Ransoming hostages and posting bail get God's attention

Posted Dec 6th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


I have been closely following the European refugee crisis due in part to my regular teaching of mission courses in the UK and around the world. Two years ago I visited the refugee camps in Calais, France, where I met refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran and many other countries (see update) who were seeking entry into the UK.
Months before visiting Calais I had run into Ismahan, a friend from Ethiopia living in Paris. She had visited us at...

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Ethiopian Adventures

Posted Nov 8th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


The story of Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 has always inspired me—making me long for such adventures. Philip is attentive and flexible- wholly given over to Jesus’ movement. His availability to go out on missions is contagious, and Gracie and I are enlisted. May this contagion pass on to you, inspiring you to new ventures.
Philip is first mentioned in Acts 6:5 as second on a list of seven deacons recruited by the first believers to serve...

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Blessed are the leakers

Posted Sep 4th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


Followers of Jesus have a spiritual obligation to bring into the light offenses or injustices otherwise hidden from sight. While discernment is certainly needed in knowing how and when to speak, prohibiting leaks is like silencing the prophets, who in Scripture carried out a function in Israel similar yet far beyond that of WikiLeaks or the best investigative journalism.
Jesus himself taught: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” affirming all who long for...

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Submission as Resistance: Romans 13 in the light of Psalm 2

Posted Aug 22nd, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


The prophetic witness of Christians before the State has too often been muted by a surface reading of the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 13:1-7, with its infamous “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13:1).
Added to this are Peter’s words: ”Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,...

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Informed from above

Posted Aug 15th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


For a number of years my daily prayer and study time includes reading online national and international news articles, preceded and followed by readings from the Psalms, Gospels and Epistles, and often from the Torah and Prophets as well. Reading the news, however, can become an addiction, especially in times of turmoil. The narrower path of seeking wisdom from above involves listening prayer, faith, intercession, and continual discernment-- activities that require time and sometimes can’t compete with carefully crafted and...

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Receiving the life-changing seed

Posted Jul 17th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


Sunday afternoon I led two back-to-back Bible studies in Skagit County Jail on the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. After introductions and an opening prayer, a volunteer reads the first nine verses. As I listen a strategy unfolds for the mere twenty minutes that remain.
I ask the fifteen or so men where Jesus was, who else was there and what they were doing in the story. Since nobody seems to remember, we read the first two verses again....

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Posted Apr 27th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


Jesus’ parable of the judgment of the nations is often presented in ways that associate our treatment of anyone who is hungry, thirsty, a foreigner, naked, sick and imprisoned as synonymous with how we treat Jesus. Many Scriptures clearly call us to care for the poor, excluded, immigrants and prisoners. But numerous details in this parable suggest a different interpretation.
Jesus here teaches on the future judgment of non-Jews (the nations=ethnos), whom he commissions his disciples to evangelize and make disciples...

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Posted Apr 27th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


Jesus’ parable of the judgment of the nations is often presented in ways that associate our treatment of anyone who is hungry, thirsty, a foreigner, naked, sick and imprisoned as synonymous with how we treat Jesus. Many Scriptures clearly call us to care for the poor, excluded, immigrants and prisoners. But numerous details in this parable suggest a different interpretation.
Jesus here teaches on the future judgment of non-Jews (the nations=ethnos), whom he commissions his disciples to evangelize and make disciples...

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Lamenting False Saviors: A Good Friday Reflection

Posted Apr 14th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


There is a grave danger this week for those watching global events to become excited and drawn into alignment with pretender saviors of the vulnerable.  Today I am trying to deliberately contemplate how Jesus came into Roman occupied Jerusalem as Savior of the World, in contrast to global leaders like Assad, Putin and Trump. It seems we must continually decide who saves and how it is effectively accomplished.
The US bombing of the Syrian air force base in retaliation for Assad’s...

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Seeking and finding lost sheep in a Scottish prison

Posted Apr 10th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


 
Descriptions of God as a shepherd who looks for, finds and brings home lost sheep have always caught my attention, inspiring me in my calling to seek and find the forsaken. My own journey has taken me from suburban Seattle to rural Honduras and back to a jail and prison in Washington State and beyond— including a recent visit to a Scottish prison in Perth.
As a lonely teenager I remember longing for some wise and caring person to find me,...

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Clean from the Inside Out

Posted Mar 24th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


In recent Bible studies in Skagit County Jail and in our Tierra Nueva worshipping community I have been struck by Jesus’ unusual approach regarding substances, whether they be food, drink or drugs. In substance abuse and recovery circles (and vegan and other religious circles too) there is often intense scrutiny around what goes into the body—via stomach, lungs or veins.  Jesus’ words to the crowd in Mark 7:14-16 are counter-cultural to twelve-step and religious communities.
“Listen to me, all of...

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"The Beautiful Gate: Enter Jesus' Global Liberation Movement" is now available

Posted Jan 23rd, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


In these times of mass movements I'm delighted to announce that my new book recruiting people into Jesus' beautiful liberation movement is now available on Amazon. Here is a brief description and the Table of Contents. 
"The Beautiful Gate is the site of the first healing Jesus’ disciples facilitate after Pentecost. Peter and John encounter a man lame from birth, disqualified and excluded outside the temple. In this prototype miracle, care for the poor and marginalized, respectful presence, relational connectedness, empowerment, and...

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Electing a King or Embracing Jesus as King

Posted Jan 6th, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


This Epiphany as we celebrate God’s self-revelation as King Jesus, I am struck by the extreme danger of choosing to trust in self, other gods and human rulers.
Today in America, Western Europe and beyond people are expressing their desire for stronger, more authoritarian leadership in a climate of increasing fear and insecurity. Many are calling for leaders who will put up walls, enforce laws with greater vigor and take stands for citizens against the rising tides of refugees, immigrants and...

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Kingdom of God reversals: bringing down the powerful and raising up the vulnerable

Posted Dec 8th 2016, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


On December 4th I flew to Washington DC from Seattle via Houston to participate in  Faith Table Retreat, a gathering of 60 or so Christian leaders from across the USA to discuss the distressed state of the Nation post-election and to discern what the Spirit is saying to us in these troubled times.
The trip got off to an interesting start with two special conversations with people who both had experienced devastating traumas, some measure of protection and  new-found hope. These...

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"Security Threat Group" Embraces Jesus

Posted Oct 13th 2016, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living


For a number of years now our local jail has housed gang-involved inmates in segregated units to avoid run-ins with enemy gang members. At times though the normal stresses of incarceration combine with internal tensions within a gang, leading to fights between fellow homies. For nearly four months this summer and fall inmates from one particular gang where locked down often three to a cell, 24/7 as deterrent and punishment for fighting.
During these months they did not benefit from weekly...

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