“Does your teacher pay the temple tax?”What an uncomfortable question for Peter to be asked. If he says, “No,” Jesus might be branded as a rebellious Jew, unwilling to contribute towards the temple upkeep. If he says, “Yes,” Jesus would have to come up with the equivalent of two days’ pay – not exactly pocket change. Also, Jesus would be lumped in with every other Jew in Palestine, one subject to the letter of the law. Hoping it’s the right answer, Peter replies, “Yes, he does.”Read More
Fill in the blank: “I want to be more _______.” What was in your blank? Patient? Joyful? Self-disciplined? Caring? Chances are you didn’t write “needy.”In our culture, being needy is an unattractive quality. We value strength, independence, the ability to stand on our own two feet. “Needy” brings to mind clingy ex-girlfriends or people on the receiving end of Christmas baskets.Read More humility, needy
A trash city was the last place I expected to see God’s glory. Our missions team had just shown the Jesus Film to 250 people who live in a garbage dump in Mexico. After the movie, my wife and daughter and I shared our testimonies and invited these people to receive Christ. Hundreds came forward to pray with us! A local pastor prayed for many of them to be healed, and we saw people jumping up and walking after years of illness. It was truly amazing.Read More faith, transformation @en, God’s glory
Imagine being one of the disciples in this story. A desperate father pleads with you to free his son from the demon who is destroying his life. You remember Jesus gave you the authority to do exactly this (Mark 6:7). “I’ll do my best,” you say, as you copy what you’ve seen Jesus do. But the evil spirit stays put. You feel terrible. What went wrong?Read More faith, power, prayer
It’s easy to compare ourselves to others. It’s especially easy in a world where we can post our latest photos and status updates for everyone to see. We’re constantly confronted with other people’s promotions, amazing getaways, and adorable toddlers. Sometimes, we even feel a need to compete.Read More sacrifice, serving
“It’s only snow. You need to apologize to your son!” I was too furious to listen to my wife’s words. My son had just arrived at our house. I was halfway through snow-blowing the driveway. Without thinking, he tried to get his truck up the drive and got stuck. All the maneuvering that came next tore up my lawn. It also packed down the remaining snow, making it impossible to clear with the snow-blower.Read More repentance, confession, sin
Are you awake? That’s the challenging question this story asks us. Peter, James, and John certainly aren’t. Around them, incredible things are happening: Jesus, shining with glory, discussing upcoming events with long dead Jewish prophets Moses and Elijah. And they’re sound asleep! It’s almost comical to imagine them yawning and stretching and then suddenly realizing what was going on.Read More préoccupation
Where do you turn when you’re desperate? “Teacher, please do something for my son!” a voice yells from out of the crowd. This father’s distress and desperation are clear. Here is his only child. For years he has watched helplessly as his son suffers through horrible fits. No medicines have helped. No religious leaders have helped. Even Jesus’ disciples have failed to help. There is nowhere left to go, except to Jesus.Read More faith, worries
This short passage starts with an argument. Jesus has just finished telling his followers that he’s about to be handed over to his enemies. The fact that the disciples don’t have a clue what Jesus is getting at shows how far they really are from being his right-hand men. Yet here they are, squabbling over which of them is the best.
Jesus’ response remains as challenging today as it must have sounded to the disciples: the key to greatness is humility.Read More humility, serving
Weddings are incredible occasions. A while back, I officiated at my son’s wedding. What an enormous moment, leading two young people in love through their vows to love, honour, and cherish one another, no matter what comes their way. The promises a couple makes on their wedding day are almost shocking in their boldness.
It would be even more shocking, though, if a couple didn’t make those promises to each other on their wedding day.Read More discipleship, love, commitment