July 24, 2021

People sometimes think that because I’m a pastor, editor, and theologian, I must spend a lot of time reading. The reality is that, because I’m those three things at once, I have precious little time to read outside of work. So when I do read, I want it to be worth it. This means that I’m often doing triage with the books I read: Is this relevant to my teaching or ministry? Does it represent a perspective I don’t often... Read more

July 21, 2021

Mary and Martha: Brave Friends By Jess Lyons Read Luke 10:38–42; John 11:1–44 At first glance, the story of Mary and Martha is simple and straightforward. Many of us are familiar with Luke’s account of these women. Don’t be a busy Martha, always fussing and “doing” for Jesus. Instead, be like Mary. Sit with Jesus, listen, recognize that only “one thing is needed.” Do a quick Google search using the words “Mary and Martha,” and you’ll find sermons focused solely on... Read more

July 16, 2021

Junia: Outstanding Apostle  By Drew Strait Read Romans 16:1–7; Acts 2:14–21 In her TED talk, titled, “The Danger of a Single Story,” the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about the power of story and literature to shape how we think about our lives. She recalls growing up in Nigeria reading British novels with blonde haired, blue eyed children who drank ginger beer. When Adichie started writing her first stories as a child, she found herself writing exclusively about blond... Read more

July 8, 2021

Woman with a Flow of Blood: Seeking Wholeness By Janet Abai Read Mark 5:25–34 We see a woman who is enslaved by affliction but decides to look beyond that barrier to healing. Her slave master, bleeding, is brutal to her. This owner has led her to into “enduring much at the hands of many physicians” (Mark 5:26). This slave master has brought pain and penury as her co-owners. These deadly companions have owned and ruled her for twelve years. While... Read more

July 1, 2021

The Samaritan Woman: Surprising Witness By Carrie Badertscher Read John 4:1–42 The sun is hot. It is high noon in Samaria, a place that frequently experiences droughts but has no rivers. No moving, fresh water to dip your toes in or find refreshment for your parched, sun chapped lips. Jesus, tired and weary from a long walk, and a Samaritan woman, tired and weary from life, find themselves at the same well, Jacob’s well in the Village of Sychar. A... Read more

June 24, 2021

Mother Tekoa: Bringing Wisdom By Susannah M. Larry Read 2 Samuel 14:1–24   The summer I turned twenty-one, I lived at an intentional Christian community called Jubilee Partners in Comer, Georgia. Just as I came of age by the weird standards of our culture, I came of age spiritually in that community of Christ followers who were committed to peace and justice. The Jubilee Partners folks were an unconventional group of United States citizens and refugees from around the world that... Read more

June 17, 2021

Vashti: Honoring Herself By Carrie Badertscher Read Esther 1 One hundred and twenty-seven provinces. One hundred and eighty days of feasting and drinking. Seven more days of drinking. The scene is set.  Three years into ruling Persia, King Xerxes—an egocentric king, enthralled with power, position, and possessions—invites dignitaries from far and wide to come and feast and drink in his palace. For 180 days, gold goblets overflow with choice wine, and pomp and splendor are on full display. At the completion of the... Read more

June 8, 2021

Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth: Sustaining Hope By Jess Lyons Read Ruth 1:1–18; 4:13–15; Lamentations 3:16–24; Psalm 107 When all hope is lost, where do we find that elusive little word? In days of pain, disappointment, or grief, we often hear others tell us to “hold onto hope.” Hope is tricky, though. It slips through our fingers. It sneaks away with every loss, every bit of hurt. And yet, it is often the only thing that sustains us. This story in... Read more

June 5, 2021

Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcha, and Tirzah: Seeking Justice By David C. Cramer Read Numbers 27:1–11; Psalm 82 In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus offers various teachings about how to respond to others who have wronged you.  Jesus teaches that those who are persecuted are blessed because their reward is in heaven.  Jesus teaches that, if you recall that someone has something against you, you should immediately seek them out and be reconciled to them.  Jesus teaches that you shouldn’t resist... Read more

May 29, 2021

Shiphrah and Puah: Disobeying Pharaoh By David C. Cramer Read Exodus 1:8–22; Psalm 22 “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right” (1 Peter 2:13–14). “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but... Read more

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