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Decorative pink hearts in a soft light

God Shines in Our Hearts

In 2 Corinthians 4-5, the Apostle Paul puts the spotlight on our mortality. But he begins by focusing, not on our frailty, nor on the darkness in our world, but rather on the light of God shining within us. In the season of Lent, as we acknowledge the darkness, we also remember the light of God and ask God to brighten our hearts with love, grace, and truth.

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Many clay jars sitting in rows

Treasure in Clay Jars

Today we begin a new Life for Leaders series called “Treasure in Clay Jars.” We’ll be focusing on 2 Corinthians 4-5, chapters that are perfect for the season of Lent. We’ll be reminded of our mortality. And we’ll be reassured of the hope of God’s glorious future. We are like clay jars, fragile, earthly, impermanent. But God’s treasure – glorious and eternal – lives within us.

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A happy woman holding a happy toddler in a flower garden

No More Weeping

Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse of the age to come in which God wipes away every tear. In that age, there will be no more sorrow or weeping. Yet we will not be isolated on some heavenly cloud for all eternity. Rather, we will experience community with God and people in an altogether new way. We won’t even be inclined to “do it alone” because we will be free to flourish in and through our relationships with God and others.

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Two people sitting on a couch holding hands and praying or crying together

Weeping Together

Romans 12:15 urges us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” This verse encourages us to share all of life with our sisters and brothers in Christ. When wonderful things happen in our lives, we need to let others know. And when sad things come upon us, we need to share them as well. As we do, we will experience the extraordinary unity we have in Christ, a unity that is not just theologically essential, but also experientially heartfelt and transformational.

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A duck on a log in a river, silhouetted against the sun

The Promised Liberation of Creation

The suffering of nature—what Paul refers to as creation—is the result of sin: of human’s not caring for creation as God intended. All creation suffers along with God’s image-bearing human children. The good news is that God’s redemptive plan includes not only bringing his image-bearing children into freedom and glory, liberating us from our bondage to sin, but also God liberating all of creation.

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An apple orchard on a sunny day

Keeping Creation

God called Aaron, brother of Moses, to bless the people of Israel, saying “The Lord bless you and keep you.” God called Adam to care for creation in a similar way: exercising our human stewardship over the created world in a way that reflects the loving, caring, blessing we seek from God for ourselves, and which is demonstrated in the servanthood of Christ.

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A signpost pointing different directions with a sunset behind it

Workday Prayers: Turn My Heart to You and Your Ways

We all face temptations at work that threaten to turn our heart away from God. So we ask the Lord to keep our hearts pointed in the right direction. We know that true life is found as we walk in God’s ways.

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Three young people jumping up and down on a snow-covered sidewalk

Rejoicing Together

As we experience genuine community with our sisters and brothers in Christ, we’ll share with them in the best times and the worst times. Thus it says in Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” If we’re going to rejoice with others, we need to focus on them, not ourselves. When we have walked with someone through hard times, the joy we feel when good things happen to them is even stronger. 

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A country church with a sunrise in the background

The Danger of Idealizing Christian Community

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once observed that idealism about church can actually hurt real churches. When we value our ideal of Christian community more than Christian community itself, we can miss the gift God wants to give to us. The New Testament reveals many times how hard it can be to get along with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, God intends for us to live the Christian life in a genuine, committed relationship with others. Often this takes work!

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A number of people's hands linked in a circle

Not Doing It Alone Isn’t Easy

Being part of a gracious, loving Christian community is wonderful. But sometimes it’s also hard to be in relationship with others, even as it’s hard for them to be in relationship with me. We need God’s grace to be patient, to put up with each other, and, when we are wronged, to forgive. 

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A person being baptized in a lake or baptistry by a church leader

The Holy Spirit Brings Us Together, Part 2

When we receive God’s grace through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit connects us in a deep, lasting way to the community of other Christians. Our unity as Christians isn’t something we create, but rather something created by the Spirit of God in which we live.

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A woman leaning against a fence looking sad

It is Far Better to Go Be With The Lord (Part 2)

It is far better to go. That is not only biblically accurate, it just makes good sense. Streets of gold versus potholes; better to go. Christ as the light in a city or rising gas and electrical bills; better to go. No more tears versus tear ducts and allergies; better to go. There are plenty of reasons to contemplate longing and planning for a renewed heaven and a renewed earth. Death would yield something better. But then again, there is a reason to stay.

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