Wake-up Call!

Read: Hosea 14 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. (v. 1) A call in the middle of the night is never a good thing. When my phone rings in the wee hours, my mind begins to race: Are my parents okay? My adult children? My grandson? I’m praying before I even pick up the phone! Similarly, God didn’t send prophets to his people when things were going well. The books …

You Belong

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 2:11-22 Fellow citizens with the saints. (v. 19) Paul writes to Gentile believers who were often made to feel like outsiders by the believers of Jewish ancestry. Some “insiders” even required these Gentiles to engage in the Old Testament rite of male circumcision. Not doing so left them, so to speak, as second-class members of the church. In these verses Paul reminds them who they were, who they are, and who they are becoming. They were separated from …

The Power of Grace

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 2:7-10 For by grace you have been saved. (v. 8) Most people I know love a good bargain. But many people have a problem with free. When I pick up the tab for someone’s lunch as a surprise, a response often follows, “Oh, you don’t have to do that.” Or, “I’ll get the check next time.” We sometimes feel like we owe someone when they give us a gift that we did not earn. In this passage, Paul …

Death to Life

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 2:1-7 But God, being rich in mercy . . . (v. 4) Ephesians 2:1-7 pictures a stunning reversal of fortune. Our story is much more than the lottery-winning luck of a down-and-outer. Our story is fundamentally different. The Bible does not say we were down-and-out until God gave us a hand. No. Paul gets to the heart of the matter: “And you were dead” (v. 1). How does a dead person ask for help? A drowning man might …

Immeasurable

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Ephesians 1:15-23 . . . what is the immeasurable greatness of his power . . . (v. 19) Not long after the space shuttle Endeavor was moved to the California Science Center, I took my daughter for a visit. As the long line inched forward, film clips and sound effects hinted something great was just around the corner. When I finally stood beside Endeavor, I was overcome by its size and mesmerized by how insignificant we humans seemed. After …