Jan 08

Baptism and the Gift of the Spirit

The glory of the Triune God is the richest, most important treasure of our Christian faith, and it is also a great mystery: something to ponder, to bask in, so that we may worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Spirit and in Truth. Yes, the Trinity is a deep mystery and a rich treasure—but the mystery of the Trinity is no hidden secret. The Father loves the Son by the Holy Spirit; the Son returns the Love of the Father through eternal faithfulness; and the Spirit descends and ascends, eternally uniting and flourishing the relationship of the Father and the Son. By the Spirit the Father claims Jesus Christ as his Beloved Son, for all the world to hear. And all of this is made manifest, is revealed before our sight, as the heavens are torn open and the veil between heaven and earth is pulled back. All of this is revealed at the baptism of Jesus Christ—at his baptism! Continue reading

Nov 28

Still Longing

“In the days to come…” This is how Isaiah gets the attention of his audience. A word has come to him, a word concerning Judah and Jerusalem, a word for today that looks ahead to tomorrow: “In the days to come..” Something is going to happen, something worth waiting for, something worth longing for, so look up, look ahead, and wait for the days to come. “In the days to come…” the Lord will act, decisively, so pay attention. Judgment among the nations, peoples gathered in Zion to hear the Lord’s instruction and teaching, swords beat into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, peace that will endure: the days are coming! And in the days to come… Continue reading

Jun 20

Galatians: Baptized into Christ

When we are baptized, we die to our old selves and rise to life in Christ. Paul says, “As many of you were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” Last week, we heard Paul say, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” Crucified to our old selves, adorned with Christ on the outside, alive by Christ on the inside, that is what it means for us to be baptized. As the church of Jesus Christ, life after baptism should be an intense focus on giving Christ free reign over our lives, so that we can be made more and more like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Apr 11

The Two Ways

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! He has appeared, to Mary Magdalene in the garden, to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, to the Eleven in the Upper Room, to Thomas a week later. Jesus has appeared; Jesus is risen from the dead! Earth-shattering news: the world is different now; everything has changed! Nothing can be the same again—nothing! My Lord, and my God! Continue reading

Feb 15

Mission and Discipleship 3: Mission Fundamentals

As Christians, all of us have been baptized into God’s mission. Baptism, which is for all of us, is the foundation of our calling to serve Christ in God’s mission, not some specialized calling into something called “the ministry.” As your pastor, I live out my baptismal calling in particular ways. The ways you live out your baptismal call to participate in God’s mission will be different from my own. What is important is what unites us: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, one mission. If I were not your pastor, if I weren’t a pastor at all, God’s claim on my life would be no different and no less than it is today. And in this series on mission and discipleship, I am challenging all of us to rethink God’s mission and to consider how—not whether—God is calling us in this new year. You may be someone who considers yourself very active in mission and ministry work, or you may be someone who has never really given that kind of thing a second thought. I am convinced that, in 2016, God is calling you to commit yourself new to the mission of God. Continue reading