Lay Down Despair – Psalm 73:21-28

March 17, 2016

Read Psalm 73:21-28 It has been two years now since my brother died from liver failure and other complications from a life torn apart by alcoholism. Some days the memory of him brings a smile. I recall his wit and infectious laugh. His hugs. Some days I have to stop and take a breath, the loss of him cuts through me….

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Lay Down Sin – Psalm 94:12-19

March 16, 2016

Read Psalm 94:12-19 When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me” (v. 19). My family and I are hiking in Colorado above the tree line. We are exhausted but jubilant. The scenery is foreign, like a different planet, with only crumbling rock surrounding us. At one point, I start to slip. Panic sets in as I…

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Lay Down Vengeance – Psalm 94:1-11

March 15, 2016

Read Psalm 94:1-11 I see the pictures of the refugee children, their sad eyes and empty bellies. As I stare at the images, my eyes fill with tears. This world is so far from what I want it to be. I feel helpless. And then I feel anger, my default emotion when I don’t know how to fix something. Later the…

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Lay Down Pride – John 12:1-8

March 14, 2016

Read John 12:1-8 In John 12, we learn about Mary anointing Jesus with an expensive oil. Martha was serving dinner, of course, and Mary was squandering money. This is the viewpoint of at least one member of the dinner party, Judas Iscariot, who accuses Mary of wasteful giving. “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?” he…

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Lay Down Shame – Isaiah 43:16-21 (Fifth in Lent)

March 13, 2016

Read Isaiah 43:16-21 I am staring down a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and trying to locate some self-control. My inner battle that is waging here over some chocolate and peanut butter is pretty colossal—it is like one of those scenes from Lord of the Rings, and might even include its own soundtrack. I know, it’s just a peanut butter…

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Messengers of Reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

March 12, 2016

Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 This is the gospel in a nutshell. We are compelled to be messengers of reconciliation for the new community in Jesus. The church is called to follow Jesus, and in so doing to model what the kingdom of God can look like in our community. Jesus opened the doors to this new community. It is in Jesus…

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Long Journeys of Humble Repentance – Luke 15:11-32

March 11, 2016

Read Luke 15:11-32 Sometimes we are right. We can honestly say, “That was the right thing to do.” But sometimes we are wrong. How good are we at honestly saying, “That was the wrong thing to do”? The power of humble repentance is not just recognizing our sin, it is also confessing our sin to those we have harmed. The journey…

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You Give Them Something to Eat – Luke 9:10-17

March 10, 2016

Read Luke 9:10-17 We celebrate communion every week. It is our central act of worship, a practice of unity and identity, an action of faith that nourishes us in Christ. Fourth Sundays are extra special. We call it MusicMessageMeal. Music in abundance. Message in abundance. Meal in abundance (communion Luke 9 style). Instead of one of the co-pastors speaking about the…

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Little or Much? – Luke 9:1-6

March 9, 2016

Read Luke 9:1-6 The twelve accepted the call, a prequel to our great commission. They began. They didn’t leave with much, at least materially. What they did have, they gave—they had the power of Jesus. We all must answer this question: Did they leave with little, or did they leave with much? My small church isn’t flush. Neither am I. No…

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Jesus as Lord—a Burden Lifted – Psalm 119:63-68

March 8, 2016

Read Psalm 119:63-68 I believe in your commandments” (v. 66). It doesn’t make life simple or black and white. Following Christ remains hard work. One of the hardest moves for a Christian is the move from receiving Jesus as Savior to accepting Jesus as Lord. A truly pivotal point in my walk with Jesus came when I stopped trying to syncretize…

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