Sunday June 24, 2018

FOLLOWING JESUS TODAY is challenging. We live in the midst of overwhelming need. The human cries of those who suffer confront us daily: cries of the desperate poor in need of food, shelter, and work; cries of the forgotten elderly in need of thoughtful care; cries of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in need of affordable and accessible medication; cries of vulnerable, at-risk children in need of protection and nurture; cries of the violated whose lives have been ripped apart by crime . . . the list goes on. We cannot measure the depth of human need in our society. . . .
Does the Holy Spirit care about this kind of human need? Sometimes when we read books about the Holy Spirit, it does not seem so. But our answer must be a resounding yes. In the fourth chapter of Luke, we read that when Jesus began his ministry in Nazareth, the Holy Spirit anointed him to proclaim the gospel to the poor, freedom to the oppressed, recovery of sight for the blind, and to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18-19). Now if the Holy Spirit sent Jesus for this purpose, we can be sure that the same Spirit will draw us into similar tasks in our communities. For this reason I want to emphasize strongly: The Holy Spirit engages with suffering.


Saturday June 23, 2018

GOD WANTS US to be in community and use our gifts to help others. We are God’s gift to the world, and we can provide light for those in darkness, warmth for those who are cold, and joy for those who walk in sadness. Our true purpose is to worship God, understand who Jesus is, and be moved by the Holy Spirit to action. Just as a match gets struck to create warmth and light, what we witness in the world should strike us so that we are moved into action. We can submit ourselves to live the life of a disciple and transform the world.

Friday June 22, 2018

WHY IS IT SO HARD for us to believe that God’s love really is unconditional and that we should imitate God’s love not only for others, but also for ourselves? Perhaps we have regarded self-centered behavior too harshly. We are unwilling or unable to give ourselves the same gentle grace that God offers us and that we believe should be offered to others. Leap from doubt to belief and remember that God loves you, delights in you, and yearns for your response.

Wednesday June 20, 2018

THE STORY OF FAITH still has a narrative arc: a beginning, middle, and end. We do have a sense of where this whole thing is headed, even if we can’t prescribe every stage of the journey for each unique individual. Being formed in the image of Christ is the process and goal of spiritual formation: That’s what we’re working and praying toward; that’s what we’re helping youth to become: “little Christs” — Christians who reflect the image of Jesus to the world.