A Touch of Extravagance

Tom Bartha

READ : Luke 7:36-50 She was “damaged goods” in the eyes of her townsfolk. She may have been a prostitute. One thing is certain: something Jesus had said or done had taken root in her life, so convicting her that it brought about a reversal, a break with her sinful past. Jesus was at dinner in the home of Simon, a religious leader. As though no one else were present, this woman showered Jesus with an extravagant outpouring of love …

Anna-A Flame of Expectancy

Tom Bartha

READ : Luke 2:36-40 In the church where I grew up during the 1950s and 60s, two men served as ushers every Sunday morning. Thirty years later, I returned to my home church, and the same two men were still serving! Anna was like that. She was always in the temple. In fact, after she was widowed it became her home, her life. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. For what? For whom? …

Simeon-Waiting in Hope

Tom Bartha

READ : Luke 2:21-35 Question: At this point in your life, what are you longing for more than anything else? What is your greatest hope? For Simeon, it was no contest. It had been revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the promised Messiah, the Christ, God’s chosen One. Day after day, year after year, Simeon waited, to see for himself the comfort the Holy One of God would bring to God’s people. He waited …

Josiah-Trail Blazer

Tom Bartha

READ : 2 Kings 23:1-3, 24-25 Josiah was a man who reversed the direction of an entire nation, and blazed a good trail to lead them into the future. Josiah was eight years old when he became King of Judah. He reigned for 31 years. The country was in a spiritual mess when Josiah came to the throne. He inherited from his father a land in spiritual decline. People worshiped whichever idols they fancied. The temple was in disarray. God’s …

Dorcas-From Death to Life

Tom Bartha

READ : Acts 9:36-42 “How are things with your soul?” a woman was asked by her pastor. He had noticed her increasingly sporadic attendance in worship, her declining involvement in church life. She was caught off guard by his question. Her response was honest: “Well, not too good.” She went on to explain how her prayer life had faltered. She found herself giving less thought to her faith. Sunday became a day to catch up on lost sleep. Her pastor …