The Story of Exodus: Five Women and a Baby

Of all the books in the Bible, of all the books in the Old Testament, none tell the story of Israel quite like Exodus. Through its pages and chapters, we are surrounded by an intriguing story that is filled with danger, political intrigue, a massive rescue effort, and internal conflicts. It is the story of God’s effort to redeem the people of Israel out of slavery.

Those reasons, and others, are why the story of Exodus has held a central place in understanding God’s ways of redeeming us through the Lord’s grace and love. It is the story of Moses. It is the story of Israel. It is the story of us. For the story of Exodus reminds us of how God continually reaches out to us and seeks to redeem us.

Over the next few weeks, we will look at this fascinating story of faith and see what Exdous has to say to us today. My hope is that we will find ourselves in these narratives that are important to our faith. As we do, perhaps we will see how God continually seeks to redeem us and how the Lord gives us a new hope through faith everyday. Continue reading “The Story of Exodus: Five Women and a Baby”

Persistent Faith

There are passages of Scripture where we find ourselves uncomfortable. It could be a scene that describes something we find difficult to understand. Stories, as well, where we are left wondering if God’s holy love could be seen. There are also moments in Scripture we find uncomfortable because we wish Jesus had not said what we did.

We find ourselves, this morning, looking at one of those uncomfortable passages. Not because the story’s outcome is uncomfortable. Indeed, it is a wonderful and powerful moment where Jesus heals a Canaanite woman’s daughter who was demon possessed. What we find uncomfortable is how Jesus interacts with this woman. He ignores her. At first, he seems to dismiss her concern. He even goes so far as to call her a dog.

It is difficult to read these words and reconcile it with the Jesus we know to be the author and giver of unconditional love and grace. Because of this we have spent centuries trying to analyze Jesus’ motives and interactions. Some have argued Jesus was only testing the woman to determine her level of faith. Some have said Jesus was simply following the customs of the day. Others have said he wasn’t dismissive of the woman’s concerns at all. Continue reading “Persistent Faith”

Learning from Robin Williams

This week, we are all mourning the loss of comedic legend Robin Williams. Words cannot being to describe what we lost in his passing. He made generations laugh and, as one friend said, was beloved by all corners of society (which is saying something in our polarized climate).127135a

As we reflect on Williams’ career and share our favorite movie moments from his many movies, I hope we will reflect on his passing in a way that allows us to look at our own hearts. What I hope we see is that what we we often see on the outside is often not always a reflect of what is going on inside a person’s heart. Continue reading “Learning from Robin Williams”

Faith in the Storms

Back in 2006, I began to really experience God’s call to ministry. At the time, I was living in North Carolina and was starting to make a name for myself as a public policy writer. It also came during a time when I was coming out of a difficult season of life, where I had dealt with the failure of my first marriage and the harsh realities of some bad financial decisions.

As soon as I began to sense this call to preach, teach, and lead, I tried to find all the reasons I could to suggest I wasn’t actually hearing God. I went to a public university and didn’t go to a Christian school. I had never led a large group of people. I had never read a book of theology. I am not the best singer in the world. I kept going on and on with these reasonings to the point where my initial reaction to my calling was that there was no way that I could do it. It would be too difficult and too challenging.

Sound familiar? I think all of us, from time to time, have found ourselves thinking that there was no way we could do certain things in our lives, whether it involves our faith in God, our personal lives, or even something involving our careers. We are most likely to find ourselves believing our given task or challenge is too difficult. When that is the case, we start to think about what is being asked of us and wonder if there is any way we can actually do this.  In doing this, we might even believe that we cannot do it, so we will say things like, “I can’t,” or “We can’t.” Continue reading “Faith in the Storms”

Compassion for All

I have a lifelong fascination with the news. Even as a young child when my friends were watching cartoons, I was watching the local news, CNN, or Peter Jennings. I had a thirst for understanding the world and learning about what was taking place whether it was in the United States or around the world.

To this day, I still have this fascination with the news and understanding what is going on in our world. My Twitter feed is full of news feeds from major media outlets and I still would rather watch the news than some of the other things we find on television. Abbi will tell you that I am always looking for a reason to turn it on the news.

Recently though, especially over the last 17-and-a-half months, I have found that I am less aware of what is going on in the world than I would prefer. Being a parent has taken my focus away from keeping up on the day’s events and onto other things of importance. I find that I am more aware about the various issues plaguing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than I am about what is going on across our world. Continue reading “Compassion for All”