The Eye of a Needle (Part Three)

(24 minutes) What Jesus meant by “the Kingdom of God” is often misunderstood by those in and outside the church. By “entering the Kingdom of God,” he did not mean going to heaven when we die. Part of that misunderstanding is based on Matthew’s preference for the phrase “Kingdom of… Continue reading

Cotton Patch Gospel for Today

(31 minutes) I was invited to deliver the sermon at Downey Avenue Christian Church on July 30, 2023. It is based on the vision and ministry of Clarence Jordan, who in 1942 led in establishing Koinonia Farm, christened with a Greek word meaning “a community that is united by common… Continue reading

Why Do We Christians Get It So Wrong? Part Two

(11 minutes) In part one of this series, I wrote about a fundamental disconnect between the life and message of Jesus and Christianity as it has been practiced over the centuries. Of course, there have been times when the church and individual Christians have been faithful to the revelation of… Continue reading

They Saw it Coming

I often find the wisdom and insights of people in the past to be more relevant than current analyses and predictions. In my reading this past week, I discovered three examples of such discernment:  An objective analysis will one day see the Reagan administration as a powerful factor in turning… Continue reading

The “So What” of the Last Things: Part Two

For most people the word “evangelism” conjures up images of tent revivals, pleading evangelists, threats of hell, promises of heaven, and “getting saved.” Evangelism is all some churches and Christians want to talk about while in other churches it is one of the most uncomfortable topics imaginable.  One of the… Continue reading

Jesus and the Kin-dom of God

Ancient Near Eastern kings were responsible for bringing justice and peace to their people. Israelite rulers were mandated by God to secure justice and peace for their realms. Every messianic passage in the Hebrew Scriptures presents the longed-for king bringing justice and peace.  In the Lord’s Prayer, we find the… Continue reading

The Kingdom of God and the Gospel

(12 minutes) Intro: New Testament scholars unanimously agree that Jesus’ message and ministry were all about what he called “the Kingdom of God.” But what did Jesus mean by the Kingdom of God? As Christians we choose to be followers of Christ. How can we be his followers if we… Continue reading

“A New Greatness” Mark 10:32-45; Matthew 18:1-5

Read the Scripture Jesus and his disciples are on the road to Jerusalem. As they make their way to the final showdown with the Jerusalem authorities, Jesus tries to warn his followers three times that  they will face suffering, persecution, and possibly death. But the disciples are confused and probably… Continue reading

Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21 “Morning Star”

Even though our time is not the time of John the Seer, we too need a bright morning star.  In times of such confusion and bewilderment, chaos and upheaval, we need to refocus our eyes on Jesus.  In doing so, we will rediscover the primacy of compassion, rededicate ourselves to the search and affirmation of truth, flesh out our love into action, embrace the necessity of forgiveness, and orient our lives through a primary commitment to God’s justice and righteousness.  In a gray world such as ours as well as in the dark, sinister world of John, Christ can serve as the bright morning star as he enlightens our paths and enables us to see what is in and around us. Continue reading

Matthew 5:1-12 “Blessed and Confronted by the Beatitudes” Part Two

Within the Gospels, there is evidence that Jesus himself understood “the now and the not yet” of the new kind of existence God was bringing through him. That new kind of existence included self-giving, unconditional, indiscriminate love, liberating truth, deep compassion, lavish forgiveness, profound trust, and costly discipleship. Such a radical transformation takes time. Continue reading