Journey to joy (Good Friday)

When God experienced our pain, he was restoring our joy.

There’s the grief you feel when you hoped your team would win, and they lost.

Then there’s deep grief — the grief you feel when you lose someone.

Jesus’ disciples faced that grief. They expected him to save the world. Jesus had a brave agenda for a new world, an agenda that challenged the people in power.

They expected a showdown, but they didn’t expect Jesus to lose. They didn’t expect him to lose his life.

Continue reading “Journey to joy (Good Friday)”

Managing criticism (Matthew 9:14-17)

How do you cope with criticism from people who don’t understand where you’re leading them? Could we learn from the Master?

Open Matthew 9:14-17.

What do you do when you’re criticized? It’s easy to get angry and sound off, or to cave in and give up. I’m interested in how Jesus, the king of the kingdom, handled criticism.

He copped it from the scribes (9:3). He copped it from the Pharisees (9:11). Now he cops it from friends: John the Baptist’s disciples:

Mathew 9:14 (my translation) Then John’s students came to him saying, “How come we and the Pharisees fast often, but your students don’t fast?” Continue reading “Managing criticism (Matthew 9:14-17)”

Share the laughter! (Genesis 21:1-21)

Even when Isaac is born, the heavenly king still cares for the ones his representatives reject.


Laughter finally comes to Abraham and Sarah’s tent. Decades have passed. In their old age, it looked as if God’s promises would die out with them. They felt like a joke: the whole idea of a future nation under God’s rule seemed laughable (Genesis 17:17; 18:12). But Laughter (the meaning of Isaac) finally arrives. Even those who doubted now join the laughter: Continue reading “Share the laughter! (Genesis 21:1-21)”