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Saturday 6.25.11 Insight from Jason Huwe

Jason Huwe is Resurrection’s minister for Young Adults and College Life.  He has attended Resurrection since 2007 and has been on staff about 2 years.  He enjoys ping pong, Dr. Pepper and cheering on his Nebraska Cornhuskers.

It is so comforting to have hope in the coming kingdom of God.  Jesus’ promise to his disciples and to us has been a regular source of hope through the centuries for people all over the world.  Much like an upcoming trip to Disneyworld or your next big vacation, the anticipation of the kingdom is half of the excitement.  What will it really be like?  Who will I see there? Will they have my favorite food from that one restaurant that closed down a couple years ago? To anticipate with excitement is a good thing.

It’s not the only thing, however.  Sometimes when I find myself in conversation with my Christian friends, I find that their primary reason for being a Christian is to get into heaven one day. While the promise of heaven is truly great, there is so much more joy to be captured as part of the Christian faith.

It can be easy to treat the acceptance of Jesus into our lives as the greatest insurance policy of all time. Eternity? I’m covered. But please don’t forget the immediate benefit of a personal relationship with God: the personal relationship with God. Before I knew Jesus, I was a sinner with no business talking to the Creator of the universe. Before I knew Jesus, that sin separated me from Him. Before I knew Jesus, the Holy Spirit did not enter into my life.

Then I asked Jesus to come into my life and things changed.

Because of Jesus, I have proof that the God of the universe loves me beyond measure. Because of Jesus, my sin is completely wiped away (read that again and just think about it for a second). Because of Jesus, the chasm that existed between me and God because of my sin is gone. Because of Jesus, I can openly come to God with my problems. Because of Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills my soul and works inside of me. Because of Jesus, I don’t have to find my worth in my job, the number of friends I have or the size of my bank account. Now I find my worth in being a child of God, wholly loved and never forgotten. Because of Jesus, I don’t have to keep this joy to myself but am free to share it to others because it never runs out.

The Bible tells of a group of people who eagerly waited in anticipation as well. They waited for a King who would save their people and change everything. They anticipated this King for hundreds of years. And then that King finally came. He was Jesus.

The effect of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was greater than anything those who waited could have imagined; a personal relationship with God. Let us joyfully anticipate the second coming of our Lord and the many unknown wonders that will accompany that day. But let us not forget that we are living in a day that fulfilled the anticipation of those long ago, and the great gift of grace that we don’t have to wait for.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Friday 6.24.11 Insight from Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe has attended Resurrection since 1997.  He met his wife, Doris, in Single Adult Sunday School at Resurrection and they have 2 sons, Matthew & Jacob.  He helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 2nd grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.
 

 

With Mother’s Day, Matthew’s birthday May 15, Jacob’s birthday May 16, Doris’ birthday, our Wedding Anniversary, & Father’s Day, gifts have been on the brain the past few weeks.

One of the more memorable gifts I can recall was a Christmas gift our grandparents gave my older brother, David, back in 1971.  Our grandparents were in town for Thanksgiving & left his Christmas gift early.  It was in a humongous gift-wrapped box.  (Of course I was like 3 feet tall, so my perspective might be skewed.)  It was extremely heavy.  (We nudged it 80 some odd times to try accurately gauge its weight)  We dedicated many the hour poring over the Sears Roebuck catalog trying to guess what this incredible present might be: perhaps it was a 4-Car Hot-Wheel Racing Track set or a GT Scooter with ball-bearing wheels, or (Dare we dream?) an NFL electric football game? 

Aside: For our younger readers, a catalog is a publication that groups a series of products into categories with their applicable price & shipping cost.  Christmas season officially started with the commencement of Advent & the arrival of the Sears catalog.  At one point, the Sears catalog was 2nd only to the Bible in terms of popularity in the United States.

Now lest you think I was not a competitive little brother & envious of David’s gigantic present, my excitement was really quite self-centered.  My brother was in grade school all day 5 days/week.  I was in pre-school 4 afternoons/week.  This meant 1 full day & 4 mornings of unfettered access to this awesome toy, whatever it might be.  St. Francis of Assisi, I’m not.

Christmas morning finally arrived & as my brother opened his treasure, our jaws dropped: it was a red-checked bedspread.  I can still hear my Mother’s exclamation ringing in my ears as she saw the gift, “Oh my, isn’t it beautiful?  And it is of such good quality, it will last forever!”  (She was right.  My Brother still has that bedspread to this day.)

If our Grandparents had known of our hopes for the gift, they would have no doubt been disheartened.  However, the audience in Jesus’ day would certainly be familiar with gods (small g) pulling a “bait & switch” in the god’s dealings with them.  These gods were quite temperamental, petty, & vindictive.  Every answered request or offered gift always had strings attached that made receiving the present a veritable Catch-22.

In today’s passage, Jesus is contrasting His Father with these trickster gods.  Jesus assures us that if one of His hungry children were to ask for bread, God most certainly would not give them a stone.  (To fully appreciate how teasing this might be, consider the river rocks that seem to be shaped like loaves of bread.)  God’s ways may be mysterious, but He is never going to taunt a starving child with some inedible rock.

With time & perspective, God’s gift giving always seems to exceed our expectations; not disappoint us. His greatest gift to us didn’t come with brightly colored wrapping paper; rather it was covered with rough-hewn wood.  The gift-wrap was not attached with scotch tape; instead it was sealed with long nails.  There wasn’t a beautiful bow on His gift to us; rather it was topped with twisted branches covered with inch-long thorns.  Despite its seemingly ugly exterior, once opened, this gift is quite breathtakingly beautiful & unbelievably expensive: Salvation!

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Thursday 6.23.11 Insight from Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist.

If someone were to ask me to tell them the story of the prodigal son, I would tell them all about the son who asked for his father’s inheritance, squandered it, hit rock bottom, decided to come home where his father ran to greet him with open arms and threw him a huge party (in my head, I picture a Mariachi band). Does that tell the story? Yes. Does it tell the whole story? Nope. In addition to the historical inaccuracy of the Mariachi band and leaving out all of the dynamics with the older brother, it skips over a few important verses.

Let’s start with verse 14. This is post-squander/pre-Mariachi band.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.

And then verse 16:

He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

Here is this son who came from an affluent family, and now it’s not just that his stomach is growling. No, he’s longing to fill his stomach with the food he’s throwing to the pigs.

Unfortunately, most of us are not able to grasp the severity of this verse. We get that this son is starved, so he’s eager to eat some pods. It doesn’t sound appetizing, but it’s not that big of a deal. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve walked past a bakery for dogs and drooled a little. If I was hungry enough, I might long for the pods too.

But wait. We’re forgetting the context of the story. We don’t get it, because the sound of bacon sizzling in the pan makes most of us giddy. But those hearing this story from the mouth of Christ saw something entirely different. We forget that during this time, pigs were considered unclean. Those listening were disgusted when they heard that this son worked on a pig farm. Longing to eat what the swine ate, was just putrid.

To put this in today’s perspective, what if I told you that I told you that I was hungry, starving really? And so when I saw my neighbor take out his trash, I went over to the bin and started searching through it. In the midst of the used tissues, old socks and cat litter was the discarded heel of a loaf of bread. As soon as I spotted it, I was ecstatic! I longed to sink my teeth into it and feel it hit the bottom of my empty stomach. I wanted to reach through the wads of hair and bloody bandages just to put my hands on it.

Is the picture any clearer now?

Good, because we miss an important part of the parable if we don’t understand or skip over verse 16. Though it makes us uneasy, we must find our own story in this verse. Just like the son, we long to be filled. Though God would gladly pour into us, we find ourselves longing for the pods that the pigs were eating, for the heel of bread under the used tissues.

Any time we turn to be filled with something other than God, this is exactly what we’re doing. Our heel of bread in the trash might look like a forbidden relationship or the next drug fix. Or maybe the heel we’re hoping to fill us is more socially acceptable:  public recognition, power, a sense of control, more money, a spouse, a child.

Verse 16 challenges us to recognize our humanly desires. It opens our eyes to see them for what they really are, to see them as the heel of bread under the cat litter. Verse 16 is significant to our faith… but we mustn’t get stuck there.

We must continue to verse 17:

“When he came to his senses… “

This son, wanting desperately to be filled, eventually came to his senses.  He recognized what was happening, what he needed to do. He was not going to be satisfied by the pods. He had to go home. Just as verse 16 is a challenge for us, verse 17 can be even more so. We must see the heel in the trash for what it is, and then we must come to our senses!

For when we do just that, we find ourselves in the midst of verse 20:

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Verses 16, 17 and 20 are our story. They are crux of who we are as children of God. As Brennan Manning puts it, “To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Wednesday 6.22.11 Insight from Angela LaVallie

Angela LaVallie is the Member Connection Program Director at The Church of the Resurrection. She provides oversight to our member connection efforts through the Connection Point, the Weekday Hospitality Team, Coffee With the Pastors, the New Member Team and our Spiritual Gifts Placement Team.

In The Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Your will be done, on earth like it is in heaven.” By devoting ourselves to doing what is good (Titus 3:8), we can help to make earth more like heaven bit by bit. No matter what we’ve done in the past, whether it’s a sharp word that hurt someone for a short time or an act that seemingly destroyed someone’s life, we can change the way we act in the future. In each moment we can choose to do right or wrong. And the good news is that if we choose wrong, it will soon be in the past, and we will again have a chance to do something good.

When I was in high school, I had the chance to take a trip to Europe. The teacher who was sponsoring the trip told us that as citizens of the United States we would be representing the US as we traveled throughout France and Italy, and the way we behaved would influence the views of the Eurpeans we were in contact with. Several years ago I took a class at church over the book of Philippians, and one of the things we discussed was the idea of having dual citizenship–being citizens of both the earth and of heaven at the same time. When I remember this, it’s easier for me to choose to do the right thing. If I’m a citizen of heaven, then I want to act like a citizen of heaven. I want to represent the ruler of heaven to the best of my ability, and although I don’t always succeed, the reminder that I am a child of God makes me want to live up to that status.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Tuesday 6.21.11 Insight from Pastor Anne Williams

Pastor Anne Williams is the Congregational Care pastor for members of the Resurrection family who have last names beginning with S-Z.

In his sermon on Sunday, Pastor Adam talked about the problem of spiritual amnesia – when we forget who we are, when we forget whose we are, when we forget all that God has done for us. Forgetting that God is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer is one of the most detrimental things that can happen in our faith. Today’s passage from Deuteronomy reminds us that sometimes it is by teaching children about our faith that we ourselves are reminded of what we believe and why we believe it. I don’t have any children of my own, but I do recall that things like facilitating Vacation Bible Camp, leading youth on mission trips, and even singing Jesus Loves Me with my niece are things that can remind me that I, too am a beloved child of God.

For those of you who have attended an authentic Seder meal (the Jewish commemoration of the Passover meal), you may remember that one of the main intentions of this ritual is to retell the story of God’s provision for the Israelite people – to remind themselves who they are. Part of the liturgy includes four questions asked by the youngest child in the family about the things that are taking place. These might not be the same questions asked by children in a Christian tradition, but we are forced to think what questions our children might ask of us. Are there habits going in on our households that indicate we are different in some way? Have your children ever asked you why you pray before you eat? Why you make a point to get to worship each weekend? Why you wake up a few minutes early to read the GPS each morning?

The instruction we have in Deuteronomy is to “tie (God’s commandments) as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” We need every reminder possible of God’s love for us. There are signs and placards and picture frames decorating our homes that remind us of our favorite scripture passages, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord – Joshua 24:15,” or “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! – Psalm 118:24.” I especially love one sign that hangs in my sister-in-law’s kitchen that reads, “God of second chances and new beginnings, here I come again!”

Find the things (tangible things or habit things) that will serve to remind you that the God of the Universe loves you. And then, when the little children ask about those things, celebrate sharing your faith with the generation that follows you!

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Monday 6.20.11 Insight from Jeanna Repass

Jeanna Repass serves as the Kansas City Missions Program Director at Resurrection.

For a short time during my faith journey, (between being an Episcopalian and becoming a Lutheran on my way to joining the United Methodist Church), I worshipped with my Maternal Grandmother at Salem Baptist Church. Salem is the largest African-American Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Worship at Salem was more of a marathon than a sprint and the race began every week with praise and worship as the kick-off to the service. The praise leader would teach songs by call and response and everyone would join in, standing on their feet, clapping, singing with joy and (watch out now) sometimes, touching and embracing each other! The lyrics from one of my favorite songs from my days at Salem are: “The Jesus in me, loves the Jesus in you. The Jesus in me, loves the Jesus in you. So easy… So easy… Easy to love!” While the congregation sang the lyrics everyone pointed to themselves and then to the people around them and sang the words directly to each other. I loved it then and can’t help but smile every time I sing this song now.

After watching the movie The Lion King on Sunday, it occurred to me that Rafiki telling Simba that he knows his father because Simba’s father, Mufasa, lives in Simba is exactly what this song is about. What I find more interesting is that Rafiki could see Mufasa in Simba even when Simba could not. It was through Rafiki’s vision that Simba was able to remember his father and finally see the Mufasa in himself. Paul shared a similar reflective observation in this second letter to Timothy. Paul tells Timothy that he remembers him with love because of Timothy’s faith but also because of the faith he sees in Timothy’s Grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Paul reminds Timothy of the faith of their ancestors connecting them both to their bigger family as children of their father God. Paul could see and love the Jesus in Timothy and was intentional in reminding him of how important it is to see Jesus in one another.

Now that I’m feeling all good inside and full of insight – I’ll share a confession about the “Jesus in me” song. I sing it a lot. I sing it a lot because in my humanness, I find myself at odds with others more than I am proud to confess. I use this song as a way to remind myself that when I am really out of fellowship with some one, especially when I’m feeling really, righteously upset with them, it’s my job to be my own Rafiki. It’s time to write an imaginary letter from Paul to Jeanna and remind myself to see the Jesus in the other person. When I do this, whatever I am upset about goes right to the cross and it’s impossible to think of whatever was upsetting to me as having much if any significance. There are lyrics on the Lion King soundtrack that coincide with the moment that Simba sees his father’s reflection in the water and I share them with you here: “He lives in you. He lives in me. He watches over everything we see. Into the water. Into the truth. In your reflection… He lives in you.” May the Jesus in me see the Jesus in you because the Jesus in you is so easy… so easy to love! Amen.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Saturday 6.18.11 Insight from Dave Robertson

dave robertsonDave Robertson is the Director of Community Life at The Church of the Resurrection’s West Campus.

I believe God has a plan for God’s creation.  I also believe God has given us free will.  How these two things come together gets messy much of the time because of our unwillingness to follow God’s leads or our lack of hearing/understanding God’s leadings.  Jesus says a few times in the Gospels, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  People in Biblical times as well as today often get confused when it comes to God’s ultimate will concerning the reconciliation and salvation of God’s creation back to God.  God has made known through Scripture what God’s ultimate will is.

God’s plan is revealed in the Abrahamic Covenant.  Here it is, from Genesis 12:2-3:

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

All peoples on earth are to be blessed through Abraham and his descendants.  Instead, Abraham’s descendants become the nation of Israel and forget time after time what their covenant and calling is.  God continues to remind them.

The prophet Isaiah reminds the people Israel of God’s plans, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

God sends Jonah to his enemy, Nineveh, to bring God’s Word to that city so that they may repent and believe.  Jonah, representing all of Israel, not only doesn’t want to be a light to the Gentiles, but runs the opposite direction.  God’s word to Jonah ends up being this: “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Jesus comes to ministers to Gentiles.  I think of the stories of Jesus sailing across the Sea of Galilee to the place of the Geresenes.  Here Jesus heals and teaches.  I also think of the woman at the well in Samaria who Jesus not only speaks to, but in reality, restores her dignity and community with others.

In this passage from Revelation we see people from every nation, tribe, people and language.  This is God’s ultimate will.  Some people today help participate in God’s kingdom purposes by taking God’s message of hope to places all around the Globe.  U2 says it this way:

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one

Are you one who will share God’s hope and salvation to those who don’t know thus fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant and God’s ultimate will?

Prayer:  God, we admit we are reluctant to share your good news with others.  May we come to know your Holy Spirit is with us to empower us as we speak and act in ways that bring salvation to others.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Friday 6.17.11 Insight from Darren Lippe

Darren LippeDarren Lippe has attended Resurrection since 1997.  He met his wife, Doris, in Single Adult Sunday School at Resurrection and they have 2 sons, Matthew & Jacob.  He helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 2nd grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.

With school out for summer vacation, we’ve enjoyed playing board games like Monopoly, Risk, & LIFE.  Chatting with Matthew & Jacob, we started plotting the best strategy to winning the game of LIFE (LIFE is the popular board game, heartily endorsed by Art Linkletter, that simulates a person’s travels through his or her life from college to retirement, with jobs, marriage, & possibly children along the way. – Editor):

  •  Avoid expensive relatives, like the Uncle with the skunk farm or the eccentric Aunt with 100 cats – (Good luck with that.)
  • Owning stock is way too risky – (Hmmm, considering the past few weeks, perhaps not such bad advice.)
  • Definitely own a cattle ranch or a uranium mine (Yes, that would seem to help.)
  • You can never have too much insurance.  (This tip gleefully echoed by Mel, our friendly insurance agent.)
  • Children are real moneymakers. Wow, you get $500 from each player, each time?  Get that 2nd car ready to roll.  Ka-Ching! (Um, the small mountain of empty milk jugs in our recycle bin would seem to contradict this theorem.)
  • Do NOT buy a helicopter or a raccoon coat. (Self explanatory.)

When we think of the “good life” in the real world, we would probably think of a life free of problems & errors, a life with very little stress, & certainly a life with no sadness; in short, a life that is pampered & sheltered.

However, in today’s passage Peter quotes Psalm 34, which offers us a very different definition of a “good life.”

We discover that a good life is not necessarily a life without fears & concerns.  Rather we learn that God will always be there to help us cope with these worries.  The Scriptures urge us again & again to turn our worries over to God.

The good life is not a life void of mistakes or sin.  The good life, though, can be a life free of shame.  God is eager for us to repent, to seek His forgiveness, & to rejoice in His grace.  As has been noted, a disciple is not someone who never falls; rather a disciple is one who gets up from a fall to try again.

The good life is not a life free of troubles & challenges.  But when these times of trouble inevitably come, we know that we can go to God for His protection & His counsel.  It is only when we turn to God that we begin to experience the fullness of His love.

The good life is not a life free of broken hearts & crushed spirits.  But in these times of great sadness, we can be confident that the Lord is ready to hold us in His arms, to wipe away our tears & to help us with our grief.

The life Peter is describing is not one of smooth sailing with strong breezes at our back & calm waters ahead.  Peter is telling us though, that when our life’s yacht rams the occasional iceberg, God will be there to help us sell the ice cubes for $5,000.  Your spin!

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Thursday 6.16.11 Insight from Rev. Glen Shoup

Rev. Glen ShoupRev. Glen Shoup is the Congregational Care pastor for members of the Resurrection family who have last names beginning with A – C.

There are a couple of things we need to know to have a fuller appreciation for this passage.  A eunuch would not have been uncommon in the ancient biblical world.  Eunuchs were such by choice, birth, or imposition. Eunuchs were often valued in key places of service because they were less likely to be compromised by temptation and/or distraction non-eunuchs might succumb to. Thus, whether this man was a eunuch voluntarily or involuntarily, he was a man of considerable responsibility in the Queen of Ethiopia’s court.  The second thing to know is that while eunuchs were sometimes in very trusted and highly responsible positions, they were also, ironically, often shunned to the margins of society. In fact, Old Testament law was very exclusionary of eunuchs. So in order to get the full impact of today’s scripture reading, we need to understand that this Ethiopian man whom God (through Phillip) chased down with the good news of the gospel was a man who, very largely, was rejected by the culture and the religious of his day. And I love that about God. God is forever reaching over, under, and through rejection to lay hold of those excluded by hurt, loneliness and loss. That this is yet another place where we see the ignored as God’s special interest group is an emphasis that can’t be missed.

But there’s something else about this account that is especially striking (and encouraging) to me: the synced-up nature of Phillip’s life with God’s Spirit. God sends an angel to Phillip to tell him to “get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26)…and Phillip is in-tune enough with the rhythms of God’s Spirit to actually do it (and not argue or ask why or complain that he’s too busy). Then, as he heads south on “the wilderness” road, he comes upon this Ethiopian eunuch whom there is no indication Phillip had ever seen before. Yet despite this man being a complete stranger, “the Spirit said to Phillip ‘go over to this chariot and join it’” (8:29). And what does Phillip do…he goes up to the chariot and says hey, mind if I hop in with you? Not only does the man say yes, but he proceeds to ask Phillip if he can help him understand what he’s reading in the Bible, and Phillip took it from there, and by the time Phillip quit talking they were stopping the chariot so that the former stranger to Phillip could be baptized by Phillip—now how cool is that? A total stranger (and fringe member of society) comes to believe and open his life to Easter’s Christ all because Phillip heard and followed the leading of God (when it didn’t make much sense..e.g., “get up and go south”, “go join that chariot you see over there”). Oh, we can easily view this narrative as hyperbole and rationalize that if we start following voices that tell us to walk up to cars sitting beside the road and say “hey, mind if I join you” people will pretty quickly have us committed (or arrested). So there certainly would be a danger of trying to accept this passage too literally. But I know there’s also a tendency for me to dismiss any nudge or idea I can’t readily understand, and in the process, I wonder how many people God would want me to reach out to that I just don’t on the grounds of rational convenience. So I guess there’s also a danger of viewing this passage of scripture too figuratively, when, in point of fact, we follow a God who speaks and who nudges and who sends angels (in various forms) to try and get us to risk rejection, embarrassment, or being misunderstood all in an effort to reach out and connect with those around us.

Lord, help me to be less like me and more like Phillip; help me to be willing to listen to the nudges you send me and then reach out in the direction You lead me, Amen.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Wednesday 6.15.11 Insight from Angela LaVallie

Angela LaVallieAngela LaVallie is the Member Connection Program Director at The Church of the Resurrection. She provides oversight to our member connection efforts through the Connection Point, the Weekday Hospitality Team, Coffee With the Pastors, the New Member Team and our Spiritual Gifts Placement Team.

It’s almost natural to have a revelation or a self-revelation and then not expect to grow anymore after that. It’s easy to settle in and resist any more change.

When I was in high school, I was highly involved in my church’s youth group, and I remember really reading some parts of the Bible for the first time and having things explained to me. I felt I understood these passages of Scripture, and I thought the way I understood them then would be the way I would always understand them.

As I grew in my faith and have been encouraged to question the way I believed things to be, I have come to understand that Scripture and faith and living out my beliefs is much more complex than I could ever have imagined.

In today’s Scripture passage, we read about Peter. He was a devout Jew who grew up deeply-rooted in the faith and who had “never eaten anything impure or unclean” (v. 14). When he hears directly from God (or a messenger of God) while he’s on the roof praying, he at first holds on to what he had always believed to be right, but then begins “wondering about the meaning of the vision” (v. 17). Later, Peter comes to understand the meaning of the vision he had, and he has to readjust his way of thinking.

We shouldn’t be so open-minded that we constantly change our minds about what we believe Scripture says, but at the same time, it’s important that we are open to hearing God speak to us through Scripture in new and different ways. At Resurrection, we believe we are on a lifelong faith journey, and that means we are never done growing and changing.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.