Bible


Risky Business: Jesus Meets a Control Freak – RJ Heijmen

The second of our Fall Conference videos is here!

Risky Business: Jesus Meets a Control Freak – RJ Heijmen from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Mockingbird: Bringing You the Gospel (pt 40)

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Where can I go from your Spirit?
     Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
     if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
     if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
     your right hand will hold me fast.

-Psalm 139, verses 7-10

Hopelessly Devoted: Philippians Chapter Three Verse Twenty

This morning’s devotion comes from Kate Norris.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20, ESV)

a_560x375When I was an infant, my mother tells me, I suffered regularly from ear infections. A particularly painful infection reduced me to a fit, and my mother, who tells me she was completely undone by my screams, took me to the doctor in panic. New decibel levels ricocheted against the linoleum floor and the high gloss wall-paint in the examination room. Frazzled, she couldn’t help the doctor; I obviously couldn’t either. The doctor took me in his arms and laid me down on the table. Gently he held me securely down and stilled my head with one large hand, and with the other he examined my ear.

We enter the world like this, as babies raging against the world, and we live our lives in much the same way onward—though perhaps sometimes a bit more socialized. And yet sometimes, the more we rage against our various illnesses, the worse things seem to get.

As Delirious sings, “Love will find a way to break through.” This is the hope of the Christian faith. God broke through as this Love in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus forgave all those who raged against God; he made the sick well. His promise is that we will realize the full scope of what he did for us when he comes again; he will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body. He has the power to overcome our worst tantrums and even our death. Perhaps today something is hanging over us: a fear, a regret, a loss, an addiction. He knows our problem more than we do, and he will subject that thing—even the big thing in our lives—to himself for healing.

Serial, Contradictions, and the Jesus Stories

Serial, Contradictions, and the Jesus Stories

The Gospels are full of contradictions. There, I said it. Take, for example, the differing accounts of the resurrection. In Matthew, the two Marys – Magdelene and Jesus’ mom – are at the empty tomb, greeted by an earthquake and an angel. In Luke, Joanna and other unnamed females are added to the mix, and they see two angels, rather than one. According to John, it is Mary Magdelene only, and after running to fetch Peter and John (the author), she sees Jesus, although she mistakes him at first for a gardener. Mark ends most strangely, with the two Marys and someone…

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“I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight, Oh Lord”: Frank Darabont’s The Mist (2007)

“I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight, Oh Lord”: Frank Darabont’s The Mist (2007)

The fourth and final installment of Ian Olson & I’s Halloween series for Mbird focuses on Frank Darabont’s 2007 adaptation of a Stephen King novella, The Mist—which has been spoken about briefly before. The film stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden & Andre Braugher.

Blake:

The Mist is a throwback 60’s style creature flick where a group of people are trapped in a grocery store surrounded by a strange, dense mist that came in after an intense storm the night before. If that was not weird enough for the poor captives, those who try to escape the store into the mist seem…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter Twelve Verse Nine

This morning’s jolt of java comes from the one and only John Zahl.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

You want to be in control, but you are not. Because of this, the heart-felt experience of faith will always entail a kind of personal deconstruction, rather than some kind of building up. The more you get to know the God who loves sinners, the more you will see your own need for Him.

Sometimes people ask God to build in them all the things that they think they need in order to face life successfully. He will do no such thing! Why would He turn you into a vessel that has no need for Him? Faith means trusting Him to be all the things you need Him to be, despite your own inadequacies, and, for that matter, in light of the fact that you don’t actually know what you need or what success actually looks like. He won’t give you strength; He will be your strength. God deconstructs. God intervenes. God prevents.

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Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Nineteen and Twenty

Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Nineteen and Twenty

Back from Texas, here’s yesterday morning’s devotion, just a day late. It comes from Paul Walker.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. (2 Corinthians 1:19-20, ESV)

“Yes” is a gracious word. Yes, please come in. Yes, please stay for dinner. Yes, I would love to go with you. Yes, of course, take all the time you need.

“No” is a forbidding word. No, you may not come. No, there isn’t room for you. No, I’m too busy. No, it was due yesterday.

Human beings are both Yes and No. Most children learn to nod “yes” and shake their…

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Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Two

Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Two

This morning’s devotion comes from John Zahl who, as a matter of fact, has a book of sermons coming out next month, called Sermons of Grace. One of these sermons will be featured in the Fall Issue of the magazine.

To the church of God in Corinth… together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2, NIV)

When I lived in New York City, my roommate and I often found ourselves walking from one place to another at night. Coincidentally, it seemed like every time we did this, a random…

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“Coach Cut” and the Deconstruction of Peyton and Eli

“Coach Cut” and the Deconstruction of Peyton and Eli

Well known preacher and author Tim Keller is fond of saying “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life, it’s the A t0 Z of the Christian life.” It sure would have been helpful to have had that ingrained in me when I threw my stick in the fire and “gave my life to Jesus” at church camp when I was 14. God doesn’t work that way with us though. He tends to let us try to “graduate” from the Gospel. “Okay”, we say, “First Corinthians 15:3-6 – Christ died, was buried, raised on the third day, appeared…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verses One through Four

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verses One through Four

Good morning! This Monday our devotion comes from Josh Bascom.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died in sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:1-4, NIV)

If you’ve felt stuck lately, if…

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The Power of Negative Thinking

The Power of Negative Thinking

The 8am service on the Sunday before Labor Day was not well attended, and the rain didn’t help. Honestly, I was only there because I am paid to be. Then came the first reading, from the prophet Jeremiah:

“I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation.Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.”

Great. Thanks Jerry. That’s super-helpful. Just what I need for a little…

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Personalizing Law and the Awkwardness of Kissing Albertine

Personalizing Law and the Awkwardness of Kissing Albertine

Many pastors feel they’re losing credibility. A greater attention to the Law in human experience could help regain it.

Along with preaching the Gospel, which overwhelms and effaces our faults, there is still, in Luther’s thought at least, the need to preach God’s Law, which – in addition to making sense of the world around us – lets us know how we stand before God, which is always as those who are spiritually impoverished in themselves and in need of continual mercy. As grace comes into focus only when we know we have done wrong, so the Gospel comes into focus only when…