John the Baptist’s mystery friend, and why we need prophets in our lives – John 1:19-34, Part 5

In John 1:19-34, John the Baptist makes a surprising statement that there was someone alive right there, nearby, perhaps even in the crowd that day as John was baptizing people by the Jordan River, someone of whom John is not worthy even to untie his sandals.  Untie sandals…what’s that matter?  In John’s culture, that wasContinue reading “John the Baptist’s mystery friend, and why we need prophets in our lives – John 1:19-34, Part 5”

The backstory of John the Baptist – John 1:19-34, Part 2

Who was John the Baptist? In this post we begin to learn the backstory of John the Baptist. While our current blog series is studying the Gospel of John, and while this week we are learning about John 1:19-34, to get the backstory of John the Baptist, we need to turn elsewhere. The full accountContinue reading “The backstory of John the Baptist – John 1:19-34, Part 2”

The Prophet who said the darndest things – John 1:19-34, Part 1

The TV Show Kids Say the Darndest Things has been on the air for decades.  The title of the show uses the word “darndest,” and that’s a catchy title, but what is the title really getting at? Well, take a look: The word “darndest” is getting at the fact that kids have that wonderful quality ofContinue reading “The Prophet who said the darndest things – John 1:19-34, Part 1”

Prophets who don’t know how to be prophets – John 1:19-34, Preview

Are there still prophets in the world today?  No doubt there are people who claim to be prophets.  Do you remember Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network?  He predicted Jesus was returning in 1994.  When Jesus did not return that year, Camping went on to predict Jesus would return in May 2011.  In fact,Continue reading “Prophets who don’t know how to be prophets – John 1:19-34, Preview”

The surprising way Jesus fulfilled prophecy on Palm Sunday – Mark 11, Part 3

Jesus was the Messiah, but he was not the Messiah the Jews were looking for. When the Jews interpreted messianic passages like Psalm 118, which they quoted on the original Palm Sunday, they concluded that the Messiah was going to be a king of the line of the great king David.  This new king wouldContinue reading “The surprising way Jesus fulfilled prophecy on Palm Sunday – Mark 11, Part 3”

God’s heart for human flourishing (or Why God cares about social justice) – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 5

Years ago, I learned a song when I was a teenager in youth group, and I found it very catchy and fun, but I had no idea what it meant. “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see, opens prison doors, sets theContinue reading “God’s heart for human flourishing (or Why God cares about social justice) – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 5”

3 pitfalls of Evangelical Christian worship – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 4

In this week’s study of Ezekiel 45-48, we have been following a map to God’s heart. We now study chapter 46 which includes more detail about Israel’s sacrificial system.  What do we learn in chapter 46 about God’s heart? The sacrificial system teaches us that God desires worship that is gathered, consistent, and orderly.  InContinue reading “3 pitfalls of Evangelical Christian worship – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 4”

God’s heart for worship: participation and…atonement? – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 3

As we continue seeking for descriptions of God’s heart in Ezekiel 45-48, we notice that the next section, Ezekiel chapter 45, verses 13-25 is a retelling of the Jewish sacrificial system. What would that show us about God’s heart? That God wants us to sacrifice animals at a temple?  No.  Remember that famous saying ofContinue reading “God’s heart for worship: participation and…atonement? – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 3”

God’s heart to stop oppression – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 2

This week as we study Ezekiel 45-48, we are following these chapters as a map to God’s heart. In Ezekiel 45, verses 8-12, we see God’s heart very clearly in another way.  Notice verse 8 where we read God say that the princes must not oppress the people.  Who were the princes?  God is referringContinue reading “God’s heart to stop oppression – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 2”

How not to be holy – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 1

There’s a spot on the Conestoga River near my home where a tree leans way out over the river.  Someone attached wooden steps on the tree, so you can climb out on the trunk, over the river.  They also attached a rope to the tree.  One end of the rope is tied to the tree,Continue reading “How not to be holy – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 1”