The Appetizer Before the Meal

Life can be stressful on its own; and, the holidays bring even more stress to our lives.  Zechariah’s prophecy about his son John (Luke 1:67-79) provides the keys we need to survive and enjoy this week before Advent.  John the Baptist is the prelude to the real feast that God has in store ahead of us.

Hagar’s Story, part 2

If we read the second story of Hagar as Hagar’s story and not as an aside to Abraham and Sarah’s story, we can see that God’s abundance is not a zero sum equation, but provides enough for all. 

Hagar’s Story, Part 1

If we read the first story of Hagar as Hagar’s story and not as an aside to Abram and Sarah’s story, we see that God is free, able, and willing to make one covenant with one people and enter another covenant with another people. 

Called (to be) Saints

When Paul writes to the church in Rome, he addresses them as something that can be translated in two different ways: “Called saints” or “Called to be saints.” Which is it? 

The Church Organizes to Serve

In our final look at the church in Antioch, we see how – though they were considered a church with an asterisk – they organized to carry out a relief mission for the church in Jerusalem, because they were also a church filled with the Holy Spirit.  

The Church Gains an Identity

The description, “They were first called Christians at Antioch,” demonstrates that the church’s participation in an expansive view of God’s work and their willingness to reconcile with someone who had been their enemy made a powerful impression on their surrounding community.  

Transforming Accountability

Continuing our theme of “The World Where It Happens,” we hear how the “mother church” in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to hold the new church in Antioch accountable. When we follow God into the world, we welcome accountability. 

The Church Goes Rogue

During October, we’re following the theme, “The World Where It Happens,” and looking at a young, daring church in Antioch as our guide for what it means to follow God in the world. This week, the church “goes rogue” by breaking long-established traditions. 

Resentment

There are several ways to hear the third parable of Luke 15: A prodigal son who “comes to himself” as he turns to go home; A joyous father who has found a lost son; or A resentful brother who never left in the first place. 

The Breakfast Club

We get a story of all of the gospels’ great stereotypes gathered around a table. Some endearing parables of things lost and found grow out of a complaint that Jesus keeps bad company.