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Bible Book: Luke

A red hand on a "DON'T WALK" sign

Further Reflections on the Inner Work of Jesus

As we do the inner work required of leaders, the story of the temptation of Jesus reminds us of how Scripture makes such a difference. Not only does the Bible reveal to us who God is, who we are, and what we’re called to do, but it also helps us see into our own hearts and minds. When we face temptations that would take us away from our best work, God will help us do the inner work that enables us to clarify our true identity and calling. 

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A tree empty of leaves in the middle of the desert in Namibia

Inner Work as Preparation for Leadership: The Case of Jesus

When he was tempted by the devil, Jesus did what we would call “inner work.” In this case, the inner work of Jesus had to do with questions such as: _Who am I? What is my mission? How am I to act in light of my true identity?_ Though you and I won’t be working through questions like these as the fully human, fully divine Son of God, we do have to figure out who we are and what is our life’s purpose. Along the way, we often have to reject opportunities that, however tempting they may be, are not what God has for us to do.

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The word "mindfulness" in cursive on a piece of paper

An Invitation to Inner Work

Scripture has much to say about the importance of what’s inside of us. In the Bible, we discover how we can do inner work in a distinctively Christian way, and how this work isn’t just ours, but is something God does in and with us. For now, however, I want to answer the “Should we be doing inner work?” question with a resounding “Yes.” Though God certainly cares about what we do with our lives and the fruit they produce, there’s no question that God cares deeply about our inner lives, what the Bible regularly refers to as our hearts. Through the gospels, Jesus invites us to join him in the inner work he’s already begun to do in us. 

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A nativity scene showing an older wise man or shepherd and Baby Jesus

The Intergenerational Implications of Christmas

The Christmas story makes it clear that you matter to God and God’s work no matter how old you are. You aren’t too young for God to use you. Nor are you too old. Moreover, as God uses people of all ages in the divine plan, those people not only contribute individually but also interact intergenerationally. Christmas underscores the intergenerational work of God. 

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A black and white statue of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus

Good Things

At this hinge moment of history, in a backwater Roman province, a young peasant girl, overwhelmed and pregnant, yet saw and knew and prophesied the coming of the Messiah in the tradition of all the great prophets from the Hebrew Scriptures. And alone among those prophets, she bore in her very body that very Messiah, incarnate for our salvation.

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An empty manger

If You Will Wait, Part 2

While we are waiting and—often—creating stories of doom for ourselves _or for others_ God has repeatedly demonstrated that if we would just wait, God’s power is perfect because we are weak.

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An Advent wreath with one candle lit

If You Will Wait, Part 1

Advent produces waiting. But not a listless wait with no anchor; we wait with root in the soul. We wait like a people who know that God is not done with his people. Like the practice of sabbath, or Habakkuk, or Paul, we pause and look back, look forward and rejoice and press forward.

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College students sitting in a circle outside talking to each other

Sabbath: A Time for Meaningful Conversation

In synagogue gatherings, Jesus engaged in conversations about significant things. His example shows us that meaningful conversations are essential to our experience of sabbath rest. Sometimes these will happen in the context of our church community. Often significant conversations will take place in other settings, especially as we share food together. No matter the way we do it, we need to include meaningful conversation in our regular times of rest. 

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An open Bible in front of beautiful pink flowers

Sabbath: A Time for Scripture

The example of Jesus in Luke 4 reminds us of the centrality of Scripture in sabbath observance. As we stop working in order to rest, we open our minds and hearts to hear God speak to us through Scripture. We do this through both individual reflection and congregational worship. As we hear others read and interpret God’s written Word, we ask the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and inspire us. And we set aside time for prayerful meditation on biblical truth. 

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An overhead shot of a group of people eating a festive meal

Sabbath: A Time for Community

Regularly gathering with others on the sabbath allows us to share together the goodness of God’s presence experienced in worship and in common meals. It also helps us to be faithful in our own sabbath observance. Those of us inclined to overwork will be well served by the discipline of regularly scheduled gatherings for worshipping and eating with others. The example of Jesus reminds us that our experiences of regular rest need to include time well spent with others.

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A single red rose blooming against a grey wall

How Solitude Can Unleash Your Imagination

No matter how busy our lives might be, all of us would benefit from setting aside even a modest amount of time for solitude. When we’re by ourselves, like Jesus, we’re not really alone. Rather, we’re away from people so we might draw near to God. As we do, our imaginations will be unleashed so that we might participate creatively in God’s work in the world.

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A silhouette representation of the Prodigal Son and his father

The Redemptive Imagination of Jesus, Part 1

There is certainly a time and place for didactic language, for explanations and demonstrations, for elucidation and evidence. But the power of imaginative story can take the truth from our heads to our hearts, and from our hearts into our daily lives. We experience this power as we hear the parable of Jesus known as The Prodigal Son.

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Mentored by Jesus to Mentor Others: Part 1

Think about it: Where would you be if you did not have others wiser and more experienced who came alongside to encourage and help you navigate the challenging waters of life, work, and leadership?

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A person sitting on a bench looking off into the fog

Silent Stones?

The Pharisees have angst over the crowd’s energy and proclamations about Jesus. They demand that Jesus rebuke his disciples. Were they afraid? Nervous? What were they afraid of? Helmut Thielicke says: “There are really only two ways to take a thing seriously. Either you renounce it or you risk everything for it.”

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A mother holding her son on her lap and smiling at him

Right From the Start Jesus Didn’t Do It Alone

From the very beginning of his existence on earth, Jesus was not alone. He began human life in the womb of his mother. He grew up in a faithful and loving family. He had plenty of friends and relatives in the community in where he lived, people with whom he shared the good and the hard things of life. When God came to be among us as a human being, God in human flesh was not alone, right from the start. So it should be with us. If we’re to live as Jesus lived, we can’t do it alone. 

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