In classic Greek and Roman mythology, it was always the strongest and smartest who reached God and the divine. Bellephron and Achilles and Odysseus and Perseus: they were rippling with muscles or huge brains or special powers.

But Scripture, in a complete reversal of human values and stereotypical strength, shows that God pursues maybe the weakest individual in the entire town of that day: Mary Magdalene, a mentally unstable woman. The one who others were writing off as a nobody, an outsider, an outcast.

If this story were told in another Epic Myth – The two-ton stone would still be rolled over the grave, and God would say: “Move the stone and you will have access to me. Show me your strength.” And maybe a special “Chosen One” could roll the stone from the grave.

Yet Mary Magdalene shows up and the stone is already removed. Which means, in a literal and metaphorical sense, that grace rolled the stone away. God had already done the work to reach His people, to reach the weakest person.

We don’t need to move the stone to find God, but God moved the stone to find us. This is the Essential Heart of God and the Gospel.
—  J.S. from this message

- The Gospel In Two and a Half Minutes - 

What is the Gospel? What is the story of humanity? Where is all this going?
The entire Bible in two and a half minutes. And a different way to see the Gospel of the Bible.

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– J.S.

[Thank you to Steven Hause of pudgyproductions]

Friendly reminder that it is okay to change your opinion on religious doctrine without forsaking your faith.

It is okay to let go of past beliefs or incorporate new practices into your spiritual life as you grow, learn, and mature as a human being.

It is okay to piece your faith together with ideas from different denominations or sects so long as they sit right with your soul.

Angry scared grown-ups who tell you you’re on a “slippery slope” to liberalism or secularism or false ideas have no power over you. If you are attentive enough to shift your religious ideas as you discover new truths, you are attentive enough to know which of the old truths are essential and valuable.

The Greek word for “encouragement” in the New Testament means to “come alongside” or to engage. It’s two words smushed together. The single form of the word means you say something nice from far off, like “good luck.” But with the addition of the extra word, it means to draw in and fight together. The word had a military connotation, because when a Roman unit of soldiers lost morale, the commander would “come alongside” the soldiers and inspire them. In the same way, the Holy Spirit is called the “Encourager,” and He comes alongside us to fight this fight together. He is not far off but with us in the fray, the commander come down to reside in our soldier hearts.
—  J.S.