Re:Verse passage – Colossians 4:7-18 (day two) Greet the brethren…vs. 15a

No man is an island…These words were penned by the great poet John Donne. Paul, like Donne, understood that since God has created us for community he has made us to work in community for a greater Kingdom purpose. At the end of his epistle, Paul is wise to include all those who co-labor with him to that great purpose of distributing the gospel of Jesus. Whether they were hand-delivering the letter, reading it aloud, maintaining the church in Colossae, or Laodicea, they were all part of God’s design to change the world.

No single pastor is called to do the work of the church. We are built for community, and every link in the chain matters to the great purpose to which we have been called. You are not alone in this fight, you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.


No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Pray More

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 4:2-6 (day two) Devote yourselves to prayer. vs 1a

Take this week’s passage in addition to chapter three and consider the weight of these words. How can we adequately treat others the way God intends for us to if we are not seeking guidance, strength, and forgiveness from the Lord? The necessity to pray cannot be overstated. Paul recognizes that all the he has written to the Colossian church is dependent upon an active and vibrant prayer life. Want to treat your spouse better? Pray more. Want to treat your children with more grace? Pray more. Do you need assistance in the way you handle work relationships? Pray more.

Paul is not giving a formula for success, but a foundation to build your faith journey upon.


Re:Verse passage – Colossians 3:18-4:1 (day two)

knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. 4:1b

I have a confession. I really enjoy English period dramas. There, I’ve said it, now you can form whatever opinions of me that you like. I am a fan of English music, architecture, history, and literature. So it will come as no surprise to you that we watch Downton Abbey quite a bit in our home. Throughout the series there is a clearly defined boundary between upstairs and downstairs. Much of the series is about pushing these boundaries, or at least testing their limits, but they exist nonetheless. The truth is, however, that even those who lived upstairs, the aristocracy, were bound by the rules and conventions as well. No one was completely without some sort of rules for living.

Our freedom comes from serving others, but truly from serving Christ. We are only free in light of his authority. This must be the catalyst for how we comport every relationship, every business, every institution if we are to accurately claim to be followers of Christ. We must treat others as if we are clearly under his authority.

Whatever You Do

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 3:10-17 (day two)  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. vs. 17

As much I love verse 16, it is this charge that Paul gives in the next verse that has helped shape me as a husband, father, pastor, friend. Don’t you find it at least more difficult to pray for someone if you have prayed for or with them? When you see someone that you disagree with and remember that they, too, are a child of God, shouldn’t it make your conversation go differently? If we are to take this at face value then we must reconcile that Jesus is near at all times. He see us when we argue needlessly and selfishly. When we lie or cheat another, he is there. We need to act like we believe this verse. All the time.

Look Up!

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 3:1-9 (day two) Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. vs. 2

Believe it or not I used to consider myself a runner. I enjoyed my time in distance training, especially in the Fall in the Midwest. One of the things that I remember from some particularly long runs was the tendency to keep my head down. It was during these times that I was constantly focused on how much farther I had to run. My mind was constantly trying to figure out how far I had run and my energy to be able to finish. Those runs never went well. When I remembered to look up it was different. Something about seeing what is ahead and around you that changes your focus. Paul is encouraging us to do this very thing. Look up, get your focus on Jesus. When you fixate on him everything changes.

You’re a Baptist?!

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:16-23 (day two) Things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. v. 17

Stop me if you heard this response before: Oh, you’re a Baptist. You mean you don’t drink or dance?

Paul, like Peter and his vision in Acts, was dealing with both ceremonial laws that no longer held the same meaning since Jesus atonement, and to the customs of other cultures. We have clear lines of right and wrong, but they only carry a substance of what is to come. We need to be focused on what defines us as believers.

Wouldn’t you rather people say: Oh, you’re a Baptist! You have the greatest mission organization in the world. You guys have the highest regard for scripture than anyone. It is amazing how you have responded to Jesus’ call to love your neighbor.

Let our zeal for Jesus and love for his people be so great it will be what we are known for.



Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:8-15 (day two) 

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. vs. 9 

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb. Annunciation John Donne

John Donne is one of my favorite English metaphysical poets. His poetry, like many of this movement, used expressive language and metaphor to capture the incomprehensible. This poetry are a beautiful picture of our own faith journey. We are forever trying to work out the mystery of our faith using our understanding and small parts of the bigger whole. There are parts of this mystery that will remain so until we reach Heaven. There are other parts that will be revealed as we faithfully walk.

The idea of a God walking as a man is mind-blowing. All of the creator in the created. We do well to remember that Jesus was fully God, and his decision to be fully man was voluntary and for our benefit. May we never lose sight of his choice to walk with us. May it not be lost on us that this creator of fruit trees was often hungry. He who designed us for rest was also weary. All of this was for you. Have you thanked him for that lately?

I also would like to encourage to familiarize yourself with the work of John Donne and his contemporaries. It may be a bit wordy for some, but the reward is worth the effort.


Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.



Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:1-7 (day two)

 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

These verses are a real encouragement to me as I think about our faith journey. Receiving Christ is an end in itself, but it is also the beginning of our new life journey. Now we are being rebuilt, our knowledge of His kingdom and purpose should grow as we are given access to the fullness of Christ. Our faith must not be a stagnant one, but, rather, one that is growing, active, and seeking opportunities to serve.

Then don’t miss how this passage ends. Recognizing the new life within us should be a cause for great joy. We should be filled with thanksgiving for this new found purpose. Get out, live your faith, give thanks to God.


Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:24-29 (day two) To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. vs. 27

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith – thus begins an ancient prayer that is still used in many churches today. There are mysteries of faith that we will spend our earthly lives pondering about. The “why would God leave his throne to become a man” mysteries that we will not fully understand until we reach heaven. There are others, however, that we simply need to seek an answer to find. Christ in us is a matter of curiosity to non-believers. That cannot understand where our hope springs from. They may notice our worldview is radically different from the prevailing thoughts of the day, and we remain a puzzle. But this mystery is completely knowable. Christ in us is available to all. What is curiosity to some, can become reality when they truly seek Jesus. Aren’t you glad that he has revealed himself for us to know, even if there are things that still confound us?

Dying for an Enemy

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:20-23 (day two)  And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,  yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—vs. 21-22

When was the last time you really considered your life before Jesus? To think that you were not just a sinner, but in opposition to God is exactly where we were. Sometimes willfully, often by ignorance, but always alienated from God. To live a life contrary to the will of the Father is to walk as an enemy. It was in this condition that Jesus found us and offered grace. Scripture reminds us that a “good” man will lay down his life for a friend, but who would die for a race of people living in opposition to the truth? Never stop being amazed at what Jesus has done for us. Never stop telling that story to others.