Bible: Steadfast prophet, faithless wife

May 18, 2020 by

When Hosea prophesied at the sunset of the northern kingdom of Israel, he cast a vision for the people’s future by recalling their past with God. It’s been all downhill since Jeroboam II: king after king...

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Bible: The rider on a pale horse

Apr 20, 2020 by

So this is how the world ends: not with a bang or a whimper but with the sound of your last square of toilet paper going down the tubes. God’s people have been here before (sort of) — enemies from within...

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Kraybill: Hope amid pandemic

Apr 6, 2020 by

Fear gripped Alexandria, Egypt, in A.D. 260 as a pandemic pummeled the great city. Along with their neighbors, followers of Jesus endured a plague — perhaps smallpox, measles or Ebola — that some people...

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Bible: The clash of king and covenant

Jan 13, 2020 by

The eighth chapter of 1 Kings may capture the ­moment in the Old Testament where the two great cov­enants — Davidic and Mosaic — come together with the most harmony. Solomon, David’s successor as...

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Bible: The chronicler’s story of hope

Nov 27, 2019 by

First and Second Chronicles are pretty obscure for many Christians. The Common Lectionary that many Protestant groups use for worship covers most of the Bible in its three-year cycle but does not use a single...

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Bible: Faithfulness is a two-way street

Sep 30, 2019 by

“Watch your step! Behave yourself! Remember the rules I told you!” September’s lessons focused on God’s faithfulness to Israel. October’s theme includes human responses to God’s faithfulness. Our...

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Bible: Gifts from heaven: a son, and bread

Sep 2, 2019 by

“God Is Faithful” is the Uniform Series lesson theme for September. The five examples of God’s faithfulness are the rescue of Lot’s family, Hannah’s prayer for a son and three texts from the Exodus...

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Bible: Mountains below the surface

Apr 29, 2019 by

One thing I love about Kansas is the mountains. Oh, we have them all right. They’re just buried under 600 feet of Harney Silt Loam. These Kansas mountains, called the Nemaha Ridge, are composed of massive...

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Finding my Jerusalem

Feb 19, 2018 by

The conversation over a fellowship lunch at church dealt with the California parents charged with child neglect and abuse of their 13 children, charges to which they pled not guilty. I noticed the men were...

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Oil for our lamps

Dec 4, 2017 by

In Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25, the women get drowsy and fall asleep while waiting for the bridegroom, who is running late. It’s not an Advent parable, but it is a warning for those who...

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Spirit and truth in the mainline

Oct 23, 2017 by

Every time we meet, a mainline Protestant pastor bemoans the decline of churches like his. Fewer members, lower attendance, congregations closing. Yes, it is all true. Yes, but. Though ordained in the...

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Another taste of desert sand

Jul 31, 2017 by

It was the liturgy that first warmed my heart. I tried to be cautious, not to fall in love too quickly. How long should one wait to call a church one’s home? I still don’t know the answer to that question....

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‘Thy will be done’

Jun 12, 2017 by

This simple statement yet difficult mission was the life and the food of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. I am firmly grounded in this truth believing that this, as it was for Jesus, is our faith through...

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The cults of Caesar and Christ

May 3, 2017 by

The original name for what would eventually became known as Christianity was “the Way.” You won’t find “Christianity” in the Bible, but you will find “the Way” seven times in the book of Acts. If...

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Offering my opinion

Feb 3, 2017 by

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he...

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Seeing the small things

Jan 26, 2017 by

We live in excitable and noisy times. Our heads are daily filled with big ideas, big objections, big reactions, big fears… I’ve been trying to pay attention to smaller things. I spent Inauguration Day...

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Vive la Révolution!

Jan 3, 2017 by

Pagan astrologers read it in the stars — a new king of the Jews had been born. And so the magi came from the Orient bearing their gifts and accidentally got tangled up with the current king of the Jews — a...

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The book of Revelation on living in Empire

Dec 22, 2016 by

The book of Revelation does not have a positive reputation these days. For many Christians it is seen as hopelessly complicated and obscure. In my opinion, it is indeed the case that understanding Revelation...

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In praise of regress

Nov 2, 2016 by

I have been known, on exceedingly rare occasions, to exasperate my children (and my wife… and, um, other people…) with my insistence that language be used with as much precision and accuracy as possible....

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5 common errors when Christians disagree

Sep 19, 2016 by

Note: This is a full-out, “chip-on-my-shoulder” rant. I tried to soften the blog post by using personal pronouns and not giving specific controversial examples, but I can’t deny that I’m annoyed and...

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Generous orthodoxy

Aug 29, 2016 by

On his Aug. 11 podcast, journalist Malcolm Gladwell used the concept of “generous orthodoxy” to frame the story of Chester Wenger. It’s a positive approach to faith that is gaining ground among...

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God, the divorcé

Aug 10, 2016 by

“I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce”  — Jeremiah 3:8a “This is what the Lord says: Where is...

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The pope has a point about marriage

Jun 20, 2016 by

Pope Francis got himself in trouble recently for suggesting that the “great majority” of Catholic marriages being celebrated today are “invalid” because couples do not fully appreciate that they are...

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What’s missing in church — discipleship

May 27, 2016 by

According to missional leader Mike Breen, a disciple is someone who is learning to have the character and the competency of Jesus. It’s about faithfulness and fruit. Or as Dallas Willard once described it:...

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