Tag: <span>salvation</span>

Summary: The public speeches that we read about in the early chapters of Acts insist that salvation has arrived and it has ben accomplished through Jesus Christ. Jesus, then, is the centerpiece of these sermons about God’s faithfulness. In Acts 3, Peter preaches to a crowd in Jerusalem, accentuating themes of forgiveness, refreshment from God, and Jesus’ eventual return to bring things to completion. The sermon urges its hearers toward repentance, a new understanding of what is happening. Peter encourages the audience to discover the power of Jesus at work in his and John’s ministry. Although crucified, resurrected, and ascended into the heavens, Jesus continues to be the source of God’s salvation. It’s a fitting beginning to Acts, showing us what it looks like–at least at this point in the story–when the Christ-followers bear witness to Jesus in action and speech.

I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: The Gospel according to Luke presents preachers with challenges. While some passages announce earth-shattering change and societal upheaval taking place through the coming of Jesus Christ, the narrative’s rhetoric calls believers to participate in transformation that comes slowly, one relationship at time. Preaching this Gospel faithfully, especially in our era of anxiety, frustration, and polarization, requires us to pay attention to how salvation emerges over the course of Jesus’ ministry.

Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Some of the Gospel according to Luke’s most prominent passages describe salvation in terms of utterly transformed sociopolitical values and realities. The energy expressed in those texts’ grand and far-reaching assertions can be difficult to see in the rest of Luke unless interpreters pay attention to the ways Jesus dismantles the tools and ethos of dominance in the more intimate settings of his public ministry. For preachers and teachers who lead others through Luke one passage at a time, interpreting the whole Gospel narrative with those big promises in view is essential.

Read the full article, which was published in the October 2018 issue of the online journal Currents in Theology and Mission.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers Journal articles

Summary: The book of Acts depicts daring communities of faith. They dare because, in various ways, they open themselves up to defying or surpassing the limits imposed by the status quo. Preachers who work with Acts during Easter might look at the lectionary’s assigned texts as examples of how believers bear witness (following Jesus’ words, “You will be my witnesses,” in Acts 1:8) to the new realities that God makes possible as a result of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers

Summary: Lent provides opportunities to reflect on our experience of encountering God and God’s salvation in embodied ways — in our bodies’ abilities to perceive familiar realities and to interpret new ones. I prepared a five-part series that invites us to think about Jesus’ ability to make God known in tangible, sensory ways. The series explores selected biblical passages that permit us to reflect on who we are and how we bear witness to the gospel — not so Lent causes us to denigrate this life, but so we learn to encounter God among us and to know Christ through our bodies.

I wrote this series to spark the creativity of those who are preparing to preach or teach during Lent, although individuals might also use it for devotional purposes. Read it at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: general audience Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: The story of Ananias and Sapphire, about two people who attempt to defraud the church in Jerusalem, raises a number of questions. It’s an extremely disturbing and problematic story, because their punishment (death) exceeds the severity of their misdeed. Why does Acts treat their fib as such a big deal? One reason is because their deceit reveals more than greed or financial duplicity; it shows a willful disdain for the community’s generosity and mutuality, a disdain able to wreck the fragile, new church. In the end, this isn’t a story about money and lies as much as a story about God’s intimate relationship with the church.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

(Portions of this article are adapted from a chapter in my book Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts.)

Bible commentary: general audience The Bible and Christian practices

Summary: It’s easy to expose and mock the lies behind the so-called prosperity gospel. The New Testament does not teach Christians to grow their faith by donating money with confidence that it will be repaid in greater wealth or improved health. But what, then, does the New Testament say about being generous with money and possessions? Why should we? One of the most interesting perspectives we find in the New Testament concerning wealth is in Acts 4:32-37, in which members of the early church sell their possessions and land and use the proceeds to support their whole community. It’s important to notice that this passage’s primary focus is on depicting the church as a community of unity and belonging. People give money to support and express that identity. Community and care for the neighbor come first.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

(Portions of this article are adapted from a chapter in my book Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts.)

Bible commentary: general audience The Bible and Christian practices