In James 2, James condemns favoritism. He lumps it in with murder and adultery. What is it about favoritism that is so dangerous? James challenges the church to reflect the kingdom of God and not the culture it is surrounded by. Pastor Caleb explores the challenging letter of James.
Jesus asks Peter who he believes Jesus to be. Peter gets the answer correct, but he has no idea what it means and so Jesus tells the disciples not to share with anyone that he is the Messiah. The good news of the gospel is not knowing the answer to a question, it is hearing Christ say who YOU are. It is being forgiven and given the gift of walking in Christ's footsteps.
A gentile woman approaches Jesus, but Jesus doesn't immediately grant her request. It is an unusual encounter, but through it Jesus creates a platform for a woman to teach his disciples.
In this week's homily, Bob reflects upon a passage in John where Jesus instructs his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood. What an odd thing?
Jesus is non-anxious. He is not concerned by the fact that the crowds are leaving him. He trusts the Father. In this homily, Pastor Caleb reflects on Jesus' trust and thinks about the idea of God's election or choosing of human beings. Why is it good news that God elects us? He closes the homily with a personal reflection about Heaven.
We continue in John chapter 6 with a passage that explores the claim that Jesus is the bread of life. Bob explores whether Jesus' claim has any concrete practical implications.
This is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. In John's gospel, however, it is simply the opening vignette in a chapter that will be all about bread. The crowd is hungry, and while the miracle feeds their stomachs, they will be back the next day hungry again. What does it look like to truly feast on the bread of life? Is it possible to never feel hungry again?
In this week's passage from Samuel, David wants to build a temple for God. The prophet Nathan says "Go for it!" but God says "nope." In Ephesians, Paul writes about the community of faith being the house of God.
The beheading of John is a tragic event that is not untypical of what happens when power is used derisively. It challenges us to consider the brokenness of our world. Mark's readers, however, read this story in light of the resurrection. We too, read the suffering and pain of the world through the lens of the cross and resurrection.
Jesus allows himself to be impacted by his hometown's lack of belief. God chooses to be vulnerable, to the point that what we do matters. In turn, God asks his followers to be vulnerable as they bring the good news to the world.
In today's passage from the Gospel, a father has lost his daughter. Jesus enters the home and tenderly takes the girl's hand. In this beautiful portrait, we see God's loving heart. To be in the presence of Jesus is to be touched by God. This brief homily by Pastor Bob focuses on God's heart for the least among us is evident in Mark's gospel.
Mark 4 has two stories you've heard. The parable of the sower and the four soils and the story of Jesus calming the storm. The four soils is about being the right kind of soil for the Word to grow. Jesus calming the storm is about trusting in Jesus' sovereignty over all creation. In between those stories are 8 verses that don't fit. They introduce suspicion and mystery into the made-up minds of the disciples. We will look at those 8 verses and consider our role in the Kingdom of God.
This is a conversation between Music Director Davin Youngs and a member of our congregation, Charlotte Swanson.
Davin has been leading at Grace Chicago for nearly 15 years. He has been the Director of Music for the last two years. In this conversation with Charlotte Swanson, he shares his views on music in the church, improvisational singing, how music has changed and much more.
The passage for this Sunday (Mark 3:20-35) is full of drama. Jesus’ family is worried that he is “out of his mind”. The religious leaders accuse him of being in league with Satan. But in the midst of all of this distraction Jesus offers a vision of the sort of community that makes for human flourishing. I am looking forward to exploring what Jesus’ words mean for us today: “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”.
In the midst of all of the noise in our lives, is there hope to clearly hear from the voice of God? How would you know it was God? Those are questions that arise for me from the passage that calls us to worship (I Samuel 3:1-10). Another question arises form our reading from the Gospel of Mark (2:13-3:6). In this reading, Jesus says, provocatively, that the Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath, prompting me to ask: when does religious practice become an obstacle to recognizing God's presence in our midst?
What does it mean to be born again? Whatever it means, John's account doesn't make it sound very straight forward. Nicodemus is faced with the prospect of being born again, of starting over. All of his professional accomplishments and accolades will look like rubbish in this rebirth. What Jesus promises in this rebirth is not entirely clear, but Nicodemus makes the decision that it is worth everything. What does it look like for us to be born again this week?
The Ascension is a mysterious story. It opens the book of Acts and is a significant event, as it is referenced through the New Testament. But what does it mean? Why is it significant? Pastor Bob explores what Jesus' ascension means for our own lives (bodies).
Peter is preaching. Cornelius and his crew are listening. But a third thing happens. God's Spirit falls. Sometimes where you don't expect it. Sometimes when you aren't looking for it. We believe that God is always doing a third thing and there is great encouragement that God's Spirit can show up when we might think it unlikely.
John's Gospel begins the resurrection story with the detail that Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb while it is still dark. Caleb suggests that we ought to bring the darkness of our doubts, the darkness of our griefs and of our disappointments with us to Easter. Secondly, he points out that no one recognizes Jesus at first. It is difficult to see the risen Jesus, for the disciples and for us. Until Jesus calls Mary by her name, and Peter by his (three times!), they do not really believe that Easter has changed the world.
Greeks approach Jesus, interested in being a part of his growing movement. Jesus says, "yes, it is time for my glory." But he then goes on to define that glory as requiring death and the cross. In what story does death result in glory? Caleb tells the story of a recent trip he took while in Uganda and encourages us to think about what story we find ourselves in.