Lent 2014 - Thursday March, 27th

Scripture Reading for Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reading: Mark 6:30-46

You Give Them Something to Eat

I have seen a misconception at work in the church, and it centers around human work. The core belief is that beause of our sin-bent nature as humans we are somehow useless. We are certainly incapable of many things,and we can't earn our salvation, but if we are so useless then I am not sure why God brought us about in the first place.

What began with Adam was the work of stewarding the creation in which God had cultivated and molded us. Sin has tainted that work begun; however it has not ended God's command of stewardship. God made humans to work alongside him for the betterment of his creation. It shouldn't come as a surprise then that when faced with a hungry crowd to feed Jesus didn't roll up his sleeves, shout out to the crowd, and ask them for some bread and fish. Instead, Jesus said to his discples, "you give them something to eat."

We aren't useless; rather God often looks to us to carry out his plans. He can do it on his own, he is God after all, but God chooses to work through us, his creation, precicesly because in that work he gives us the opportunity to take part in God's kingdom of grace, and to share in his abbundance.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • How have you responded to God in the past when he asked you to do something? How did the experience turn out?
  • What is God asking you to do today?


Father in Heaven, thank you today for including us in the work of your Kingdom. You are the provider of the harvest, and you reward us with its abundance. Guide is today into your will and bless our work in your name.


Lent 2014 - Wednesday, March 26th

Scripture Reading for Wednesday, March 26

Reading: Matthew 5:17-20


Christians can often forget that our Christ, Jesus, was born into a Jewish context. He lived, ate, and obeyed the laws and faith of the Hebrew people. As fully God and man, he had come to fulfill the promises of scripture begun in Genesis, and in that fulfillment to also extend God's plan of salvation so that everyone could become his special people through belief in Jesus Christ.

There is a misconception, that before Jesus, God only sought to save the Israelites; however even a quick reading of the Old Testament will show that God wasn't just in the business of saving the Hebrew people; rather through the Hebrew people God brought about the salvation of other nations. Jonah's reluctant witness brought the Ninevites to repentance. The actions of Daniel in the heart of Babylon brought about repentance. These and many more stories show us that the Israelites weren't just meant to be saved for their own sake. Rather God intended to use them as means of revealing his glory and his holy nature to all of the nations of the world and call all of the world to repentance.

The work of Jesus then wasn't to squash what God had done before an to start it all over again; rather what Jesus Christ has done is make it so that even non-Israelites can become part of God's witnessing people to a world in need of salvation.

Some believe that our salvation is personal. By this I mean that we have been taught by our culture often that our faith is only to be lived out as a personal experience. Certainly God saves us, he provides a means for us to live with him in eternity; but his salvation isn't just for that reason. Just as we talked about God's forgiveness extending through us, God also intends that our faith would be a sign and pointer to the need for repentance in the lives of others. As God's holy people we are the light on the hill pointing people towards God, and that is not something to be kept personal.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What does it mean to you that, if you follow Christ, you aren't just saved for yourself?
  • How are you letting God use you as a sign and pointer towards himself?


God in heaven, show us today how we can be a point of light in the darkness as we reflect the glory of your son, Jesus Christ. Provide us with the strength today to step out into our world as signs and pointers towards you. Help us proclaim today the need for repentance, not for our glory God, but for yours.


Lent 2014 - Tuesday, March 25th


Scripture Reading for Tuesday, March 25

Reading: Matthew 18:21-35

The Burden of Forgiveness

Forgiveness can be one of the hardest tasks we do as humans. When we are wronged it can feel good to hold onto the hurt and to withhold forgiveness because it gives us an edge over the other person. To be wronged, is to own a debt, and to have debts owed to us can often become a source of pride. We can rack up the wrongs of others into a collection so large that it begins to consume us until all we are is a walking museum of the hurts of our lives. Is that a healthy thing?

The short answer is no, it isn't.

In his book Great Expectations the author Charles Dickens writes of Ms. Havisham, a spurned bride. Her mansion sits unchanged from that fateful day; the tables sit decorated with settings in place for a feast, the cake is in place, and the ball-room cleared for dancing; however dust, rot, and decay permeate nearly every setting. Ms. Havisham wears a wedding dress worn to tatters. She is unable to forgive her lost love and feeds her wounded identity through her ward Estella, a beautiful young woman groomed to break men's hearts.

We all know one or two Ms. Havishams. People embittered by a life of hurt, consumed in their own self-pity. Certainly there is a better way for us than that. Jesus tells us that the way forward is forgiveness. To move past our hurts, not for the sake of others but for our own sakes. God expects that his gift of forgiveness would extend past us and to those that have wronged us as well. The wicked servants undoing in our passage was his unwillingness to extend the forgiveness of the king to his fellow servant.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • How have you been hurt?
  • Have you forgiven those who have hurt you? Why or Why Not?
  • What does it mean that the forgiveness we extend starts in God, and not in us?


Father in heaven. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us.


Lent 2014 - Monday, March 24th

Scripture Reading for Monday, March 24

Reading: John 12:23-32

But if you die

To be a servant of Jesus Christ is to follow him not just all of the way to his cross but through the cross and death and to the other side.

One of my favorite authors and theologians was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While certainly he was just a man, he lived out his theology in a way few other academics are a a chance to. He is, in many ways, a modern day martyr, an image of what following Christ into death means. Central to Bonhoeffer's theology was this axiom, that to become a disciple is a call to death.

For some this death is a metaphorical one, it is the death of selfishness, pride, and those things which keep us from experiencing God's healing and restoration. For others this death implies not just a metaphorical release from the powers of human sin, but a literal death due to persecution at the hands of our enemy and those under his sway.

By following Jesus even into his death he transforms us inside and out. The seed becomes the plant that bears more fruit. If it remains a seed and never dies and bears fruit, it is eventually cast aside. To know Jesus, and to follow Jesus then is to die to those parts of us that would keep us the same as we started, to let the restoring power of God change us into something new and beautiful.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What scares you to death? Is it fearing how others perceive you? Is it the thought of loosing control?
  • What does your life look like under the transformation God provides in Jesus Christ? Do you have a seed-to-plant story?


Father in heaven, grant us today a glimpse of the day you will fulfill your will in us. As we follow your son, even into his death on the cross, we anticipate the knowledge of his resurrection and victory over death on the other side. Grant us today the strength to see your will through in our lives, and may we honor you.


Lent 2014 - Sunday, March 23rd - Third Sunday of Lent


Scripture Reading for Sunday, March 23

Reading: John 5:25-29

A Time is Coming

When we think of the term 'hope' it is often within the context of something that is yet to happen. 'Today is bad; but tomorrow will be better.' To hope is to anticipate, to look forward to something out ahead, something approaching. Certainly the disciples had waited their whole lives, and the Israelites as a whole for many generations for the arrival of their messiah.

Central to the hope of the Christian faith is that a world of suffering and death is not the full story or the end of the story. We cling to the hope that God will not only set things right again in our world, but that even those who have died will get to take part in God's restored creation. Resurrection is a core hope of the Christian faith.

The resurrection we hope for is not some George Romero zombie attack; rather it is the full restoration of humans to their humanity. It is life as God intended it to be; full, rich, significant, and everlasting. As followers of Jesus Christ we cling to the hope of the resurrection of Jesus not just because of what it means for him; but what it means for our future as well. A time is coming in which all who have and do worship the Lord of heaven and earth will be made whole through God's saving grace.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What do you hope for?
  • Where do you look for hope to come from? Finances? Friends? Spouse? Family? Is there lasting hope there?


*Father, you are not just our only hope, you are the giver of hope. Through Jesus Christ's death and resurrection we have a way made for us to turn from hopelessness to hope. Remind us today of our need to place our hope only in you.