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Choosing Between Two Pulpits

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all...

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New Series: Mister Rogers and the Call to Create

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

Long before he zipped up a cardigan sweater and became Mister Rogers, Fred Rogers was a young man who loved Jesus and was eager to discern his calling. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Rogers had many interests and talents, including music, puppetry, and children’s education. The question in Rogers’s mind was how he could combine these different gifts in a single opportunity to best serve others.

Dr. Junlei Li, the former co-director of The Fred Rogers Center, explains that “Fred was guided by a deep sense of service, of wanting to be useful to the world....

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The Margin In Jesus’s Schedule

when jesus said no Jul 22, 2019

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)

For the past few weeks, we have been studying when and why Jesus said “no,” while drawing out applications for our own lives today. In this final entry in this series, we’re looking at the most common thing Jesus said “no” to during his time on earth: the relentless human demands for more.

All throughout the New Testament, we see people clamoring for more of Jesus: more of his healing, more of his miracles, more of his teaching, and most of all, more of his time. But over and over again, Jesus said “no,” choosing instead to withdraw to “lonely places” to pray and to rest. Today’s passage is just one of dozens of nearly identical moments in the gospels in which Jesus turned his back on the demands for more. When you view these verses...

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When Jesus Said “Yes” to Something Better

when jesus said no Jul 15, 2019

Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:23-27)

In this series, we are exploring a few of the many instances in which Jesus said “no” in order to unpack what our Savior’s example means for us and our work.

In today’s passage, we find the crowd who had witnessed Jesus’s miraculous feeding of the five thousand, chasing him down the next day in...

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When Everything Looks Important

when jesus said no Jul 08, 2019

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:38-44)

As we saw last week, Jesus was crystal clear on what his...

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New Series: When Jesus Said “No”

when jesus said no Jul 01, 2019

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

In this passage, we see Jesus clearly saying “no”—not to something that is being asked of Him, but to Martha’s busyness. Martha, it appears, was much like us today, busy spreading herself across many things while failing to take the time to discern the most essential thing. In this scene, we see her...

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How I Sabbath

restless Jun 24, 2019

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28)

Last week, we saw how Jesus reframed the idea of Sabbath-rest as a gift to be enjoyed, rather than a law to be obeyed. So, if Sabbath was, in the words of Jesus, “made for man,” (Mark 2:27), the question becomes, what does man need? As we saw in the first week of this series, we need an antidote to...

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Debunking “Sabbath”

restless Jun 17, 2019

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:1-8)

Last week, we established that the solution to our restlessness can be found in Sabbath-like rest...

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New Series: Restless

restless Jun 10, 2019

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Your phone is blowing up. Your calendar is out of control. Your to-do list feels never-ending. Your mind won’t stop racing. And when you wake up in the morning, you’re immediately confronted with the subtle hum of anxiety that follows you throughout the day.

Sound familiar? Today, more than ever before, we are restless. I would argue there are three major factors contributing to the restlessness of today’s Christian. First, we (like the rest of the world) are spending so much time consuming entertainment, social media, apps, and games, that these good things that were meant to be life-giving have actually become life-sucking. Second, we aren’t taking the time to “enter [the Lord’s] gates with thanksgiving,” leading to discontent and a restless drive to achieve and...

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Time to Change Jobs?

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Over the last three weeks, we have looked at a number of Scriptures that can help us respond well to jobs we don’t love. But all of these responses have assumed staying in your current job. Today, we turn to our final biblical response to work we don’t love: changing your job entirely.

Now, I have saved this response for last because I am afraid it is often the first and only response we consider when we feel stuck in a job we don’t love. But the fact is that there are situations in which making a career move is the most God-honoring thing you can do. This is especially true if it is clear that you are in a job that doesn’t match your skill-sets and you see no path to achieving mastery of your current craft....

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