Good News


The New Covenant

God promises to write his law on our hearts.



The ten were cleansed, but one was made whole. Wholeness happens in the presence of praise, where not only the body but the mind and spirit are healed. Those with praise on their lips from a full heart have a gift from God that they are ready to give to someone else who needs it. Seeing him equipped with this gift, which he calls “your faith,” Jesus sends him on his way.


Called to Lead

Paul invites Timothy to be unashamed of God, of Paul himself, and of the call to suffer in the service of the gospel. In a world where everyone is concerned about who is going to rule, he lets it be known that service is God’s holy calling, not based on a good resumé but on God’s grace.


October 2016 Verses of the Month


The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all he has made.
Psalm 145:8-9, NRSV


God and Money (Part 2)

The rich man was unable to see Lazarus as anything other than someone who might be able to see to his own (the rich man’s) comfort, to run errands for him perhaps. He never saw him as an equal, and still doesn’t; and that’s where the chasm is fixed, because maintaining inequality is the source of torment.


God and Money

The parable of the unjust manager: one of the most unsettling (to us) passages in the Gospels.

Luke 16:1-13
16:1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.
16:2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’
16:3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.
16:4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.
16:5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
16:6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’
16:7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’
16:8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.
16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
16:10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
16:11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
16:12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?
16:13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

(notes to follow… watch the video)




1 Timothy 1:12-17
1:12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service,
1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
1:15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the foremost.
1:16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.
1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Notes to follow


Counting the Cost

The Rich Fool

Luke 14:25-33
14:25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them,
14:26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
14:27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?
14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him,
14:30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
14:31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
14:32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.
14:33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

(notes to follow…)


Verse of the Month — September 2016

Say It

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I  will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 9:1



Luke 14:1, 7-14
14:1 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
14:7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.
14:8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host;
14:9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.
14:10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
14:11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
14:12 He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.
14:13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
14:14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.


Hospitality is a major theme throughout the scripture, which in a way stands to reason because it is something that affects life among human beings at every level.  We don’t usually think of Jesus teaching about social etiquette; but this is what he seems, at first blush, to be doing here.  But let’s look more closely at the setting.
He is invited to eat at the house of a prominent Pharisee one Sabbath, presumably following a religious service at the synagogue.  We know that on many occasions these religious leaders were not friendly to him, but this wasn’t true in every instance.  It’s a bit like a visiting preacher being invited for Sunday dinner at a leading churchman’s house, as happened to me last Sunday.  In the few verses we skipped over in our reading, we see him getting into trouble for mixing up his healing ministry with the ordinary course of business in a day set aside for worship and rest: as though, God forbid, acts of mercy and kindness (social activism?) have anything to do with religious observance.

Luke 14:1, 7-14

Hospitality:  How to accept it

Jesus noticed people competing for prominent places in the seating arrangement.  He commented on this, not by directly criticizing what he saw, but by way of a parable:  suppose you are invited to a more important event than this one, such as a wedding banquet; how ought you to behave?
 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 
The principle that those who promote themselves will be brought low, and those who lower themselves will be raised higher, is a principle found throughout the prophetic tradition in scripture, including the preaching of John the Baptist.  Here Jesus applies that principle to ordinary social interactions.

Hospitality:  How to offer it

Turning to his host, Jesus abandons the parable approach and addresses him directly:
When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.
 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
 And you will be blessed…
Note that here Jesus does not criticize his host, though he is a Pharisee, but offers him a path to blessing.

Hospitality:  Why do it this way?

We are given the opportunity to, in the first instance, imitate Jesus, who came not to be serve but to serve, who took the lowest place among humanity, the place of a criminal, which qualified him to be exalted with “a name above every name.”
In the second instance we are afforded a path to blessing in imitation of the Father, who welcomes us when we are needy and undeserving, and gives us a place at his feast.
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