Greatness is lifting up from underneath. Jesus says to his disciples that the gentile rulers “press down on them...” The donkey presses up from underneath. Greatness, like the donkey's, means lifting up.
Each year, the church celebrates the day Jesus entered Jerusalem to people waving palm fronds, which was an honor given to a king. People thought he was coming as a conquering hero to overthrow Roman oppression and establish a new rule. But Jesus had a different kingdom in mind.
Matthew and Simon, two key disciples of Jesus, were natural born enemies. Yet they ate together, worked together, and prayed together. These unlikely friends were united in Christ, and they became a model for the early church.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 9:9-13
Sometimes we try doing it on our own and find ourselves at the knot on the end of the rope. Two people, hanging on to their rope for dear life, turn to Jesus, and in their desperation find help and peace.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 8:40-56
Jesus treasured, cherished, and defended women, especially his mother, in a time when it was taboo to strike up a conversation with a woman in public.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 15:21-28
How will we deal with the "needy" people around us? We often try to avoid people like Bartimaus who seem to be a bottomless pit of need.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 10
On the path of discipleship Peter discovered his true identity. As we follow Christ's call in our lives we discover our true selves.
SCRIPTURE: John 1:40-42; Matthew 16:17-19
SCRIPTURE: John 5:1-15
See Jesus’ compassion for bereaved people. His heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones in the past year.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:11-23
Jesus meets you in the ordinary - so ordinary that, like his own disciples, you may not recognize him. It was only when they’d sat down at the kitchen table that the disciples recognized him. Open your eyes, and things will never be the same.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 24:13-35
During his ministry, James earned the nickname “James the Just.” James was a man of action who refused to tolerate a church that consumed the good news of Jesus but did not respond with good deeds like Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:22-25; 2:14-26
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” ... Oh yes, they do. You remember some words that were said to you as a child, don’t you? And they still haunt you. James says words can set your life on fire. That’s why God cares deeply about the words we say to each other.
SCRIPTURE: James 3:1-12
Mercy is the kind of thing that we all want to experience-when we are merging lanes, when we have three items and the person in front of us has a cart full. But in ever deepening ways, the Bible calls us to live out mercy, not to seek it for ourselves.
SCRIPTURE: James 2:1-13
Today we don’t simply want advice. We say to an expert, “help me navigate this process." The more complex our lives become, the more we need navigators. Navigation is more than advice; it’s access to higher wisdom.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:5-8, 3:13-18, 4:13-17
Perseverance rocks. We have more clichés, mottoes and slogans about perseverance than any other virtue. Hang in there. Tough it out. And so on. Perseverance is how you go from wish to fulfillment. All it takes is stick-to-it-iveness.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:1-4
One occasionally bumps into a paradox while examining the Christian life. In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul says that spreading peace is a weapon of our warfare. This Sunday, we'll examine how one "wages" peace in Jesus' name.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 6:10-18
Unlike armor you wear, the shield is a tool used for specific times in battle, such as for protection when advancing. If you’re getting fiery arrows in your life, that means you’re a strategic person in God’s kingdom.
How do we wear spiritual armor in 21st century culture? The best defense is a good offense. We need to stay constantly on the offensive, using a simple strategy with three parts.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:8