It is an amazing prayer. The initial request was so simple. The heart of an apostle spilled forth seeking God to enlighten his people.
This was not a request for God’s people to grasp some grand nebulous understanding. With laser precision Paul prayed for God to enlighten his people in very specific ways, ways that have inspired and continue to infuse lives with direction and purpose. Continue reading “When God’s power intersects our lives”
Paul’s words in Ephesians 1 are clear. Nevertheless, a story about a letter can perhaps provide a fresh appreciation for his message and what it means for us.
Although I certainly did not graduate with a degree in chemistry and chances are you have not either, let’s pretend we did. Now imagine receiving a letter from our alma mater’s chemistry chairperson: “The president of our university chose us in chemistry before our chemistry program ever began to be educated and prepared for employment.”
Continue reading “The chosen in Christ”
We know the message and it comforts our hearts. In his grace God pours out salvation upon us, the undeserving. We can be redeemed, made holy and adopted as God’s people because our salvation rests upon Christ, not our righteousness. Furthermore, the cleansing power of the Messiah’s blood is greater than any sin we might bring to him.
So, how compatible is grace with the command to make every effort to live up to God’s calling? If we feel like these are opposing ideas, we would not be alone. Continue reading “Grace & making effort: Are they compatible?”
Peaceful unity is beautiful, whereas evil promotes cantankerous divisiveness. We recognize this. However, are we aware just how profoundly solidarity saturates God’s will at all levels?
Paul’s writings outline God’s solutions for a fractured cosmos, a divided church and broken relationships. Should we be surprised that at its core the same solution keeps appearing? Continue reading “Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution”
In spite of the magical power of dragon talk, as Bilbo the Hobbit surveyed the underbelly of the powerful dragon Smaug, Bilbo thought to himself:
“Why there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!”
As Smaug would later discover when a metal dart penetrated his chest, although dragons might feel impenetrable and wield great power, genuine vulnerabilities can exist. Lacking some vital knowledge, Smaug mistakenly placed confidence in his invincibility. Continue reading “Vulnerabilities in the sinner’s prayer”
His white hair spoke to his experience. However, his voice belied his age as his tone and words tumbled forth with enthusiasm. “In the last month or so I have seen scripture in a whole new light.” With this statement he explained how an idea had opened up his eyes to what had previously alluded him.
He anticipated with joy the adventure of pressing forward studying God’s word. What had so changed his understanding and perspective of God’s word? Continue reading “Scripture is mostly stream, not stain glass”
From being vaults of security to becoming resources for caring, Jesus sought to alter our worlds from the inside out. Sometimes when his transforming message is presented, an unintended consequence occurs. Continue reading “From treasures to tools”
If society, culture and the church could just move past feeling fear, anger and pain, we would all be better off, right? If everybody could only be positive and happy all of the time, our lives would improve, correct? Wrong! If these negative emotions and sensations were eliminated, our lives would unravel.
If you object to that last sentence, I’m sure you are not alone. So let’s cut to the chase.
Continue reading “Fear – it could save your life”
Rude statements. Inconsiderate demands. Aggressive behavior. It can get worse. Deliberate mistreatment.
Sometimes we are the recipient of them all. Justice would seem to justify a tit-for-tat retaliation. Yet, Jesus and his apostles denounced this natural instinct. They had a very good reason. The concise and crystal clear idea they described encapsulates a perspective, a worldview, capable of transforming our lifestyle and society. Continue reading “Because of whose you are”
Every year our culture gives a gentle nod to Jesus through old TV specials, nativity scenes and Christmas carols. However, is there a reason to move beyond a seasonal sentimentality to take Jesus seriously throughout the year?
After all, Jesus’ story is just one narrative among many. From the conflicting voices of the world’s religions to the nay saying meta-narrative of evolution, many believe they have reason to dismiss the Christ.
However, this is not the end of the matter. Paul describes sufficient motivations for both considering whether it is worthwhile to explore if Christ might be significant for our lives, as well as resolving whether we ought to exalt Christ in our lives above the chorus of confusion. Paul accomplishes most of this within his Colossian letter. Continue reading “Connected to Christ: the importance, the moment and its impact”