Sun, Aug 02, 2020
After escaping death and being spit up on the shore, Jonah receives a second chance. God again calls him to preach to Nineveh, but God's tone seems to have changed. Jonah sniffs it out. And the people of Nineveh catch a note of compassion in Jonah's 40-Day Ultimatum. Change does not come easily to us, but when second chances, ultimatums, mobs, mandates, and God's compassion combine, it creates the right climate to face the monster of change. Jonah does. Nineveh does. Who knows, maybe even God does? Regardless, his compassion remains the same.
Sun, Jul 26, 2020
Duration: 43 mins 57 secs
After resisting God, Jonah realized the futility of his plan. He accepted his fate and went overboard. While sinking to the bottom of the sea, sensing the nearness of death, he cried out to God. His prayer blended well-known lines and images from the Psalms. Broken Jonah repented; savior God repented. This chapter demonstrates the remorse we feel as we look at death. It invites us to redirect our hearts to God to find grace and freedom. (NOTE: Audio quality a bit tinny due to recording issues.)
Sun, Jun 21, 2020
Saul was breathing threats and murder against Christians. Little did he know, we would soon join them as one of their chief spokespeople. Jesus stopped him on the way to Damascus, called his name, stole his sight, and gave him a new mission. Saul, who became Paul, converted, received his commission, and the rest, as they say, is history. His story is an example of Jesus taking the most odious breath and refreshing it. He did it with Paul; he does it with us.
Sun, Oct 27, 2019
We get stuck in loops. When they're good, we call them grooves. When they're bad, we call them ruts. As creatures of habit, we cannot help but gravitate toward the predictable. This ancient problem is most tragically illustrated in the book of Judges. Generation after generation in Israel does evil, gets oppressed, cries out, receives a deliverer from God, experiences short-lived peace, and then repeats the cycle. Fortunately, God can help us break bad cycles and replace them with good ones.
Sun, Sep 29, 2019
Duration: 49 mins 24 secs
Long before JFK wrote Profiles of Courage, biblical authors recounted stories of faithful men and women: Moses, Joshua, Rahab, and Ruth. They describe a courage rooted in God's character, contrasting with today's self-discovered, reckless, stand-alone courage. In fact, Joshua begins his new role as Israel's leader responding to the fivefold refrain: Be strong and courageous. God and others speak courage into him. And because of our ongoing fears today, we need God and others to speak courage into us.
Sun, Jun 23, 2019
During our early years of following Jesus, we commonly experience giant leaps in our spiritual growth. We share our faith. We read the Word. Several vices lose their grip on our hearts. These life changes feel so affirming. And then we hit a plateau, dry spell, relapse, or dark phase. Growth stalls. Doubts surface. Old habits die hard. For most of us, spiritual growth is long, hard, and slow to progress. The Corinthian church will help us understand why (and what to do about it).
Sun, Jun 07, 2015
The fear of failure likely affects more people than the fear of success. But the dark side of success touches many of us. Those who have tasted success, or watch others experience it, have noted themes that emerge from Gideon's life. After gaining confidence from God of certain victory over the Midianites (Judges 6:11-7:23), Gideon gives chase to his enemies. In the following narrative (Judges 7:24-8:35), we find three reasons to fear success: it breeds critics, feeds conceit, and leads to change/corruption. While we cannot control our critics (and we better not be one), we can fight conceit and resist corruption, so that our work retains its virtue. For true success is leveraging our work for God's glory, not ours (Psalm 115:1).