Jesus the People Person

Jesus the People Person

One thing that I think about often with Jesus is that he chose to spend a lot of time with people, in all kinds of ways. Here are two descriptions from the Bible of how he spent his time: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. ~ Matthew 4:23-25   After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of...

Read More

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Couldn’t God Just Forgive?

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Couldn’t God Just Forgive?

Holy Week. And our spirits are solemn, turned inward and upward more intently than at any other time of the year. We remember Jesus’ last days on earth and and his suffering on the cross. This week, as we remember, let’s look together at why the cross had to happen. Really, why did Jesus have to die when God is all-powerful and all-loving? Why couldn’t God simply forgive our sin and wipe the slate clean? Many of us have been taught that Jesus had to die to pay the price for our sin. He took our sin on himself, as holy, sinless God, and died our death so that we could live forever with God. But this concept can be a little perplexing. Why did God require a payment? Couldn’t he set the rules and simply cancel out any payment owed? Did Jesus...

Read More

Do the Thing!

Do the Thing!

January now moves to its midpoint and I am finally settled into a resolution for the New Year. Maybe you can relate to my timing. When Advent and Christmas take up my thoughts in December, I’m often not ready on January 1st for resolution making. My mind and spirit need time to take on new focus and sit with God in considering a new year and new season. This time, a sort of vague directive has felt like  a catchall for the way God is leading me forward. “Do the thing.” I won’t go into all the specifics but to say that, as we all probably do, I have areas of  daily activity, parenting, marriage, spiritual deepening, and faithfulness in ministry that are ready for attention. There have been many, “I really need to….s” over...

Read More

2013 Temples–It’s About YOU!

2013 Temples–It’s About YOU!

A Happy New Year and Joyous January to each one of you! It’s with fondness and gratitude for your fellowship here at Living in the Word that I enter this new year and look ahead to what God has for us as we live in Jesus through our days. Today I’d like to introduce you to a new book that is hot off the presses. I’ve been spending time in it and am really glad it’s here, just in time for New Year living and learning. The book is The Life of the Body: Physical Well-Being and Spiritual Formation (http://store NULL.renovare NULL.org/index NULL.php?route=product/product&filter_name=Life+of+the+Body&product_id=239)by Valerie E. Hess and Lane M. Arnold. They’ve written a book just waiting to be written, on how our attitudes toward...

Read More

Christmas Laughs and Mishaps

Christmas Laughs and Mishaps

In the middle of all the Hallmark moments of Christmas–and in spite of all those less-than-Hallmark ones–come the funny, surprising bloopers of the season. They just happen. And we just have to laugh. This year I helped to run an 8th grade classroom party complete with Christmas cookies, popcorn, and a gift exchange. Because they are teenagers and because emotions can run high, we got the word out early that each one should bring a wrapped $5 gift. Make it a good one so that no one leaves in tears. Michael somehow missed the message and brought an exquisitely beautiful gift bag, filled with … bubble wrap. It happened to be the first gift opened, by #1, Sophia. Soon it was Michael’s turn, and his mystery gift of choice? A package of Justin...

Read More

Simple December Gifts: Whispered Prayer

Simple December Gifts: Whispered Prayer

When Christmas is shattered by grief, the word simple takes on a meaning all its own. I collected laundry this morning and whispered a prayer of thanks that I am, today, still doing laundry for my kids. The simple gift of laundry. My  kids are still getting dirty. Whispered prayers. Another simple gift… to God and to this world. I had planned to write today about how much I have been moved to pray differently for our world through another magazine article on poverty and its changing landscape (http://www NULL.christianitytoday NULL.com/ct/2012/february/best-ways-to-fight-poverty NULL.html) in recent years. Numbers in developing countries have fallen from 50 percent living in poverty to less than 16 percent in thirty years. The reason? “Sheer economic...

Read More