Jesus reserves his harshest words for those that had the best reputation in Israel. The religious elite and spiritual teachers of Israel were known for their piety, but Jesus saw through the show. He lays out the charges against them and is relentless in calling out their hypocrisy. What lessons can we learn from these…

If you could sit down and have dinner with Jesus, what questions would you want to ask? There may be a flood of questions that come to mind, but one of them might be the same question the Pharisees had- “What is the most important command in the law?” Jesus’s answer to this question is…

When a king hosts a party, he expects everyone invited to show up ready to celebrate. The story Jesus tells us is that too often many will send their RSVP, but think they’ll find a better offer somewhere along the way. When that happens, the gracious king is ready to throw the doors open to…

A church is only as strong as the marriages in it. That’s because marriage is the shadow of the true thing- the gospel. When a church gets marriage right, it’s probably because it’s getting the gospel right. One month before he gets married, Chris Hodge gives us a picture of why marriage is so important-…

Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Between religious posing and political power grabs, Jesus was surrounded by imposters and posers. Yet he chooses to highlight this hypocrisy through an odd choice of objects: a fig tree. What does the fig tree reveal about the people around Jesus and even about ourselves? http://media.blubrry.com/provjeff/p/providencejeffcity.com/media/Nothing_as_It_Seems.mp3Subscribe: Android | RSS

Jesus had many enemies during his life and just as many after his death. There is no shortage of enemies of the resurrection. This was true immediately following that first Easter, and it’s just as true today. What does it look like to be an enemy of the resurrection? Why do so many Christians believe…

“We have no king but Caesar!” Words that are packed with symbolism and condemnation. It exposes the loyalties and priorities of the Jewish leaders and serves as their condemnation. While their words may be obvious in their misplaced loyalties, ours are often more subtle. How often do we proclaim we have another king? http://media.blubrry.com/provjeff/p/providencejeffcity.com/media/No_King_but_Caesar.mp3Subscribe: Android…

“It’s our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”- Dumbledore (From Harry Potter) This quote taken from the Harry Potter books/movies is a powerful little proverb that is a challenge to us to consider what our choices say about us. But is it really true? Are we nothing…

Who killed Jesus? It’s a question that historians, theologians, and skeptics have debated for centuries. Was it the Jews, the Romans, Judas in his betrayal? The Biblical record seems to lay the blame in several places, but the ultimate reason goes well beyond the circumstances of Good Friday. The answer the Bible gives is a…

In Jesus’s final hours on earth, he desperately wanted the support of his friends- his disciples. As he goes to pray, they can’t even manage to stay awake for an hour with him. How does Jesus’s experience teach us a better way as a church? What does it look like to walk with someone in…

From the debates of the reformation to the fiction novels of today, The Last Supper has been the subject of extensive debate and intrigue throughout history. What exactly was going on the night that Jesus redefined that Passover meal? Why has one meal become one of the central practices in all Christianity? http://media.blubrry.com/provjeff/p/providencejeffcity.com/media/The_Last_Supper.mp3Subscribe: Android |…

But What Does It Mean? (written by Beth Ann Smith) Sometimes, I get so used to a word that I forget the meaning of it, and just recently, I realized that has happened to me with the word providence. My husband and I have been a part of Providence Church since her birth 6 years…

Judas is the villain in our story. For that matter, he may be the most notorious villain in all of history. How does a man following Jesus and living as a disciple turn against him? How does the name Judas become synonymous with betrayal? It’s not as difficult as you might think. All it takes…

The Kingdom of Heaven is full of things that challenge our conventional wisdom. God doesn’t calculate things quite the way we do. In fact, Jesus often drives home the point that it’s exactly the opposite of what we assume. Over and over the point is driven home- the first shall be last and the king…

Money is a powerful thing. It makes a lot of promises and often times, it can back up those promises- at least for a time. Jesus knows our hearts and the power money can have over them and he illustrates this with the story of the Rich Young Ruler. Like many, he thinks he’s got…

Covenant or contract? What’s the difference? Marriage is the union of two people- forever inseperable. So what happens when divorce starts to feel like the best option? That’s what the Pharisees wanted to know when they came to Jesus. What’s allowed? But if that’s the question they start with, then they don’t really understand what they’re asking….

Our stories aren’t ours to hide and protect, but God writes our story so that we can share it. On Super Bowl Sunday, former NFL defensive linemen Anthony Toribio shares his story of God’s grace in his life. His story will challenge and encourage you, and right in middle of it is a God that…

What story is your life telling? What are your core truths that drive that story? For those that follow Christ, our story must be about more than just ourselves. The Christian life is lived out as others help us and as we sacrificially give ourselves to others. When your story is finally written, what will…

When all is said and done, what will your story be? Everyday we have pressures, inside and out, that are trying to shape our story. Those pressures are pushing us to conform, to hesitate, to hedge our bets, to protect ourselves, and to find hope in others. How you respond to those pressures will ultimately come…

The stories of scripture are powerful pictures of how God takes ordinary people and shows them extraordinary grace. Those stories God has given us will always be our foundation, but sometimes they can feel far removed. It can be helpful to remember that God is still writing those stories in the lives of people all…