Redeeming evil days

Apr 20, 2020 by

The Apostle Paul’s admonition to the church at Ephesus to “redeem the time” has always been good advice. But rarely has the reason — “because the days are evil” — felt more relevant. When times...

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Conversion versions

Apr 6, 2020 by

John Stoner’s “Apostles Re- Examined” only tells part of the story about Paul. Stoner cites the blinding-light conversion story as told by Luke in Acts 9 to support his opinion that the church is wrong...

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Bible: Nevertheless, God rescues

Apr 6, 2020 by

I almost drowned in the ocean once. I consider myself a strong swimmer, and that afternoon I confidently waded out from the beach and slipped under the waves. Except that those waves began to batter me as a...

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Peter and Paul: Delusional hope, irrational fear

Feb 17, 2020 by

Peter started out as a man of delusional hope. Paul began as a man of irrational fear. Both are parables for our time. The role of tens of thousands of Christians in the election of the current president of...

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The Word of God in all its pages

Dec 23, 2019 by and

Recently I received a letter from a child I sponsor who lives in a small village half a world away. He told me his family are goat herders and his favorite food is maize. He asked me what I like to eat and...

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Yoder-Short: Creation still groans

Oct 28, 2019 by

I’ve heard creation care is a liberal agenda that puts its concerns ahead of national well-being. This got me wondering: Was Paul labeled an eco-freak when he heard creation groaning (Rom. 8:22)? We often...

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Bible: On holy ground with the Thessalonians

Oct 28, 2019 by

My friend Robin loves mystery stories, as do I. But when she starts one, she always reads the ending first so she won’t worry about things ending badly. Me, I like the suspense! Our text for Nov. 3 reminds...

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Most ancient testimony

Apr 15, 2019 by

Assigned to read Herzog by Saul Bellow, a college student encountered these thoughts on death: What is the philosophy of this generation? Not God is dead, that period was passed long ago. Perhaps it should be...

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King: Ordinary oatmeal

Mar 4, 2019 by

When I was a child I liked cooked oatmeal. When I grew up, to echo the Apostle Paul, I put away childish things. Every now and then my spouse, Joan, an oatmeal fan, would urge me to consider the possibility...

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I am the weaker brother

Oct 1, 2018 by

When we believe we are right about something, how do we behave? How do we treat those with whom we disagree? I’m not talking about issues of sin, but what of disputable matters — issues that are not very...

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Yoder-Short: To be great or humble?

Aug 27, 2018 by

“More to the right!” “No, go left!” “From where I stand it looks like you just need to center it.” We are on a youth-group service trip. The shouting isn’t about politics. It is about locating...

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Bible: With love, our divisions fall away

Aug 13, 2018 by

These texts from Paul provide an excellent coda to our conversations about ethics, justice and the Christian life. Although Romans is rightly considered Paul’s most important theological writing, he most of...

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Join the resistance

Feb 26, 2018 by

Since President Trump took office a year ago, U.S. Christians have been bitterly divided over whether his actions and words are good, bad or even worth being concerned about. Some peace-minded Christians...

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Kraybill: Awaiting an earthquake in Indiana?

Jan 15, 2018 by

In the name of Jesus, Paul and Silas healed a slave girl at Philippi whose owners exploited her for money as a fortune-teller (Acts 16). When the owners “saw that their hope of making money was gone, they...

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Paul’s letter to veterans

Dec 7, 2016 by

In Philippians 2:1-13, Paul exhorts the Christians of Philippi to be of one mind and one love. “Be uniform,” we might paraphrase. This kind of language would appeal to Christians in this place because many...

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Different assignments

Jul 18, 2016 by

In the offices of Mennonite Church USA in Elkhart, Ind., there is an artwork of pieces of pottery arranged on a flat surface. On its own, not one of these pieces is extraordinarily remarkable, but standing...

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We live in an age of martyrdom

Jun 6, 2016 by

Thousands of Christians have been slaughtered by Boko Haram in Nigeria in recent years, and most of the Western church barely seems to notice. Lord, when did we see you homeless, or hungry, or kneeling in the...

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Studying the Apostle Paul — a matter of life and death

Apr 22, 2016 by

My latest project is The Paulcast: A Podcast all about the Apostle Paul. After my introduction episode, titled “Surprised by Paul,” I launched straight into a series called “Entering the Conversation.”...

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Reciprocal conversion

Apr 12, 2016 by

Acts 9:1-20 When we hear this story, we usually focus on Saul: doubter turned believer; persecutor turned supporter; villain turned hero. I imagine this can be an inspiring focus for those who have come to...

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Thank you, Apostle Paul

Dec 21, 2015 by

Dear Apostle Paul: I know this comes almost two thousand years late, but I want to thank you for helping carry the gospel to Europe where my ancestors eventually came to know Jesus. Sometimes in your mission...

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Beware of tradition

Jul 6, 2015 by

As Christians debate homosexuality, it has been suggested that tradition has authority. But how would traditionalists size up Christ’s, Paul’s and Peter’s decision to accept Gentiles (which is us) into...

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Gifts for the common good

Apr 27, 2015 by

I hate to tell you this, but the Johannine communities of our previous lessons were not the only Christians who had church fights. Some 40 or 50 years earlier, the Apostle Paul wrote the letter we call 1...

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Jesus unfriended

Oct 17, 2014 by

People often tell me in the hushed tones of a dirty secret, “I’m not sure I like the apostle Paul.” I reply, “That’s OK. The first Christians didn’t much like him either.” But what really...

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Reconciliation among cracked clay pots

Aug 4, 2014 by

The text for Aug. 10 is a good example of what happens when we read other people’s mail. We can barely figure out what is going on — except that Paul is falling all over himself to reconcile with his...

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Senseless roots

Apr 30, 2014 by

If you’re like me, there’s something incredible about getting dirt underneath your fingernails. It’s a sign of commitment, care and loyalty to a fragile piece of land which requires the tenderness of a...

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