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Posts tagged with: Luke

A woman walking on a pathway with falling leaves near a lake

Going Deeper and Longer in Prayer

Short prayers are just fine. But sometimes, like Jesus, we need to devote more time to prayer. We need to share with the Lord more of what is in our hearts. And we need to be quiet long enough so we can hear the still, small voice of the Spirit. God will help us to spend the time we need in prayer so that our hearts might be more connected to the heart of God.

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Starry sky over a mountain and a lake

Jesus Pulls an All-Nighter

When Jesus faced substantial challenges or needed to make key decisions, he spent time in prayer. If the Son of God found it helpful to talk with his Heavenly Father in such times, shouldn’t we do the same?

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Three people with their backs to the camera and their arms around each others' shoulders, wearing tshirts with religious slogans, including a reference to the sabbath and Luke 4:16

Following Jesus Today: The Purpose of the Sabbath

The fact that Jesus healed on the Sabbath gives us freedom to consider how we might engage in the ministry of healing in our own context. Our works of healing might certainly include praying for the sick, so that they might be well. But our works of healing might also include loving children as a Sunday School teacher, feeding folks who struggle with hunger and homelessness, joining a public gathering to pray for justice in our land, or reaching out to foster reconciliation in a broken relationship. Yes, the Sabbath is meant for rest. But it is also a day for restoration, restoration we receive and restoration to which we contribute.

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Following Jesus Today: Is Jesus the Lord of Your Sabbath?

God has designed you for work and rest. God has given to all of us – including you – the gift of Sabbath, a day for refreshment and renewal. Jesus claims to be Lord of the Sabbath, and this means he is Lord over your Sabbath. He wants you to experience renewing rest. He is glad to help you discover what this means in your life.

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Grain in a field

Following Jesus Today: An Unexpected Lord

From the earliest days of Christianity, followers of Jesus have claimed that he is Lord. This claim not only recognizes the deity of Jesus, but also acknowledges his rightful authority over our lives. We live under the gracious, merciful, wise, and just lordship of Jesus Christ. In all we do and all we say, in every time and place, we proclaim the Jesus is Lord.

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A movie marquee that says "The world is temporarily closed"

Following Jesus Today: Wine, Wineskins, and the Challenge of Leadership

Whether you lead a church or a business, a school or a city, a factory or a family, a studio or a store, effective leadership in today’s world means change leadership. In a time of major global upheaval and societal disruption, change is required, now more than ever. It is necessary for surviving, not to mention thriving. Thus, our leadership will be inspired by “new wine” and will help our people create and embrace “new wineskins.” But wise change leadership will also acknowledge the reality of loss, helping our people grieve their “old wineskins” so they might be prepared to embrace the new thing God is doing among them.

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Irvine Presbyterian in mirror

Following Jesus Today: The Disruption of Wine and Wineskins

God wants to do a new thing in our lives. Sometimes this new thing involves minor adjustments. Sometimes it means a radical reordering of how we live. When we are willing to surrender what is familiar and comfortable in order to step out in obedience to God, an amazing adventure lies ahead. God will do new things in us and through us for his purposes and glory.

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A collection of wine barrells

Following Jesus Today: New Wine and New Wineskins

Jesus proclaimed the new wine of the kingdom of God, adding that new wine requires new wineskins. This is true today as well. The message of God’s grace, mercy, justice, and love in Jesus challenges us to new ways of living in each generation. We ask: How does the gospel impel us to act in time of a global pandemic? How does the reign of God impact our efforts to bring racial justice to our society? How might I learn to love my neighbors in new ways?

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A plate full of fried chicken, macaroni, okra, and greens

Following Jesus Today: Using Your Stuff for Kingdom Purposes

When we follow Jesus, we learn to think differently about “our stuff.” Whether we have relatively little or whether we have a lot, all of our possessions ultimately belong to the Lord and are committed to his work. What this means for each of us will vary with our circumstances and calling. But we will share together in a life of hospitality and generosity.

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A table beautifully set for a banquet

Following Jesus Today: Must I Leave Everything Behind?
Further Thoughts

In the New Testament gospels, when Jesus called people they often “left everything” to follow him. While there’s no doubt that following Jesus involved significant sacrifice, financial and otherwise, not every disciple of Jesus gave up literally everything. In Luke 5, for example, Levi “left everything” to follow Jesus but was still able to host a banquet in his home. Though Levi was the legal owner, he thought of his home in a completely new perspective. It was now devoted to the ministry of Jesus. It was a base for hospitality and generosity. For us, therefore, whether we own, rent, or live with others, “our stuff” is not really ours. Everything we have belongs ultimately to the Lord and is devoted to his purposes.

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A 1930's-era store window with a sign reading "Pay Your Tax Now"

Following Jesus Today: The Surprising Call of Jesus

The story of Levi in Luke 5 shows us, once again, that Jesus calls people who are on the margins of society. Often, those on the margins are even more responsive to the call of Jesus because they have less to give up than those who are more central and privileged. Yet, we must remember that Jesus also calls people who are on the margins of our own networks and preferences. Jesus doesn’t check with us first before he calls people to follow him.

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A man climbing the side of a mountain

Following Jesus Today: Why Take Risks?

The more we trust Jesus, the more we will take risks for the sake of the kingdom of God. We will be emboldened to try things we would not otherwise try, to love in ways we would not otherwise love. Why? Because we trust Jesus to guide us, empower us, and work through us. So, whether we are moving far away from home in response to God’s call, reaching out to care for a colleague at work, or confronting injustice in our city, we rely on Jesus, the one we trust because he is utterly trustworthy.

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Following Jesus Today: Taking Risks

Following Jesus isn’t safe. If we’re going to follow Jesus today, we will inevitably take risks. We may put at risk our comfort, reputation, safety, or financial security. Yet, the more we trust Jesus and pay attention to him, the more we will be empowered to take risks for the sake of his kingdom and for the people he has entrusted to our care.

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Following Jesus Today: Healing Beyond Healing

Healing was central to the ministry of Jesus. When he healed people, he demonstrated the reality of the kingdom of God. God’s power defeats disease. God’s love creates wholeness. So when God reigns, healing happens. Jesus offered physical healing, yes, but also healing beyond healing . . . relational healing, psychological healing, spiritual healing. Jesus seeks to make us whole in every way.

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An old car in a shed being worked on

Following Jesus Today: Must I Leave Everything Behind?

Sometimes Jesus calls people to follow him by leaving their current lives behind and starting over again in a brand new location. This happened to the first disciples of Jesus, for example. For most of us, however, following Jesus is something we do in our familiar cities, families, and workplaces. To be sure, following Jesus still requires plenty of leaving behind. Jesus will ask us to discard our worldly values, unjust practices, prejudicial biases, selfish materialism, and inborn “me first” attitude. We will come to see our whole life, including our daily work and everyday relationships, as contexts in which can follow Jesus faithfully.

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