Happy Monday! It’s the third week of Advent and we’re to be lights in a dark world. Accountability: You should be taking some time this week to evaluate your relationships (Eph 5:21-6:9). Passage: Ephesians 6:10-20 Big Idea: Stand firm in your faith in the midst of a broken world. Activity: Read the passage over a meal. Consider reading it in the ESV and The Message. Discuss: Summarize the passage in your own words. Discuss: How does reading the passage in the ESV and The Message help you understand the passage better? Does it raise questions? Discuss: What word is repeated in verses 10-14. Why doRead More →

Here’s your Monday Mission for Ephesians 5:21-6:9. Accountability: Your challenge for this week is to extend forgiveness and speak gratitude. Passage: Ephesians 5:21-6:9 Big Idea: Following Jesus impacts every relationship and aspect of our normal lives. Read: Read the whole passage over a meal. Try reading it in the ESV/NIV and also in the Message. Discuss: What do you think it means to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”? Discuss: What relationships does Paul touch on in the passage? What does he say about them? Do any of Paul’s commands here feel too hard to do? Discuss: Kids, how are you doingRead More →

Here’s your Monday Mission for Ephesians 5:1-20: Passage: Ephesians 5:1-20 Big Idea: Watch how you walk! Read: Read the passage as a family. Consider reading it in the ESV or NIV and The Message. Discuss: What do you think is the big idea of the passage? How would you summarize the passage into one or two sentences? Discuss: Paul lists out all kinds of different sin in this passage. Come up with real life examples of each. Are there any that you struggle with? Activity: In verse 2 Paul says to “love as Christ loved us.” Draw a picture or make a list of all the ways that Christ lovesRead More →

There have been seasons in my life where I believed that I had it all figured out. I knew how to fix everything. I had the answers. I could tell all of “those people” what they needed to do. Why? Because I had it all together. I continue to learn that I don’t have it all together. I am broken, flawed, and completely imperfect. Every morning I am reminded that I need the gospel. The older I get, the gospel becomes more and more sweet. I’m just now scratching the surface on understanding what Paul said in Ephesians 2:17, And he [Jesus] came and preachedRead More →

I was pretty awkward in Middle School. I played hockey, nobody else did. I didn’t play football or basketball. I was in the band. I was really insecure. The worst part of my day was lunch. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I felt far away. By the beginning of my junior year things had changed. I had a group of friends where I was on the inside. It felt like I had been brought near. When it comes to the people of God, we all start off like awkward middle schoolers. We are far off. Part of the beauty ofRead More →

As I look back on my early days of following Jesus I am a bit ashamed. I was arrogant.  I was mean.  I was prideful.  I was rude.  I was always right.  I was judge and jury.  Yes, this is me shortly after my conversion to Christianity. That doesn’t seem to line up well with what Jesus is like. I can only imagine the people who I hurt through my mean arrogance. I grew up going to church. I was taught the way of love and kindness. It was modeled for me in my family and at church. But, as a young man I wasRead More →

There’s a story I’ve heard, I don’t remember where or who told it to me first, but it’s beautiful. I found a retelling of it and I want to share it with you, A woman met with her pastor to discuss her final wishes, as she only had a very short time to live. After they discussed the plans for the funeral, she remembered one final request that was very important to her. She said, “I want to be buried holding a spoon in my right hand.” The pastor gazed at the woman, at a loss for words. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the womanRead More →

Many us think about eternity. Is it real? What will happen after I die? Am I worm food? Is there more to come? As we wrestle with our mortality often we come face to face with our inadequacies. We realize that we are not the people that we want to be or even hope to be. Sometimes we ease our concerns through comparison. We look at others and see how bad a person they are and realize, we’re really probably OK. The thing is that the standard that nags at us, when we’re honest, is perfection. None of us are perfect. We are failed inRead More →

I truly love the way that Eugene Peterson translates certain passages from the Scriptures. Ephesians 2:7-10 in particular: Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both theRead More →

When you think of your life do you think it matters? I don’t just mean relationally, in the sense that you matter to someone. Do you think that the things that you do every day matter? When you go to work does it matter? When you care for your children, does it matter? When you play, does it matter? When you go to school, does it matter? A significant aspect of the gospel is that it brings meaning to everything that we do. It brings this meaning as a result of grace. Consider what Paul writes in Ephesians 2, For we are his workmanship, createdRead More →