What Makes a Family? (Mark 3:20-35)

By Matthew L. Skinner“Parents just don’t understand” might be an ever-present theme in popular music, but it’s hardly a modern phenomenon.Jesus’ Family DiscordIf you’re looking for snapshots of well-adjusted and happy parent-child relationships from the ancient world, the Bible probably shouldn’t be on your short list of sources. Consider even Jesus’ family, for example. The New Testament preserves evidence suggesting that Jesus’ relationship with his mother was rather strained. Sim … [Read more...]

Genesis 17:1-7, 5-16 and Mark 8:31-38: God the Game-Changer

ByMichael Cooper-WhiteAmong the horde of authors and consultants who address the elusive subject of “leadership,” Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky have gained a place of prominence. Over the years they have examined dozens of effective organizations of all types in search of answers to a fundamental question: What makes them tick? What do the good and growing ones do differently than corporations or institutions that decline and fail? Just what are the traits of those in charge of fir … [Read more...]

Mark 9:2-9: Visions of Jesus on the Mountain

By Barbara Kay LundbladIs there room in our lives for visions we cannot explain? Have we closed our minds to truth that doesn’t fit our rational categories? In her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard shares stories of doctors who performed early cataract surgery in Europe. When a doctor removed bandages from one girl’s eyes, she saw “the tree with the lights in it.” Those words sent Dillard on her own journey. “It was for this tree I searched through the peach orchards of summer, in … [Read more...]

Mark 1:40-45: The Inconvenient Truth about Taking Care of the Poor

By Matthew L. SkinnerJesus was concerned about the very poor.I’m not trying to pile on Mitt Romney after the bad week he had. I think he and most other politicians are concerned about poverty, too, despite their occasional inability to do much about it. But their concern differs greatly from Jesus’. More about them later. … [Read more...]

Mark 1:14-20: A Call Worthy of Their Lives

By Greg CareyReaders almost always gravitate to the same question. Why do Simon and Andrew, then James and John after them, abandon everything to follow Jesus? Mark leaves no doubt as to the immediacy of their response. Seeing Simon and Andrew casting for fish, Jesus says, “Follow after me, and I will make you to be fishers for people.” And immediately, Mark emphasizes, they leave their nets and follow Jesus. Likewise, Jesus immediately calls James and John while they are mending their net … [Read more...]

Mark 1:1-8: God Barges Into Our Lives

By Michael Joseph BrownBeginnings can be abrupt. Our minds tend to search, often in vain, for the cause or the reason for a movement when, in truth, movements are frequently more the product of a confluence of causes or reasons rather than attributable to just one. … [Read more...]


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