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A Story of Jesus in Grief

Reading Matthew chapter fourteen, I came upon a truth that struck me to my very being. The chapter begins with Jesus finding out his cousin, John the Baptist, has been executed. The narrative tells us that Jesus upon hearing the news tries to go into a time of solitude. He wants to be alone to process and grieve. So he takes the boat and sets out to find his quiet place. Instead, he is met with the crowds. Having lost family members, this is not the time I want to be working, ministering, or even around people. In my sad moments, I would honestly like to to be alone, express my grief, and process the loss. The story says Jesus had compassion on the people and began healing their sick. In J

The Power of Church

Getting to serve at Northern Illinois University I get to meet a lot of interesting people. Each person comes with lives impacted by the church. Some have been raised and come to know the church in a beautiful way. The church has hurt some people I meet. Other's have no interest in being part of the church for various reasons. The painful truth I am encountering more and more are those hurt by the church. Each person I meet comes with a unique story of betrayal, isolation, rejections, shame, and judgment. It breaks my heart hearing these stories. Recently one of our students revealed her heartbreaking story in our newsletter. Ruby's story is one of isolation and judgment. Her story crushes m

The Song on Repeat

Recently I was privileged to go see the new Lego Movie Part 2. It was an exciting movie that my kids adored. There is one song in particular that has been circulating in our brains and making us dance around the house. The song is called, “Catchy Song.” The beat is good, and the song chorus is easy to remember. Now days later after seeing the movie, I can’t help but still have the song stuck in my head. Alone in the car… it is there. Sitting at work…the song remains playing in my head. When I get home… I burst into a dance with my kids singing it out loud. This all got me thinking. What songs do we know by heart? That is just buried so deep in us that they stick with us? I once heard the Lor

The Transformation of "US" in Prayer

An observation of prayer. We do prayer when we need something. We do prayer when we feel we have no control over events or situations. Sometimes we even pray when we are happy. However, prayer in the case of Jesus and his teachings reorganizes our prayer life. During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches the crowds to pray. His prayer begins affirming relationship and loyalty to God the Father. This part of the prayer orients the person to the reality outside of themselves, the purpose of humanity, and hope of the world. Next, a call to step outside of the “I” to the "us." From food to forgiveness, Jesus teaches his listeners to step out of their reality and be thinking of others. A call for

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