By: EthicsDaily Staff
Before the deadly day in Charlottesville in the aftermath of the white supremacist rally, local clergy from various faiths had been gathering to prepare a safe space in the event of a tragedy.
By: Michael Cheuk
When the Klan announced plans to come to this town, the local faith community organized a response. Like an overgrown garden, the day was chaos, yet God planted seeds of connection, clarity and love.
By: Michael Cheuk
EthicsDaily.com shows appreciation to its readers and audience while challenging us to re-examine our values in light of the gospel and the common good. That's why I support BCE / EthicsDaily.com. Will you join me?
By: Michael Cheuk
One year ago, nine black members of a South Carolina church were killed by a visitor. That led pastors in a Virginia community to unite and discuss taking the first step toward racial unity in their city.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Michael Cheuk, pastor of University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics. More details about him are in this profile.
We serve a generous God, who extravagantly invested in all human beings by sending God’s Son Jesus to earth. Some received him and grew. Many rejected him and even crucified him. But out of that death and failure, God raised him up so that humanity is offered the extraordinary returns of eternal life. We who are worshippers of this God and this Jesus are now invited to join in the extravagant sowing of the seed of God’s Word. In so doing, we are not defined by a fear of failure, but by a faith that God will provide extraordinary returns in growing God’s Kingdom.
condition. Our cross is not a challenging relationship, our failing health, or our grief over loved ones. No, our cross is the deaths that we choose to carry precisely because we strive to be faithful to Christ and his commission. But there is good news. As Christians, we believe that death does not have the last word. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have hope that in our deaths, there is also a rebirth, a resurrection into a new age in this life and not just the next.
The question therefore, is not whether we will find rest by ridding ourselves of all yokes. The question is which yoke we will take up, the yoke of Jesus or the yoke of something else. The truth of the matter is, if we do not live for Jesus, we will live for something else. We will either serve Christ, or we will serve some other master. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” Therefore, the question is: Will we submit ourselves to the heavy yokes of human approval, of material gain, of social status, of self-righteous pride? Or will we find rest by submitting ourselves to the gentle yoke of Christ?
Some of us may be able to sing on key, but we are all out of tune with God and with others. We may approach the gates of worship wearing our best, but God ultimately sees our brokenness and inability to be righteous. We may arrive at the courts of this sanctuary and sing hymns with an angelic voice, but God’s Spirit ultimately hears the cacophonous cries of our heart.
On this Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church, I believe that God’s Spirit is working within this congregation possibly to conceive and give birth to an alternative worship service that taps into the different kinds of gifts, different kinds of service and different kinds of working at UBC to worship the same Spirit, the same God and the same Lord.
When a person feels fully loved, it opens the door to loving obedience. Furthermore, Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” not as a way to tell us how to earn his love. Remember, Jesus already loves us and the scars on his hands are proof of his love. God demonstrated His own love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We demonstrate our love for God by obeying God’s commands and following the way of Jesus.
So let us remember that God has included us all! God is building us together to be a living temple, because Christ is our Living Cornerstone. So no matter what challenges, fears, and struggles we may feel right now, let us hear these words affirming who we are.
As Christians, we believe the risen Christ is alive and at work in the world. And if what Jesus said in Matthew 25 is correct, we also believe that Christ is also present in the least of these, in those who may be a stranger to us, in those who aren’t as visible in our communities. What keeps us from seeing the presence of the risen Christ in these seemingly invisible strangers?
As I wrote in my column this week, the early church theologians such as Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom sometimes interpreted Easter as a joke. They didn’t mean this in an irreverent or dismissive way, the way we might describe something poorly done as “a joke.” Instead, they quite literally felt that Easter was a holy joke, the moment when God played a joke on death itself, turning a grim time of mourning into a festive time of laughter. The early Church recognized that the season of Easter was a time of celebration, for praise, for joy.
[O]n that first Easter morning, Mary was awaken to a faith in the resurrected Christ when Jesus called out her name, “Mary!” The Eternal Word spoke a personal word that finally aroused Mary from the darkness of her night and brought her into the light of a new morning. It was a new world in which sin, pain, suffering and death could no longer contain the Son of God in a tomb of their making. Yes, on Friday afternoon, those powers of darkness seemingly gained an upper hand, but on that third day, when a new morning was dawning, God opened up the tomb and called out, “Good Morning, Jesus!”
The Good News of Lent and Holy Week is that, like Lazarus, life steps out of an open tomb. And even if we are like Martha and Mary in the face of death, conflicted between frustration and faith, head knowledge and heart longing, belief and doubt, Jesus does not count that against us. He comes to offer us life anyway. Therefore, we have hope that even in the deep despair of our night, joy returns in the morning.
A man healed of blindness. What a blessing, right? Who wouldn’t celebrate that? Who wouldn’t be thrilled to see a man healed of blindness and receive sight? Well, if you had a chance to ask that Pharisee, he would tell you that the day he met this man was the day his troubles began. Before meeting this healed blind man, the Pharisee’s saw the world so clearly, his moral vision was so certain, his beliefs, so secure. But upon meeting this man, this “sinner” who was supposedly healed, things were no longer so clear.
When we come to the place where we believe that God is for us, something miraculous happens. It is as if the floodgates open. Years of hiding, of building up barriers, all the energy needed to push back the shame, the corrosive feelings of inadequacy -- they are washed away. The living water of Christ pours down like rain, washing our eyes to see who we are, but also to see Jesus’ majesty and love.
What would it mean for the church not to live by bread alone? Of course we need to play attention to the things that are important for our existence – such as attendance, financial giving, and programming. But let’s not live by those things alone – those things should not define us and our mission. Instead of the church catering to meet our own needs, how can we live on every word that comes from the mouth of God, a word that not only offers us abundant life, but also challenges us to share that abundance with those in need, whether spiritual or physical?
What we think we know about God can actually put God in a box of our own making and hinder us from believing and trusting in the true God who cannot be contained. The mystery of God cannot be fully captured by our human understanding. [ ]God is a divine mystery. But God is also a saving mystery.
Our movement is nothing less than joining the movement of God in bringing the kingdom of heaven on earth. God is looking for disciples who are willing to be deployed as salt and light to push back the very gates of Hades in our community and in our world. I’m not offering comfort or safety or security. Instead, I’m offering a journey of adventure and risk. But Jesus promised us that He will always be with us in this journey. And I promise you that you will make a difference in this world for the sake of God’s Kingdom!
Jesus was God’s own fool whose shameful death on the cross overcomes our fear and shame with the boundless and foolish love of God. Jesus had to be a fool to love us sinful and faithless creatures enough to die on a cross. And yet, that’s exactly what Jesus did, and in His resurrection, Jesus also demonstrated that the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
I believe that wherever there are people walking in the dark, like in Zebulun and Naphtali, Jesus is already there.[ ]And since where Jesus is, the Kingdom of heaven has already come near[...]Where’s the heaven in the dark places in our city, in our workplaces, in our dorms or on grounds?
I sometimes wonder what would happen if, instead of inviting others to come and debate, to come and be lectured, a community of Christ followers might invite others to come and see them live out their faith by affirming the sanctity of all human life by caring for those among us regardless of age, race, ethnicity, social economic class, and sexual orientation. I wonder what kind of witness we might have if we cleaned up our own sins before we condemned the sins of others. Wouldn’t that be an appealing witness? Instead of “love the sinner and hate the sin,” why don’t we first ascribe to this dictum: “Love the sinner, and hate our own sin”?
God’s voice of truth is beckoning to give you the strength to push back those voices of despair. God’s voice of truth is ringing forth to tell everyone that you are God’s beloved child, and in Christ, God is well pleased with you. May you hear and believe this voice of truth so that you’ll have the faith to show up and to get wet in the messiness of life and to dare greatly for the Kingdom of God.
Among all the world religions, only the Christian God is a God who loved humanity enough to be one of us, to suffer alongside us, to weep with us, to hurt and hunger with us, and finally, to die for us. Now that is a scandal, for no self-respecting deity would ever dare or dream such a thing. But there you have it in our Gospel Lesson, a God who does all these things coming to us as a child called “Emmanuel,” “God with us” so that He might be “Yeshuah” or “salvation” to us all.
The season of Advent is a time of a provision of hope from God, a time of active waiting for God’s purposes for the world to be revealed and made a reality. Advent is a time for the body of Christ to actively live as a people of hope, a hope that is based on our just and righteous Lord. Advent is a time of active anticipation, when we are invited to be living signposts and pointers of the peaceable kingdom that Jesus will usher in. The signs of this peaceable kingdom are everywhere . . . if we have the eyes to see.
We might not go as far as imagining Jesus as our surfer dude, or Jesus as our Hell’s Angel, but we do like to think of Jesus as our friend. Among evangelicals, I hazard a guess that the most popular image of Jesus is thinking of Him as “our personal Lord and Savior.” But that also seems so far removed from the images of Christ described in our New Testament Lesson from Colossians this morning.
In our world, as good as it is to have “a place of peace” in a comfy chair or in a bubble bath, it is just not enough. For what we truly long for is not just a “private peace” for ourselves while the rest of the world wages war. What we desire is not an “escapist peace” for ourselves while millions of others are left behind to suffer.[...]What we truly need is “Emmanuel,” the dwelling of God being with us. That is the place of peace, of shalom, of wholeness and completeness that we humans and the whole cosmos long for.
Today is All Saint’s Sunday on the Christian calendar. It is a day for remembering and giving thanks for all the saintly people both living and dead whom God has placed in our lives and in the history of University Baptist Church. I would like for you to imagine with me Paul, Silas and Timothy writing a letter to University Baptist Church based on today’s passage. On this All Saint’s Sunday, perhaps this is what they might have to say to us this morning.
Keep Calm and Stand Firm in the midst of a war that the apostle Paul talks about elsewhere in Scripture, where we do not fight against flesh and blood, but we war against principalities and powers. In the midst of this war, we can keep calm because Christ’s death on the cross has broken the chains of these powers in our lives. We can keep calm because God’s Spirit will not abandon us; instead, God’s Spirit will dwell within us to fight against these powers so that we may become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
Persistent prayer becomes an act of faith in Christ, which opens our hearts to the heart of God, so that our hearts break over the same things that break God’s heart, so that our hearts beat in the same divine rhythm. In so doing, we grow in our faith in Christ.
Here, we see the scandal of God’s grace. It is a grace that humbles those who exalt themselves, and exalts those who are humble. In this parable, Jesus reminds us once again that we are never so righteous as to be beyond the need for God’s mercy, and we are never so wretched as to be beyond the reach of God’s grace.
The best thing about this story is that it is not over yet. For the rich man, yes, but not for us, because we are the five brothers. Even though Father Abraham would not let Lazarus come back from the dead to tell us this story, Jesus has sneaked it out for us. Now we have that as well as Moses and the prophets and someone who has risen from the dead to convince us it is true. All that remains to be seen is what we will do about it.
If we are not using every talent and every gift that God has entrusted to us to manage, then the question is, “Will we be streetwise enough to use our ingenuity and resourcefulness now to go to everyone we know and give away our master’s possessions in order to make them friends of God?” Specifically, will we use the finances, time, and abilities that God has given us to minister to neighbors and co-workers, the poor and the sick, the needy and the bereaved? If we do, we will make friends for ourselves and for our Master.
Jesus seemed to be testing the commitment and resolve of these would-be followers, and he was not afraid to trim down the roster. In fact, he told the crowds to estimate or count the cost before following him. [ ]Jesus’ point, is that anything in life that is worth doing and worth doing well is going to cost something, and we should anticipate that cost in our decision-making.
God is the shepherd and the woman, so crazy about us, that God would go to drastic lengths to seek and find us. God the Son would leave the angelic hosts in heaven—who need no repentance—in order to come to earth to seek not the healthy or the righteous, but the sick and the sinner. We are all lost, all sinners. But when God finds us, and when we accept that fact, then watch out! Because there’ll be a lot of rejoicing, a lot of celebrating, a lot of partying going down in heaven!
The God of Jesus Christ who confronts and shakes all earthly principalities also confronts and shakes all the tiny little kingdoms that we try to create for ourselves. In these kingdoms, we are tempted to place our faith in created things that just won’t last[.] That’s why Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” Only God’s kingdom will last, with Jesus as our sure foundation. Though the world may shake, we serve an unshakeable kingdom.
Well, it seems to me that at the end of this letter, the writer of Hebrews is also rattling off final reminders, exhortations that reminded those early Christians of what it meant to live a life of faith. Keeping the faith is not just about an individual believing in the right things. Keeping the faith is mostly about trusting God enough to behave in such a way that it gives witness to the person of Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. In order for that to happen fully, it takes a community, a group of people living life together.
In your life, who sets an example of what running the marathon of faith is like? What have they set aside in order to run the race toward Jesus? Like the saints of old, we are all running the same marathon of faith; and our goal is Jesus, who has gone before us as a pioneer, and who is waiting at the finish line to perfect us.
This understanding of faith as a firm and trusted foundation from which we can anchor everything else is very different from a modern understanding of faith. “Faith” in the modern sense is often contrasted to “fact.” The former is often seen as a blind leap into the dark, while the latter is visibly grounded in reality. For us moderns, it’s like we all live in Missouri, the “Show Me” state. We won’t trust something unless we can see and examine it for ourselves. That’s usually a good policy; it isn’t good to put your faith in just anything. What the writer of Hebrews is trying to teach us is that faith in God is more like trusting in a sure foundation.
A neighbor is an individual whom we see not as a stereotype, but as a human being uniquely created and loved by God. We can’t love our neighbor as ourselves if we only see our neighbor as a stereotype. So many times, we do not really see the person in front of us, whether they are strangers, or our spouse, our children, or our parents. We only see our projection of them. Our presuppositions and assumptions affect what we see, hear and believe.
George Zimmerman's acquittal is the latest example of the deep distrust and philosophical divides that separate our nation. Here are three ways Christians can respond.
Grace sets us free from false identity – Grace sets us free from exile – Grace sets us free from our spiritual poverty – Grace invites us to keep in step with the Spirit in order to join in the feast as one family. This is the good news at the heart of Galatians, God’s Gracebook. There is freedom in grace. Believe it. Receive it. Live it.
But what if it is the faithfulness of Christ that makes us right before God? Then our status in God’s family is NOT dependent on our “faith” as understood as an inner feeling of trust or an intellectual understanding of doctrine. In other words, it is not our work of faith, but Christ’s faithful work of grace that ultimately makes us right before God. Therefore, to the student who doesn’t feel like she has enough faith, I would answer, “You’re right, your faith is not enough. If your faith was enough, then Christ died for nothing. The good news is that the faithfulness of Christ is enough.”
Grace has often been defined as the unmerited, undeserved favor of God, and that is certainly true. But many preachers, myself included, have often tailored our messages about grace to pander to our audience. Alas, Paul’s testimony of grace this morning will not let me preach such a message today.
A city's most impressive buildings speak to where a society places its deepest convictions and highest hopes. Years ago, it was churches. Today, it's casinos, stadiums and malls.
. Grace reminds us that we do not deserve Christ’s offering of himself for us. Grace instructs us that we cannot earn God’s rescue from this evil age. Grace humbles us to concede that we cannot dictate the will of God the Father. All we can do is to recognize that we need forgiveness of our sin, we need rescue from this evil age, and we need to surrender our lives so that “not my will, but God’s will be done.”
God’s Spirit at that Pentecost gave birth to the Church. It also gave birth to a missionary movement spreading the love of God beginning in Jerusalem and expanding to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. We are a missionary church because we serve a missionary God who sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth in order to be the Word that spoke the love of God[.]
What other ways may God be challenging us to open our eyes and minds to see God’s expansive dream? While we may scoff at those early Jewish Christians for obeying strange dietary laws, let us examine our own lives and consider our own list of what or who is clean and unclean, acceptable or detestable. We often find those who are unlike us to be “impure,” people with whom we would rather not associate. But this morning, we are confronted with the question in verse 17: “If God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who are we to think that we could oppose God?”
During this Easter season, Jesus our Good Shepherd appears and asks, “Can you hear me now?” To his flock, our resurrected Lord speaks plainly these words, “I give you all eternal life, and you shall never perish; no one will snatch you out of my hand. My Father, who has given you to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch you out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” May we as the flock of Christ hear these words and follow our Good Shepherd.
Our singing is an act of holy worship to the One who is both the kingly Lion and the sacrificial Lamb. Our song is a witness to our belief that there is no one else who is worthy of our worship and praise. Therefore, with joyful abandon, let us join the heavenly hosts in singing: “To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
If we see the earth as purely a resource under the bondage of human beings, we are more likely to see human beings as purely a resource under the bondage of others.
If you remember, during Palm Sunday, the religious leaders ordered Jesus to silence his disciples, but Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these people keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Now, after the resurrection, here was Peter – who denied Jesus at his trial, who was left speechless at Jesus’ empty tomb – now this Peter became the rock who cried out[.] The reality of the resurrection experience transformed the disciples from fearful followers to faithful witnesses willing to die for their commitment to the resurrected Christ. Despite our own failings, despite our own weaknesses, despite our own fears, we too can respond to the resurrection by submitting to God’s guidance and transformative work in our lives.
In our New Testament reading today, Peter boldly proclaimed that Jesus not only hung on a tree, but also rose from the dead. So for Peter, anyway, this time of wondering and silent reflection ultimately led not to doubt and despair, but to a transforming faith. When we think of Easter, we think of this transforming faith. However, we often think of an instant change-over from death to life, from denial to faith, from weakness to power, from “Crucify him” to “Alleluia”! Yet rarely in life and certainly not in this gospel account of Easter do we find such an instant transformation.
We too are a ragtag group of people – flawed, broken, sorrowful and in need of healing. Like them, it is easy to jump on Jesus’ bandwagon when things are going well according to our own plans. During those times, it is easy for us to cry out with the stones: “Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” But when things are tough, and we are gripped with the fear of the unknown, will we stand firm, will we take the cup as Jesus did? Or will we be like his closest disciples that night on the Mount of Olives, lying on the ground like stones, silent and asleep? What is the greater miracle . . . crying stones or sleeping disciples waking from their slumber?
A common definition of “prodigal” is “lavishly or wastefully extravagant.” While this father does not live a wastefully extravagant life, he does offer a lavish, extravagant, seemingly wasteful love to both of his children. This father does not love either of his sons according to what they deserve. He just loves them, more because of who He is than because of what they’ve done. As we consider our lives this week, let us remember that God is the prodigal Father, who refuses to give us the love we deserve, but instead who gives the love we need.
Who is thirsty and hungry? Today, we acknowledge that we are thirsty and hungry. This morning, God invites us to feast upon God’s goodness and pardon. We dare to come to this feast not because of what we have done, and certainly not because we could pay for any of this. We are invited and accepted because of what Jesus has done for us. We just tag along with other sinful pilgrims and say, “We’re with Jesus.” And that is good enough.
It is often tempting for us to be more devoted to an experience of Jesus than it is to be devoted to Jesus himself. Since that transfiguration, Christians for two thousand years have been trying to recapture and re-create mountaintop experiences of God.
God’s love and blessing is not limited to folks on the inside. God’s love and favor is extended to all, especially the outsiders.
I encourage you therefore to trust Jesus’ message. Accept it as a gift. Live in its reality. Proclaim it to the world!
When a person or a group comes to believe and internalize a hurtful name or identity, it often takes a while to undo that identity. Likewise, we see that God, throughout the Bible, has not been resting or keeping silent in proclaiming our new name.
Being baptized by God’s Spirit is affirming; we hear the Voice of God announce that we are the children of God.
Because, in faith, we witness to the fact that your love is stronger than hate, that your joy is greater than our despair, that your peace will bring us wholeness, that your hope will carry us into the light.
The coming Peace Child wants to make fractured people whole. The coming Peace Child wants to save us from our enemies, even when the enemy is ourselves.
For the blessings of faith, let’s be the thankful one.
May we invest in God’s future and offer our best and our all to our Master, so that one day, we may hear the joyful commendation of our Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Let the flame of Christ ignite our hearts and our lives, so that we may radiate God’s warmth and light through the investment of our time, talents and tithes.
The politics of God’s Kingdom proclaims that the right Man has already been crucified, resurrected and ascended, so that all powers and principalities are under His control, and that the eternal destiny of the saints and the cosmos are under His control.
On this day of baptism, we are invited to remember Jesus’ baptism and our own. We are invited to jump into the deep end of the waters of faith and be a follower of Jesus.
Thank God for the Church, not because we are faithful, but because God is faithful, who has called us into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who’s the boss? Not the Senior Minister. Nor the chair of deacons. Nor the big tither. No, the boss is Jesus Christ Himself. All disciples of Jesus are called to serve the Lord.
Love is the first sign. What’s Your Sign? When people see us, do they see love?
Journeys. Our lives are full of journeys.
During uncertain and anxious times, the church is tempted to batten down the hatches and withdraw from the world. But it is precisely during times like these that God calls forth men and women to send them on mission for the good of the world.
We were created not for sin, not for ruin, not for woe. We were created for holiness, for eternal life, for joy.
On this Pentecost Sunday, may God’s Spirit light upon us so that we may be God’s people, sent out to proclaim the good news that God’s Spirit of salvation is being poured out for all!
Jesus issues this loving invitation: “Remain in me. Abide in me. Make yourself at home in me just as I do in you.”
If a dead person were resurrected today, most of us wouldn’t just believe what someone else tells us second-hand, we would want to see that person alive ourselves, first-hand, in person.
On this Easter Sunday, let us be proclaimers of the way and be living signs that announce to all creation the good news that “Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed!”
God’s way of wisdom does not only challenge the conventional wisdom of today’s world, but also the conventional wisdom of today’s church.
During this season of Lent, let us hear with open ears and courageous hearts what Jesus told his disciples: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” How will we respond to this challenging invitation?
The beauty of Easter morning is coming, but right now, we are invited to walk the Lenten way of the desert. As we go, may we hear the voice of God and follow the steps of Christ.
On this Transfiguration Sunday, we are invited to look and listen. May God open our eyes to look and see God’s glory. May God open our ears to listen and hear Christ’s voice.
I believe the Spirit of Jesus is here still in the margins of life moving among the lost, the sinners, the outcasts and the “lepers” of today.
May the words and demonstration of Jesus’ powerful teaching release us out of our bondage and into the freedom of God’s glorious grace!
Repent and believe. That is the invitation that Jesus gave to His would-be followers at the beginning of His earthly ministry. That is the invitation that Jesus gives to His would-be followers today. Will we accept this invitation?
In the midst of his suffering and pending death, Jesus was able to see an alternate vision of how his broken body and shed blood can be transformed into a feast of forgiveness, and as a result, Jesus was able to bring blessing and joy to us when both were in short supply.
We are hopeful, not as in wishful thinking, but we hope in God, because we expect and trust that God’s future will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in our lives and in our church.
God’s faithfulness is ever sure and his mercy is everlasting in the midst of both our victories and our losses.
What is robbing you of joy and peace today?
Who do you think is the greatest person of all time? What is the measure of greatness?
Our past makes up who we are, for better or for worse. But our past does not have to determine our future.
As we remember the events of September 11, 2001, let us also remember the event over two thousand years ago, when an innocent man hung on a cross and prayed for his perpetrators, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
God is still graciously calling for laborers.
Be transformed . . . by the renewing of our mind. In other words, change the way we think. That is a hard thing to do. When it comes to change, our first temptation is to change the world.
Love. Blessing. Peace. These are the signs that Paul calls us to show, if not with our hands, then through our lives.
God promised that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But it all begins with us going with our feet and bringing good news that Jesus saves.
Being spiritually asleep means that while we have eyes, we do not really see, while we have ears, we do not really hear, while we are physically here, we are not really present.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Listen to Paul’s answer with fresh ears: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither good health nor chronic illness, neither popularity nor loneliness, neither poverty nor riches, neither the acclaim of fans nor the disdain of critics, neither the heights of ecstasy nor the depths of depression, neither job layoffs, government shutdowns, deranged killers, stifling heat waves nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples. How are we in fulfilling Jesus’ great commission? How are we in making disciples who in turn can make disciples of Jesus?
For Christians, every Sunday is a Memorial Day, the day that is set aside to honor by remembering the One who died fighting to set us free from our sin, and to celebrate the same One who was resurrected to set us free from death.
Your gifts are not just for the church. Your gifts are for the common good through the church. The church was birthed so that it can help and equip disciples of Jesus do the next right thing by using their gifts for the common good.
The ascendency of Christ is a message that challenges the principalities and powers in the political realm, because the ascended Christ who sits at the right hand of God the Father judges all human systems and finds them wanting.
Michael Cheuk is pastor of University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., and a Christian coach. He holds degrees from Rice University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the University of Virginia. He and his wife Beth have a daughter and a son.
During the Sundays of Advent, we will learn how to worship more fully our true God and not the god of consumerism, because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus. We will also learn how to reorder our desires so that we’ll spend less on ourselves this Christmas in order to free our resources for things that truly matter.