Lent 2014 - Fourth Sunday of Lent - March 30th


Scripture Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 30th

Reading: John 6:27-40

I am the Bread of Life

We held out our hands with palms upturned. We hoped with all of our being that on our fingers something life-giving would be placed. Yahweh delivered! The God of our forefathers provided us with a life-sustaining food amidst the wilderness and because of that we could make it one more day.

Bread is more than a food item to the Hebrew people. Bread is the very symbol of God's presence and provision for his chosen. As followers of Christ we are co-heirs in the covenant begun in Abraham, signed in Moses, and Revealed perfectly in Jesus Christ. It is of no small significance then that Jesus described himself as the 'Bread of Life'.

To be in covenant with God is to be in relationship with the God who provides for his people. To be a follower of Jesus Christ then is to take part in God's provision of eternal life for all who would simply believe in him and follow him into covenant as one of his chosen people.

We can hold to closely to the work of our own hands, the bread bought at the local store; but in that lose site of God's provision. Soon our hands no longer turn towards heaven, and instead dive into our own pocket books. To believe in God is to trust him not just with all the we have, but for all that we will gain. All good things, after all, come from our father who loves us.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What are your trusting God to do in your life?
  • Do you trust your own ability alone, or do you trust God with your life?


Father, turn our eyes and hands towards you. Certainly you have blessed us to bless others. Let us never forget though that you are the ultimate source of our provision.


Lent 2014 - Saturday, March 29th

Scripture Reading for Saturday, March 29th

Reading: Luke 18:9-14

Upside Down

You have heard it said before, and will hear it said again. The Kingdom of God does not work in the same way our world does. We live in a world of YouTube and 24 hour news cycles. To be seen is to have existed. In western culture many live in fear of obscurity. To be unnoticed is a fate worse than death. We seek meaning through how and whether others are talking not just talking to us but about us. Our age is one of narcissism.

Certainly our use of technology adds its own spin to our culture of 'being seen' and yet the core human fear of not being noticed was a strong one in the ancient world. To be known was, and is today, to have some tiny bit of power and those in the ancient world sought it out every bit as much as we do today.

To be part of God's kingdom is to recede into the background, to become less and less so that he becomes greater and greater. We are justified in our existence not by the accolades of others, but by the presence of God's abiding Holy Spirit in our life and deeds. The greatest Christians of all, are people you have probably never even heard of, and never will this side of heaven.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What is your motivation for being 'seen'?
  • What act of service can you do today, that you might never be noticed for?


Lord, may it only ever be your face we seek. All that we do is, and should be, only for your eyes, and only for your ears. We ask that you place us where your need us so that your name would be made great!


Lent 2014 - Friday, March 28th

Scripture Reading for Thursday, March 28

Reading: Mark 6:47-56

He Meant to Pass by Them

Jesus looked out over the waves and saw the disciples. They were struggling. The wind was strong and so they strained against the oars to make progress. Each pull weighed against their muscles and tested their strength. It was coming close to morning and Jesus decided to take a stroll out over the waves and yet to him the wind was nothing, and the water a solid path.

When Jesus caught up to his struggling band of followers they were afraid of him, "It's a ghost" they exclaimed! They were in fear of the same man who had previously calmed the storm and sea for them, the man who had broke a few bits of bread and fish into food for thousands, and the man who now walked upon the water. But they had understood none of it, "Their hearts were hardened." They were afraid, struggling, alone amidst the chaos of the sea, and trying to do it on their own. They had not yet recognized God's faithfulness, and they were still caught in the moment of their fear.

How true is this story of our own lives? We see the effects of God's hand upon our lives, we witness the miracles our teacher has performed; and yet we are afraid. We struggle against the storm under our own power, and try to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us. Each day is a pull of the oar.

Jesus intended to pass his disciples by. I don't think Jesus did this because he did not want to help his followers; rather I believe he had hoped that by now they might have recognize God's presence in their midst. The storm was a temporal struggle; however in their way of hard-heartedness they were blind.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What are we looking to God to do in our lives?
  • Do we really expect him to do it?


Father in heaven. Doubt often leads to a stronger faith, but often we doubt without any reason other than our own fears and misgivings. Certainly you are with us amidst the chaos. Overcome our unbelief with your love and grace.


Lent 2014 - Saturday, March 22nd

Scripture Reading for Saturday, March 22

Reading: Mark 5:1-20


The disciples and Jesus had just come ashore after a harrowing ride across the sea of Galilee. Jesus had stopped the wind and rain only for them to arrive at a place of the dead, the home of a man so crazed and demon possessed that chains and shackles could not hold him. This must have been one of the oddest of days (or couple of days) for the disciples. Jesus had saved them from the storm only to bring them into a devils den.

Certainly no one could have predicted what happened next as the league of demons living inside this unfortunate man asked to be allowed to move into a herd of pigs; a herd which then immediately ran themselves down the slopes and into the sea, drowning themselves. Whenever Jesus deals with the demonic realm those of us who have grown up in the West (America, Europe, etc.) probably cringe a little. This cringe is because we lack a cultural connection to the text. While certainly we understanding the concept of the demonic it is almost always something relegated to fiction, or the realm of mental illness.

In the West we have largely sought to turn evil into an unfortunate but understandable outcome of environmental factors like violence in the home, or the effects of war on the human mind. We have turned evil into a medical and mental diagnosis because it makes it easier to label and allows us to distance ourselves from anything suggested to be 'evil' in our own lives. We don't want to accept that within us, and within our world, there is real evil. An evil that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.

Jesus came to be a light in the darkness. The light of Christ shows evil for what it is; however it is that same light that provides us with the ability to see our need for God and turn to him.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • Do you dismiss any thought of the reality of evil spiritual forces out of hand? Why?
  • When the light of Jesus is shone on your life what does it highlight that you would rather keep hidden?


Father in heaven, protect us from Satan, our accuser and adversary. Guide us into your light which exposes and heals our own evil desires. Give us today the strength to turn to you in our time of trial.


Lent 2014 - Thursday, March 20th

Scripture Reading for Thursday, March 20th

Reading: John 15:1-8

Life on the Vine

As a kid I would play outside a lot when the weather was nice. In my backyard I had a sandbox, a small yard and a swing. Being a pastors kid, I lived next door to the church. It was a stone building, standing at the corner of 5th and Kimbark in Longmont, Colorado. I think it is an office building these days.

As a small church pastor my dad did a lot of the yard work and upkeep of both the house and church. Each year we would get tons of dandelions in the yard of the house and church, so one day my dad made me an offer that I couldn't refuse: one penny for each dandelion I picked. Now, to be fair my work ethic wasn't that great in those days so my dad figured I might pick a quarters worth (25); however I proceeded to pick as many as I could. I don't remember the exact amount but I ended up with somewhere around three or four dollars worth of dandelion heads.

Why pick them? The dandelions would not survive without being attached to their root system, and since I had picked them while they were still yellow they didn't have the chance to turn to seed, set sail in the wind, and make more dandelions.

When you cut off the source of energy for a living thing, it dies, and our spirit and soul are no different.

As we go through life we will face challenges large and small, but what keeps us rooted and able to weather the storms is our connection to our heavenly father through Jesus Christ. Without that connection we are useless, fruitless, and unable to flower and become a spiritually reproducing, and life-giving person.

As we head further down the road to Jerusalem with our Lord, we remember that to be with Jesus is to drink from the very life of God.

Questions for Reflection or Journaling

  • What do you turn to as your source of strength? Is it your heavenly father, or other things?
  • Have you allowed God to trim your vine? Have you listened to his word?


Father, you are the source of life. To not know you, is to know only death and disconnection. We ask today that your word would infiltrate us as a source of goodness. Create in us a life pleasing to you, and able to reproduce your love.