Refine by chapter:
216 results found

Blue Christmas

December 3, 2017 | Luke 2:25-35 | christmas

Let’s be honest. While many are singing “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” some are humming the blues. While houses and stores are all aglow with Christmas lights, some of us see only darkness and gloom. While the Christmas season beckons us to see everything in green and red, some of us see only blue.

Maybe a loved one has died and there’s an empty seat at the table this year. Maybe there’s been a divorce and Christmas brings back too many painful memories. Maybe your family is a dysfunctional mess and Christmas just reminds you of it. Maybe you’re feeling homesick for a home that’s too far away or maybe no longer there. Maybe you’re out of work and you don’t know how you’re going to pay for groceries, much less for Christmas gifts. Maybe there’s just something about the shorter days and the longer nights and the ongoing struggle you have with depression just seems worse at this time of year. Maybe, just as the song says, some of you will be “doing alright with your Christmas of white,” but others are looking at having “a blue, blue blue blue Christmas.”

Would you like to get some real help with the blues this Christmas? I think a fresh look at the Christmas story could help us all. Let’s look at Christmas through the eyes of an old man named Simeon. He waited his whole life to see the Messiah.

Serve to Lead

June 18, 2017 | Luke 22:24-27 | leadership, paradox, service

Leadership in the Kingdom of God is a call to service. In the book of Luke, Jesus taught his disciples that the true path to greatness in the kingdom of heaven was to follow His example of servant leadership. Jesus calls each of us to be servant leaders as He was.

“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites” (Luke 21:1-2 NKJV).

April 22, 2017

As Jesus watched the people putting their gifts into the Temple offering, he offered several insights into how God sees our giving. One insight is that God sees our giving. He watches over our giving, looking to see who is generous and who is not. Another insight is that God sees the proportion of our giving. He knows whether we give sacrificially or not. He cares less about the amount of our giving and more about the motivation and proportion of our giving.

That Jesus sat near the place where he could watch those giving their offerings, and that he used it to teach his disciples about giving, should not surprise us. He wants us to understand that God cares more for the heart of the giver than the amount of the gift. Love and giving are connected. “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16).

‘Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”’ (Luke 18:18 NKJV).

April 17, 2017

Many come to Jesus, attracted to His person, but unwilling to admit their own spiritual bankruptcy. So it was for the RYR (“Rich Young Ruler”). He thought to add Jesus to his portfolio of good works. Yet, Jesus saw his heart. Jesus challenged him to die to his former life and leave everything behind to follow Him. This filled the RYR with sorrow, for he had great worldly wealth. It also revealed his failure to keep even the first of the ten commandments, putting his love of money ahead of his love of God.

The invitation to follow Christ is not a call to religious effort (i.e. “What shall I do?”), but a call to come and die, that you might be born again in newness of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:4, 11).

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11 NKJV).

April 11, 2017

Jesus taught this timeless spiritual principle promoting humility over self-promotion. He illustrated the principle with a parable concerning seat selection at a wedding banquet. He observed that it would be better to take a “lowly” seat at the table and have the master elevate you to a better one, than vice versa. A corollary to this principle is “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth” (Prov. 27:2).

The Word of Reunion

April 9, 2017 | Luke 23:44-49 | crucifixion, jesus

In the gospel of Luke, the seventh and last word of Jesus on the cross was a prayer that expressed His total dependence in the Father to bring Him home. God hears and answers the prayers of those who will express their total dependence in Him.

‘Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches”‘ (Luke 13:18-19 NKJV).

April 9, 2017

The planting and growth of the gospel is like the small, yet ultimately great growth of the mustard seed. The gospel seed was planted by Jesus into His small band of followers. It went unseen and unnoticed by most of the world at that time. Yet, before even a generation had passed, the apostles had carried the gospel throughout the Roman empire and beyond. Today, even many nations rest like birds on the branches of the gospel, supported by its work in men.

Have you received the mustard seed of the gospel? Have you planted it in your family and in your city? It always starts out small and barely seen, but it grows to have huge results!

“And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward…? (Luke 12:42 NKJV).

April 8, 2017

At least four spiritual principles were taught in this parable. 1. The Lord will come again.
2. The Lord might return unexpectantly at any time.
3. Faithfulness means being dependable to fulfill the responsibilities to which the Master has called you.
4. Faithfulness is based on what you do with the gifts God has given you. “To whom much is given, much is required.”

As the Lord asked Moses from the burning bush, “What’s that in your hand?” So, He asks you, “What are you doing with the calling and gifts I have given you?”

Will you be found to be a faithful and wise steward?

“For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2 NKJV).

April 6, 2017

After warning his disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Jesus warned that ultimately all things that people have sought to cover up or hide, will be exposed. Our public persona will have its mask removed. As the Lord warned the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num.32:23).

Better to confess and repent of all sin, willingly exposing it to the light of Christ, so that you no longer walk in darkness. As the apostle John taught, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

“More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28 NKJV).

April 5, 2017

Hearing the words that Jesus taught, a woman in the crowd shouted out that the mother of such a son must surely be blessed. Jesus did not correct her, but he did redirect her to the true source of blessing, namely, the Word of God. Rather than visualizing what a blessing it would be to have been the mother of such a son, Jesus wanted the woman to hear and believe the Word of God that he was teaching. In other words, Jesus told the woman that she didn’t have to be his mother to be blessed, she, and all those present, could experience God’s blessing by hearing and keeping the Word.

Many today tend to focus on secondary details of the gospel. They recognize the goodness of Jesus and the excellence of his words and work. Perhaps they even imagine what it would have been like to be one of his disciples. Yet, they do not believe and receive his Word. If only they would “hear” and “keep” it, then they would become, as the woman in the crowd seemed to desire, Christ’s “brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).