We know that the Kingdom of God remains a fundamental theme throughout Jesus’s entire ministry. An establishment of this Kingdom in the form of peace and justice is long awaited among the Old Testament prophets. But when power, prominence, and possessions threaten to characterize the kingdoms of the world today, how should the church react and renew Jesus’ missional intent?
Disciple-making is a priority of the Christian faith originating in Jesus’ ministry, continuing on in the early church and into the present day. Over time, however, it seems that the art of disciple-making has been lost. The gap between our current understanding of disciple-making and that which is present in the Bible is growing, and today’s church leaders are recognizing this in their own ministries. How can we as church leaders move past this dilemma?
Grief is something no one truly wants to experience but that we all must go through at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, we often ignore our grief and fail to process the reality of the situation in a constructive way. Instead of ignoring it, however, what if we were to engage our grief in ways that reflected how Jesus processed it himself. For Lily, this meant allowing God to provide healing through her art.
Christians have long stigmatized cursing. Often times we are so quick to dismiss what a person has to say because they employ language indicative of the ‘world’. But what if the problem isn’t as black and white as it is often made out to be. Perhaps there is more to language than just the words we do or do not speak. Perhaps there is something else that determines whether or not what we say honors God.
How often do you go to the grocery store and see shopping carts strewn about the parking lot in all sorts of unusual places? We don’t often think about the consequences of something as simple as failing to return a shopping cart. However, what if our decision to return, or not return, the shopping cart speaks to deeper sentiments we hold within our hearts?
Guidance, knowledge, and wisdom as ongoing processes are critical elements within the dynamics of mentoring and discipling. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus models a deeply personal style of leadership by investing into the lives of his disciples through empowerment and wise counsel. Similarly, how is the Church today to follow and continue this practice of mentoring and discipleship?
One of Donne’s more famous poems is “At the round earth’s imagined corners.” This title, also its opening line, demonstrates a hallmark of his poetry–the ability to combine elements of our experienced world (“the round earth”) with powerful and often Biblical imagery (its “imagin’d corners,” a reference to Revelation 7:1) to produce startling insights into the relationship between this world and the next. But what exactly connects the vast and expansive “there” of heaven with the lowly “here” of earth and what are the practical implications for our lives as Christians?
Let’s face it. Social media is the language of our generation. Within the last decade, technological advancements have exploded to provide us all with the capacity to present the highlights of our lives, and access to the highlights of other people’s lives. The selective information we take in deeply affects the way we perceive not only ourselves and other people, but especially our perceptions of ministry. How can we maintain a healthy understanding of ministry in light of its glorified presentation in social media today?
Black History Month for me had been an annual moment in February of reflection on the historical accomplishments of African American men and women who had achieved great accomplishments in history. It was a time of celebration because so much had been accomplished for men and women of color with abolition of slavery, the civil rights era, desegregation of schools, voter’s rights, and the list goes on. Lest we celebrate too quickly, there is a human dignity that Dr. King expressed that we the American people are still seeking today.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a compelling story to reflect on for Black History Month. The story, based on conflict between Jews and Samaritans, speaks to us about prejudice, stereotypes, and the power of love across ethnic lines. Reading this story this month, we might encourage one another to reach, like the good Samaritan, out to those who may disdain and slander us because of our ethnicity. When it comes to black history, who has played the role of priests, Levites, and the Good Samaritan? Who, after seeing people in dire need, has passed by on the other side?