God is bigger, higher, deeper, more powerful, more mysterious than anything you can imagine. Some will tell you that’s why you shouldn’t question God. I’m saying that’s why you should. God is big enough, high enough, deep enough, powerful enough, and mysterious enough to handle your questions. And the Bible is good enough to guide you as you encounter that God.
Jesus has overcome death, he has overcome the death-dealing things of this world...and so death no longer fills the space of our lives, it no longer clutters our vision or our thinking and being in this world, Jesus has tidied it up, he's made a path through it for us so that we can go from life through death to life again just like he did.
Have you ever asked the question of why did Jesus die on the cross? Maybe this is something that you have let go of in your deconstruction or maybe you haven’t ever given it much thought. Pastor Blair sits down with Dr. Gary Fox to talk through the differing atonement theologies and how they play out in our lives in this episode of “Practicing The Presence.”
Jesus says: focus on loving God and loving others and your joy will be complete. The Greek root of the word joy is the same as grace--joy is a gift from God, joy is a gift of knowing you are connected to the divine and this connection is not something you earn or win…it is always present with you, if you will just see it, in moments of stress, see your connection with God and with others and your joy will be complete. Joy comes in, fear goes out when we see ourselves as connected.
If you do not read the Bible, you place yourself at the mercy of those who do. The discipline of wrestling with scripture frees you from people who want to impose their reading on you.
A prominent pastor here in Dallas thinks we should build a wall at our southern border. He told the news the Bible says heaven has a wall around it. That’s Revelation 21:12. He didn’t mention there are twelve gates in that wall that never close. That’s Revelation 21:25. If we want to build a wall at the border like the one in the Bible, we’ll have to put big holes in it every few miles.
Many of us Christians have collected a lot of beliefs we’ve been taught and told and even repeated…this season of Lent is a time to sort through what we believe or have been told for so long and decide: which ideas about the faith do we need to keep and which do we need to throw out? This week we are tidying up our clothes or the things we put on God.
Has this ever happened to you? You see a problem that needs to be solved but you can’t solve it by yourself? So you let your manager know and they agree but then you wait for change? And you wait and wait and wait. You have gotten agreement but what you really wanted was change. In our scripture today James is saying that if you agree on who Jesus is then there will be a change.
You are covered by Grace. Maybe you don’t believe you are covered, maybe you feel like you’ve done something along the way and your coverage got dropped.
No, you are still covered; so you messed up, so you think you aren’t worthy of coverage, maybe you’ve forgotten that this isn’t a divine points game, this isn’t about earning or achieving. I mean the rest of the world is into that but God isn’t into that and we know that because of Christ crucified, because through him, success is redefined - weak is the new strong, the way up is the way down.
We may disagree on the issues, we may have conflict with one another, but we never ever stop seeing one another as brothers and sisters.
The pull of tribalism is strong now...it is strong and it is trying to influence us to treat one another as less than human beings, it is trying to get us to name call and to have closed minds and mean spirits…but it is no match for the power of Christ that is present at this table and in this bread and cup that compels us to love our neighbor.