Finding Security in Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Posted Sep 2nd 2019, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

I have often led Bible studies on Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who lays his life down for his sheep.  In these increasingly insecure times I’m noticing that people are more in touch with their need for protection. Mass shootings in Texas, ICE raids in Mississippi, hurricanes in the Caribbean…
“Jesus describes himself as the door of the sheep pen (John 10:7), and all who came before him as thieves and robbers,” I summarize in a recent Bible study.
“Who or what are...

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See the new "Liberating Fire" documentary

Posted Jan 18th 2019, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

Check out this new documentary about us, Liberating Fire, on the coming together of Word, Spirit, Street in transformational ministry among the excluded.
We also invite you to consider taking our online Certificate in Transformational Ministry at the Margins.
See our new bookstore, where we plan to promote new titles published by The People's Seminary.
I also encourage you to check out Fred Sprinkle’s documentary film project asking the question “How does the Holy Spirit move people to address injustice in our world?”

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Pursuing Wily Ones: A Shepherding Vision

Posted Nov 24th 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

At Tierra Nueva we train and mobilize shepherds who seek after lost sheep until they are found, bringing them back to secure “home” settings where their return is celebrated amongst friends and neighbors.
Since 1982 when Gracie and I began Tierra Nueva in Honduras, the prophet Ezekiel’s special focus on lost sheep and call for shepherds has deeply affected us. This image animated Tierra Nueva staff  in Burlington to such an extent that for years we were all pictured hugging sheep...

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Welcoming and Becoming Strangers and Aliens

Posted Nov 7th 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

We have spent the past ten days with Sub-Saharan African migrants in Egypt and Morocco—most of whom are undocumented. Spending time with these vulnerable and courageous people has refreshed our perspective on life and faith.
I share these thoughts on migration and immigration in response to disturbing news articles I’m reading about anti-immigrant rhetoric in the USA and Europe--and hope to dissuade people of faith from any collusion with negative attitudes and the promotion of restrictive policies.
This past Sunday I preached...

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God Provides Escape Routes

Posted Sep 17th 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

In late June I discovered what turned out to be a large mass in my abdomen. I was referred and scheduled immediately for a meeting with a surgeon at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance—and I hoped for a quick fix operation. But CT scans and a biopsy revealed follicular lymphoma—a slow-growing cancer that cannot be removed through surgery, but must be treated by chemotherapy.
This was hard news that I never expected I would receive—especially at a time when I’ve been in...

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Bob Ekblad's new book is now available! Guerrilla Gospel: Reading the Bible for Liberation in the Power of the Spirit

Posted Sep 3rd 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

Guerrilla Gospel: Reading the Bible for Liberation in the Power of the Spirit is out! Here's what it's about:
Jesus was born into a world marked by oppression and injustice to announce and embody God’s global liberation movement. Like an insurgent, Jesus comes in under the radar, behind enemy lines, and then builds a foundation of trust with a growing entourage of humble followers. He incites a revolution that he calls the Kingdom of God.  Guerrilla Gospel: Reading the Bible for Liberation in...

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Keep your love from growing cold

Posted Jul 10th 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

Jesus’ words to his disciples regarding signs of his second coming and the end of the age are highly relevant today. Jesus tells his followers to expect wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution, killing, betrayal, hatred, false prophets, and lawlessness.
“Lawlessness” (anomia), translated “wickedness” or “iniquity,” refers specifically to disregarding God’s word and ways—which Jesus says will increase over time.
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of...

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Posted Jun 22nd 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

My Tierra Nueva colleague, Danielle, and I were at the women’s jail pod on Father’s Day. Once gathered around the circular metal table for the Bible study, we discovered that most of women had experienced feelings of sadness, regret and disappointment when thinking about their fathers that day.
We prayed together and then turned to Luke 15, which begins with the tax collectors and sinners, coming near to Jesus to listen to him.  The Pharisees and scribes were disgusted by the attention...

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Overturning Prejudice: Abraham & Abimelech's peacemaking in Gaza challenges us now

Posted Apr 23rd 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

Violence in Gaza is once again on the rise as the Israeli Defense Forces battle Palestinian protesters outraged by inhumane living conditions in what is often referred to as the world’s largest outdoor prison. The last time tensions flared Israel brutally bombed Gaza in response to Hamas’ missile attacks in 2014-- killing over 2000 Palestinians and wounding thousands more. The story of Abraham’s conflict and reconciliation with the ancient king of Philistia (located in modern day Gaza) in Genesis 20-21 is an invitation...

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The Invitation to the Cross

Posted Mar 1st 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

Last Sunday while preaching at Tierra Nueva Jesus’ words about rejection struck me as highly relevant for us today.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
Jesus is talking about himself here. But his followers are also included in this trajectory that looks suicidal.
Right before Jesus says these words Peter had confessed Jesus to be the Christ— and Jesus...

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Discovering the kindness of God that leads to repentance

Posted Jan 22nd 2018, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

For the past two weeks Gracie and I have ministered alongside our African partners to run four-day trainings for pastors and leaders in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. We have been delighted to see widespread negative images of God dramatically give way to our teachings and group Bible studies on God’s love and grace, exciting us to further equip people to proclaim good news.
Negative images of God are common in places of poverty and hardship. Christians, Muslims and adherents of traditional...

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Christmas Eve with Inmates: Tidings of Great Joy

Posted Dec 29th 2017, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

This Christmas Eve afternoon I read the story of the birth of Jesus with five Spanish-speaking men at Washington State Reformatory. After reading Luke 2:1-7 I sought ways to engage prisoners especially sad to be separated from their families over Christmas.
We notice that Joseph and Mary were forced to go to Bethlehem to comply with a “count” (census) ordered by the Roman Empire (inmates have at least two mandatory counts daily, while most of us may experience one census in...

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The challenge of equipping ministry workers at the margins in East Africa

Posted Dec 16th 2017, 12:00 by ekbladupdates on Christian Living

Across the developing world, 3.2 million pastors are untrained or under equipped. In Africa, it is estimated that 90% of church leaders may never have received even one day of formal training. This is especially true in East Africa, where poverty, drought, disease, conflict and religious persecution are wreaking misery and chaos.  
While some training is available to the privileged, training is needed for front-line Christian ministry workers who are giving their lives in service of the excluded and under-reached.

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Ransoming hostages and posting bail get God's attention

Posted Dec 6th 2017, 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 2017, 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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