Posts tagged with: John

The silhouette of a person reading the Bible under a tree as the sun sets.

Why We Do This

The words of Jesus, as well as the words found throughout the Bible, are full of the Spirit and life. Yes, they are challenging at times, even unsettling. But as we read, study, meditate upon, pray, and put into practice the words God has given us in Scripture, we will experience more of the Spirit and more of the full, abundant life found in Jesus.

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Advent: Incarnational Leadership

It takes intentionality and effort to “make our dwelling among” those we lead. Being present with our followers takes time and attention… “Flesh and blood” leadership, the incarnational leadership that Jesus taught and embodied, requires something more. It means finding ways to live among—in other words, to enter the world of—those we lead.

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Advent: Drawing Back the Curtain of the Universe

If you are like me, you struggle with living and leading in a public world where meaning and community are often hard to come by. We are surrounded by senseless human evil, natural disasters, physical illness, and institutional dysfunction. Most of our world seems to be in darkness. But as the prophet Isaiah prophesied millennia ago, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light!”

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A person contemplating not being ready to forgive.

Not Ready to Forgive

Many of us have been deeply wounded by others. Some bear burdens so great, we would be astounded to take in their full weight. God’s invitation to forgiveness is not a call to “just get over it.” The invitation to forgiveness is not a mandate to “forget about it and move on.”

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A person seemingly replacing the batteries in their arm as a sign of needing to recharge.

Dashboard: Love, Play, Work, Health

Yesterday we talked about how we spend the majority of our lives working in some way — whether paid or unpaid — and that our work should glorify God. But we all know that our work is not the totality of our lives and it makes sense to evaluate our work within a broader context.

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A paper flower created out of a music composition held loosely in the palm of a hand.

Bridging the Gap Between Being Right and Abundant Life

Oh, how difficult it is to realize we’ve been wrong about something! For so many of us, it’s quite painful to let go of a long-held understanding of one thing in order to make room for a more expansive perspective or (and this is the worst) an opposing viewpoint on one thing or another.

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Jesus requesting his disciple take care of his mother.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus on the Cross, His Mother, and His Disciple

The basic meaning of Jesus’s statement is clear. He was entrusting care of his mother to one of his most intimate friends and followers. He was making sure that she would be loved and cared for after Jesus’s death. Jesus knew he could trust his beloved follower with such an important responsibility.

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Jesus Crowned with Thorns. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

What cruel irony! Jesus finally received the words he deserved: “Hail, King of the Jews!” For once he wore a crown upon his head. Yet it was not the golden crown of sovereignty or the olive crown of victory, but the thorny crown of suffering.

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A cross on a necklace.

Leaders that Lament

For many Christians around the world, the season of Lent begins with the service of Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is really a worship service of lament. Jesus’s words in John 16 include this theme of lament as well. In verse 32, Jesus is telling his friends and partners in ministry that they will abandon him. Ash Wednesday reminds us that the Easter story is preceded by abandonment. The whole season of Lent is a reminder that Jesus experienced and understands abandonment and betrayal.

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A woman, head down in shame or repentance, with a woven crown on her head.

Three Game-Changing Leadership Choices

As leaders — whether in the workplace, in the church, in the community, in the classroom, or in the home—we give a gift to those who trust us to lead, when we follow Jesus’ example.

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A crown a top a pastry to represent a "king cake".

Tell Me About Epiphany

“Tell me about Epiphany,” I asked my friends.

I didn’t grow up in a church tradition that celebrated Epiphany, so my knowledge about the day and its traditions is very limited. A quick search on the Internet told me that, in the Western church, Epiphany marks the visitation of the Magi to the baby Jesus. Eastern Christian traditions, remember Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist during Epiphany.

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article image for Words of Life . . . for Leaders

Words of Life . . . for Leaders

When we hear about Jesus’s “words of eternal life,” we tend to think that these are words that get us to Heaven. There is some truth in this interpretation, though it misses much of what is meant by “eternal life.”

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An empty bottle tipped over with a heart tied around it

Strength in Abiding

If I were to ask you what the common bond was between pastors, politicians, and physicians, what would your answer be? The connection is that all of these professions deal intimately with human beings. Pastors deal with humans in the midst of personal tragedy; politicians and advocates with those who have been unjustly impacted by the societal and constitutional system; and, finally, physicians see people in the middle of bouts with physical ailments. Why do I bring this up? Because dealing with humanity takes a huge toll on us emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually. In fact, if we are not careful we will often experience burnout and cease to be as effective as we can be.

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Dominoes lined up, falling on one another.

The I Am Wants More Than Admiration: Part 2

In today’s text from John, Jesus makes the outrageous claim that whoever doesn’t believe him is a slave to sin. How do we as leaders continue to hold onto these essential beliefs like sin without alienating the very people we are trying to reach, people who think of sin as an antiquated or even oppressive idea? In a pluralistic world that increasingly considers Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy a form of “extremism,” keeping right beliefs connected to right actions is a formidable challenge.

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A teacher speaks to his class sitting around him.

The I Am Wants More Than Admiration: Part 1

John’s gospel portrays Jesus as a new kind of Moses who brings bread and light as well as shepherding Israel in the wilderness. In the raising of Lazarus, Jesus is shown as someone who is Lord over life and death—something only God can do! To top it off, Jesus implies in John 8 that he is even greater than Father Abraham by invoking the revered name for God, Yahweh, by saying “I am”. That’s why these listeners were going to kill him: for calling himself equal with God. These are people who earlier demonstrated some level of admiration for Jesus but now wanted to kill him. Jesus seems to be forcing them to decide if they truly want to be followers of him or are content simply admiring him.

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