Lent Devotional 4/13/17

Greetings to you on this Maundy Thursday.  As our Lenten journey comes to a close this week I hope that you find yourself intentionally living into this Holy Week – reflecting upon each of these important days.  To assist you with this, I’ve called upon Joretta Marshall, the Executive Vice President and Dean of Brite Divinity School.  If you’ve spent any amount of time with Joretta you have undoubtedly experienced her calming presence, an unexpected invitation to go to the deep places within yourself, and a divinely inspired wisdom.  Who better to guide us through this Maundy Thursday?  I trust that you will be moved by her words for us today, and mindful for what those words mean for the remainder of our week.  Open your heart and your mind and allow God to speak to you in these profound words below.  As always, blessings on your journey, my friend…

John 13:12-17; 33-35

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Little children, I am with you only a little longer. . . I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

As we move through this Holy Week, we are met by many reminders of Jesus’ life, passion and death. In a world rocked by incredulous violence in Syria, bombings of Christians at worship in Egypt, sounds of gunshots in a classroom in California, and the ongoing fear and anger targeted toward strangers in our midst, we desperately need to be reminded of the passion of Jesus. His was a passion that did not turn away from the suffering of those around him. His love for his friends – and for the world – invited him to wash their feet, share a table of bread and wine, and encourage them to love one another.

Many of us move too quickly through this week, looking only toward the resurrection of Sunday. It is hard for us to sit and walk the path of pain and suffering, whether it is our own pain or that of someone else. Yet, if we listen with our hearts and spirits to Jesus’ invitation, we experience the sacred power of carefully entering into the vulnerability of others. Washing one another’s feet, sitting at the open table of bread and wine, and upholding one another in love opens ourselves not only to the pain of the world, but to the radical love of God.

This is a Christ who journeys with us through our Maundy Thursdays, Good Fridays, and Holy Saturdays. Easter Sunday will come – of that I am certain. There will be time to embrace the gifts of new life. But, before we get to that moment, let us also sit with our feelings of loss, numbness, grief, and fear so that we can ponder anew what it means to be loved by God, and to love one another through it all.

Jesus, you are the teacher who calls us to humble and profound acts of love. The radical gift of God’s love is represented in our kneeling to wash the dirt off someone’s feet, sharing the bread and cup with friends and strangers, and grieving with the lost and forgotten. Be with us as we lean into the hope of an Easter love that extends your love to all.  Amen.


Lent Devotional 4/7/17

Good morning!  I’m sorry this devotional is coming to you a day late, as I was out sick yesterday.  I think you’ll find that today’s devotional was worth the wait.  Our writer for today is Jeff McKee.  Jeff is wrapping up his TCU experience this semester, but I’ve had the great joy of knowing Jeff for several years now.  We first met when Jeff came to meet with me as he was figuring out how to navigate some challenges life had placed before him, and that quickly grew into a relationship that would mean a great deal to both of us.  It’s been an honor to be with him on his life’s journey, and I’m so proud of the person he is today.  Jeff’s words for us today not only invite us to reflect on ways that we might have drifted away from God, but also remind us that God’s deep and abiding love is always present.  I hope you’ll appreciate his vulnerability and use this time, as always, to reflect on your own path.  Blessings on your journey, my friend…

“11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” 

Luke 15:11-24

Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son really hits home for me, and I would venture to say that more of us can relate than you might actually think.

Life gets busy, we prioritize different things, and our time-management may become a bit skewed. As humans, we also like to be in control. For many of God’s children, at some point in time we wander off the path He is leading us down. We often assume control of our own lives, doing what we want to do, when we want to do it and how we want to do it. In these instances, God can be pushed to the back burner or sometimes forgotten altogether.

I recently had a very eye-opening experience. I was one of many of God’s children who loses their way down His path and assumes control of another path. My walk down this self-guided path was a battle every step of the way, which should have been my first clue. It took losing everything I had created for myself to realize that I couldn’t do anything without Him. I’ll be the first to tell you, hitting rock bottom was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Now here is the MOST IMPORTANT part of all of this. Are you ready for it? No matter how far we may stray, no matter how long we may ignore God, He always welcomes us back with open arms. Just as with the father of the prodigal son, our Father runs to us and welcomes us back with love and compassion. Though we may not have been aware of it while we were away, His love is always with us and always will be.

God, our Father, thank you for forever loving us. Help us when we stray from Your path to take Your hand to lead us again. Remind us to trust in You and Your plan, and to recognize that we cannot do anything without You. All the glory to goes to you, Lord. Amen.

Lent Devotional 4/11/17

Good morning on this Tuesday of Holy Week.  Over the last several weeks we have been on this Lenten journey together, and I hope it has been as meaningful for you as it has been for me.  As we conclude our journey this week, we will conclude with two devotionals that continue the good work of reflection and renewal.  Our writer today is Dr. Santiago Piñón, who is an Assistant Professor of Religion and a Women and Gender Studies Faculty Affiliate here at TCU.  I recently had the honor of serving on a panel with Santiago and appreciated his ability to speak clear and direct truth into, I assume, any given topic.  As we enter into this Holy Week, I trust that you will appreciate his thoughtful insight and transparency as you reflect on your own life and relationship with God.  Blessings on your journey, my friend…

John 12:20-36  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah[b] remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

Hope, compassion, and renewal are part of Easter Sunday. To get there, we must experience Holy Week first. On this Tuesday of Holy Week, we begin to see the humanity of He who is called Christ fully displayed, which allows us to embrace our own humanity in all its fullness. Today’s reading contains a most humbling statement; Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled.” From the context, Jesus is portrayed as aware of his imminent death, which becomes a reality when the Greeks ask to see him. Immediately, there is a reference to Jesus’ death as a kind of glorification and the need to walk in light rather than darkness. Then, the pattern of thought seems to be broken with the concluding part of v. 36, which states, “After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.” Why did Jesus hide? Is he trying to force people to have faith in the absence of miracles? Or, is there a connection between hiding and speaking about death?

I am comfortable hearing about the need to walk in the light. I even acknowledge that faith is necessary in the absence of the physical messiah. What troubles me, however, are Jesus’ words, “Now my soul is troubled.” Period.

While I find it difficult to relate to a Christ who is able to talk about the necessity for his death, I know firsthand the meaning of, “Now my soul is troubled.” These words are too familiar in our experience of life. When we reach the end of the month and we have a lot more days than funds, “My soul is troubled.” When we receive the late night phone call and need to find a flight to be with a loved one in the hospital, “My soul is troubled.” While I stand in a cold hospital room holding my newborn twins and waiting for them to die because they were born too early, “My soul troubled.” With so much trouble, I search to get away.

In the midst of these moments, I can fully relate as to why Jesus would hide. Sometimes it is too much to seek God’s glory. Sometimes, I too, just want to hide. My soul is too troubled to hear a message about the need to have hope and exercise faith. Sometimes we stay in the darkness because the light is just too much to bear. On this Tuesday of Holy Week we need to give ourselves permission to acknowledge our soul’s troubles. When I am in the darkness, have little faith, and am struggling to hold on to hope, then, here too, I encounter God. This God is not the voice that sounds like thunder. Instead, I find a God who remains silent when my soul is troubled. It is in this darkness that light becomes possible. While Easter Sunday is approaching, I must still live on Tuesday. And, it is on this day, when my soul is troubled, that God is present.

In my own darkness, help me to see the light. In my faithlessness, help me to find hope. As I hide, remind me that here, too, I find God.

Lent Devotional 4/4/17

Good morning!  I hope your day is going well so far and that your month of April is off to a good start.  In these last two weeks of our Lenten journey I hope you will continue to be diligent in your time of self-reflection and renewal.  To help with that, we have yet another Lenten devotional for you.  Our writer for today is Tom Centarri, who is a campus minister with our own Catholic Community.  Tom joined us here at TCU about two years ago and has worked alongside Fr James Wilcox in supporting the Catholic Community in some new and exciting ways.  Tom and his wife Carrie also welcomed a new addition to their family recently, so there have been a lot of wonderful changes in his life over these past two years.  I appreciate that he was able to take some time to write this devotional for us and I hope it challenges you during your time of reflection today.  Blessings on your journey, my friend…

“1) while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2) Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3) The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4) they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5) Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6) They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7) When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8) And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9) When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10) Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11) She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” 

John 8:1-11

The woman caught in adultery reminds us of a few familiar circumstances. One of those circumstances we see in this scripture passage is our human nature. We make mistakes and it can be humiliating to come to terms with those mistakes or for some of us, sins that are hard to overcome and get past. The mistakes and sins that keep us trapped and far away from God can feel like a boulder on our hearts. Thankfully Christ recognizes the woman in her sin and not only helps her accusers to leave but encourages her to move on from being trapped, “to go and sin no more.”

Another circumstance the woman encountered while being comforted by Jesus in the public eye is the love Christ shows and offers to her and the invitation to change through that love. The hard part of sin holding us back from an active and holy relationship with God is that we can be aware of our shame but not know where to turn or what to do next in our actions. Jesus shows the woman the love and forgiveness necessary for her to awaken to her ability to make changes in her life. The beauty of this love and accountability is that we can see this same love in our church congregation members and close friends – cheering us on and being vulnerable in our relationships.

Through the church and Christ, the head of the church, we can awaken from the sin and shame to change our habits and continue on our paths to holiness with our creator.

God, please give me better understanding and awareness of my sins and struggles. Allow our churches to pour into us and allow Jesus to transform our lives and fixed back on HIM.

Lent Devotional 3/30/17

Good afternoon!  Greetings on this beautiful March day.  Our Lenten devotional for today comes to us from Vanessa Roberts Bryan, who serves as the Assistant Dean in Student Development Services.  For those of you who might not know Vanessa yet, she recently started working at TCU last September.  I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Vanessa over these past few months, and have come to appreciate many things about her including her very deep connection to her faith.  That wonderful quality is present in everything she does, from her dissertation topic to the warmth and hospitality she greets every person with each day.  Her welcoming presence, bright smile, and exuberant energy invite you in and make you feel a part of whatever it is she’s doing.  I’m so thankful for her presence here at TCU and for her willingness to write a devotional for us today.  May you be blessed and challenged by her words for us today.  Blessings on your journey…

“So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.  A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.””

John 4:5-15

ometimes life can be challenging.  We might feel like we are in the desert with the sun beating down on us.  At these moments in our lives we thirst; we long for something to hydrate us, to keep us alive.  But oftentimes, we don’t turn to Jesus when we are thirsty in the desert of life.  Just like the Samaritan woman in the Gospel visiting the well in the heat of the day, we sometimes doubt if Jesus can quench our thirst.  She said to Him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep.  Where do you get that living water?”  She doubted that Jesus could provide the water she needed.

Are there times in your life when you don’t let Jesus in?  You say to yourself, “I don’t have time.  My life is too complicated.  Why would Jesus love me when I’m such a mess?”  This is the desert.  This is the time that Jesus is saying to you “those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”  Jesus wants to quench your thirst; He wants to fill you with the living waters and give you eternal life.  All we need to do is trust in Him and His love for us.  Jesus knows our every need and understands us.  He is what we are thirsting for.

During the desert of Lent, may you trust in Jesus to provide the water that will become a spring inside of you, gushing up to eternal life.

Gracious and loving God, we thirst; we thirst for you.  Help us to fully trust in you as we go through the challenges in life.  Help us to turn to you, knowing that you provide the living water to quench our thirst. May we find peace and mercy in your everlasting love.  Amen

Lent Devotional 3/28/17

Good morning!  I hope your day is going well so far and that your month of March is wrapping up nicely.  Our Lenten devotional for today comes to us from Chauncey Franks, who serves as our Campus Minister to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) on campus.  You’ve undoubtedly had the pleasure of seeing Chauncey working with our student athletes and supporting our football team from the sidelines on Game Days.  His deep love for God, his genuine care and compassion for our students, and his desire to be of service to one through serving the other is apparent in his wonderful work on our campus.  I am thankful for his willingness to write a devotional and I hope that you will appreciate his words for us today.  Blessings on your journey, my friend…

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

In working with athletes, I find it amazing how much time and energy they spend in order to be a champion. To win a prize. I also find it amazing that throughout the Bible God compares the life of an athlete to the life of a Christian. We see in I Corinthians 9 that our Christian faith is compared to that of a race. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never won a medal or a prize for a race. But in this passage, it teaches us that as a believer, our goal is not to win a medal, a prize, or a ribbon, because those things will lose their value and some day will not be as rewarding. As a believer, we are pushing and striving for an imperishable crown. Our goal is to stand before the Lord and hear Him say, “Well done.”

So, as you are living your Christian life, remember this: number one – you are victorious in Christ Jesus because of what He has done for us on the Cross. Number two – keep your eyes on the finish line, no matter what you may be facing in life, because your Heavenly Father is running there with you. He’s yelling, He’s coaching you, He’s loving you, He’s walking with you all the way to the finish line. He’s saying, “Keep coming, keep pushing, keep going.” Number three – our race is not a sprint; it is a marathon. And at the end of that marathon, when we cross that finish line, Jesus, in all of His glory, will be waiting for us with open arms.

God help us to remember that we already have our victory in You.  Help us to be more aware of Your presence with us each day, and trust in You to see us through.  Amen.

Lent Devotional 3/23/17

Good morning!  I hope your day is going well and that you find an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful day!  Our Lenten devotional writer for today is Laredo Loyd.  Laredo is a Sophomore from Little Rock, Arkansas, and is doing a double major in Political Science and Biology.  I have recently gotten to know Laredo through his work as the SGA Chaplain.  Through our conversations I got to know a man who is deeply committed to his faith, and who feels compelled to bring about social change as a result of that very real commitment.  I was grateful that he accepted my invitation and even more grateful that he wrote such a thoughtful and insightful devotional for our community.  I trust that you will enjoy reflecting on his words for us today.  Blessings upon your journey, my friend…

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”

I Corinthians 10:31-33 (NIV)

It happens all too often that we get caught in the swing of things, living hour to hour and even day by day simply going through the motions and trying to make it to the next thing on our schedule. We become complacent; the bare minimum is good enough to get by, and then days come that make us wonder why it seems life isn’t going our way or just isn’t as vibrant as we’d desire.

It’s a common problem everyone goes through at times, but it’s just as simple to overcome. In scripture, we’re told, “Do it all for the glory of God,” meaning every second of our lives is an opportunity to fulfill that purpose the Lord has in store for us. With the introduction of Spring, new life during this Lenten season, there is no better time to refocus our mindset in this manner. If you’ve ever read The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, the author sums this up perfectly:

“The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”

As the scripture and even this piece tell us, life need not be burdensome or a dull task that drains us day after day. Each second of every day is an encounter with the Lord and a chance to live our purpose for Him.

For example, each day offers the chance to truly appreciate the warmth of sunlight as you walk outside in the morning, to truly soak in every second of conversation with a friend as you pass by, and to truly immerse yourself in all you’ll learn and experience in the next 24 hours. Each day is another shot at making dreams come true, whether they be our own or anyone we come upon throughout the day.

Living with this in mind, remembering the good that occurs from the blessings we have each second of every day, is the first step towards a life of fulfillment, and a life of happiness from within and all those around us.

God Our Father, we give thanks for the many blessings you bestow upon us each and every day, and we ask for the strength and understanding to recognize and cherish them. Help us to live a life of passion: igniting our souls, fueling our love, carrying our friendships, stimulating our intellect, and pushing our limit. All this is possible, through You, and by giving glory to You in each second of every day. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lent Devotional 3/21/17

Good afternoon!  I hope you had a wonderful Spring Break and found the time to rest, catch your breath, and the respite required to come back with the energy that is needed for the remainder of the semester.

Our Lenten devotional for today comes to us from Nancy Styles.  Nancy serves as the Executive Assistant for the Vice Chancellor for Government Affairs and assists Margaret Kelly in the Office of Community Projects.  If you’ve spent any time on the top floor of Sadler Hall you have undoubtedly been met by the warmth of Nancy’s smile and experienced her deep love for TCU.  Likewise, because of her deep connection to her faith, Nancy was recommended by more than one person as someone who might be a good person to write a devotional.  I am grateful for her willingness to do so, and for the words she invites us to reflect upon today.  Blessings on your journey…

Philippians 4:4-9     Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

REJOICE!  That word is used close to 150 times in the Bible.  Do you think the Lord was trying to tell us something?  “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!”  I don’t know about you, but that’s not always an easy thing for me to do.  I take this verse to mean that we are to rejoice in Him no matter what our circumstances are!

If you’re like me, it’s easy to rejoice when something fun or exciting is going on.  Like when your daughter/son is getting married, when your newest child or grandchild is being born, when your favorite sports team is winning, seeing and spending time with your children or grandchildren, etc.  But, it’s a lot harder to rejoice when we’re going through a catastrophic event in our life (death of a loved one, experiencing or watching someone go through a sickness or cancer, divorce, etc.) or even in the mundane, everyday things of our life.  I recently went through an event in my life where I just kept focusing on all of the negative aspects of the event and was very anxious about what the outcome would be.  And, unfortunately, a lot of the people around me kept feeding to that negativity.  Instead, I should have been looking for the good in what was going on and focusing on that.

As we go through the Lenten season, I would encourage each of us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and not on the negative ones.  Surround yourselves with encouragers and not discouragers.  2 Corinthians 13:11 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!  Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Father God, thank you that you are the giver of life.  As we go through each and every day, help us to focus on YOU no matter what our circumstances are.  Help us to be an encourager and not a discourager to others. And above all, help us to REJOICE!  Amen.

Lent Devotional 3/16/17

Our Lenten devotional for today comes to us from our Campus Minister to the Baptist Student Ministry, Doug Cherry.  Doug and his wife Kiki joined our campus ministry team last summer, and have been working hard this year cultivating their ministry to our TCU students.  Doug’s kind and easy-going presence offer a comforting place to process, discern, and grow in your faith, which is why I invited him to write a devotional during this season of Lent.  I hope and trust that they will invite you to pause and reflect on this day as you continue on your Lenten journey.  Blessings to you, my friend…

“(Jesus) emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:7-8 (esv)

According to John 1:14, Jesus humbled himself to become a man.  He moved from timeless eternity, and infinite divinity, to become human.  In many ways, he set aside the practice and demonstration of his divinity.  While he was and always is divine, he entered the world, and voluntarily chose to live a life within the confines of humanity. While there is no doubt that Jesus is fully God, it is worthwhile to contemplate how much he chose to do, not in his own divinity, but in a human like dependence on the power of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

For example, there are countless times when Jesus retreats to the wilderness to pray.  If he was operating from his divinity, would it be necessary for him to pray?  He sought the presence of God in the same way we would, by crying out to the heavenly Father in prayer.

Philippians 2:7 tells us that “God made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant”.  And, in Hebrews 2:14 we learn that Jesus “shared in our humanity”.  So why did Jesus do these things?  In part, he chose to seek the Father and depend on the Spirit in order to demonstrate to his disciples how they too were to receive his power for their lives and ministry.

In this season, let us consider the humanity of Jesus as he approached the Cross.  Jesus had the power to demonstrate his glory and stop his own arrest, trial, and crucifixion.  However, he chose to move forward as a man, and to bear the penalty of the sins of the world.  He was totally dependent on the Father and the Spirit for strength in this moment.  In Matthew 26, we see Jesus respond to the hour at hand when he says, “my soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death”, and, “if it is possible, let this cup pass before me”.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Jesus.  By choosing to live as a man, he has demonstrated to us how we are to abide, and depend on you and your power.  Amen.

Lent Devotional 3/14/17

Good morning!  I hope your Lenten journey is going well in the midst of this Spring Break.  Our writer of our Lenten devotional today is my good friend and colleague Bianca Newton.  For those of you who might not know Bianca, she is the Program Manager in Alcohol and Drug Education and she formerly served as Residence Hall Director during her tenure here at TCU.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Bianca over the years, whether that be through seeing and hearing her pretty stellar karaoke skills or hearing about her most recent mission trip.  Whatever she invests herself in she brings a lot of warmth, a bright smile, and a certain degree of intentionality.  I think you will find that’s exactly what she has done for us today.  Blessings on your journey…

Colossians 3:15-17New International Version (NIV) 

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? I mean like really stuck? The “I know I’m singing the words wrong, but I love that tune and I know the adlibs by heart” kind of stuck in your head?  Well that’s where I was a couple of days ago.  I always think if a song gets stuck in my head, especially if it’s one with a positive message, that maybe it’s something that I am meant to share. It could be as simple as sending it to a friend via social media or singing it while I’m with others.

I think that God has things that He places on our hearts not for us to keep to ourselves but to use to send a message of encouragement, love and hope to others.  I think of how I can share things I’ve learned from reading and researching and from interacting with those far more wise than myself and then try to encourage those around me.  During this season of Lent, I’m thankful for the people that have impacted my life in such a positive way and I hope that through the word of God and songs of praise I will be reminded daily of the promise that He has for my life and how I am called to lift up and serve others around me. I hope this passage reminds you of what He has placed in your path and how He calls us to reflect on His goodness with gratitude and service!

Our Good and faithful Father, thank you for being the giver of all good things.  Thank you for the grace, mercy and love that you show us every day. Remind me to lift up those around me with kind words and pray for the peace that only you can provide.  When life gets busy and noisy I pray that I focus on you, your word, and what message you want me to hear from the people and opportunities you have placed in my path.  Amen.