An Ally Identity

Mark 9:38-41; 49-50     The Message (MSG) 38 John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.” 39-41 Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. […]

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A Preceding Faith in a Touch

Mark 5:24b-34 I would like to ask you a question. Simple, but it may seem the opposite. What is faith? Sure, perhaps you are thinking: Really? What is faith? Now that’s a loaded question. Are you referring to some kind of religious faith, or a faith in God or Jesus or Mohammad, or Buddha, or […]

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Restored to Wholeness: Full Self

Mark 1:29-34a 29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, […]

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Love Builds Up

Mark 1:21-39 Let’s talk demons, afflictions, identity and love. Cool with you? Okay, first, a story about Jesus of Nazareth. He’s making his way to Capernaum–perhaps the most important and well-connected community in the region of Galilee. There was a temple there, and Jesus was about to darken its door. Mark’s Gospel is the speed […]

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Joy Rising Out of Trauma

In the brilliant sci-fi/fantasy Netflix series Stranger Things the main characters all go through trauma: Joyce loses her son, Will. Jonathan loses his little brother. Eleven/Jane is experimented on, deprived of parental care, tortured, and manipulated psychologically. Dustin, Mike, and Lucas lose their friend and think he’s dead. Will is taken by a creature to […]

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Keep Your Love, Find Your Healing

Matthew 15:21-28 What do you think about miracles? As I mentioned before, when it comes to miracles, I think it is most helpful for us to avoid asking did the miracle really happen? Instead, we ought to ask: what does a miracle story mean? By asking that second question, we will be truer to the […]

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Seeing Wholly

John 9:1-7 Roots, Frida Kahlo, 1943 How do we see ourselves? Is our view of ourselves accurate? How do our experiences, both good and bad, affect how we see ourselves? How do we see others? How do our experiences, what we hear or read, affect how we see other people? How can we see ourselves […]

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The Gratefulness Factor

Luke 17:11-19 [NRSV] 11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus* was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers* approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ […]

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How Do We Measure Success?

Luke 10:1-11 This story, in my opinion, is about how one defines success.My initial thoughts on the background of this Luke story: it’s originally a Mark story, but instead of Jesus sending out 12 [as in Mark], Jesus sends 70, or is that 72? Some Bible translations go with 70, while others say 72. Why? […]

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Not Looking Back: How Do We Move Forward?

Luke 9:51-62 As a kid, I read The Hobbit numerous times. I’ve reread it as an adult, too. There are many reasons why I like it—the good storytelling, the characters, creatures, languages, and cultures. The overarching theme, though, is what always draws me in. Bilbo Baggins, the little Hobbit with the hairy feet, is the […]

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