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“You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy” (Luke 3:22 NLT).

March 18, 2018

Consider the boundless love and unconquerable joy of God the Father for Jesus, HIs Son. See how the curtains of heaven were parted as the Father’s voice declared His divine approval at Christ’s baptism. Such love and joy is the eternal state of Godhead. It was this love that moved God to give His Son for us (John 3:16). It was this joy that moved the Son to “endure the cross” (Heb. 12:2) that He might obtain our salvation.

Now, Christ invites us to enter into the fellowship that He has with the Father, to know the divine love and great joy they share. Listen to how Jesus prayed concerning us: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. …May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:21-22).

Try putting your name in the blank below to experience what Christ has made possible for God the Father to now say to us:

“__________, you are my dearly loved child, and you bring me great joy.”

“Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions” (Luke 2:46 NLT).

March 17, 2018

Twelve year old Jesus traveled with his family to Jerusalem for the Passover festival as they did every year. They traveled with a large entourage of friends and family from Nazareth. It was a wonderfully joyous annual holiday. Yet, after traveling a day’s journey on the way back home, they realized that Jesus wasn’t with them. Can you imagine the frantic one day journey back to Jerusalem to look for him? If they would’ve had “Amber Alerts” in those days, The search for Jesus would’ve been broadcast throughout Judea. Finally, on the third day (One day out, one day back, discovered on the third day), they found him in the Temple courts with the religious teachers.

I wonder, have you ever lost track of Jesus? How many days did you go before you noticed that you were traveling without Him? Were you frantic to find Him when you realized how long you’d gone without Him?

“And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord” (Luke 1:76 NLT).

March 15, 2018

In today’s OT reading, the Lord opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to speak. And in the NT reading, the Lord made Zechariah mute for nine months before restoring his voice. Zechariah praised God and prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose he had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words, since he had no words of his own during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every child had a father speaking such prophetic blessing over him?

God asked Moses, “Who gave man his mouth?” (Ex. 4:11). The Lord can make a faithless man mute or a speechless donkey talk. So, we must be careful concerning our speech.

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!