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Derek Hansen
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Samuel had a difficult career as a prophet. It went something like this ... People: We want a king! Samuel: God is your king. People: Our enemies have kings! Samuel: Trust in the LORD. People: You have to give us a king. Samuel: O.K. but don't say I didn't warn... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2017 at in pursuit of
The early church grew and spread as the apostles proclaimed the gospel and backed up their preaching with "signs and great miracles" (Acts 8:13). In one instance Phillip comes head-to-head with Simon, a magician who "amazed the people of Samaria". They thought he was great ... until they heard the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2016 at in pursuit of
I love the story of the college basketball coach who pulled one of his better players from a game due to some uncharacteristic poor play. When the player got to the bench, the coach asked out of frustration, "What's the matter with you, son? Is it ignorance or is it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2016 at in pursuit of
There are always conditions. Restrictions. Fine print. I get a kick out of listening to the fine print on television ads, especially for drug commercials, or for contests on the radio (who can read that fast? yes, I know it's probably artificially sped up) The Israelites asked God for a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2016 at in pursuit of
This snippet of a prayer in Psalm 141 caught my attention this morning: "...for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds." (Psalm 141:5) When we take membership vows in the United Methodist church this is one of the questions we answer: Do you accept the freedom and power God... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at in pursuit of
I followed the presidential campaign quite closely for five months, so last night I was committed to seeing election night through - putting me to sleep around 3:00 a.m. I woke up five hours later and, lo and behold, the earth is still orbiting the sun. Today has become a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at in pursuit of
This could be the shortest story in the Bible: He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at in pursuit of
As I was reading in 1 Samuel 2 today one verse caught my attention ... To set the scene - Eli was the High Priest of Shiloh. We know him well as the prophet Samuel's caretaker. Now, I'm a pastor's kid - or PK for short - and I'm aware... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at in pursuit of
I have spent some time over the last few days getting to know the ballot that will be in front of me on Tuesday. If I'm not mistaken I have seven decisions to make regarding who will represent me across various branches and levels of government. They are: President /... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at in pursuit of
he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father,and he will come to judge the living and the dead. (The Apostles Creed) In the aftermath of Jesus' death and resurrection his disciples are still looking for fulfillment: "Jesus is this when you will restore the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at in pursuit of
I am running on fumes today, but still trying to show up and do the work. (not much sleep last night) Yesterday afternoon, the lovable losing Buffalo Bills lost again to the New England Patriots under the quarterbacking of the inestimable Tom Brady. Having grown up in Western New York,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at in pursuit of
"One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, "Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things?" (Luke 20:1) Have you ever had your authority questioned? How... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at in pursuit of
Jesus comes to Jerusalem as a king. Well, kind of. Some people thought so. They got carried away in their chanting - Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven! (Luke 19:38) There were Pharisees in the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2016 at in pursuit of
I often come home from the grocery store and say to anyone who will listen, "Did you know they make ______ now!" Usually, it's some flavor of something or a new twist on an old thing, which later makes me think, how much variety do we really need? I already... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at in pursuit of
In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul goes into great detail to describe his sufferings as an apostle. This is just the end of the list: Paul labored " toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked." We learn that he was imprisoned... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2016 at in pursuit of
The hidden grace in the call to discipleship is that the teachings of Jesus are so simple ... Love God, Love Others Deuteronomy 30:11 puts it like this: "Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away." It... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at in pursuit of
"...and we take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is either good news or bad news depending on how we look at it. Does obedience to Christ really require taking every thought captive? Is that even possible? I tend to believe it is necessary (the bad... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2016 at in pursuit of
Last night clergy and laity in Upper New York gathered in prayer for our churches, conference, and denomination. I have to admit I wasn't overly excited about going, with my Cleveland Indians playing in the Championship series at the same time ... baseball is great, but we need to pray.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2016 at in pursuit of
Here's a question I'm thinking about today: Who does God love to work with? Or, because God's "work" is salvation - who does God most love to save? We could also ask it like this: What gets God up in the morning? What makes God's heart sing? I'm not a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2016 at in pursuit of
You have to love Jesus' parables. Look at the first verse from this one in Luke 18: "Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart." I wonder if Jesus really started with, "Now I'm going to tell you a parable about... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2016 at in pursuit of
We all must decide for ourselves who's worth listening to. If I watch the news, what channel do I turn to? If I want election coverage, who do I trust? If I have a health issue, whose advice should I take? If I'm having an existential crisis, whose guidance do... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2016 at in pursuit of
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus is "on the way to Jerusalem" when he is approached by ten lepers. They ask for "mercy", or healing, and Jesus says to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. At this point maybe this seems like... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2016 at in pursuit of
If you will only heed his every commandment that I am commanding you today - loving the Lord your God, and serving him with all your heart and with all your soul - then he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2016 at in pursuit of
Jesus uses contrasts to teach about the Kingdom of God. In Luke 16 it's the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man, he says, dresses in purple (rich people clothes) and feasts "sumptuously" every day. Lazarus lays at the rich man's gate covered with sores and begging for scraps. What... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2016 at in pursuit of
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. -2 Corinthians 4:7 What is this treasure Paul speaks of? Perhaps the answer is given to us in the previous verse: "the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2016 at in pursuit of