Monday, November 30, 2015

Take Courage and Be Kind and I went out to the movies the other night (well, it was the other night when I originally started writing this post) and watched the new Cinderella movie (wonderful movie). Throughout the film, a single theme echoed: "Have courage and be kind." I love that. So simple, so easy to remember, yet so powerful.

One of the things I love about the phrase is how it is a dichotomy. Courage and kindness are not synonyms--rather they have almost opposite connotations. Courage is powerful, while kindness is soft and compassionate. Courage takes charge, while kindness simply serves. Courage strengthens the weak, while kindness comforts the broken.

Yet, one without the other is incomplete. Courage without kindness is a dictatorship. It becomes harsh and uncaring. Kindness without courage is powerless. Without the strength to stand, it waffles and bends and is trampled over. Only together do they become truly virtuous. Courage strengthens kindness, giving it the strength to make a difference in this world. Kindness tempers courage, allowing one to lead with patience and mercy.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Parashah Messiah: Children of Promise

Torah Portion: Vayishlach (Genesis 32:3-36:43)
Gospel Reading: Heb. 11:1-12:2; Gal. 3:26-29
Commentary by: Chris Knight

In this week’s portion we read of Jacob and his return to the promised land. As we read about his journey home, we notice that Jacob is in great fear; fear of his brother Esau. I can only imagine what might have been going through his mind after all these years of being separated from his family. “Is Esau still planning to kill me!? What could happen to my family!? Will I ever truly get to see the inheritance promised to me through Abraham and Isaac!?” Jacob had many reasons to be afraid for his life and his future in the land of Canaan. However, he also had the greatest reason to have no fear and to be at peace!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Parashah Messiah: The Ladder

Torah Portion: Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:2)
Gospel Reading: John 1:51; Gal. 3:1-29; Heb. 8:1-6; John 14
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

Jacob’s dream is one of the most tantalizing, mystical episodes in the Torah. I get excited just thinking about it…imagining what it looked like, what it meant to Jacob, and if it symbolizes something more than surface skimming reveals.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: A Community Called Atonement,204,203,200_.jpg
A Community Called Atonement
(by Scot McKnight)

I picked up this book while searching for information of the different theories of atonement. I didn't find exactly what I was looking--but what I did find was no less marvelous.

In "A Community Called Atonement," McKnight builds a unified theory of atonement from the ground up, resting it on thoroughly Biblical foundations. I love how creatively titles Part 1 "Where to Begin?" and follows that with chapter 1, "With Jesus, Of Course!" This may seem an obvious place to begin, but as McKnight points out, many theologians try to begin with Paul. Without a proper understanding of Jesus and His message as understood through the Gospels, McKnight argues, we cannot truly understand the depths of His atonement. It's only when we start with His Kingdom message that we can see that atonement is about more than personal salvation--it's about raising up a people to worship God in unity.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Parashah Messiah: Freedom & Destiny

Torah Portion: Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)
Gospel Reading: John 13:36-14:7; 21:15-19
Commentary by: Matthew Day

When I realized that I was scheduled to write a Gospel commentary based on this Torah portion, the first passage that came to mind was Romans 9. It's the story of Jacob and Esau, after all--what better springboard for diving into a discussion about free will and predestination? But, that's not where I wanted to go. Men have been fighting that battle for hundreds of years. This is not the place for yet another stone in that fight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Movie Review: Divided

Divided: A Review
A friend posted this documentary about youth groups and family integrated churches on Facebook. Having a strong interest in how we raise the next generation, I decided to give it a watch. I was left with mixed feelings about the movie and its message, but it raises some important questions--and that's why I decided to review it here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Parashah Messiah: Who is the Bride?

Torah Portion: Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:31-46
Commentary by: Matthew Day

Out of Yeshua's various end times / judgment parables, the parable of the sheep and the goats has got to be my favorite. I love this illustration because of how it points us back to the things that are important, the heart of the Torah. It gives us the attributes of the bride.

One could argue that this passage comes as a midrash on our Torah portion this week. At first glance, Genesis 24 seems nothing more than a recount of Abraham's servant's search for a wife for Isaac. But, on a deeper level, this is about God's search for a bride for His son.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

1st Session of the FarFromHome Storyboard Conference

Photo Credit: Sergei Zolkin

"Are we recording?" Emily asked.

"Recording," Ryan answered.

"Great! Well, welcome to the first ever session of the Far From Home Storyboard Conference."