As his life and ministry builds to the boiling point, Jesus feels enormous pressure and stress. So how does he respond? He goes to the garden and prays. Meanwhile, his disciples watch and wait with him. In the most heated moments of life, prayer is the practice Jesus most wants to teach us as his followers.
Sometimes a night is just the end of a day. But sometimes, it’s more: night can bring darkness and loss, or relief and peace. Nights are when we stop moving and consider life. The story of God’s people is full of great nights, when conflict peaks, when people explore big questions, and when lives are lost and won.
Life is filled with weeds that choke and tangle our lives and with weedy people trying to entrap us and keep us from living into the fullness of God’s plan for our lives. Jesus teaches how we should respond to these weeds, and how we can ultimately use them for the betterment of his Kingdom.
Jesus tells a story in which he depicts God as a farmer who throws seeds. The seeds fall among the rocks, in the weeds, and on the hard-packed paths. Their location determines if they grow and flourish, or wither and fade. Has your seed fallen on the rock, with no way of taking root? Has it fallen among the weeds, only to be entangled by the toils of the world? Or has your seed fallen on the good soil, where it can flourish and bear fruit?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:1-32
Jesus is part Savior and part ophthalmologist. He wants us to see things as they really are, not the version that is distorted by sin and blurred by the world which come to us naturally. Through parables, Jesus opens our eyes to the true story of our lives, and offers a new perspective into his Kingdom.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:10-17
It was late in the season when Paul was put on a ship to stand trial before the Emperor. He knew it could get bad. Sometimes, we can see storms looming, and can't do anything to stop it. Yet even when all hope seems lost, God promises us that we will be safe.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 27:13-26
At first, Jesus doesn’t stop the storm. The disciples are out of their minds, thinking they might die, and want Jesus to rescue them. Instead, Jesus asks about their faith. Some things can only be learned in a storm. Discipleship is mostly on-the-job training. What storms are blowing in your life?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 8:23-27
One of Jesus' most famous stories concerns the optimist who opts for beachfront property and the pessimist who picks the rock-filled lot. It's been said that things don't always work out the way you plan them. The truth is that they never do. In life, there's a 100% chance of rain. How are you planning for the storms to come?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:24-27
The story of Elijah tells us how kings and kingdoms chase after temporary security and pleasure. Living in such a world can be discouraging. But God is more powerful, and wants more for us than just our comfort and wellbeing. After revealing His presence in the storm, God recommissions Elijah to minister to the world in which he lived.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 19:11-13
Sometimes life can feel stormy. The account of Jonah is one of the Bible’s most interesting storm stories, when the rebellious prophet is thrown overboard during a storm and swallowed by a great fish in whose belly he lives for three days. When storms break around us there’s a lot to learn.
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1
Interesting things can happen at supper; engagements to marriage, business deals, professions of love, and even life-shattering betrayals. At supper one night, even in the face of betrayal, Jesus was glorified.
SCRIPTURE: John 13:21-31
Sometimes, when the night seems the darkest, all you can do is sing. Silly songs, serious songs, songs that give hope. And sometimes, in the midst of those songs, something amazing breaks through, and in the midst of it is God!
SCRIPTURE: Acts 16:25-34
In the morning, we're ready to take on the world. But it's at night, in our fatigue, that we take heed of our doubts and fears. Believing seems to take more than we have to give. It's at night when Gideon tests God's faithfulness, even as he pleads for mercy. Is God really present or are we getting fleeced?
SCRIPTURE: Judges 6:36-46
He wanted to believe. After he'd put Daniel and the others in with the lions for the night, the king couldn't sleep. He was anguished. He'd laid down the gauntlet, and he had to know the answer. Was Daniel right after all? Would Daniel's God come through?
SCRIPTURE: Daniel 6:16-28
Sometimes our relationship with God can feel like a wrestling match. We sense God's presence, but resist. We ask for God's favor, and when he doesn't respond, we keep on asking. The story of Jacob encourages us to keep on wrestling, even when it hurts.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 32:22-32
Jesus said, "Don’t be afraid; just believe." Some of the most popular editions of today’s Bibles have red letters for the words of Jesus. These red letters beg a question: Who is this Jesus? When we look at the red letter Jesus, we’re forced to decide, will we let his words change our life?
SCRIPTURE: Mark 5:36
Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people." Who is this Jesus? When we look at this words, we’re forced to decide, will we let his words change our life?
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:15-20
Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Who is this Jesus? When we look at his words, we’re forced to decide, will we let him change our life?
SCRIPTURE: John 10:10