Jesus the Storyteller

Living With the End in Mind


"Money, power and influence: three resources hold sway in our world today, much as they did in the first century Roman Empire. Is there anyone in the news these days who you think is motivated by these three resources in any way?

"Is there anyone in this room who is anxious about who in this country wields the resources of money, power and influence? Any of you scared about how those resources are going to be used for better or worse over the next few years?

"And are you yourself motivated by money, power and influence? Are you anxious about your finances? Do you enjoy positions of influence at work, in the community, in the church….?"

This week, Liz Milner considers the purpose of money, success, and power. When we have resources--or when we desperately want them--what do we use them for? Listen below for more on living with the end in mind, or read Liz' notes here

Get the Weed Whacker

Thriving Soybeans

"Historically, the church, like most other social groups, has a hard time with tension and a hard time with mess. We tend to do one of two things: 

We either withdraw from places of tension and mess and try to establish our own neatly-tended and weedless gardens...

Or we get sucked into the power game, the empire game. We start thinking, if we can just get enough control, we can tamp down on all these weeds for everyone. 

But God isn't like that. He wants to bring in as much good wheat as possible. And he is patient. He's willing to endure the mess now, for as long as it takes to get the most wheat..."

So what do we do with a messy, difficult, and at times painful election season? Listen in or read the notes for more on living and voting well, both during Election Day and afterwards."

I'll Have What He's Having

Harvest Time

Day laborers in the ancient world had a hard lot in life. They were powerless to secure stable work, and sometimes struggled more than slaves, because was no guarantee they would have work to meet their family’s needs on a given day.

So they hung out in the marketplace waiting for someone to come hire them. When they found work, they worked from sunup to sundown, twelve hot hours in the Palestinian sun.

So this is the setting for Jesus’ story, in which a landowner goes to the market place at dawn, and gets some workers who agree to work for a denarius, a day’s wages. Then he hires more workers, hour after hour. At sundown they line up for their pay, newest workers first. The latecomers get a denarius—a day’s wages—so the others assume they will get more. But even those who started at dawn get the same wage.

And that doesn’t seem fair, right? Why would a manager do this? Listen in to Leah’s message, below, or read her notes for more. 

New Wineskins: by Liz Gill

Wineskin carrier

"Have you ever had a leather bag or shoes, and they smell so good when you first get them? And maybe it’s nice and clean and tight, but over time it starts to stretch and wear out, and those awesome shoes you had now look quite worn.

"Well that’s what Jesus seems to be talking about when he says not to put old wine in new wineskins... Here’s how I see it. Wineskins are our spiritual practices -- and wine is the abundant life and connection to Jesus he is offering. But if we try to put new connection into old practices... it doesn't work so well." 

So how do we know what to do when it's time to change our wineskins? We're in a new series of talks on the stories that Jesus told so listen below or read Liz's notes to learn more!