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Joel Plantinga

Read: Romans 12:9-21 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (v. 10) President John F. Kennedy visited the NASA space center shortly after declaring his goal of putting a man on the moon. He was asking different employees about their jobs when he came upon a man carrying a broom sweeping a hallway. “What are you doing? What’s your job?” Kennedy asked. “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon!” the man …

Gifted

Joel Plantinga

Read: Romans 12:1-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. (v. 6) I was once the volunteer parent in one of my children’s preschool classes. I helped set up the room, assisted the kids with their work, helped them read, and led their daily craft. It was three hours of noise, energy, and controlled chaos. At the end, the teacher was ready for the rest of her day. I took a three-hour …

A Theologian

Joel Plantinga

Read: 1 Corinthians 2:6–3:4 But we have the mind of Christ. (v. 16) Former professional basketball player Allen Iverson once did a press conference where he repeatedly questioned why people were bothered that he missed a practice: “I’m supposed to be the franchise player and we’re in here talking about practice.” Is what happens during the day not as important as what happens when the lights and cameras are on and the crowds are there? Most Christians know that regular …

Essential

Joel Plantinga

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16 . . . to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (v. 12) “Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and here are the people!” I learned this fun little activity as a kid, locking my hands together to create a classic-looking church, raising my pointer fingers as a steeple, and then turning open and wiggling my remaining fingers to show people moving around inside. …

Encouragement

Joel Plantinga

Read: John 16:31-33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (v. 33) Faith that walks never keeps the benefits to oneself. People whose faith walks always find others to encourage and invest in along the way. Isn’t it ironic that Jesus built the largest movement in the history of the world often by chasing away the crowds and …

Forgiveness

Joel Plantinga

Read: Genesis 45:1-15 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (v. 5) How would you feel if the man who murdered your only son moved next door to you? Ask Mary Johnson, a woman in Minneapolis whose son, Laramiun, was killed by Oshea Israel. While her son’s killer was serving time in prison, Mary eventually reached out to him and offered not only …