Stories From A Village Podcast: It Is Well with My Soul

By Ivy Lamb

As the son of a Methodist pastor, Andrew grew up intimately connected to the church. His childhood experiences exposed some of the difficulties and shortcomings of the church, but they also helped Andrew discover his own call to ministry. Today, he serves at Stone Village Church as a musician and worship leader. In this episode, he shares the story of how he moved from feeling judgement and shame about his sexuality to claiming God’s love and living more fully into his gifts.

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Walk Just as He Walked #5: The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

By Steve Flowers

The contrast of living a successful spiritual life versus a faithful one was not only in Jesus’ actions but also in his parable teachings.  Over the next few posts we will meditate on three parables to uncover how Jesus taught to serve God faithfully, not successfully.

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Walk Just As He walked #3: Successful versus Faithful

By Steve Flowers

As I wrote in the previous post, decades ago I adopted Mother Teresa’s spiritual maxim that God does not call me to be successful, but to be faithful. Though it rang true, it would take years of studying to see its origin in the various pieces of the Bible’s truth. The final piece that drove home the meaning was not from any one passage or story from scripture but kind of a finally-seeing-the-forest-amidst-the-trees realization. Though not explicitly stated in the Bible, it was finally seeing how Jesus lived this truth in the most powerful and dramatic way at the end of his life, a way that was very different from what we would expect from leaders today.

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Walk Just As He Walked #2: The Tale of the Unconventional Shoemaker

By Steve Flowers

Once upon a time, a new shoemaker and his apprentices came to a village and set up a booth at the edge of the marketplace. The other more established shoemakers looked at them with contempt and told each other, “Surely, he will fail.” After all, shoemaking is a difficult trade and this shoemaker was not known by any of them.

But the new shoemaker spoke of how his shoes would make the people feel renewed. Slowly, people came and tried on the new shoemaker’s footwear. And each time, they were astounded! They had never felt this way before.

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Stories From A Village Podcast: Learning to Live Beyond Labels

By Ivy Lamb

For more than a decade, Joey identified as an atheist. Today he calls himself a Christian again, but his story isn’t what you might think. In this episode, Ivy and Joey talk about his early experiences with Catholicism, how his moral convictions led him to leave the church, and how he eventually returned to Christianity with a different perspective. His story illuminates and challenges how we think about the labels of “Christian” and “atheist.”

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Walk Just As He Walked #1: The invitation of “Follow me”

By Steve Flowers

Many people today are seeking after God and/or spirituality. Christianity has a simple invitation to this search for everyone: follow Jesus. It is fashioned after Jesus’ own call— a two-word summons sprinkled throughout the Gospels (emphasis added):

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” (Mark 1:16-17)

As (Jesus) was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” (Mark 2:14a)

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” (John 1:43)

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On The Table Podcast: Up, Up, and Away!

By Steve Flowers & Jordan Flowers

Jordan and Steve share how they came to love comic books and superheroes and then discuss where they see faith being reflected in the characters and stories of those superheroes.

This episode along with the bonus OTT 8.1 episode also released today are the last OTT episodes for our first season. OTT season 2 will return in 2019.

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On The Table Podcast: Picking Fights with Jesus

By Steve Flowers and Jordan Flowers

In this 3rd installment of the periodic series studying through The Gospel of Mark, Steve and Jordan discuss the five conflict stories in Mark 1:40-3:12. They reflect on the scripture, including where we might be picking a similar fight with Jesus by not recognizing who He really is and when someone criticizes the way we live a Christ-shaped life, we should try to turn that into a teachable moment like Jesus does instead of escalating the heat.

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On The Table Podcast: Flo Bros Edition

All the Flo bros are together as Heath and Tanner join their brother Jordan and their dad Steve. The brothers talk about what resonated and what didn’t in their own spiritual upbringings, a discussion that at times is serious but also at times explained in laughter (including at Dad’s expense). The conversation ends with their take on funny suggestions for new segments on OTT.

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In the Shade of Two Trees #12: Revelation and the One Tree

By Scott Anderson

Genesis is an origin story, a glimpse into our common past. In Genesis, we find a description of how the world was formed, how humans were created, and how the bond of marriage was instituted. We have an explanation of how evil entered God’s good creation and of our responsibility for our alienation from God and from one another.

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In the Shade of Two Trees # 11: Two Trees, One Arborist

By Scott Anderson

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus claims that He has come to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, (Matthew 5:17). In fulfilling the law, however, Jesus distinguishes between the ethical (the way of law) and the experiential (the way of love). Jesus undertakes a series of distinctions between what the people have been taught by the religious leaders and what He is teaching. In chapters 5 through 7 of Matthew, Jesus corrects the customary interpretations of the law—“you have heard it said”—with his own interpretations—“but I say.”

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On The Table Podcast: The Opening Portrait

By Steve Flowers and Jordan Flowers

In this episode, Steve and Jordan discuss the opening portrait Mark 1: 2-39 paints of Jesus — both the path to and initial acts in Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus’ preparation included strategies for us all to consider and his initial ministry acts reveal the primary traits Jesus will exhibit throughout Mark’s Gospel.

This is the 2nd installment of the periodic series studying through The Gospel of Mark.

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In the Shade of Two Trees #10: Jesus and His View of God

By Scott Anderson

Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus did not speak much about a terrifying and dictatorial God, one who spoke to humans only through fire and smoke and who would decimate populations whenever it served His unknowable purposes. Jesus believed that God was immanent, a God who chose to create the world and then inhabit it, who chose to create humans and incarnate Himself in them. “The kingdom of heaven,” Jesus assured His disciples, “ is within you.” Luke 17:21.

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In the Shade of Two Trees #9: The Religious Leaders and Their View of God

By Scott Anderson

We have reviewed two ways in which to interpret God’s seven distinct attributes. We can view God through the lens of righteousness, or we can view God through the lens of relationship. We have scriptural evidence of what happens when we view God through either of these lenses. The Religious Leaders of Jesus’ day – the Pharisees – tended to view God through an ethical lens. And Jesus tended to view God through an experiential lens. Here, we will look at the Pharisees’ religious habits.  Continue reading “In the Shade of Two Trees #9: The Religious Leaders and Their View of God”

A Reflection on Romans 13 in light of its use by Attorney General Sessions

By Steve Flowers

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:1-7, NRSV)

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In the Shade of Two Trees #8: God-the-Sustainer

By Scott Anderson

One way of reading the Genesis narrative is as a story about punishment for disobedience. The direct consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobeying God was death. The first couple sinned and, as punishment, were banned from paradise and afflicted with mortality. God’s favor initially rested on them: they had full access to the garden, its delights, and to God as well as God’s devotion. But when the couple disobeyed, God killed them for it.

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