The Span of Our Influence (Luke 14:7-11)

The Span of Our Influence

Submitted by Andy McIlvain. 

Luke 14:7-11

In Luke 14:7-11, Jesus’s advice to his guests becomes a lesson about life in the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus spoke this parable, he knew by his deity and in his humanity how our sinful natures twist us to selfish preoccupation. All of us have felt the tug of self-exaltation. Bigger, better and greater, be famous, have your 15 minutes of fame, be number one; you deserve it. This is the mantra of our culture and the futile goal of much of humanity. Continue reading

The Blessed Life (Psalm 1)

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Psalm 1

In the 1986 movie Short Circuit an experimental military robot struck by lightening develops self-awareness and escapes from his creators. He is constantly looking for more information and tells the young woman in whom he found sanctuary that he needs more input. His output is often determined by his input. When good goes in, good goes out. When garbage goes in, garbage goes out. Continue reading

The Old Songs (Ephesians 5:19)

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Submitted by Andy McIlvain. 

Ephesians 5:19

I am not gifted in music, but it punctuates my life in many ways. I hear a song, and it evokes deep memories and associations of times past, whether it be Bach, the band Chicago, or country. Continue reading

Random Evangelism (John 4:39-42)

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John 4:39-42

When Jesus met the woman at the well, it seemed to be an accident. The gospel writer told us previously that it was necessary for Jesus to travel through Samaria (John 4:4). Since Samaria separated Judea and Galilee, it was necessary to pass through Samaria. Yet, it was also necessary for another reason.

We come to the end of the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Not only was it geographically necessary for Jesus to passthrough Samaria, it was also necessary for the salvation of a town. By all appearances, Jesus had no intention in spending time in Samaria. But, when the people incessantly ask him to stay, Jesus stays two days. As a result, many more Samaritans became believers in Jesus. (John 4:39-42)

Evangelism is rooted in neighbor love. Those who take authentic evangelism seriously do not see it as a chore or even a task; they see it as a way of living. Continue reading

Time Enough at Last (James 4:13-15)

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Submitted by Andy McIlvain.

James 4:13-15

I chase time. I want more of it. And often in my life I have felt like Henry Bemis in the 1959 Twilight Zone episode in which the people and the world around him conspires to keep him from having more time and in his case it was to read books. Continue reading

Open Your Eyes – The Harvest is Ripe (John 4:27-38)

Harvest is Ripe

John 4:27-38

The poster child of evangelism in John’s Gospel is not a Jew nor a man (in that male chauvinist society). Instead, it is a Samaritan woman, and one with a questionable past. With more zeal than any of the disciples – at least in John’s Gospel – she hastily goes out and tells her townspeople of the man she just met. Continue reading

Jesus Gives True Worship (John 4:16-26)

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John 4:16-26

What had started as a playful conversation all the sudden became quite serious. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “Go, call you husband and come back (John 4:16).” We can imagine her muttering and bumbling, “I have no husband (John 4:17).” While in her mind she may have reasoned her response to be true, yet in her heart she knew there was much more to her story. Her life had been a series of broken relationships. We can imagine the woman’s surprise when Jesus reveals his knowledge of her past, which sadly consists of five past husbands and a man she now lives with but is not her husband (John 4:18). Continue reading

Life Giving Water (John 4:10-15)

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John 4:10-15

There are many thirsts in life: thirsts for power, thirsts for relationship, thirsts for more material goods. Jesus conversation with the woman at the well started with a basic thirst – a thirst for a drink of water.
Continue reading

The Speed of Life (Psalm 46:10)

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Submitted by Andy McIlvain. 

Psalm 46:10

Jesus walked. The creator of you and I and the universe, the one who spoke into being the speed of light and sustains all of creation “walked”. And like you and me he walked at the speed of about 3 miles per hour. Continue reading

She Came Alone (John 4:1-9)

She Came Alone

There she came. A woman. A Samaritan. She was alone. In first century Palestine, any non-aristocratic woman would have had to travel daily to retrieve water. Nearly all women traveled in groups. To travel alone was dangerous. There were thieves and other ill-intentioned people, not to mention wild animals. Yet, she came alone. (John 4:1-9) Continue reading