Lost BUT Found (Luke 15:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Lost BUT Found (Luke 15:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Can you be lost, but found, at the same time?… I’m referring to being “lost” when left to our own devices yet being “found” because of God’s mercy to us through God’s Son Jesus Christ, and so “lost but found, AT THE SAME TIME.” I’m referring to an attitude where we live out each day like a sheep that has just wandered into a thicket, a coin that has just rolled behind a dresser, yet experiences the joy of its owner who celebrates upon finding it and holds it close.

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A Place at the Table (Luke 14:1-14)

A Place at the Table (Luke 14:1-14)

Through eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus, connected with God’s Word and therefore “in, with, and under” ordinary bread and wine, we are gathered together in a community of forgiven sinners who experience the love of God together. The difference that makes is that in Jesus we truly do belong. Not in some abstract, philosophical, Hallmark-greeting-card sort of way. No, in Jesus we truly belong to the Triune God of the universe and to one another, all the people we see with our own eyes gathered around the Table of the Lord this Sunday, eating the Lord’s Supper together with us…and all the people around the world or who have gone before us, who do or have done the same.

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Narrow Door, Wide Mercy (Luke 13:22-30)

Narrow Door, Wide Mercy (Luke 13:22-30)

Jesus had a way of always seeing the proverbial “question behind the question.” In today’s text (you can read it by clicking here), He is confronted with a worthy question: “Will those who are saved be few?” But Jesus has no qualms about zeroing in on the REAL (though unstated) question behind the question, a question which may be something like, “What does being received and welcomed into Your kingdom mean for ME?”

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Fire...That Does NOT Consume (Jeremiah 23:16-29; Luke 12:49-53)

Fire...That Does NOT Consume (Jeremiah 23:16-29; Luke 12:49-53)

Jesus’ brand of peace involves truth that can be painful, conversations that must involve loving confrontation, and interventions that may be unwelcome. It is never an “easy” peace. This week we pray for an abundant measure of God’s mercy that each of us might honestly repent of the sins that God’s Law uncovers in us. But as people living in Christ, we also receive the blessing of a fire that burns, but does not consume…a Word of promise that sets us ablaze. May it empower us speak the truth in love (and testify to it by our actions) to a world in need this week!

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Consider the Ravens...and the Lilies (Psalm 147; Luke 12:22-34)

Consider the Ravens...and the Lilies (Psalm 147; Luke 12:22-34)

This week, my attention is drawn to an easily overlooked line in Psalm 147 that is focused somewhere between deep space and the human heart : “He covers the heavens with clouds; He prepares rain for the earth; He makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry” (8-9).

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Worth Checking Out, Part 2: Books, Blogs and Podcasts

Worth Checking Out, Part 2: Books, Blogs and Podcasts

Last week I highlighted apps for your smartphone that I pray will make your phone more of a positive distraction. This week I’d like to hone in on books I’ve read/am reading (and have mentioned in sermons), a podcast I like, and a blog I find helpful. I hope that you find them helpful, too.

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Comforting (Isaiah 66:10-14)

Comforting (Isaiah 66:10-14)

Babies are helpless. Babies need food that is just for them so that they can be nourished and grow. Babies need the attention and love of their parents so that their fears are relieved and their easily-distracted good humor is restored. And so the prophet Isaiah uses the image of a nursing baby that is carried by his mother and bounced on his mother’s knee as an image of God’s love for his easily frightened, stressed out, and hungry people.

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Sheltering (Luke 9:51-62)

Sheltering (Luke 9:51-62)

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of God has no where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). True community is not found in building a “forever home” here below. True community comes from looking to the gift of the Holy Spirit to join us in fellowship with God’s forever family now, to welcome other strangers in, and to await the Home that is ours, together.

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Marvelous (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31)

Marvelous (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31)

There is much about the Christian faith that at first glance appears similar to any other faith: love of neighbor, pursuit of peace and justice; but Holy Trinity Sunday is a day that Christians marvel at God in a way that no other people of faith can because Christians hold fast to a God who is one God…yet active and revealed in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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The Paschal Candle Extinguished (Acts 1:1-11)

The Paschal Candle Extinguished (Acts 1:1-11)

Though the comparison is imperfect, the Paschal Candle reminds me a little bit of the candles on a birthday cake. We light it/them briefly, giving thanks to God for the gift of Life that that the burning flame represents. But then we extinguish the fire, with applause and celebration, eager to dig into the gifts that have been set aside for us to receive.

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A Church for All Nations (Acts 11:1-18)

A Church for All Nations (Acts 11:1-18)

Perhaps, like Peter, we need to learn that the church of God is a church of all nations and races. Perhaps, like Peter, we need to see again how the Spirit of God is both powerful enough to brings those we deem “outsiders” in and powerful enough to convince “insiders” that we are to cross the boundaries and divisions that separate us.

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