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Posts tagged with: Luke

iPray: Conclusion

Before Jesus could teach the disciples how to pray, there had to be an acknowledgment that they were willing to be students. And when Jesus began to teach them his prayer template, it was unlike anything they had ever understood about prayer. He had opened their eyes to a whole new system. He took a familiar concept, turned it on its head and encouraged them to look at it with fresh eyes in a new way.

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Clothes on hangers.

The KonMari Method

I think we’d all agree there comes a time when we look at all the stuff we’ve accumulated and we either decide to build a bigger barn or face the fact that we’ve accumulated more than we could ever want or need. When that happens, what should we do? Apparently, according to the passage today, building a bigger barn is probably not the best, first choice. I’m not saying we need to give everything away, or pile a mountain of clothing on our beds. But how do we keep from wanting a bigger barn?

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Two kids looking out towards a marina.

Marketplace Leaders Are Judged by Their Actions

When I was in elementary school, my mom arrived to pick me up in a silver Rolls Royce. Every kid ogled the long, elegant swoop of fender, flaring slightly above the back wheel. The impossibly long hood. The flying-lady hood ornament. Giving one last look to those still waiting in the carpool line, I opened the heavy, perfectly machined door and entered the spacious back seat. There was just one catch: Our wrecking-yard Rolls, thanks to Dad, was running on a wrecking-yard Chevrolet engine.

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Fallen leaves in the shape of a heart.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Love

On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we read about the mother of the yet-to-be-born Jesus, rushing from her hometown to stay with her relative Elizabeth. Mary could have been rushing out of obedience to the angel who informed her of the incredible mission of carrying the Messiah. Or Mary could have been fleeing her small hometown out of fear of reprisal from family, friends, and neighbors who would certainly judge her in the coming months for being pregnant and unwed. But I’d like to think that Mary’s haste was primarily out of love.

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The Preaching of St. John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, public domain.

The Way of Repentance

What kind of preparation would be required when God shows up to announce the good news that he is the rightful Lord of this world and that he is about to make everything right? Surely that would be the most momentous event in human history. Who would be God’s “advance team” to get people ready? What would they do to prepare people for God’s coming? How would they go about their work?

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A waning moon.

There is Peace

This feeling of chaos, hopelessness, and utter despair was the mood du jour for the people of God at the time of the events that unfolded in today’s scripture. The first verse and the beginning of the second verse remind us that the rulers of the day were heavy-handed, tough-minded, and corrupt. It was into this cultural moment that John predicted the arrival of the Messiah, one who would usher in peace at just the right time.

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A woman praying.

iPray: Teach Us How to Pray

It would seem that today, many people pray without understanding the proper posture, purpose, and potential power that can be released as a result of an effective prayer life. For many, prayer has become a routine and sometimes mindless exercise in which we engage God only when we need help or when we are asking for something. There is so much that is forsaken when we neglect to embrace prayer as the intimate exchange between a Sovereign Father and his beloved children.

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A man raising his arms to the sky.

Revolutionary Communicator: Success

The disciples are found arguing about success in Luke’s story. Even though they don’t seem to be arguing specifically over money, Jesus warns his disciples about seeking power and position as a definition of success. Instead, he says to focus on humbly serving others as an act of being united with his work and ministry… We should find our joy not in our accomplishments for God but in our identity with God.

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Silhouettes of people against a sunset.

From Solitude to Service

Yesterday, we reflected on Jesus as a revolutionary communicator who purposefully engaged with solitude and silence as a pattern for his ministry and life. Today, we’ll consider how solitude isn’t meant to disengage us from daily life but to help us reengage in the work that God has set before us… Far from being disengaged, a purposeful engagement with God in solitude leads to a greater fruitfulness in our entire lives and in our service to the world.

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A little girl playing with bubbles in the park.

Childlike Approach

A child’s vulnerability is their inability to hide behind any kind of facade that can control others. But we adults learn quickly that we must hide our true selves in order to manage others, pursue our goals, and avoid things we fear. This refusal to be authentically vulnerable and insistence to put on the appearance of strength and control is what Jesus warns may ruin our relationship with God. As leaders, we know that this inclination to not be our true selves damages our relationships with others as well.

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A man, thoughtful, with his eyes closed.

Revolutionary Communicator: Authenticity

Jesus contrasts two very familiar first-century characters: a Pharisee and a tax-collector. Perhaps Jesus’s listeners wouldn’t have been shocked to hear Jesus challenge the smugness of the Pharisee, but to praise a tax-collector would certainly have been unexpected. Jesus raises up the value of a person’s honesty, sincerity, and straightforwardness when it comes to one’s relationship with God. And he implies that his true followers will embrace an authenticity that will be noticed by God and others.

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A very dense crowd of people filling a street.

Attention-Giving vs. Attention-Getting

Jesus was attentive… Attention-giving can be especially difficult in a culture where attention-getting is so highly valued. Being attentive can be hard amidst Facebook posts, work deadlines, and endless emails. But numerous opportunities to join God in his kingdom work abound daily for those who cultivate a lifestyle of attentiveness to God’s will, to self-care, and to others’ needs.

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A blueprint of an architectural plan to build.

Blueprints: Introduction

In Luke 14, Jesus begins to discourse with the people about the cost of discipleship. During this dialogue, he presents the idea of someone building a tower without counting the cost—drafting a detailed plan and accurately assessing what it would take to complete the task… While Jesus was talking about counting the cost in following Christ, the same principle applies to leadership.

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Figures of baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph set before a background of twinkling lights.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 1: Offer Your Body to God

Christmas has a lot to do with bodies, if you stop to think about it. The nativity narrative in Luke begins with the news that the aged body of Elizabeth will soon bear a son. Then, a virgin named Mary learns that her body will soon contain the very Son of God. When God’s Son is born, he has a real body, one that starts out life in weakness and dependency. If you take away the bodies, you really don’t have Christmas at all.

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A simple manger constructed of wood with torn cloth.

When You Best Move On

When the rules always seem to go in someone else’s favor, when you feel pushed to the margins, when you can’t seem to find your way and people keep telling you, “You best move on,” I pray you hear the soft cries of the holy infant and remember he has gone to prepare a place for you… and there is always room.

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