Jul 20, 2014

Role Reversal

Matthew 6
When our first child was born, my husband wondered how we would buy diapers. We lived in a small, rural community where my husband served a small, sweet congregation. My husband’s salary was small, too—like the community and that sweet congregation—and we squeaked in at the end of each month...Read more +
Jul 19, 2014

Light Sabers, Bank Accounts, Trust Funds

Matthew 6:19-24
The first thing I ever bought with my “own money” was a toy light saber. It wasn’t one of those expensive beauties lit by a bright, polycarbonate tube. My Toys-R-Us light saber was lightweight and plastic. It cost twenty dollars. I enjoyed using it for mock Jedi fights. But I...Read more +
Jul 18, 2014

The Priority of Children

Mark 10:13-16
This story from Mark begins with parents bringing their children to Jesus so that he might touch and bless them. But the disciples of Jesus, figuring that he had more important things to do, told the parents to take their children away. Jesus, seeing what his disciples were doing, became...Read more +
Jul 17, 2014

The Priority of Marriage

Mark 10:1-12
This passage from Mark’s gospel deals with the issues of divorce and marriage. The conversation began with some Pharisees asking Jesus a question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?” (10:2). It’s like they were trying to draw Jesus into a debate about the appropriate grounds for divorce...Read more +
Jul 16, 2014

Sin Matters

Mark 9:38-50
This passage from Mark focuses on sin and its significance. Using a variety of striking images, Jesus repeatedly emphasized just how bad sin is. For example, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into...Read more +
Jul 15, 2014

If First, Then Last

Mark 9:30-37
Have you ever been caught red-handed? I think of a time when, as a boy, I was playing baseball in the backyard. My dad told me to stop because I might break something. After he left, I told my friend Danny to throw one more pitch in my direction. He...Read more +
Jul 14, 2014

Honest Unbelief

Mark 9:14-29
Upon their return from the mountain where Jesus had been transfigured, he and his companions came upon a large crowd. At the center were the rest of Jesus' disciples, who were arguing with some Jewish scholars. Jesus asked why they were arguing. A man spoke up, explaining that he had...Read more +
Jul 13, 2014

God Has No Favorites

Colossians 3:1-17
It’s a little hard to talk about Colossians 3 without stepping into hot water. We have a checkered past when it comes to Biblical passages about slavery, to say the least. It seems downright unethical to touch on this chapter without mourning how it’s been misused to defend exploitative practices,...Read more +
Jul 12, 2014

Minimizing Risk to Maximize Comfort

Luke 9:1-6
I was a Girl Scout during my younger years. I learned a great deal through my experiences with scouting. One key lesson I learned was to always be prepared. Being prepared and accurately calculating risks are two abilities that are highly valued in our culture. Minimizing risk in order to...Read more +
Jul 11, 2014

The Transfiguration

Mark 9:2-13
Truly, the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is one of the strangest in the Gospel of Mark. The basic facts are clear enough. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, where Jesus’ appearance changed as he became “dazzling white” (9:3). “Then Elijah and Moses appeared and...Read more +