This past year wildfires in California were some of the deadliest in recent history. Fires destroyed thousands of homes, forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate, and left many communities questioning whether or not rebuilding was even possible.
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When Jesus shows up at a party, it changes the party.
“They have no more wine.” That’s what Mary said when the wedding party debacle was about to make the groom look like a joke and bring shame to his family.
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Matthew 5:48
What are we supposed to do with that? Perfection? Really?
Forgiveness utilizes the language of debt, payments, and IOUs. It’s the relationship between creditors and debtors. We’ve overspent our accounts with every act of rebellion against God and we have a bill that needs to be paid. And just like in the financial world, many of us utilize get-out-of-debt strategies in our spiritual lives.
A couple weeks ago, my daughter interrupted our bedtime routine with an unusual statement, “I hope tomorrow’s not Christmas.”
The idea that we get what we deserve is an appealing way to look at the world. While some of us might not admit that we actually believe in Karma, many of us believe it without even realizing it.
Have you ever experienced a film that ended too soon? The credits roll but you wanted more. There were questions left unanswered. Issues unresolved.
We crave closure. We want neat and tidy packages. We need to know what happened.
Several months ago, I was having a conversation with my oldest son at bedtime that turned into a conversation about Jesus that I’ll never forget. Now, this is not the usual flow of our family devotions - most of the time it involves somersaults and arguing and hitting and an occasional prayer.
On Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem “gentle and riding on a donkey,” but on Monday morning, he was anything but gentle. The Monday after the triumphal entry was havoc. When Jesus showed up at the temple, his anger was boiling over. He flipped over the tables and threw out everybody who was buying and selling in the outer courts.
Sin, when we boil it down, is rooted in selfishness. Sin, in its essence, is the worship of self. It doesn’t look to the heart and desires of God; rather it seeks our own needs.
There is nothing worse than legos on the floor. Like a death trap in the night, they can destroy a perfectly good midnight snack. And if it were just legos, that'd be one thing - but our kids toys and snacks find their way into every nook and cranny of our house.
Jesus routinely crossed barriers that made the religious uncomfortable. Jesus ate with the wrong people, talked to the wrong people, and often did the wrong things.
It has only been a few days since the launch of Reading Romans with Luther and I am overwhelmed by the incredible support that I’ve gotten in the launch. I am excited to know that there will be so many people, some for the first time, studying the book of Romans and the theology of Martin Luther as he taught the book of Romans.
Wanting to be better, unfortunately, doesn't go very far in making you better. I wish it did. If self-determination and sheer will-power were enough, I'd rarely fail to love my neighbor, I'd be incredibly generous, and the world would fawn over my piety.
When John the Baptist sat in prison, hearing reports from his disciples about the work of Jesus, his unmet expectations led to an important question for Jesus.