"Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him." - Matthew 3:13

When Jesus enters into Jerusalem, he is baptized again. This time by his suffering on the cross. He descends into hell and sets loose those who were held captive. Then on Easter he exits by way of the resurrection. This is our road map.

For: 
January 12, 2020
Matthew 3:13-17
Epiphany 1
Baptism of our Lord
Jesus says, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me..."

Jesus speaks of doing particular things; feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, befriending the stranger, clothing those exposed to weather or social cruelty, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. Our opportunities to be Christ-like will come in the form of specific people with individual needs.

For: 
January 5, 2020
Matthew 25:31-46
New Year

When we do Christmas, it is very tempting to skip the story of King Herod's murdering the children of the Bethlehem region. I remember one adroit fool suggesting that we could skip Matthew 2:13-23 in our Sunday lections because the event discribed doesn't appear in the secular histories of the time and could have been made up by Matthew. The only secular histories we have from this period are pro-Roman and okay with Herod's "lock innocents in cages" type of politics.

For: 
December 29, 2019
Matthew 2:13-23
Christmastide 1
"Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly." - Matthew 1:9

We, like Joseph, tend to consider the opinions of our neighbors higher than our faith when we are faced with a moral choice. We criticize unwed teens, but do little to make our highschools better enviroments for relational growth. Further, the church does little to transform those neighborhoods where a normal and safe childhood is an impossibility.

For: 
December 22, 2019
Matthew 1:18-25
Matthew 18:9
Advent 4
"My soul magnifies the Lord..." - Mary the mother of Jesus

The wealthy pass themselves lavish tax breaks and the 1% deny the the majority a reasonable wage, affordable healthcare, or a decent retirement package. As much as things change, they remain the same.

For: 
December 15, 2019
Luke 1:26-38
Luke 2:1-14
Advent 3
Mary's Sunday
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear... - Isaiah 11:3

It is possible for a roll of film to go a decade or two without being developed. During that time, the images are invisible. Any attempt to see what is on the film results in erasing the image. Only by carefully processing the film is the photographer’s art brought to light. Often things are hidden away until it is the right time for them to be revealed. A baby is hidden in womb until it is born...

For: 
December 8, 2019
Isaiah 11:1-10
Matthew 3:1-12
Advent 2
They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation...

I don’t know how to get others to the mountain. I only know that it is where I need to be. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!” (Isaiah 2:5).

For: 
December 1, 2019
Isaiah 2:1-5
Advent 1
"If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
Jesus has a different definition of leadership. It is for him to work with others so that together good things happen. He has commitment to service. He can be the king of love without a crown of gold. Even his thorns and painful death remind us that life is not about the people we lord over but the humility we live under.
For: 
November 24, 2019
Luke 23:33-43
Pentecost 29
Jesus says, “By your endurance, you will gain your soul."

The Rock of Gibraltar for people in Jesus’s day was the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon had built the first temple and it lasted over 400 years. Jesus He says Herod’s temple won’t last 40 years.

For: 
November 17, 2019
Luke 21:5-19
James 4:13-14
Pentecost 23
"Take courage, all you people of the land. For I am with you," says the LORD of hosts.

In this modern era, it takes courage to speak about the reality of Heaven. Our bodies are mortal, from the moment of our birth we begin to die. Yet, our culture idealizes youth and riducules those who are content with the aging process. Often we are told that believing in heaven is silly, only a pie in the sky.

For: 
November 10, 2019
Haggai 1:15 to 2:9
Luke 20:27-38
Pentecost 22
"Today salvation has come to this house" --for Jesus came to save the lost

Being short – as in having less money than you need at the moment – and being up a tree, are expressions we use for those awkward or dangerous moments when our own stupidity is about the be rewarded. What about you? Are there personal potholes that you fall into? Traits that work against your desire to be on top of life?

For: 
October 6, 2019
Luke 19:1-10
Pentecost 21
"All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted." -Jesus

In matters of religion, we should expect reversals. Those who start out well, don’t always end well. Getting into heaven is not a matter of joining the right church or developing the right theology or holding on to traditional values, whatever those might be.

For: 
October 27, 2019
Luke 18:9-14
Pentecost 20
God says, "I will put my law within my people, and I will write it on their hearts."

What kind of an inner voice has God set within your heart? When have you looked for your conscience to guide you and found it out of order?

For: 
October 20, 2019
Jeremiah 31:27-34
Pentecost 19
All he said to you was, 'Wash, and be clean.' - II Kings 5:13

So many stories teach simplicity. Jesus says, “Live the Gospel; heal, teach, love.” How about beginning with something as simple as praying with or for each person we know?

For: 
October 13, 2019
2 Kings 5:1-14
Luke 10:1-11
Pentecost 18

I think we have to value compassion, character, and the heart for justice as core biblical values. If we advocate for these things consistently, then entering into the political fray is both necessary and within the pastor’s role. We must support politicians who: 1)Have actually made things with their own hands, or brought healing to the sick, or acted against their own interests for justice to be done...

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