All posts by Rev. Todd R. Lattig

God’s People, part 205: Poor Widow

Read Mark 12:41-44

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”  (Matthew 5:3, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

widowsmitePart 205: Poor Widow. If there is one thing that is consistent about all accounts of Jesus in the Gospels, it is that he consistently showed favor and deference to those who were “the least of these.” We need to be careful in how we read/hear that. I am not saying that “the least of these” were always the poor, the homeless, the oppressed, etc. To read that into it would be to expose our own biases. Some of the richest people can be “the least of these”.

We have already seen cases of that in our readings. In fact, it is safe to say that being rich can really be a place of spiritual and emotional poverty. Jesus recognized this and when that type of the “least of these” were humbled by that poverty and realized their need for God, Christ brought healing and wholeness into their lives as well. What we need to remember is that “the least of these” come in every shape and size; there is no “one size fits all”.

What’s more, in all cases it is humility that leads to healing and wholeness. Rich or poor, the proud always find themselves in a place of needing to be humbled, whereas those who are humble recognize their need for God. We certainly see this in the poor widow, whom Jesus observes giving the last bit of money she has in order to tithe. In reality, she does not tithe for a tithe is merely a tenth of what one possesses. This woman gave 100%, even though she needed it for her own sustenance.  Think about the kind of faith that she had to give the last money she had to God. That is why Jesus highlighted what she was doing and honored her gift with his words to his disciples.

But Jesus’ teaching to his disciples was not meant to just highlight the poor widow. It would be easy to prop her up as the “the least of these” and dismiss the other reason for pointing her out. In fact, while this woman was certainly the “least of these” in terms of her finances, she was actually the “greatest of these” spiritually speaking. Make no mistake, in terms of her faith and stewardship, this woman was embodying the kingdom of Heaven.

The REAL poverty was seen in those who have much but were only giving what was required. They were not giving out of their joy and gratitude toward God; rather, they were giving out of an obligatory duty that was required to them by the law. They wanted to maintain the appearance of being good, faithful people, but they were not fooling Jesus with the charade.

This should challenge us to learn from Jesus’ comparison between the “poor” widow and the obligatory tithers. It should challenge us to find be in a place of humility when we self-reflect in what ways we truly are “the least of these” in need of God’s hope, healing, and wholeness. Do we give of what we have out a sense of obligation or out of joy and gratitude toward what God has given us?

Everything we have is a gift from God. The poor widow understood that and gave all that she had back to God, trusting that God would not fail her nor forsake her.  We are being called to see everything we have as a gift from God, rather than looking at what we have as OURS to give. After all, what is truly ours when our very lives were given to us by the One who created us and has redeemed us through the immeasurable sacrifice of death on a cross? Let us be like the poor widow and celebrate our LORD through generous, joyful giving!

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“There’s poverty in wealth. If a man is wealthy without good health, is he not poor? If a man is wealthy without children, is he not poor? If a man is wealthy without God, is he not poor? If a man is wealthy without giving alms, is he not poor? If a man is wealthy without wisdom, is he not poor? Then there’s a great lack in riches.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

PRAYER
Lord, help me rid myself of the ways in which I am impoverished. Help me to store up my treasures in you. Amen.

Episode 89 | JOYride, part 2: Worth Stopping For

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-2u2nc-bf5996

In this episode, Rev. Todd continues the five-part series entitled, JOYride. This message, specifically entitled, “Worth Stopping For”, is about the need to stop in a journey in order to stretch, regroup, and refuel and how the Holy Spirit is the fuel. This message is based on Acts 2:1-4; 16-21.

EPISODE NOTES:

God’s People, part 204: Bartimaeus

Read Mark 10:46-52

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 9:27, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Blind-Bartimaeus-topazPart 204: Bartimaeus. The account of Bartimaeus is another account that features a miraculous healing that is preceded by the surrounded people getting it wrong. We don’t know a whole lot about Bartimaeus other than a few simple facts. That very fact tells us everything that we need to know about him.

Mark tells us that Bartimaeus was blind. As has been written prior to this devotion, blindness was seen as a curse. If someone was blind, it meant that God allowed such a malady to befall that person. If someone was born blind it meant that the sins of that person’s parents or their grandparents had passed on to him or her. After all, God clearly stated in Exodus 34:7, “I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.”

Mark also tells us that Bartimaeus is a beggar, which means that he had no one to take care of him. We are told that he is the “son of Timaeus”, so that gives us the clue that the people in Jericho knew this man and his family; however, his family is nowhere to be found in the account. There’s just the brief mention of Bartimaeus’s parentage.

Perhaps Bartimaeus’ family abandoned him to his fate on the streets. Perhaps they were impoverished and had him begging for extra money. Perhaps they had passed away and he resorted to begging because he had no one left to care for him. Whatever the case may be, Bartimaeus was there begging when Jesus passed by, just like he had done every day prior.

The crowd, of course, knew Bartimaeus and his loud cries for money. When Bartimaeus cried out, “Son of David, have mercy on me,” all they heard was “Give me money, give me money!” Yet, that is not what he had said. What’s more amazing is that this blind man knew exactly who Jesus was. He was the Messiah, the Son of David. Bartimaeus was not asking for money, he was asking for mercy. In other words, he was begging for forgiveness to the One who could grant it. This is not to say that he was blind because of his sin; however, Bartimaeus knew in his heart that Jesus was from God and that he needed his help.

The crowds tried to silence him, but he would not be silenced. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus called him over and asked him what he wanted from Jesus, “I want to see,” he proclaimed and Jesus gave him his sight back. Why did his sight return? Jesus answered that when he said, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” In other words, this man recognized God in Jesus and he humbled himself before God. He had faith in Jesus and it was that faith through which the healing came.

The twist in all of this is that here is another situation where the blind man is the one who ACTUALLY sees, while the others are ACTUALLY blinded to who Christ really is. Bartimaeus may not have known Jesus’ identity as the Son of God properly speaking, he doesn’t quite acknowledge that; however, he does acknowledge Jesus as the Son of David, the one sent to Israel by God.

The challenge is for us to pray that we might have our eyes opened to see Jesus for who he actually is. We often approach him like the crowd, hoping he can serve us in some way or another. We should be approaching Christ the way Bartimaeus did, humbly crying out, “Jesus, Son of David, Son of God, have mercy on us”. We should be humbling ourselves before the One who has brought salvation to humanity through his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave! Let us approach Christ in humility and give our lives over to him.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Blindness comes in more forms than just physical.

PRAYER
Lord, have mercy on us. Restore our sight to us so that we might see your glory and share your love with all people. Amen.

Not Reliant

Read Mark 13:3-13

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.”  (Mark 13:22, NLT)

FacepalmJesusA friend and colleague of mine just recently shared with me a trailer for an upcoming “faith-based” film, called The Reliant. The film takes place in America following a collapse of the American economy, where people are in social disarray and are rioting and resorting to extreme violence due to their financial and social circumstances. It stars the likes of Kevin Sorbo (of Hercules and God’s Not Dead fame), Brian Bosworth, Eric Roberts, and others.

The premise itself is very realistic. Many of us have lived the economic collapse of 2008 and the devastating panic that such an event causes in society as a whole. When finances get tight, but the cost of living remains the same and people cannot make end’s meet, things can go southward very quickly. Add to that fact that we have, in recent years, seen a rise in militant white nationalists and “progressive” anti-fascists (aka Antifa) violently marching through streets at the cost of property damage and even the loss of lives; yes, the premise of The Reliant is quite believable.

The question is NOT about it’s believability; rather, the question is in what it places its reliance. After all, the very title of the film is The Reliant. When one watches the trailer it, on the one hand, is claiming to be a faith-based film. The words faith, God, family, and other things all appear on the screen. We can hear people say the words “God is good”. On the other hand, the film is about a man fighting to defend his faith and his family through gun violence.

You heard me right. This film is an action film about a man who uses his gun to shoot and, presumably kill, the Antifa-like protesters that are resorting to violence. Granted, he’s doing it to “protect” his family from violent protesters and people who have a beef with him and his faith. I am not quite sure how the faith aspect fits in; however, the film’s slogan is as follows: “Protect family and faith at all costs.”

The problem with this premise is that it ABSOLUTELY NOT faith based. The characters are supposedly reliant on God; however, all it seems they are reliant on are guns. Nowhere, in all of the Gospels, will you hear Jesus utter the words, “protect family and faith at all costs”. Quite the opposite. Jesus taught about not responding violently to violence. He taught to turn the other cheek, to love one’s enemies, to pray for those who persecute you, and he told Peter that, “those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

In Mark, Jesus went so far as to say, “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:12-13, NLT). The endurance that Jesus was speaking of was endurance in the faith and in living by his teachings. He is NOT saying those who endure to the end by blowing their enemies away will be saved.

While this film might claim to be a “faith-based” film, the kind of faith it promotes is a faith in guns and their ability to protect us. That is counter to the teachings of Christ and the Gospel message. Do not hear me wrong. I AM NOT saying that people shouldn’t own guns or that they should be banned. So, don’t read that into this. The critique being made is not about guns, or violent movies, or  but about people who promote a false-Christian message. It is about people who are blasphemously using Christ’s name to call for faith in guns.

Let us not be deceived. Jesus warned that many would come in his name and claim this or that his him, but that we ought not to be deceived. When something comes in the name of Christ, but looks, sounds and acts nothing like Christ, we can be sure it is NOT Christ. I pray that you will not support this film as it we should not support something that sells the world a false Messiah or a false Gospel. While the characters and filmmakers are clearly not reliant in Jesus Christ, I pray you place your reliance in Him, sharing his love and grace to all people.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – Jesus Christ in John 14:6, NLT

PRAYER
Lord, draw me close to you and help me to grow in my trust and reliance on you! Amen.

Episode 88 | JOYride, part 1: Hit the Road

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qvms4-be2ee5

In this episode, Rev. Todd begins a new, six-part series entitled, JOYride. This message, specifically entitled, “Hit the Road”, is about the Great Commission and Christ’s call for us to GO and witness and make disciples. This message is based on Matthew 28:16-20.

EPISODE NOTES:

God’s People, part 203: Rich Young Man

Read Mark 10:17-31

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

treasurebathPart 203: Rich Young Man. The account of the rich young man is quite complex, with many layers. We all generally know the basic account. A rich young man asked Jesus how he can inherit the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, in turn, told him what the Law stated, to which the man stated that he had followed the Law his whole life. Then, seeing that the young man was wealthy, he upped the game and commanded him to sell everything he had, to give the proceeds to the poor, and to follow him. Dejected by Jesus’ answer, the rich young man walks away.

Within this basic framework, however, are a number of layers to peel back. First, the man approached Jesus and addressed him as, “good teacher”. In response, Jesus corrected him. “Why do you call me good?…Only God is truly good.”  (Mark 10:18). Of course, we know Jesus is the human incarnation of God; however, he had NOT revealed that to anyone but his disciples (during the Transfiguration), and even they didn’t fully get it.

So, Jesus is NOT denying his divinity here, nor is he stating that he is NOT truly good; rather, he is calling the man’s judgment into question. Who died and left this young man the judge of goodness. No human being is truly good. We have good aspects, but we also have bad ones. We are in a state of sin. Yet, this man was determining that Jesus was good and, following his first response to the requirement of the Law, we can see that he thought himself to be good as well.

When Jesus told him what the Law requires for one to inherit the Kingdom God, the man responded, “Teacher, I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young” (Mark 10:20). Again, the young man thought himself to be good, perfect even. In his response to Jesus, he betrayed just how highly he thought of himself. He was claiming perfection when it came to following the Ten Commandments.

Seeing this, and seeing his profound wealth, Jesus looked at the man and Mark says that Jesus felt genuine love toward him.  “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21, NLT).

Jesus felt compassion for him because the man was not arrogant, but genuinely thought he had done everything required by the Law. He had a high opinion of himself, as many of us do; however, he was sincerely seeking to know the way to salvation. With that said, Jesus’ answer was too hard for him to swallow, and I am sure that Jesus knew it would be. The man had tons of wealth and he could not get himself to a place of letting it ALL go. The man left dejected because, though he wanted inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, he was enslaved by his possessions and it was the latter that won out in him, at least in that moment.

Also, the rich man looked at heaven as an inheritance, as something that could make him richer than he already was. His view of heaven was that of an acquisition, a transaction that could be made in order to acquire something of great value. As such, Jesus answered him in a way that reached him where he was at. He spoke in this man’s language and at his level.

The truth is that heaven cannot be acquired. It is God’s and God’s alone! When we inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not because of what we have done, but because of God’s gracious love for us and Christ’s sacrifice for us so that we might be included in that Kingdom. Jesus gave that man acquisition terms that he knew that man could never accept.

We can see this in the disciples’ response to his teaching on how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven, “Then who in the world can be saved” (Mark 10:27)? Jesus’ reply sets fort the truth that heaven cannot be acquired, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God” (Mark 10:27, NLT). In other words, just because that man walked away does not mean that man was never saved and is now rotting in hell. That reading would be an even worse judgment than the rich young man’s judgment of Jesus. What it means is that all people, including that man, cannot be saved by their own efforts. They can only find salvation through God, and through putting one’s trust in him. Clearly, the rich young man was struggling with that, but so do we all.

The challenge for us is two-fold. First, we ought to refrain from judgment, which is reserved for God alone. Second, we must remember that heaven is not something we can acquire. There is no amount of “good-doing”, no amount of charity, no amount social justice seeking, and certainly no amount of wealth or status that will “get us in” to the Kingdom of Heaven. The only way we inherit the Kingdom is through Jesus Christ our Lord, and through Him alone! Let us place our faith in Christ our Lord.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Heaven cannot be bought, but no worries! Through his death on the cross, Christ paid a ransom for you. Place your faith in Him, who died and rose again for your sake!

PRAYER
Lord, I place my faith in you. Keep me from straying off of your straight and narrow path. Amen.

God’s People, part 202: Children

Read Mark 10:13-16

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”  (Proverbs 22:6, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

jesus-and-the-little-childrenPart 202: Children. This is one of those texts in which context is key. Most people read this with their 21st century lenses on, doting on the imaginary children they envision rushing up to a tenderhearted, bright smiling Jesus waiting to embrace them and play “patty cakes” with them on his lap. We, in Western Civilization just love children. In fact, we more than love them; we idolize them.

We can see this in the way we parent nowadays. Where the kids are we go. Parents no longer tell their children that they have to go to church and put God first. They no longer structure their children’s lives; rather, they allow their children to structure their lives. This, of course, has not only led to an increasingly godless society but, in some cases, it has created self-centered monsters out of our children.

This was not the case in Jesus’ day and age. Before describing children in the ancient world, I need to be clear that I am not saying that the ancient world’s way of rearing children is the perfect, most blessed way either. I think both eras have their highlights and their shady points in parenting. Any parent knows there is no manual that comes with their children and, often, parenting is learned through societal norms as much as it is passed down from our own parents.

In Jesus day, the place for children was in the household. They were to be seen and not heard. It was expected that they would help around the house. As soon as boys were old enough, they would go to work with their father’s, learning whatever trade or vocation they held. We see that this was the case of Jesus, who was a apprentice in carpentry under his father Joseph. As an adult, Jesus carried on his father’s work until he left that behind to become an itinerant preacher and rabbi.

The girls would help their mothers around the house until the age that their father could find a suitable husband. That usually happened as soon as the girl was able to bear children. Thus, many women were arranged a marriage around the age of 14. Up until then, the girl’s place was in the home with mom, taking care of housekeeping, cooking, and teaching the younger kids stories from the Hebrew Bible.

This was a radically different world of parenting from ours. It was a society built on honor. It was not considered honorable or right for the children to be out in society bothering other adults. Thus, for those parents to be bringing their children to Jesus to be touched and blessed was completely inappropriate in that society. There was a pecking order and children were at the bottom of the totem pole until they grew old enough to contribute to the household. Even then, their place was not with the adults until they became an adult.

“These children are not ill. They have nothing wrong with them. Why, then, would these thoughtless parents bring them, disrupting our master when he was so busy with important matters.” That is, no doubt, what the disciples where thinking when they scolded the parents for bringing their children. According to the societal and religious culture in the ancient Middle East, the disciples were in the right to put those parents, along with their children, back in their places.

Yet, Jesus did not think so; rather, he turned to his disciples and scolded them. “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15, NLT) In that moment, he taught his disciples that “the least of these”, including innocent children, are as valuable to God as anyone else. Jesus also taught them that their pecking order was NOT GOD’S.

Let us be challenged by this. Let us not seek status in the world, but let us humble ourselves before God. Let us approach God and others with the innocence of a child. That does not mean we should be naïve, but that we should be as eager and open to embracing God as a child is. If we approach God and others with that openness, then truly the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to us.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:5, NLT)

PRAYER
Lord, give me the openness, eagerness, and humility of a child. Amen.

Episode 87 | Prepare for the Harvest

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-dtw5b-bd9624

In this episode, Rev. Todd continues in the four-part series entitled, Prepare. This message, specifically entitled, “Prepare for the Harvest”, is about the reality that the reality that while there is much to be done, there are few who are willing to do it. Christ has a response to that reality. This message is based on Matthew 9:35-38 and Mark 13:34-37.

EPISODE NOTES:

Episode 16 | For Heaven’s Sake

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-92dcx-bbd810

In this episode, fellow POJCasters, Sal and Todd share the mic with Jim, rector of Christ Church in Warwick, NY, who also happens to be be Sal’s pastor! Rocketh onward! In this episode, Sal, Todd, and Jim tackle the epidemic of gun violence and what the Christian response ought to be. Also, Billy, a friend of Todd’s, calls in to join the discussion.

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EPISODE NOTES:

He Brews Segment

Sal

Todd

Jim

  • Good, old-fashioned, filtered, ecologically contained, water.

Most Excellent Music Segment

Sal

Todd

For Heaven’s Sake

God’s People, part 201: Outsider

Read Mark 9:38-41

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”  (Proverbs 29:23, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Jesus-facepalmPart 201: Outsider. In the previous devotion, I cut the disciples some slack. After all, it was not necessarily their fault that they couldn’t cast out the evil spirit. What’s more, the disciples become such easy targets for criticism when it comes to how dense they can be. They seemingly never fully get what Jesus is teaching them. This is at least the case in the Gospel of Mark. The disciples never quite understand who Jesus is let alone what he’s teaching.

In this devotion, however, they will not be cut slack at all. In our Scripture today, the disciples come up to Jesus in a very boastful manner. They are proud of what they just did and they cannot wait to tell the Lord. John, who is the one who tells Jesus the news of their latest action, seems certain that the Master will be pleased with him and the others for what they had done.

“Teacher,” he said, “we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group” (Mark 9:38, NLT). That’s right, John and the other disciples saw to it to stop someone from casting out demons in Christ’s name because that person was not a part of their group. In other words, the disciples believed that they were special because Jesus had chosen them and, therefore, NO ONE ELSE outside their group had the right to do ministry in Jesus’ name. They saw their discipleship as a popularity contest, as an exclusive social club, as a way to have status over others.

As can be easily imagined without even reading the rest of the account, Jesus is not happy with them at all. This is what I call a Jesus face palm moment. Jesus had been spending so much time with his disciples, teaching them that he had come to the “least of these”, to the poor, the sick, the marginalized and the lost. He had come for the sake of the OUTSIDERS and yet, in their own minds, the disciples thought that excluding an outsider was the right thing to do.

DENSE. The disciples were dense to say the least. Jesus, of course, scolded them. “Don’t stop him! No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39-40, NLT). Jesus’ words, no doubt, must have knocked the disciples down from their proverbial high horses. Their action, according to Jesus, was not to be praised but to be denounced.

The Lord’s message to them is the same message to us now. Church congregations have largely become exclusive social clubs. Sure, we technically let outsiders; however, we don’t stop reminding them that they’re outsiders. Our orders of worship, our meeting structures, and even the way we greet them on Sundays are all reminders that they don’t quite belong.

The challenge for us is to change that exclusive social club culture we have in our congregations. Jesus was not pleased with his disciples when they quelled the spirit within the outsider, and he is not pleased when we do the same thing. Let us find ways of being as inclusive as we can be. Short of professing a false Christ, we should allow room for people to express Christ in their lives and give them a warm, inviting, and encouraging space to do so.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” – Gamaliel  (Acts 5:39, NLT)

PRAYER
Lord, help me to be open and welcoming to other people’s expression of you in their lives. Amen.