Posted in Devotions

Barzillai

Imagine with me a conversation between Barzillai and his wife Phoebe (fictional name) after the events of 2 Samuel 19 (specifically 2 Samuel 19:31-39). “Well that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life!” Phoebe was furious, mixing the bread dough with increasing intensity. “What do you mean you told the king you would stay here? You mean to tell me you sent Kinham? What were you thinking? Now Kinham gets to be with the king and enjoy all the accompanying benefits while you and I sit here and rot. I don’t mind saying it, Barzillai, but...

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“I Love You. Do You Love Me?”

“Mom, I love you. Do you love me?” I vaguely remember repeating these words to my mom before I was old enough to go to school. My parents confirm this. As a young boy, I would need constant affirmation that I was loved. I am told when various people came in and out of our house (the exterminator, electrician, plumber, friends) they would look puzzled at my parents because I always expressed my love and asked for it in return. If I am being honest, I still have that need. I don’t go around declaring it constantly and I certainly don’t...

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I Need a Donkey, Please

I have often wondered what the disciples were thinking when Jesus told them to go get a donkey. Crowds were gathering. Blind men had just received their sight. Excitement was brewing. Vendors were walking up and down the streets with popcorn and cotton candy.  Neon glow bracelets were selling like hot cakes. The anticipation of what was to come was at an all-time high. Surely the disciples were getting excited, too. I mean, this is what they had signed up for, right? To be at the Messiah’s right hand when He took over? To be on the “inside” when He...

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Why Did You Doubt?

Imagine with me a conversation between Peter and his brother Andrew the evening after Peter walked on water (see Matthew 14:22-33)… “Can you believe the nerve of Jesus out there today?” Peter was fuming, venting everything to his brother Andrew. “The lake was incredibly choppy. The wind was severe. We had been rowing at His command all night long. I ask Him for help when I began to sink and He asks me why I would doubt! Who wouldn’t doubt in a moment like that? I mean, do you know of anyone else who has ever walked on water! I...

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Jesus Sleeps through the Storm: Imagining with Bartholomew and Naomi

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Imagine with me how a conversation between one of Jesus’ disciples (Bartholomew)...

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Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Know Your People

There are tons of resources available to help you determine the meaning of a text. There are a choice few – maybe only you – who know your congregation. Therefore, you MUST work hard at – not just knowing the meaning of the text – but knowing how your people will hear and apply what you say. A preacher who just exegetes a text misses the point. The preacher must do the extra difficult work of exegeting his congregation. How? Spend time with them. Be their pastor. Be their shepherd. Be with them. Listen to them. Pay attention to what...

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Helping Those Who Think They Know God

I’ve written elsewhere my conviction and calling to preach to “churched” people. I want to help those who think they know God see and experience and taste the God of the Bible. In other words, there are so many who really believe they know the God of the Bible but don’t yet. They’ve read and studied their Bible’s. But they have yet to truly encounter the loving God behind it all. I am called to help change that – even if only for a few. Jesus did this. He wasn’t satisfied with the “church” people’s understanding of God. He wanted...

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Tillers of the Soil: Preacher, Help Them Understand!

Recently I was struck by a word Jesus used several times throughout the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. The word used in English translations is understanding. Those who hear the word and understand it are those who produce a multiplying crop. Those who understand have good soil so the seed can take root. On the other hand, those who hear the word and do not understand are like seed that falls on the hard path. What struck me was the difference between the people who respond to God’s Word (or, in the parable, the different soils). According to Jesus,...

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