Make (a) Way for Christmas!

I don’t like the panic that finds easy entrance into our world at Christmas. The stressed-out shoppers looking for bargains and finding none. The sleep-deprived children who masquerade as someone else’s kids. The tables of food that tempt us with excesses we know we will pay for dearly. Perhaps it’s time to think with more than our emotional longings for some illusive vision we have about Christmas. Perhaps it’s time to start with our heart before we add one glittering ornament or ribboned wreath. We need to take a journey of the heart. We must remind ourselves of the meaning and the message if we want our Christmas to rise above the cacophony and chaos of our culture. It doesn’t just

The Tax Collector and Me

Read Luke 5: 27-28 Matthew was a tax collector. He was hated, snubbed, and considered a Jewish traitor. He over-collected required governmental taxes with no remorse. Nu mbed to the social isolation because he lived well, he probably rationalized that he “did it for the family.” It is an age-old excuse to make something wrong feel right. What disarming look did Jesus give him? What made Levi see the contrast between the lie he built his life upon and the truth that could free him? What made him leave his tax-collecting post and follow the stranger who saw into his heart? Whatever it was, life changed for Matthew that day. He no longer took from others what did not belong to him. Inst

Mat-carrying Faith

Everything was against four friends who took their paraplegic friend to Jesus. Before wheelchairs or medical transport, there was just a mat. It took four mat-carrying friends to make this journey. It took mat-carrying faith. Read Luke 5:17-20 Can you imagine taking your corner of someone’s mat and trying to find the right walking rhythm? Can you imagine keeping your footing over uneven cobbled stones or worse? Did people get out of the way like they will for wheelchairs today? Did their hands grow sweaty? Did they need to stop to get a better hold? Then, when they arrived; there was no way into the house where Jesus was teaching. Bodies blocked the only entrance and they weren’t movi

The Big, Bad If

How can a two-letter word take down your faith? How can something so small demoralize you, capture you, and leave you chained to everything you don’t want to be true? That’s the question in today’s story. Read Luke 5:12-16 He came with an obvious problem, easy for all to see. He was a leper. He lived in the shadows, at a distance from the normal ebb and flow of life. He was required to announce his disease so people could get out of the way to prevent contamination. He lived without human touch or welcome. That is until Jesus walked down the street. The leper dismissed all protocol and ran toward the one he had heard about, fell at his feet in a crowd-stopping moment. "Lord, if you ar