Take a Sabbath

Susan Hetrick

Read: Luke 4:16-21 And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day . . . (v. 16) Jesus was Jewish, and he faithfully went to synagogue every Sabbath to worship God and hear the Scriptures being read. For those who did not live near the Jerusalem temple, the synagogue was the center of Jewish religious life. Sabbath meetings all followed a similar format. There was a confession of faith, known as the Shema (Deut. 6:4-6), …

Get Yoked

Susan Hetrick

Read: Matthew 11:28-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (v. 29) Ask any schoolteacher what the best teaching method is, and you will likely hear, “Well, that depends.” Some children learn by listening to the teacher speak (auditory style), some learn by watching a video or looking at a map (visual), and some children learn by reading and writing a response …

Follow Me

Susan Hetrick

Read: Matthew 4:17-25 He said to them, “Follow me . . .” (v. 19) As Christians, we often say we believe in Jesus. We believe that he was a real person who lived in a specific place on earth, during a particular time in history. We believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and that he was crucified, died, and was raised from the dead. But more than that, we also believe that we are to “follow him”—to be …

The Mystery of Prayer

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 5:10-20 The prayer of a righteous person has great power . . . (v. 16) I went to my doctor last winter for my annual checkup, and she performed the usual battery of tests: height, weight, blood pressure, listening to my heart, etc. She also wrote up orders for a mammogram and blood work. I went for my mammogram the very same day. Two days later I received a phone call from the doctor. “According to your mammogram, …

The End Is (Not) Near

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 5:1-9 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. (v. 7) If you were to look up Doomsday, Apocalypse, Jesus Second Coming, or End of the World prophesies on the Internet, you would find literally millions of predictions—all of them wrong. Jesus himself said that this would happen (Matt. 24:4); that there would be many false messiahs, who will lead many astray. Hundreds of people have made very specific predictions about when Christ would return: Simon …

The Rest of the Story

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 4:11-17 But who are you to judge your neighbor? (v. 12) About 15 years ago, I worked as a substitute teacher in an elementary school. Normally the teacher would leave a note about what to expect from the students, what lessons to cover, and anything I would need to know about the classroom. One December day, however, I was called in to a 1st grade class in an emergency, and there was no note. I did my best …