Grace for the Lost

Fred Wilgenburg

READ : Luke 19:1-10 Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. (v. 5) Jesus certainly had a way of defying social expectations. Tax collectors worked as middle men for the Romans. Plus they overcharged. They were rich, but often rejected by their community and deemed sinners. When Jesus offered to be the guest of Zacchaeus, the crowd grumbled, but Zacchaeus “received him joyfully.” Jesus’ gracious gesture prompted deep and lasting change in Jericho’s chief …

Sincerely Valued for Friendship’s Sake

Fred Wilgenburg

READ : John 15:15-17 No longer do I call you servants, . . . but I have called you friends. (v. 15) When a friendship mainly has one giver and one receiver, it lacks the balancing give-and-take of healthy human interactions. In contrast, when each person can contribute—sometimes giving, other times receiving—a friendship will more readily develop. At the very least, this kind of relationship is more dignifying, and with mutuality comes greater potential for empowerment. This holds true in …

We Sow and Water Seeds

Fred Wilgenburg

READ : 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (v. 6) Carol is a friend and a talented artist who struggles with alcoholism, in part because of her broken family. Carol knows she lacks a relationship with God and is open about it. During one visit, I quoted Gandhi: “The need of the moment is not one religion, but mutual respect and tolerance of the different religions . . . Truth is the exclusive property …

Keeping Perspective in Life

Fred Wilgenburg

READ : Philippians1:20-24 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (v. 21) Psychologist Elliot Jacques coined the term “midlife crisis.” As I reach my own middle years and think of the many elderly people I know and love who have died, I could easily become a “crisis” if I don’t remind myself of what I know to be true. It is important to keep perspective on life. I admit that I suffer from an “accomplishment-complex.” …

Offering Thanks

Fred Wilgenburg

READ : John 12:1-8 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment . . . and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. (v. 3) Offering thanks is a positive experience for all. As a ministry worker who receives a lot from volunteers and others, I am often the giver of thanks. At that time, I am blessed to reflect on the gift I received. We are also blessed when a person accepts our “thank …

Standing Firm, Anchored In

Fred Wilgenburg

READ : Ephesians 6:10-18 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (v. 13) It can be difficult to want to “stand firm” on anything these days. In a world where Islamic radicals brutally kill people who stand up for their faith, we may be hesitant to speak out, even if we live far from where it’s happening. When the Supreme Court …