Prophets and Their Friends (Part 2)

Some biblical interpreters have critiqued Western Christians for always seeing themselves in the heroes of the stories. We like to relate to the great prophets such as Jeremiah, especially the part where God chose him before he was born (Jer 1:5). Jeremiah didn’t see much of what we’d consider success in his lifetime, but he… Continue reading Prophets and Their Friends (Part 2)

Prophets and Their Friends (Part 1)

I’ve been reading through the book of Jeremiah recently. It documents the tragic final breakdown of the relationship between God and Judah that results in their conquest by Babylon. Like most prophets, Jeremiah has a hard and often lonely life. God calls him when he is young and feels inadequate, and he ministers for forty… Continue reading Prophets and Their Friends (Part 1)

Prodigal Desires

Of all the characters in the Bible, one I most often relate to is the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Like him, I’ve always been dutiful and stayed out of trouble. I understand sins of judgmentalism much better than those of wild living. I’ve thought a lot about this… Continue reading Prodigal Desires

Desires God Satisfies

In the Sermon on the Mount, the third Beatitude Jesus lists is, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). He is likely alluding to Psalm 37:11: “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” (And remember how many times “inherit the land” is repeated in Psalm… Continue reading Desires God Satisfies

Courage and Caution in the Early Church

The Christians described in the book of Acts are usually known for their world-changing courage. Disciples who had abandoned Jesus at his arrest and fearfully huddled in locked rooms became, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, bold and unstoppable witnesses. Yet it’s interesting to trace through Acts how the early church makes decisions and… Continue reading Courage and Caution in the Early Church

Trusting Forward

In Holy Invitations, Jeannette A. Bakke writes, “As life progresses and new possibilities emerge, we almost seem to hear the Spirit asking, ‘Do you still want to trust me? Now that you have seen this, what will you choose to believe?’” I wrote in my journal in January about struggling to trust God with my… Continue reading Trusting Forward

The Kingdom of the Unafraid

Where I live, it seems like Halloween gets bigger every year. Scary decorations, creepy stories, and haunted houses are everywhere. I wonder whether part of the reason people get excited about fantastical fears is that there are so many real fears that are harder to deal with. In Luke 12, Jesus is teaching a crowd… Continue reading The Kingdom of the Unafraid

Opening to Surrender

During thirty-plus years in evangelical churches, I’ve heard—and sung—quite a bit about surrender to God. One year at my high school summer camp the unofficial theme song went, “I surrender, all to you,” over and over (this was before the Hillsong rendition). I remember feeling conflicted: I wanted to give myself to God with abandon,… Continue reading Opening to Surrender

Finding Home

I’m sitting in my apartment, listening to the roar of the wind, and thinking about home. I just discovered that the chimney on the building next door is only a cylinder surrounded by thin metal painted to look like bricks, and that metal has been torn away in the recent gusts. Just one piece remains,… Continue reading Finding Home