Pentacost for Everyone

 

Pentecost for Everyone

There is so much about the Pentecost story that intrigues, inspires, and incites conversation and action, but for me the impact of the story is encapsulated best by the word “everyone.” There is great hope and a challenging call in Peter’s quotation of the prophet Joel, especially the line, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and that hope and challenge could not be any more timely.
 
Peace, 
Chess

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Lift up your heads

Ascension

Luke 24:44-53

Tucked away after the crucifixion and resurrection is the ascension of Jesus. This short and simple story is rich with depth, meaning, and hope if we know where to look. Through the lenses of Psalm 24 and history, the ascension story is a powerful proclamation of the divinity of Christ and the hope of eternal life lived with God.
 
Peace, Chess
 
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Help, Comfort, and Counsel

Help, Comfort, Counsel

John 14:15-21

it is a rarely discussed topic, and when discussed it often remains rather mysterious and intangible. Jesus has much to say on the Holy Spirit, especially in the book of John, and we would be wise to listen. In just these six verses Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit as like himself, truthful, an advocate, a helper, a comforter, a guide and a counselor. Understanding these characteristics of the Holy Spirit are important for us all.

 
Peace,
Chess
 
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Greater Works

Greater works

In what almost sounds like a direct challenge, Jesus spoke in John 14:1-14 about his works and the disciples doing even greater works than his. It can be overwhelming to think of having to do works like Jesus’, let alone even greater works. But if this isn’t a challenge to outperform Jesus, than what does he mean and what works are we called to?
 
Peace,
Chess
 
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I am the Gate

 

Jesus the Gate

John 10:1-10 paints a confusing picture of Jesus as a gate to a sheep pen. We are used to thinking of Jesus as a shepherd, but what does it mean for him to be a gate? And what does it mean for us to come in and go out through the gate? It’s a strange figure of speech that confused the disciples, and it deserves some attention so that we can understand Jesus as gate.
 
Peace, 
Chess
 
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Eyes to See

Eyes to See

Luke 24:13-35

It is easy as audience members, mere on-lookers, to read the story of the road to Emmaus and think it strange that the two disciples didn’t recognize Jesus. If we were honest though, I think we all likely miss opportunities to see Jesus in our lives. I wonder how much we could see and hear if only we retrained our eyes and ears. Certainly we see Jesus in our corporate worship activities like communion, but when we cannot gather for worship could we still find reminders of God in our quarantine?
Peace, 
Chess
 
 

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Faithful Thomas

Faithful Thomas

Thomas has lived in the shadow of his prescribed descriptor all these years: Doubting Thomas. We think of Thomas and his doubt as a weakness, a character trait to be avoided, but I believe there is so much more to Thomas’ moment of doubt than we give him credit for. Perhaps Thomas is better known as Faithful Thomas than Doubting Thomas, and perhaps there is something in how Thomas handles his doubt that is admirable and exemplary.
Peace,
Chess
 
 
 
 

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Because He Lives

Because He Lives!

He is risen! He is alive! These words are just as true today as they were all those years ago at the empty tomb. The Jesus who lived three days after his crucifixion is the same today and tomorrow, just as alive now as he was then. And it is because he lives that we have hope – hope that suffering does not last forever, hope that good triumphs over evil, and hope of life lived now and eternally.
Peace,
Chess
 
 
 

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Expecting the Unexpected

God seems to always be working in unexpected ways, and the triumphal entry of Jesus is no exception. Seems that in many of God’s biggest moments in the Bible, people are always left surprised and caught unaware. I wonder if that is because God is so unexpected, or if, perhaps, we have a habit of expecting the wrong things of God.
Peace,
Chess
 
 
 
 
 

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Jubilee in the Eye of the Storm

Leviticus 25 lays out the plans for a year of sabbath rest called the year of jubilee, and I keep finding elements of jubilee in surprising places, like when this guy drove through my yard and broke my water meter. Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there, but I think there are surprising aspects of sabbath and jubilee to be found in the eye of this COVID-19 storm. Perhaps we could find rest and healing in this time of uncertainty and illness.

Peace,  Chess
 
 
 

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