Connections 10.03.21: A Theory of Everything

I readily admit that I don’t understand what most of that means. But I appreciate and admire the goal. It would be great to have a theory that explains everything that exists—from the tiniest to the largest—in the created world.

Connections 09.19.2021: High Standards

This week’s lesson text praises women who are wise, righteous, industrious, and productive. Those are good ways to be. It also instructs husbands and children to praise such women.

Connections 09.12.21: Embracing Wisdom

We hear a lot of debates these days about what constitutes knowledge and what characterizes wisdom. Some of us may even engage in such debates.

Connections 08.29.2021: Pressing On

I wonder if any of you ever find yourselves running into the same kind of barrier that I find myself running into. It’s the barrier that stands between me and the goals that I have set for myself.

Connections 08.22.2021: A Broad Focus

The construction of the Jerusalem temple had been completed. King Solomon was presiding over a dedication ceremony. He addressed the people of Israel who had gathered for the occasion.

Connections 08.08.2021: Complications

I’ve recently read a novel and watched a television series that each featured a similar subplot. The main character in the novel and one of the lead characters in the series each had a mother whose choices and resulting circumstances.

Connections 08.01.2021: Self-Awareness

At the end of our Scripture passage, David says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” But that is only after he hears Nathan’s story and absorbs the prophet’s accusation.

Connections 07.18.2021: On the Fringes

We sometimes hear of or talk about people living on the fringes. We usually use the phrase to refer to those who live on the fringes or edges of society economically, socially, culturally, or politically.

Connections 07.11.2021: By Association

We tend to avoid guilt by association, but being linked to someone else’s reputation isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Take for example Herod Antipas’s association of Jesus with John the Baptizer.

Connections 06.27.2021: Into, Out of, and Back Into the Chaos

The two stories in this week’s lesson text come right after two stories in which Jesus overcomes the chaos.

Connections 06.20.2021: Just As He Was (and As We Are)

Most modern scholars think that Mark’s Gospel was the first Gospel to be written. They furthermore think that both Matthew and Luke used Mark’s Gospel as a source in composing their Gospels.

Connections 06.06.2012: Doing God’s Will

We have probably heard people say, after they have decided upon a particular course of action, that they are going to do what they have decided to do because they believe it is God’s will.

Connections 05.30.2021: Family Resemblances

Family resemblances can be strong. My father died four decades ago, so it has been a long time since I witnessed any of his mannerisms.

Connections 05.16.2021: Learning from Experience

The writer of 1 John talks a lot about what we know. For example, he says, “By this we know that we abide in [God] and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (4:13).

Connections 05.09.2021: All We Need

One of my generation’s anthems proclaimed, “All you need is love!” In case we didn’t get it the first time, it repeated the message in a slightly different order: “Love is all you need!”

Pearls Before Swine

Forgive us, O Lord, for our sometimes judgmental attitude that causes us to be overly critical of others and for our sometimes hypocrisy that causes us to hold others to a higher standard than that to which we hold ourselves.

Connections 04.25.2021: When A Plan Comes Together

There was a time in my life when I was a regular viewer of the television program The A-Team. On one hand, I am not proud of that fact. On the other hand, everybody needs a little mindless distraction every now and then.

Connections 04.18.21: Realistic Idealism (or Idealistic Realism)

First John was written to a Christian community that was dealing with dissension and schism. The division in the community was prompted by people who claimed that Jesus only appeared to be human.

Connections 04.04.2021: Here, There, and Wherever

Look at Mary. She is right here. She is standing outside the tomb, weeping. She has already discovered the empty tomb.

Connections 03.28.2021: The Humble King

Jesus’ words imply an invitation to his disciples: “So come along with me!” Jesus’ words also imply an invitation to those of us who are also his disciples: “Come along with me!”

Angry

The chances that we will murder somebody are thankfully slim. The chances that we will get angry enough at someone to want them dead…

Connections 03.14.2021: Amazement

I am constantly amazed at the things human beings are capable of accomplishing.

Connections 03.07.2021: Foolish Wisdom

I admit to being a little troubled by what Paul says in this passage. Or it might be more accurate to say that I’m a little troubled by ways people might use—misuse, really—what Paul says.

Mortal Love

Valentine’s Day fell on February 14 again this year. It’s regular like that. Ash Wednesday, on the other hand, moves around.

Connections 02.21.2021: Looking at Rainbows

Ever since I took my first Old Testament course in college—and that was a long time ago—I’ve heard that the rainbow in the Noah story represents God’s unstrung war bow.

Connections 02.14.2021: Stubborn Faithfulness

The prophet Elijah was on the final journey of his life. You’d think he’d be grateful to have his fellow prophet and disciple Elisha accompany him. But Elijah kept trying to stop Elisha from going with him.

Connections 01.31.2021: Not Taking Evil for Granted

Jesus’ miracles had a purpose: they announced that God’s reign in the world had arrived in Jesus. So when Jesus cast evil spirits out of people, it was an announcement that God’s power to defeat evil was with Jesus.

Connections 01.24.2021: To Us

Jesus came to reveal God to us. This doesn’t mean that God hadn’t revealed God’s self to people before Jesus came.

Connections 01.10.2021: The Most Wonderful Times of the Year

Mark tells us right up front what his story is about: “the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (v. 1). And just in case we missed Mark’s statement of who Jesus is, God reminds us of Jesus’ identity when Jesus emerges from the Jordan.

Connections 01.03.21: Light in the Darkness

This week’s lesson falls on the second Sunday of Christmas. That is also the Sunday before the Epiphany, which occurs on January 6. Both Christmas and Epiphany are about God’s revealing God’s self to the world in Jesus Christ.

Connections 12.20.2020: Faithful to Send Jesus

I thought about opening with these words: “Put yourself in Mary’s place.” But then I realized that we can’t do that.

Connections 12.13.2020: God Will Do This

By my count, Paul offers a list of fourteen instructions to the Christians in Thessalonica in verses 12-21 of this week’s lesson text.

Connections 11.29.2020: Christian Holism

I recall a day when I was in fifth grade and it occurred to me that I had to go to school for seven more years before I could graduate from high school.

Connections 11.22.2020: What You Don’t (and Do) Know

We have a saying: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” As with many sayings, that one expresses only a partial truth. On one hand, it’s true that not knowing someone’s negative opinion of me can’t hurt me.

Connections 11.08.2020: Joyful Readiness

Our current unit of lessons is entitled “The Disciple’s Life” and is subtitled “Motives and Actions.” The title and subtitle assume that we should undertake certain actions as disciples of Jesus.

Connections 11.01.2020: Seating Arrangements

I have had a recurring—well, I don’t know what you’d call it. I’m pretty sure it’s not a vision (I know I don’t go into a trance). Maybe it’s just a fantasy.

Connections 10.18.2020: Electoral Humility

Almost sixty years had passed since Nebuchadrezzar’s Babylonian forces sent the first group of exiles from Judah to Babylon. Almost fifty years had passed since his armies had destroyed Jerusalem…

Connections 10.11.2020: The Song of the Ruthless

The prophet has in mind a mighty city that God has brought down because of its oppressive practices. The ruthless oppressors had been making a lot of noise and doing a lot of damage, but God silenced and stopped them.

Connections 09.27.2020: What’s In a Name?

An etiology is a story that explains the origin of a name or a custom. The writers of the Pentateuch skillfully wove etiologies into their narratives.

Connections 09.20.2020: What Is It?

God had brought the people out of Egypt and across the sea. They had begun their journey toward Mount Sinai. Now they needed food.

Connections 09.06.2020: This Day. This Night.

This week’s lesson text contains the Passover instructions that God gave Moses and Aaron to share with the Hebrews who were enslaved in Egypt.

Connections 08.30.2020: Hindsight Assurance, Foresight Faith

We can imagine how awe-inspiring God’s revelation at the burning bush must have been for Moses. We might also be fascinated at the way Moses falls into a conversation with God during this awe-inspiring experience.

Connections 08.16.2020: Powerful People

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” So said Lord Acton in an 1887 letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton.

Connections 08.09.2020: Caution: Pit Ahead

An interesting convergence of events lands Joseph in a pit. First, Joseph has dreams of grandeur. As you will see if you read the entire Joseph story, dreams play a large role in it.

Connections 07.26.2020: Yes, But…

The short parables in this week’s lesson are fascinating, and they give us much to think and talk about. They also give us much to do something about.

What Makes You Cry

It was summertime, sometime in the late 1960s. I was, as many children did (and I hope still do), participating in the public library’s summer reading program. I was reading Fred Gipson’s 1942 novel Old Yeller.

Connections 07.19.2020: The Waiting

The waiting is the hardest part. In the parable found in this week’s lesson text, Jesus tells the story of a farmer who sowed good seed in a field, only to have an enemy sow weeds in the same field.

Connections 07.05.2020: Yokes

Merriam-Webster offers several definitions of “yoke.” First, a yoke is “a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together.”