To close our reflections of Jesus’ family tree in preparation for Christmas, we looked at the last man in the family tree, Joseph. Somehow Joseph managed to get little to no publicity in spite of the fact that he was Jesus’ dad. Mary, the mother of Jesus, has received a lot of attention and rightfully […]Read more "The Family Tree 4: Joseph"
If we look at Jesus’ family tree (in Matthew), it doesn’t take long before we see scandal. Tamar is one of four women, in addition to Mary, who is mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy, and her story is as scandalous as it gets. Tamar was trapped in an unjust situation. She was also mired in tragedy. When […]Read more "The Family Tree 2: Tamar"
Do you know how the New Testament begins? Jesus’ birth? His baptism? John the Baptist in the desert? The answer…a genealogy. How exciting! Actually it is when you dig into it. It says everything about who Jesus is and what his coming to earth means. Abraham is the first name listed (in Matthew’s genealogy). This […]Read more "Family Tree: Abraham"
Saying thanks is one thing. Being grateful is another. People who are grateful are happier. They’re more generous. They’re more resilient. So that means we have to take time to notice our blessings. God has already done so much. If we take time to notice it and pause to say thanks to God, we change. We become […]Read more "The Gratitude Path 6: Just to Say Thanks, pt. 2"
Even if we are in the practice of gratitude, this world has a way of pulling us back into practicing despair. It has a way of knocking us down and convincing us that things ultimately will stay as they are. Practicing gratitude is about believing that things will be different. It’s expecting things to be […]Read more "The Gratitude Path 5: Expecting Different"
The Church has sent some bad messages about money. Give 10% because the Bible says so; it’s your duty.* Give because we have a need. Give because God’s going to give you stuff in return. Make no bones about it. We’re called to give our money. We’re called to open our lives–everything we are and […]Read more "The Gratitude Path 4: Currency & Economy"
Haven’t we all imagined what we’d do if we won the lottery? Haven’t we all dreamed of having a fortune? The Gospel of Luke is all about fortune. It’s about a reversal of fortune, of what it means to be a people of God’s fortune. It’s also about what causes us to miss out on God’s fortune. […]Read more "The Gratitude Path 3: Give and It Will Be Given to You"
Give thanks in every situation…what a pie-in-the-sky thing to say. And yet Paul said this is God’s will for us in Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Paul practiced what he preached, too. He practiced. Paul practiced giving thanks when he was in jail. He practiced it when people betrayed him. He practiced it in all situations. And practicing […]Read more "The Gratitude Path 2: In Every Situation"
Saying Thank You isn’t so difficult (although even that can be a practice we neglect). Valuing the spiritual practice of gratitude is all but impossible for us. Because gratitude can’t really fuel our life of faith in Jesus, can it? And yet that is exactly what the Apostle Paul seems to suggest in his final instructions to […]Read more "The Gratitude Path 1"
In the summer months, there is a creature that is so common in the dark of night that we perhaps overlook its beauty. And yet we cannot overlook the firefly’s glow if we’re thinking about what it means to belong to Christ and be holy. The firefly is able to glow, in large part, because […]Read more "X-MEN: the Glow of Heaven"