Loving Holiness - Lev. 19:2, 18; Matt. 5:43-44, 48

Our lectionary passages come together to present a theme that I’ve summed up as loving holiness, drawn from ideas that especially occur at the beginning and end of the passages from Leviticus and Matthew. Here are a flurry of points that blanket the landscape of how loving God’s holiness is, and why we should respond by loving holiness.Point 1: Holiness is an imperative for God’s people. You must be holy! No holiness, no heaven. It might seem harsh, but this command is actually a kindness to you: the holiness God commands you to embody is what will enable you toPoint 2: Holiness is a description of the character of God. This means that His command represents an invitation for us to share in His life! How kind are God’s commands!…

Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2017 by CJ Bowen

More Than Merely Human - 1 Cor. 3:1-4

“I’m only human.” For us, that’s an excuse. We can’t be expected to avoid fights and quarrels because we have feelings, opinions, and emotions just like anybody else. Nobody could be expected to just ignore or overlook the insults and hostility we’ve faced. And so whenever we give in to some basic human desire rather than resisting it, we justify ourselves by pointing out that we are only human.And ever since the fall of Adam, this excuse makes a lot of sense: Humans can’t overcome sin and properly reflect the image of God. Humans can’t choose to follow God and…

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by CJ Bowen

The Light of Righteousness - Psalm 112:4

Blow the trumpet, Isaiah. Sound the alarm. Wake the worshipers up! Tell the congregation that there is something terribly wrong with them if they come here and worship and sing and pray and fast and act like they are doing righteousness while people around them go hungry, homeless, naked, and oppressed. Blow the trumpet, Isaiah.The reveille of Isaiah 58 says that worship without good works of mercy is worthless. It doesn’t matter how many warm fuzzies you feel toward Jesus if you ignore the hungry. It makes no difference to God how passionately you sing the psalms if you leave…

Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2017 by CJ Bowen