Jesus Christ calls us to be a joyful community that celebrates God's love, transforms lives, and is a force for justice in the world.

Lord’s Prayer Series – Temptation

What I mean by that is that most of us have not been a part of a social movement in which we have to make a strategic choice about whether or not to employ violence in an action. Most of us face this choice on a daily, personal level. Our temptation to do violence is in the little things. To practice thoughtful compassion or reactive anger. “The devil is in the details,” so to speak.

Lord’s Prayer Series – Debts

What strikes me about all these different kinds of debt is the cyclical nature of it all. People get locked into these cycles and things spiral out of control. That’s why the image of debt for sin is such a powerful one. We don’t just owe one thing, the charges keep adding up, no matter how hard we try to pay down the balance. The “interest” accrues, so to speak.

Lord’s Prayer Series – Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily means there is enough for today. And by extension, tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. And “us” means everyone. This line in the prayer is a plea for the reality of God’s reign to make itself manifest now, that there may be enough for everyone and everybody all the time.

Lord’s Prayer Series – Name & Kingdom

So this is my challenge—consider it homework. Let’s take the Lord’s Prayer, whether it’s from the versions in our memory or the Bible, and put it into our own words. Let’s think about what these words mean for the big picture and the small picture. Let’s contemplate our lives—what are personal hopes are, our dreams, our fears; let’s read or watch the news, and then put all of that into conversation with these ancient words by paraphrasing them.

Questions from the Pews – Miracles

This week’s question was emailed in: “Dear Bart, I would be very interested in hearing an informed discussion of Miracles and their place in current Jewish/Christian practice… a. What purpose did miracles serve for authors of the bible? b. Does the Christian Faith require belief in miracles?

Questions from the Pews – Seeing Christ

I believe it means that we act out of the understanding that we are all interwoven. And because of that truth, we then have to push beyond our own egos and desire for self­preservation to identify with and care for the most vulnerable in our world ­ our very neighbors. Seeing Christ in the other means to be surprised by God in our encounters with others. And I think it’s just as easy and as hard as that sounds.

Questions from the Pews – Idolatry

Maybe another way to understand idolatry is to ponder and maybe rank our loves. What do we care about the most or what is most important to us? In what or whom do we place our ultimate trust and confidence? What do we worship? How are these truths evident in our lives in how we spend our time, energy, and resources?

Gracious Giving

Paul’s aim is not a strategy, but to lay out a basic truth: giving is an act of grace. We respond in gratitude for what God has done for us. When we give, we trust that God works through our offerings. As people of faith, we give as a spiritual discipline, as a practice of regularly returning thanks for all we’ve received. We pledge specifically to the church because we believe in the work that goes on here.