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. …

Walk in Armor

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 6:10-23 Put on the whole armor of God. (v. 11) Of all my experiences with Words of Hope global teams, nothing compares to the first time I saw a person oppressed by demons in Uganda. Assuming I would know what to do, a leader asked me to help. I froze like a soldier in battle never trained to use his weapon. I had exactly zero seminary courses on how to cast out a demon! Paul does not mince …

Walk in Service

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 6:5-9 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ. (v. 5) For one year I worked in a grocery warehouse. Co-workers assigned to the misery of the cooler section were known to break open cartons of cookie dough and help themselves. Over one weekend, the company installed hidden cameras. The very first shift of Sunday night employees were fired for stealing. Everyone learned that “eye-service” (v. 6) was not …

Walk Worthy of Honor

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 6:1-4 Honor your father and mother. (v. 2) As a father of four, I loved quoting to my children the command to “obey your parents.” After my children learned to read, they often quipped back verse 4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children.” To my shame, however, I often did provoke them by overreacting to small things. We laugh now, but those are not my proudest parenting moments. In verses 1-4, the burden of responsibility rests primarily on …

Walk in Humility

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 5:21-33 . . . as Christ loved the church . . . (v. 25) Our youth group was once pressed into service for an extravagant wedding feast. We did it as a mission fundraiser. The celebration exceeded any wedding I have ever attended. More than 300 people enjoyed a night of hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down meal, and festivities for all. It has stayed in my memory as the perfect example of a great wedding. While a great wedding …

Walk in Wisdom

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 5:15-21 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise. (v. 15) James Holzhouer captured the attention of North American TVs last spring. For six weeks he dominated the game show Jeopardy!, wowing people with his ability to recall knowledge of history, arts, literature, and more. He amassed nearly $2 million in winnings. His profession? Professional gambler. How did this gambler gain so much knowledge? He perused the children’s nonfiction section in his local library. …