Better AND Worse

I had the honor of conducting another wedding ceremony on Saturday.

It was a complex and challenging weekend full of travel and ministry and family burdens and laughter and silliness and argument and loving each other when we’re not all being nice. It was a microcosm of what Alex and Anna made vows to endure and embrace together.

After all of the wedding work was done—the ceremony concluded, the license signed, the cake consumed, the cleanup complete—we did manage to go for a drive down the coast for a little bit. We had about 30 minutes to just walk on the beach.

We took a few pictures.

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Pretty, isn’t it? Continue reading Better AND Worse

Enduring… Together (Reprise)

The next few verses in this closing section of 1 Thessalonians 5 (vv. 16-22) contains what may be the most familiar verses of this letter to many of us. Here we are reminded of how we press on as family in the midst of a crazy, controversial, and contentious world.

This text is comprised of a series of very short, concise statements that have been preached, taught, memorized, and cited over and over and over again:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 These 5.16-22).

Continue reading Enduring… Together (Reprise)

Raised In Relationships (Reprise)

One of the key ideas in the book of 1 Thessalonians is the one I focused on as the cornerstone of chapter two—A Real Life Faith is Raised In Relationships.

All of these cornerstone ideas of this series are kind of recapped, or reprised as my musical background prefers, in the last part of the letter (5.12-24).

In the first few verses of this passage, the Apostle admonishes his readers about some of the relational dynamics among church life:

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”

That’s a big bite, but we can break it down a bit. Continue reading Raised In Relationships (Reprise)