Who Do You Fear: God or ISIS?

February 19, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

There is no denying that ISIS is on everyone’s mind, to some degree. Their violent killings and military actions have been commanding headlines for months. So many questions and concerns weigh on our minds regarding this group. How are Christians to think and respond to these world events?... Keep Reading

Blessed Are The Meek

February 12, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Meekness sounds like weakness, doesn’t it (and I’m not just talking about the rhyme)? Be honest: what comes to your mind when you hear the word “meek”? “As meek as a mouse”? The simile communicates a lot about what we understand about meekness. A “meek” person is quiet, unassuming, docile, acquiescent, deferential, etc. Leadership and meekness rarely go hand in hand in our cultural understandings. What is Jesus commending when he says, “blessed are the meek”? Should we strive to be meek or is Jesus just “giving a nod” to a certain personality temperament?... Keep Reading

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

February 5, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Everyone wants to be happy. Who doesn’t? We live at a time when people are obsessed with happiness. It becomes the defining line for fulfillment. Therefore we have a whole multi-billion dollar industry devoted to making people happy. Yet, Jesus commends those who mourn. How does this fit? Does Jesus want his followers to be mopey and downcast? What about the abundant life?... Keep Reading

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

January 30, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

When Jesus began his public ministry after his baptism and temptation in the wilderness he preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). The kingdom of heaven is a spiritual kingdom, into which we enter by faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice. Jesus brings the kingdom near for us. The Sermon on the Mount is one of the defining discourses that helps us understand life in the kingdom. The first eight verses, known as the Beatitudes (from the Latin word for "blessed"), describe the values of the kingdom, what are esteemed as most important.... Keep Reading

Following Jesus On the Way

January 24, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

We return this Sunday to our sermon series on the Gospel of Mark. Like all of the Gospel writers, Mark was doing more than just recording the events and sayings of Jesus. Mark wanted to introduce his readers to who Jesus is and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. One of the ways he does this is through the use of certain words or phrases that communicate not only the facts of the events, but also the meaning of discipleship. ... Keep Reading

Living Like We Value Life

January 16, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

With Sanctity of Human Life Sunday approaching, one may despair of hope that human life would ever be held sacred in this world. The news headlines that bombard us every week highlight more the destruction of human life than the honor of human life. Terrorist attacks in Europe. Thousands killed in Nigeria. Murder in our own community. And it goes on. How are Christians to respond?... Keep Reading

Trekking Through the Genealogies

January 8, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Like some of you, I have begun my annual trek through the genealogies of 1 Chronicles in my Bible reading plan. I admit that reading lists of names can be burdensome at times. They are difficult to pronounce, which leads to quick skimming, which feels fruitless at the end of the chapter. The apostle Paul, however, says that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…” How are the genealogies profitable? It would help us to keep in mind a few things:... Keep Reading

Time Given to Us

January 2, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

With the start of a new year, many of us think about goals and resolutions that aim to improve upon our previous year. Such reflection is good and healthy, but we also must remain realistic. The year ahead holds many unknowns. No amount of planning or goal setting can dictate all of the future outcomes. That is the nature of the world we live in, where we are not sovereign.... Keep Reading

Letting Angels' Awe Guide Us

December 25, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

You’ve heard it all before, haven’t you? The Christmas story... the baby in a manger, shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, angels singing, wise men traveling from the east, etc. The danger of familiarity is losing our sense of awe over the significance of such events. Let’s let the angels reinvigorate our sense of wonder and awe for the birth of Christ, the Lord.... Keep Reading

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Pastoral Encouragement

Happy Birthday, Jesus?

December 18, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Many Christians, especially with children, like to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas. This practice helps teach our young ones (and even us older ones) that Christmas is about Jesus. I like to ask my kids, then, why do we get gifts on Jesus' birthday. This gives us the opportunity to talk about the "immeasurable riches of God's grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:7). We give and receive gifts as a reflection (imitation) of our abundantly kind Heavenly Father. Now, did you know there is a risk in singing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas?... Keep Reading

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