Advent II: Root and Axe

Reading Isaiah 11:1-10, Romans 15:4-13, and Matthew 3:1-12, we see that each of these passages talks about “the root”, but each passage does something different with the theme: Isaiah prophesies about the root, a ruler from the kingly line of David. In Romans, Paul makes that reference specific by identifying Jesus as the root. In Matthew, John the Baptist sternly warns the root, referring not to Jesus, but to the Jewish people more broadly: the people who had David and his sons as their king. These different uses aren’t opposed to each other; they are looking either broadly or narrowly atIn…

Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2016 by CJ Bowen

Advent I: Wake, Awake

In 1599, Philip Nicolai’s beautiful Advent hymn put it this way: “Wake, Awake, for night is flying.” In 2016, Twitter hashtags tell you to “stay woke”. Both of these phrases are calling for you to be aware of what’s going on around you, to open your eyes to what’s happening. You need to be aware of some reality, and then respond to it.We’re currently living in a culture that loves to raise awareness. All around you are different causes and concerns clamoring for your attention and for your wallet, and there’s no way that you can stay awake long enough…

Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 by CJ Bowen

Stand Firm - 1 Peter 5:8-14

Peter closes his letter to the exiles with this sobering analogy: you are sheep, and you have a deadly enemy who bursts out against you with roars of persecution. Everywhere God’s people go, this adversary follows, waiting for his chance to devour you. So don’t fall asleep, but don’t panic, either. Recognize the very real danger, hold fast in faith to Jesus, and God Himself will save you. For all his noise and bluster, the lion cannot harm you if you resist him by faith, and so this is Peter’s closing message: stand firm in the grace of God!As we…

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 by CJ Bowen