In Jerusalem earlier this year, we visited the site of the high priest’s house. Jesus actually walked on these stones!


Don’t move too quickly through this Holy Week–take time to let the events of Christ’s Passion prepare you for Easter Sunday.


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Today is my wife Elaine’s birthday, and she’s out for blood:


Two years ago, my wife Elaine needed 30 units of blood to save her life after the birth of our daughter. So for her birthday, she’s asking you to consider being a blood donor.

Blood Drive Details

We’re hosting a Blood Drive at Munger Place Church on Good Friday, April 19, 11a-5p (childcare 11a-1p).

Register here.

Even if you don’t live in Dallas, please consider being a blood donor in your city.

Give the lady what she wants!


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I find it fascinating that, when Jesus says at the Last Supper that one of the disciples will betray him, each of them asks in response, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

I wrote yesterday that if even Jesus can be betrayed by someone he loves, then it can happen to any of us.

But it’s also true that any of us could be the betrayer. If we think we are the kind of people who would never betray someone we love, then we need to be careful, lest like St. Peter, we end up doing the very thing we swore we would never do. (That’s in tomorrow’s reading.)

*There is the potential in each one of us to be Judas. In fact, I think the more we humble ourselves and admit that we’re not better than anyone else, the less likely it is that we become the kind of people who sell their friends for 30 pieces of silver.

Pride goes before a fall. So, help us, Lord, become faithful people.

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 26:17-29


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Judas was hand-picked by Jesus, saw Jesus do spectacular miracles, heard Jesus teach in a way no one has ever taught before or since, and still:

Judas agreed to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

If even Jesus was betrayed by someone he loved, why are we surprised when it happens to us?

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 26:1-16


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You known what’s terrifying about The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats?

Both groups are surprised by what the master says to them.

The righteous say:

“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’”

Matthew 25:37-39

And look what the unrighteous say:

“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’”


Matthew 25:44

In other words, neither the righteous nor the unrighteous are aware of whom they have become. Over time, their habitual actions in either direction have become part of who they are to the extent that they aren’t aware of them anymore.

We are becoming what we’re doing. Each choice is making us. (And we’re not even aware of it.)

What choices are you making today?

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 25:31-46


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I’d never considered this before:

Compare the way the one-talent servant views the master with the way the master actually behaves:

  • The one-talent servant thinks the master is “a hard man;”
  • Whereas the master is actually really generous and joyful.

If people are convinced that the Lord is cruel and hard, it will be very hard for them to accept his gracious gifts. This is what Jesus means when he says, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 25:29).

If you believe God is gracious and good, you’ll be open to receive more goodness and grace. If you are convinced God is cruel and hard, Jesus implies that at the end, you’ll get exactly what you expect.

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 25:14-30


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I got an email at 12:45 AM Christmas morning from someone who was very angry with my Christmas Eve sermon. (You can watch that sermon here.) In my sermon, I wondered aloud if we are becoming a culture without mercy–once people have sinned, can they ever find redemption?

I cited the extreme example of Harvey Weinstein and asked if even he can receive mercy. The person who sent me the angry email felt that I was excusing Mr. Weinstein’s many sins that have caused harm to so many people. It shouldn’t have to be said, but let me say it anyway: but I do not excuse, condone, or approve of any of the things Mr. Weinstein is said to have done. In fact, the very reason I used him as an example is precisely because his sins seem so particularly ugly.

Which brings me back to the question I was asking: Can Harvey Weinstein receive mercy? Can he receive redemption?

Our actions have consequences, and justice requires that people face those consequences. I don’t think mercy and consequences are mutually exclusive; Mr. Weinstein should be prosecuted for his crimes and if he is found guilty, he should be sentenced accordingly. And, there should be boundaries in place that make it very difficult for him to hurt anyone ever again.

But what happens after that? If he repents, can he be redeemed?

I’ve been asking that same question recently with regard to Lori Loughlin and the other celebrities caught up in the college admissions cheating scandal.

What they did was wrong and they need to face the consequences.

But what happens after that?

It strikes me that it’s when people are guilty and ashamed and despised–that that is exactly the time when they need to be welcomed at church. I have no idea if Lori Loughlin and her family have a church family, but I’d guess that they don’t. Is there any church near them who will reach out? If they were to show up at a church, would they be gawked at? Would folks pull out their phones and post pics to social media?

It strikes me that it’s when people are guilty and ashamed and despised–that that is exactly the time when they need to be welcomed at church. I have no idea if Lori Loughlin and her family have a church family, but I’d guess that they don’t. Is there any church near them who will reach out? If they were to show up at a church, would they be gawked at? Would folks pull out their phones and post pics to social media?


Most of us are able to hide our sins or explain them away. We maintain plausible deniability and pretend.

But sometimes there is no hiding. Sometimes we are totally exposed. Sometimes the whole world knows.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but let me say it anyway:

Jesus died for sinners. Not the respectable sinners only, but also the shameful, wicked, public ones. Jesus died for Harvey Weinstein. Jesus died for Lori Loughlin.

Is there anyone around them who will tell them?

Is there a church family who can teach them?

Is there a place they can go on Easter Sunday to hear the Good News?


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What Jesus predicts here is actually what happened: the Temple in Jerusalem–a stunning architectural and engineering achievement–was pulled down, stone by stone, by the Romans in AD 70.

When we were in Israel earlier this year, we visited Jerusalem and stood on the ruins of the Temple. It is amazing to walk on those ancient stones and know that you are walking on the exact same stones on which Jesus himself walked. And it’s even more amazing to consider that Jesus is actually the true Temple, the place where Heaven and Earth came together.

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 23:37-24:2


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I appreciate what Stanley Hauerwas has to say about the seven woes that Jesus pronounces on the teachers of the law and the Pharisees:

“The series of woes that Jesus directs at the scribes and Pharisees make for difficult reading in light of the Christian condemnation and persecution of the Jews. That these characterizations of the scribes and Pharisees have unfairly been used to condemn all Jews as well as Judaism is a sign of Christian failure and sin. But the sin is not that Christians thought it necessary to make judgments informed by those forms of life that Jesus’s condemns, but that we have failed to apply those judgments to ourselves. We cannot forget that Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees from a position of weakness. He has no power to act against those he condemns. Christians betray Jesus when they make judgments–like those Jesus makes against the scribes and Pharisees–from positions of power that transform those judgments into violent and murderous actions rather than attempts to call ourselves and our brothers and sisters to a better life.”

Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew


Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 23:13-36


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Jesus has talked many times in Matthew’s Gospel about the problem of hypocrisy, of not practicing what you preach. Here, he again takes the Pharisees to task, not for what they say–he even says “You must be careful to do everything they tell you”–but for what they don’t do: namely, follow their own advice.

If Jesus talks about this so often, it must be important. So, here’s the question:

Where today am I not living up to my own principles? How am I not practicing what I preach?

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 23:1-12


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