“Advent is not simply an invitation to set our houses in order for his birth. Advent is an urgent opportunity to set our houses in order for Jesus’ return. By taking the opportunity to rightly order our lives, we may anticipate the glorious return of Jesus joyfully.”
“Today, patience is one of the greatest gifts we can give others.”
And the soldiers—the protectors of civil order— decide to bury the truth. They take their bribe and the promise of protection from Pilate’s wrath, and they toe the party line. They protect the power of a broken world.But the women—the ones with little influence, the ones who are least likely to be believed—they run from the empty tomb with great joy. It is only as they are obedient to the angel’s command that Jesus himself appears to them.
As we practice the disciplines of submission and serving, we are freed from the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way, and we find the freedom to value and serve others.
In this mysterious moment, known to history as “the Transfiguration,” Jesus reveals to the disciples his true nature. And to their shock, his true nature is the glory of God shining from his face. Present with the disciples, and beholding the same incredible sight, is Moses, the prophet who had asked on Mt. Sinai to see God’s glory. Only now, on Mt. Tabor, does he get what he hoped for. Only in Jesus does he see God face to face.
He tells the sailors to toss him overboard, because he believes that his God is acting like all the other gods, punishing him and them in the process. After Jonah says, “hurl me into the sea,” something strange happens. The sailors start rowing to dry land. Though it’s easy to skip ahead and assume that they picked him up and tossed him right in – they didn’t. These outsider sailors are acting in a gracious way.
Churches have personalities, expressed through their organization, Christian education
processes, preaching, and worship. Each can have strengths and challenges, but the diversity is reflective of the differences we see in people, including the
Instead of focusing on which
organizational structure or form of worship we prefer, we need to ask if our church is manifesting Christ to the world.
As good as the story of Esther is, however, it presents us with a problem: God is absent. Unlike other Old Testament stories, where we read of God appearing to Abraham or working behind the scenes to foil the plans of the Pharaoh, the story of Esther never mentions God. Rather, the characters in Esther appear to be acting on their own. God, it seems, is absent.
At a time in my life when things were not like I wanted, I sat in a restaurant booth across from a friend as…
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to South Korea and visit some of largest churches in the world: Kwanglim Methodist Church with 85,000…