A New Master (Romans 4-7)

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14) I'll never forget my first official job.  I was a soda jerk.  Working at a local cafe, my job was to serve food and dip ice cream.  I'll never forget the experience because of the person I worked for.  Generally, the owner was a nice man who had a desire for ... [Continue Reading]

How Good? (Acts 20:1-3; Romans 1-3)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) I heard an analogy once about throwing a baseball.  If a group of friends of mine and I were to line up and each try to throw a baseball to the North Pole, some would definitely throw the ball further than others.  However, none of us would actually make it to the North Pole.  Similarly, no matter how ... [Continue Reading]

God’s Grace Is Enough For You (Mark 16)

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him, just as he told you.’ (Mark 16:7) There are moments in time when we're all tempted to believe that God could never love us because of something that we've done in the past or present.  Such thinking is not from God, however.  In fact, one of my favorite parts of the ... [Continue Reading]

The Clarity of the Crucifixion (John 18-19)

[Joseph of Arimathea] was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. (John 19:39) The crucifixion of Jesus brought many things to light and it was a clarifying event in the lives of those who were Jesus' followers.  In fact, it was until after the crucifixion that ... [Continue Reading]

Who Wants to Forgive? (Luke 16-17:10)

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” (Luke 17:4) If asked whether you'd prefer to forgive or be forgiven, most people would likely say that they want forgiveness to be granted to them, but they're not always excited about sharing it generously with others.  In fact, sometimes ... [Continue Reading]

Keep Your Stones to Yourself (John 7-8)

When they kept on questioning [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) It's amazing how quickly people turn against one another.  Just watch an episode of “Survivor” or “The Bachelor,” and you'll see people who are seemingly friends suddenly ready to attack one another.  In the ... [Continue Reading]

A Twisted Family History (Matthew 1; Luke 2:1-38)

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife... (Matthew 1:6b) Legacy matters, doesn't it?  I love hearing stories of my grandparents who are no longer around... and stories of their parents and siblings.  What's amazing about their stories is that they affect my own story.  The legacy that someone else in your family leaves does have an impact on ... [Continue Reading]

Be Careful, It’s Your Heart (Zechariah 6-10)

In your hearts do not think evil of each other. (Zechariah 7:10b, NIV84) One of my favorite movies at Christmastime is Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  In the movie, Bing sings a song called "Be Careful, It's My Heart."  Aside from being a love song, there's an important lesson to learn about the fragility of our hearts. When someone hurts you, it ... [Continue Reading]

More Than Words (Joel)

Rend your heart and not your garments. (Joel 2:13a) Have you ever told God, "I'll never do _________ again"?  It's actually a relatively easy thing to say to Him.  Sometimes the statement comes as a kind of bargaining chip to get God to give us what we want or to do as we desire.  Other times, it's a statement of regret in the midst of seeking His forgiveness for ... [Continue Reading]

Healing River (Ezekiel 45-46, 47:1-12)

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.  Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail.  Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.  Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing. (Ezekiel 47:12) All good stories end with hope, don't they?  I watched a movie a number of years ago ... [Continue Reading]