of God to one another and to those in need who were close at hand. By God's abundant grace they gathered to pray together.  By God's unexpected mercy, they broke bread together. And by God's sufficient provision, they devoted what they had to one another, sharing where they could so that no one might be without.  As they engaged what really mattered in the game of life they became sons and daughters of encouragement for one another. The risen Christ at work in and among them meant that they would never be alone. 

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Processing (Mark 16:1-8)

Processing (Mark 16:1-8)

There is no right way or wrong way to leave an empty tomb. Today we simply look to the Lord of life with grateful hearts that the tomb is empty! Whether you are still processing..or are inclined to let loose with a loud "Alleluia!"...let's all give thanks to God today for the gift of life which is ours in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

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How Can This Be Happening? (Mark 14:1-15:49)

How Can This Be Happening? (Mark 14:1-15:49)

Jesus didn't ask the "how" question. But as he took on the weight of the world's guilt...as he received the punishment for human sin that he in no way deserved he DID ask the "why" question: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" He didn't get an answer from heaven that day. The world he came to rescue DID get an answer three days later.

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When Nobody Notices (Mark 10:35-45)

When Nobody Notices (Mark 10:35-45)

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once called the need to be appreciated, the need to be served, the need to be big and important "the drum major instinct." While there is nothing wrong with having ambition or wanting to be leave one's mark behind in the world, in our text for this Sunday Jesus famously invites his disciples to aspire to something better than being noticed as the leaders of the pack. "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all" (10:44).

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Something Even Better than "My Favorite Things" (John 3:14-22)

Something Even Better than "My Favorite Things" (John 3:14-22)

Life lived looking up, life lived in the light of God is better even than distracting ourselves with our "favorite things." But living in the light of God and the forgiveness that is ours in Christ will make whiskers on kittens and schnitzel with noodles (whatever that is) even better! Let's stop looking down and keep looking up during this season of Lent, as we give thanks for God's gift of life in Christ. 

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Healed for "Running" the Race (1 Cor. 9:24; Mk 1:29-31)

Healed for "Running" the Race (1 Cor. 9:24; Mk 1:29-31)

St. Paul invokes the language of athletic competition in his letter to the church at Corinth. With the Superbowl on Sunday and the Winter Olympics starting up in PyeongChang, Korea next week, it’s a timely image. “Do you not know,” St. Paul encourages the church at Corinth, “that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you might win it.”

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Grace and the Single Christian (1 Cor 7:29-35)

Grace and the Single Christian (1 Cor 7:29-35)

Jesus’ arrival in our lives means that every variety of love we experience now…as wonderful as it can be…is not all there is. Let’s all accept one another (and ourselves) for whatever status God has in mind for us for our present season of life. Married…or not…we rejoice that we are disciples of one who calls us into community as brothers and sisters of the Son of the living God.    

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The Hands of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

The Hands of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

In discussing a new tool purchased by the church for videoconferencing, our Stephen Ministers declined using the service because “it was much better to talk face to face.” So it is, I thought to myself. Stephen Ministers pray with their care receivers, laugh and cry with them, listen to whatever they want and need to talk about (always committed to guarding confidentiality!) but uphold them as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are PHYSICALLY present with them. That’s not something we can easily take for granted in this virtual, on-line world in which we live.

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Light that Dawns This New Year (Luke 2:32)

Light that Dawns This New Year (Luke 2:32)

Will this be the year that we get a handle on that anger? On that unhealthy habit? Will this be the year we get that anxiety under control? If so, perhaps religion and faith can help. We all want serenity, and we want it now! And while there is nothing wrong with setting a goal and striving to meet it, God wants more for us than a shortcut to serenity that relies on our efforts and coincides with one day of the calendar.

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