That They May Be One

John’s Vision of Church Unity The Gospel of John has been one of the most famous and widely-read books in the Christian Church from the time it was written and first circulated almost two thousand years ago, all the way up to our present day. John contains probably the most famous verse of the Bible,1 and some […]

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Security in Obscurity

John the baptizer had gained a sizable following among the people of Israel. He was regarded by many to be a prophet, and indeed, to this day there is still a group known as the Mandeans, who revere John as the greatest prophet of God.1 His long-lasting legacy is a testament to the fact that […]

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“Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” 1 For many Christians, prayer begins as a monologue, in which the believer talks to (or worse, at) God, and not much else. O what great a tragedy this is! While this first step is great (and certainly better than not praying at all), there is more to […]

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“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”1 What comes to our minds when we think of the character of God? Do we realize that He is joyful? As Dallas Willard puts it, God is “…the most joyous being in the universe.” 2  Jesus is joyful. He turns water into wine at […]

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One Another: Colossians 3:12-17

Overview of Verses 12-17  This is a continuation of the flow-of-thought from the previous passage (3:1-11). Paul is still teaching the Colossian church to live as their new selves. The previous passage focused primarily on the old ways of life Paul is calling the Colossian Christians to leave behind. Now, the apostle paints the church […]

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 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”1 Worship is an appropriate response to seeing your recently-killed Rabbi standing before you, alive. But some of those eleven men on the hilltop doubted what they saw, and […]

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Where The Gospel Meets COVID-19

Disease, Decay, and the Promise of a New Creation This topic needs no introduction. The pandemic that is COVID-19 (meaning coronavirus disease 2019, also commonly referred to simply as “coronavirus,” which is the term that will be used hereafter in this article) is impacting every facet of life in the Western world. At the time […]

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A Tale of Two Rich Men

Following Jesus When it’s Costly  Jesus revealed the radical dedication expected of his disciples when he declared, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”1 Jesus asks his followers to abandon their ambitions and follow him wherever he calls them to go. For those who seek […]

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Running Away from God

Answering the Call with Conviction To be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we must hear His call and pick up our cross and follow Him wherever He calls us to go.1 Let us hear His voice assuring us, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go […]

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Who is Jesus?

The Identity of Jesus in the Scriptures Who is Jesus of Nazareth? This question has been starting heated debates since the days of Jesus’ ministry nearly two millennia ago. The Scriptures give us a surprising portrait of us Jesus as the one eternal God who has become human and show us that the earliest Christians […]

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That You May Believe

John’s Invitation to Real Life Many Christians cite the Gospel According to John as a major landmark in their journey to living faith in Jesus Christ.1 This is not surprising, for its author discloses his primary goal: to convince his audience to entrust themselves to Jesus. Near the end of the book, John: 1. Acknowledges […]

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In Word and Power

Pursuing the Living God Through the Written Word “…our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5 ESV). In the 20th and early 21st Centuries, orthodox American Protestantism has largely consisted of two camps: 1. Evangelical churches focused on […]

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Knit Together: Colossians 2:1-5

Overview of Verses 1-5 We have arrived at the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It is important to note: when this letter was written in the middle of the 1st century AD, there were no chapter or verse numbers. In fact: 1. Chapters did not appear in biblical manuscripts until 1227 AD. […]

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When Brothers Dwell in Unity

Claiming the Hope of the Psalmists for the Church The Church has claimed Israel’s Scriptures, Israel’s story, and Israel’s God as its own. If (as we contend) the Church is to see biblical Israel as its “origin story,” we must also appropriate Israel’s hope as we seek to reconcile our house divided.1 The book of […]

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A Prayer for Power: Colossians 1:9-14

Overview of Verses 9-14 In this passage, Paul shares a prayer that he and his companions have been regularly praying for the Colossians. The apostle prays that the believers would increase in knowledge, fruitfulness, and strength and that they would give thanks to their Father (1:9-12). The prayer ends with a celebratory announcement that in […]

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What Is the Church?

The Vision of Church in Colossians If you were to take a survey of people living in the twenty-first century western world and ask them what they think church is, a lot of the responses would probably mention something about a building. However, the word church is never used in the Bible to refer to […]

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We Always Thank God: Colossians 1:1-8

We will look at the opening movement of this letter in two sections: 1. Formal introduction; Paul thanks God for the Colossians (1:1-8) 2. Paul’s prayer for the Colossian church (1:9-14) Overview of Verses 1-8 The letter to the Colossians opens with a warm, affectionate tone. After his formal introduction (1:1-2), Paul informs the church […]

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No King in Israel

Exploring Biblical Divisions as Familial Conflicts in the Old Testament The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) often refers to God’s people, Israel, using communal, group language. They are depicted as speaking with one voice, moving as one body and possessing a unified will. Paradoxically, this unity among God’s people is often shown simultaneously alongside a portrayal […]

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Follow Jesus Through the Wilderness

A Look at Hebrews What is the Book of Hebrews? Hebrews is a letter written to a group of second-generation followers of Jesus (2:3); this letter is specifically addressed to a congregation of Jewish Christians (1:1-2), which is why it was given the name it now has in early Christian tradition. Canonically (meaning, in the […]

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All Things: Colossians 1:15-23

Overview of Verses 15-23 Paul’s goal in this passage is to give the Colossian church an accurate picture of who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross and to encourage them to remain faithful to Jesus in spite of the pressures they are facing. In verses 15-20, Paul writes the Colossian church a […]

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Brief Intro to Colossians

  Background to Colossians The letter to the Colossians was composed by the apostle Paul during one of his many times in prison for declaring Jesus as the risen Lord of the world. Paul is writing to a community of Jesus followers in the ancient city of Colossae, in modern-day Turkey. Unlike a lot of […]

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