Tag Archives: prayer

Resisting Our Tendencies Toward Hypocrisy

hypocrisy

Nobody likes to think that they might have areas of hypocrisy in their life. That is an indictment we give to insincere Christians or money making charlatans. However, hypocrisy isn’t just unethical actions. Often, hypocrisy is mixed motives intertwined with good practices.

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I Will Make You… Fishers of Men?

fishers of men

I’ve heard the story in Luke 5:1-11 most of my life, as far back as pre-K, in Sunday School. This is where Jesus tells Peter to put his nets back in the water after a night of unsuccessful fishing. Peter then gets the biggest catch he’s ever pulled in. At the end of this interaction, Jesus says, from now on you will be catching people. This story is a children’s Sunday School favorite. It’s easy to turn into pictures. Someone even turned it into a catchy children’s song, “I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men…if you follow meeeeee.” Jesus makes a side comment to one guy and it got turned into bad theology, that we peddle to toddlers.

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Here I Am, Send Me

send me

1st Sunday after Christmas: Luke 2:41-52

Luke tells us about the time Mary and Joseph lost Jesus in Jerusalem at Passover time. There’s a lot in this text. The theme I see today is the similarities between Jesus and Samuel. This is probably around the age Samuel was when God called him. Samuel answered, “send me.”

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Rejoice in Answered Prayer

answered prayers

4th Sunday of Advent: Luke 1:39-55

Luke records part of the visit between Mary and Elizabeth including Mary’s song. There are many themes in this text. Here I’m looking at the extraordinary experience they share in their pregnancy. Perhaps this was answered prayer for Elizabeth, whereas for Mary it was more of a surprise. God saw them both. They were given the great responsibility to raise a child who would make a difference.

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Approach the Throne of Grace with Boldness

grace

20th Sunday after Pentecost; Hebrews 4:12-16

This book is aptly named Hebrews because it draws comparisons between this new life of following Jesus and the faith of the ancient Hebrews. This chapter recalls the exodus where Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. It talks about those who walked in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. They didn’t all make it. We know the exodus story is a story of grace, but it seems grace wasn’t part of everyone’s story. Some were killed and some died before they crossed over to the promised land. Some turned away from God, some made up their own rules, and some doubted—those are the people who didn’t enter God’s rest. Continue reading

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Armor, really?

armor, really?

13th Sun after Pentecost: Ephesians 6:10-20

This Biblical passage is quoted often. This encouragement has inspired many sermons, children’s costumes, and for some a prayer practice of mentally putting on the armor. It seems like we gravitate to these instructions in America, because they imply a sentiment of war or striking back. The individual-centric picture of putting on armor is attractive to independent people.

I feel like the imagery of this text is often remembered out of context. This has fueled a false picture of Christianity as one where throughout history we have justified warring against unbelievers (and believers who disagree with us)—a dangerous premise that has cost the lives of many people whom God also loves. Continue reading

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