Category Archives: Wild Kingdom

9.23.08 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Molly Simpson

Luke 12: 13-21, such a short passage… so many questions. 

Isn’t it ironic that Jesus says “who appointed me a judge…”?  This coming from the one whom God appointed as the judge of the living and the dead, as per Acts 10:42.  Perhaps there is a difference between Jesus being the judge of us and judge between us… or, maybe it was textbook irony. 

In verse 15, Jesus issues a warning then begins a parable in verse 16… who is this warning and parable for?  The brother who wanted half of the inheritance or the brother that wouldn’t share?  Is it greedy and like the rich land owner to horde the inheritance?  Or to be the brother that demands half?  Both?  (Jesus often used parables to take a particular situation or issue and make universal claims to teach all of the people about the way that things work in God’s kindgom, in God’s realm.)

So the land owner has lots of crops, builds bigger barns, then really gets in trouble with his statement in verse 19.  And I can see how this could be a problem for me.  At this stage in life, my “grain stored in barns”  is less financial and more spiritual.  With all the seminary learning and Bible study I do for my job, I could take a break from daily pursuing a relationship with Christ and say to myself “You have plenty of churchy-ness laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”

What is it that you are storing up?  And who is it benefiting?

We can read what Jesus says… “You fool.”  Who benefits from all this that you have stored up for yourself?  Unspoken answer… no one does.  Verse 21… my paraphrase, “this is the truth, this is how the world works–when you store things up for yourself, no one benefits in the end, not even you because your life is fleeting.”

So… whether it is money and material possessions, or piety and spiritual capital, or something else entirely that we are storing up… Jesus is asking us to be rich toward God, which I think means to yield our stuff to God’s disposal.  Our gifts, the blessings in our lives, our spiritual gifts, our “wealth” whatever it may be, are given to us so that we might be a blessing to others. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Tough passage… good stuff.  Sorry I didn’t answer too many of the GPS questions.

9.22.08 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

Tabitha leaves a legacy in fabric.

The GPS guide for today suggests that the time that Tabitha’s friends are sharing her handiwork with Peter may be a passage that is overlooked in the overall course of this narrative. Is her raising from the dead miraculous and amazing? Absolutely. However, I think that there is significance in this story outside of this miracle.

I believe that verse Acts 9:39 tells a story similar to the one that I would like to have shared after my life on this earth is over. A physical heritage (in this case creations from fabric) can be signs and symbols of a deeper meaning in life (helping and caring for the poor). I hope that the legacy that I leave will have some physical components that will point to the true significance of my life – being a part of others journey toward becoming deeply committed Christians and continuing to move along that journey myself.

Like Tabitha, we can direct our lives to something more – caring for the poor, guiding a business with Christian principles, raising children in the faith – so that when others share about our lives anything physical will be a sign of a deep commitment to knowing, loving and serving God.

9.20.08 Saturday Insights from Pastor Laurie Barnes

9.20.08 Saturday Insights from Pastor Laurie Barnes

A famous theologian once compared the Bible to a Two Act play with the Old Testament representing Act One and the New Testament representing Act Two. If one reads just the Old Testament, it is like watching only Act One of the play. The viewer can understand the beginnings of the story line but there is a lot still unresolved at Intermission. Likewise, one can come in at Intermission and just watch Act Two of the play. The viewer would probably be able to follow the plot with some understanding but would not be able to follow all the nuances and storylines with the same integrity of understanding as one who had also seen Act One. For the most complete experience, a viewer needs both Act One and Act Two.

The passage we have today, Luke 4:1-14, reminds me of that analogy. A certain level of understanding can be attained by reading the context immediately surrounding the passage. However, only by reading this passage with an “Act One” (Old Testament) context, can we see the important comparison of Jesus’ temptations to the testing of Israel in the wilderness (Deut 6-8). Unless we are familiar with “Act One”, we don’t recognize that Jesus responds to the tempter by using Scripture. And the devil quotes scripture too! What a powerful reminder that scripture can be taken out of context to support biblical viewpoints that don’t align with the totality of Scripture.

The chilling line in the passage is verse 24 when we are told that after Jesus successfully resisted the temptations, the devil left Jesus “until an opportune time.” Amazing foreshadowing for those who go on and read the rest of the gospel of Luke. Satan reappears in Luke 22:39-46 with one of the same temptations that Jesus resisted in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. Once again, the devil tempts Jesus to take an easier way out than voluntarily dying on the cross for the sins of the world. It is the very real temptation for Jesus to take an immediate kingdom while avoiding the cross.

And then we come to the application piece – so what? One “so what” from this passage is found in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. God is faithful and, as He did for Jesus, He will provide a way out for us when we are tempted. We need to recognize that we are being tempted and ask God for help. He always provides a way out!

9.19.08 Friday Insights from Pastor Dagney Pullin

During my growing up years, every Christmas our family would pack into the car and head to my grandparents’ house. The trip was several hours, which could feel like forever to a young child. We kids never resented the trip, though, because of our intense anticipation. We talked endlessly about all the wonderful things that would happen during Christmas at grandma’s and grandpa’s: late night monopoly games with all the cousins, funny stories from the aunts about growing up on the farm, laughter and singing, an endless supply of grandma’s pies, early morning dough-nut runs with grandpa, and of course all the presents. Each minute in the car brought us closer to the delights of the family celebration, until we finally arrived, about to burst with all the pent-up energy.

Psalm 84 is a pilgrimage psalm, written by and for faithful Jews traveling to the holy city of Jerusalem for a religious festival. Throughout the psalm you can hear their excitement building as the pilgrims anticipate basking in the presence of their Lord in God’s temple. Even the journey itself is blessed by God with fresh water to bring strength to the faithful travelers (vv 5-7).

When we gather as a community to worship, do we exude the same level of anticipation as these pilgrims? Are we overflowing with excitement over the opportunity to experience together the power and presence of God? I am personally guilty of sometimes viewing corporate worship more as an obligation than an exciting adventure and incomparable opportunity. Perhaps reading this Psalm before getting in the car to drive to church would help change my heart.

Our lives, too, are a pilgrimage. Each day is another step in our journey toward an eternity in God’s Courts. The best part is, we can begin the celebration immediately, like a little piece of heaven here below, ever singing God’s praise.

9.16.08 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Molly Simpson

This is a pretty significant passage of scripture for me.  In fifth grade, I chose 1 John 4:19-20 as the verses I would memorize and have read immediately before my baptism.  As an 11-year old, I decided these were words worth living by, especially upon publicly professing that I planned to live my life following Jesus.  Five years ago, Ben and I chose several verses from 1 John 4 to be read at our wedding.  We felt that these words were among those that would teach us how to love one another.

Each phrase in this section is teeming with wisdom “…let us love one another, for love comes from God.”  God is the source. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  God initiates love. “…if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  Our relationship with God is somehow related to that with other people. “…those who love God must also love one another.”  Pretty weighty words.

They inspire me, challenge me, refocus me, and terrify me.  Especially these, “This is how love is made complete… in this world we are like Jesus.”  (v.17)  That is how love is made complete–we are like Jesus.  Not we try to be like Jesus.  Not we want to be like Jesus.  Not we ought to figure out some way once in awhile to be like Jesus.  No… we are like Jesus.  My answer to the GPS Question #2… “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.”

So, how is it that I am like Jesus in this world?  In addition to all of the things we can learn about what Jesus did, said, taught, etc. in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we discover something very important about Jesus within the content of this passage.  Verses 9-10–Jesus comes to us and loves us first.

If I’m listening to what this passage says, I need to spend some time asking myself:

Who am I going to, seeking out?  (as opposed to waiting for them to come to me)

How am I showing love to other people?  (tangible examples, not just an attitude or disposition)

What can I do today or tomorrow to love someone else, to live like Jesus? What will I do?

What did you find most challenging about this passage?

Rev. Molly Simpson is the Campus Pastor at Resurrection West, and can be reached at

9.15.08 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

When I read Ephesians 4:1-6, I am immediately humbled by the first verse calling us to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received from God.

A life worthy of the calling that we have from God.


When I read this sentence, it brings to mind a wide variety of images and relationships – God’s work in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, forgiveness of my sins, the call to live as one of God’s children, putting aside what is ours and following after Christ. It takes a lot to live a life worthy of the call that we have from God.

It is possible to live this life by connecting ourselves with God through prayer and studying the scriptures, by living in community, being a part of group life and living in unity with others.

Is it always easy to live in unity with others?


Is it possible?

Absolutely. We do not have to agree about every particular issue in life, but can be unified in the journey of knowing, loving and serving God with others both here at Resurrection and around the world.