Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
Mark 11.12 - .26
Matthew 21.12 - .22
In Mark 11.12 - .26 (also in Matthew 21.12 - .22) we find Jesus hungry and walking from Bethany towards the Temple in Jerusalem. He sees in the distance a fig tree with leaf. He approaches it to see if it has any figs and he finds none. This should have been no surprise to Jesus because it was not fig season. Instead of using his power over creation to make the tree produce figs he curses the tree so no one will ever eat figs from it again.
Why does he do this?
He is making a point by using a dramatic prophetic act. Prophets in the past have done this to make there points as well. What point is Jesus making? He is making one about the Temple! From a distance when one saw the Temple it looked like a place to worship and pray. Unfortunately when you get into the temple you discover it had become a market place. Like the fig tree the Temple is producing the leaves but has no fruit.
Jesus' dramatic prophetic actions don't end with the fig tree. When he enters the Temple he begins to throw people out! He over turns the tables and benches of the money changers and sellers of doves. He doesn't even let anyone carry merchandise thru the temple. Following the chaos he begins to teach the people who gather around. Part of his teaching is that the Temple was to be a place of prayer for all nations but it has become a den of robbers (Mark 11.17, Isaiah 56.7 & Jeremiah 7.11). His prophetic action against the fig tree and Temple become clear.
The fig tree represents the Temple. It is a place of prayer and worship, that is no longer producing fruit, in fact it has become corrupted. So what do you do with a fruit tree that produces no fruit?
You cut it down! What is the LORD going to do with the Temple that is no longer a house of prayer and worship? Destroy it! That is exactly what happens in the AD 70 at the hands of the Roman army.
This could easily happen to us! If you or I do not produce fruit as one of God's people we will be cut off. If the church is no longer a place of prayer, fellowship, worship and learning it will be treated like the Temple or the fig tree. It is a warning to us to be fruitful so
that we won't perish like the fig tree.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
i haven't had a chance to vlog in a while but here are some experiments i have been doing with a demo version of istopmotion the first section is out my window looking up the hill the middle section is me working on my sermon last sunday (the road to emmaus it is coming soon) and the last section is just straight out my window. the car is lilly (named by the kids) the ford we bought back in 95 while still in abilene texas. she is a blessing.
the sound track is something i put together in garageband it is a cut down of a longer song i call "08 techno"
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Matthew 26.6 – 16; Mark 14.1 – 11 and John 12.1 – 11
In the town of Bethany lived some people Jesus loved deeply. I would venture to say that these 3 siblings were Jesus’ best friends. You will remember the sisters from an earlier meal but the brother has a fame all his own. Martha invited Jesus to her house for a meal earlier and her sister Mary was there too (Luke 10.38 – 42). Martha busied herself with the meal, while Mary just sat and listened to Jesus. You know the rest of the story but Lazarus has an even more amazing story. He was dead for at least 4 days when Jesus arrived and raised Lazarus from his sleep (John 11.1 – 44).
Now sometime later a dinner is being held in honor of Jesus at Simon the Leper’s house. If you read the accounts in Matthew and Mark you do not learn the name of the women who anoints Jesus but John gives us her name. She is Mary! This is the very same Mary who sat at the Masters feet to learn and whose brother was raised from the grave. We again find Martha serving but this time she does not complain, while Mary worships Jesus. Lazarus and the rest of the guest enjoy the meal.
When Mary pours half a liter of expensive perfume on Jesus feet the entire house if filled with the fragrance (John 12.3). I feel that she does this in appreciation for Jesus raising her brother from the dead and because she like her sister believes that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is an act of worship on her behalf. She had been saving it for his funeral but feels compelled to anoint him with it now.
One of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, watches this and comments, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” (John 12.5) John tells is that Judas’ motivations were not pure because he kept the moneybag and would help himself to its contents (John 12.6). Jesus not only defends Mary but also rebukes Judas. “Leave her alone! She was saving this for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Essentially he is saying, she is giving me a wonderful gift and I will not let you diminish it! He is also telling Judas that he is a hypocrite. There are poor all around you should be helping instead of complaining about what Mary is doing.
Matthew and Mark tell us that following this rebuke Judas goes to the chief priest (Matthew 26.14 – 16 & Mark 14.10 &11). He agrees to betray Jesus. The chief priests are delighted to hear this.
You and I need to fill our houses with the fragrance of our worship. People in our lives need to smell worship when we are near by. They can smell it thru our actions, thru our words and thru our attitudes. Our lives will not be perfect of easy but like many of the Psalmists we can worship the LORD in the midst of our pain.
Judas is rebuked by Jesus and instead of deciding that Jesus is right and he needs to make some changes in his life. He decides to turn his back on the LORD. When we read the Bible or another believer challenges us we need to listen to what we read and what they are saying. Instead of shutting Jesus out of our lives like Judas, we need to open ourselves up to be changed into something better than we are. It won’t be easy but it will save us!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
click here to listen to "sabbath supper at the pharisee's house"
I gave this sermon the evening of Sunday, August 21st 2005 at the Church of Christ in Falls Church, Va.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Holy is your name.
As I watch the suffering and hardship in the wake of hurricane Katrina I know that I am helpless to do anything.
I ask that you, my God, will bring comfort and grieving.
I ask you to feed the hungry.
I ask you to clothe the naked.
I as you to shelter the homeless.
I ask that you protect and care for the orphan and widow
There are many who are dong their best to help the victims of the Gulf Coast.
Give them mercy
Give them strenght
Give them patients
Give them wisdom
Give them home
They need these so much in this difficult time.
I can only imagine how hopeless they feel. You are the only hope. I pray that you will show them your hope and glory thru Your people.
Open our hearts
Open our eyes
Open our hands
To show Your hope, love, grace and mercy to those who need it so badly.
Move Your Holy Spirit in Your people to contenue Your Son's ministry here and now. Make us to humbly serve.
Show me the best way I can help.
I pray this in the awesome and powerful name of Your Son Jesus Christ
click here to watch a prayer for the gulf coast
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
We gather here mourning the lose of our Memaw
and our friend
we do not mourn as those without hope but because of your Son we mourn and grieve with hope.
As we share our memories of Memaw's life and our time with her we are filled with hapiness and sorrow
we are filled with saddness and joy.
Sorrow and saddness because of the dark times we shared.
Saddness and sorrow because our time with Memaw has come to an end for now.
Happiness and joy because of the good times we all shared together.
Joy and happiness because of the hope that we will all be together again in the resurection.
We know that this is not the end of Memaw life with you. But it is only the end of the beginning of her eternal life with You.
She started her eternal life with You long ago when she became one of your children and she has been a shining example of your great and steadfast love in this dark world.
She has been a light to all of us quietly living a life that glorifies you.
Encouraging us by actions and words to live a life that glorifies you.
As she leaves us now to join that great cloud of witnesses. Help us to folloe in her godly footsteps and live as shining examples ofyour great love in this dark world.
Contenue to fill us with your grace, mercy, hope and love.
We pray this in the wonderful and beautiful name of your resurrected Son.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
as much as i will miss my memaw i am happy that she had a great life and was a great spiritual example to me as to how to live a christian life.
i will be leaving for atlanta on thursday.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Part Two Luke 11.37 – 54
As Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for tithing but forgettin justice and
the love of God (Luke 11.42); seeking honor from people and not God
(11.43); and finally for being unmarked graves that look good on the
outside but on the inside are dead and decaying (Luke 11.44). In the
middle of this an “expert of the law” spoke up and said “Teacher,
when you say these things, you insult us as well.” (Luke 11.45)
So the “expert of the law” steps into the line of fire and Jesus lets him
and his collegues know what is wrong with them. First Jesus rebukes
them for loading people down with burdens and doing nothing to help
them (Luke 11.46). Their teachings are hard to follow and it is
difficult to live out what the experts are teaching. To make matters
worse the teachers are unwilling to help people live out what they
are teaching. They have forgotten that we, as teachers, are called to
challenge people to live a life that glorifies God. We can not forget
that it is not easy. We need to help those who are new to Christ or
are struggleing to live a life pleaseing to God. We need to show
them forgiveness. We need to show them that we also struggle to live
a God pleasing life. We need to bare each others burdens.
Then he rebukes them for honoring the prophets with fancy tombs
but not honoring the teaching or life of the prophet. Their “fathers”
killed these prophets and didn't follow the teachings of the prophets.
Now the “children”, the teachers of the law are not honoring the
prophets teaching or life but are simply paying lip service to the
prophets lives. The teachers of the law are just as guilty as their
fathers. This is a warning to us as well. As Christians we get caught
up in the birth of Jesus and his crucifiction but we forget about his
life. When Jesus is born he is a small and safe little baby that makes
us all feel good. With the crucifiction Jesus dies, forgives us, raises
from the dead and then ascends into heaven. His life on the other
hand is full of uncomfortable teaching and activity that we need to
honor with our lives.
Finaly Jesus wraps up with the teachers of the law and puts the two
woes together, jut like he did with the pharisees. The teachers of the
law have taken the “key to knowledge” away from the people. Not
only that but they don't use it themselves. The teachers lived in a
time when very few people had access to the written word of God.
The teachers were keeping it to themselves and not sharing it with
the people. They were also not using the key themselves in allowing
the Word to work in their own lives. Unlike the teachers we live in a
time when anyone can buy a copy of the Bible and read it. Many
people will not understand what they read. We need to help them to
understand the messages found in the Bible. The story of God's
wonderful love for us. The story of Jesus' life with us. The teachings
that Jesus, Peter, Paul and others leave for us to help us live in a way
that pleases God.
In conclusion, the woes against the Pharisees and teachers of the
law can apply to us as well. Like the Pharisees we are trying our best
to live a holy, righteous and pure life that pleases the LORD. Like the
teachers of the law, we have access to the Word and are struggling to
understand the Word and its teachings. Like the Pharisee and
teachers we can sometimes be guilty of pride and hypocrasy that lead
us to drift away from God and lead others astray as well. Our
challenge like theirs is to be aware of these pitfalls and to rely on
God's power to stay out of them.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Luke 11.37 – 54
Now you know how the Pharisee in Luke 11.37 - .54 felt. He has invited Jesus to eat after of day of teaching and healing. They all recline at the table when the Pharisee notices that Jesus has not washed his hands! (Luke 11.37 - .38) With Jesus we have a good idea that he has touches sick people to heal them. All those germs and all that dirt were on his hands. This washing was not just for hygene but also to be ceremonially clean before you ate. His hands were unclean literally and religiously. Now if you read the text carefully you will notice that the Pharisee never says anything but Jesus knows what he is thinking and responds to that with a strong rebuke!
First he confronts them with a general rebuke (Luke 11.39 - .41). The Pharisees are so careful to make sure they look righteous and clean that they have forgotten to clean the insides. Jesus uses the anlogy of a cup or dish. If you have cup that is dirty all over you wash all of it so you can use it but the Pharisees were only cleaning the outside of the cup so that they looked clean but were really dirty on the inside. He tells them they need to clean both the inside of their lives and the outside. You need to care for you wicked and greedy inside like you would take care of a poor person.
Then Jesus gets specific with three “woes” against the Pharisees (Luke 11.42 - .44) and then three against the teachers of the law (Luke 11.46 - .52). All 6 woes are important for us to listen to because they can apply to us today as well. We are going to explore the first three today and then finish out the last three tomorrow.
First He rebukes them for getting the tithe right but forgetting to show justice and the love of God (Luke 11.42). He is accusing them of being hypocrites. They should have done them all! They got tithing down perfect but they forgot to get justice and the love of God right. We face the same danger. We may have baptism, communion and worship down perfectly but do we forget to show justice. Are we neglecting the love of God?
Secondly he rebukes them for loving recognition and honor from people (Luke 11.43). The Pharisees love to sit in the important seat at the synagogue and to be greeted in the market. They sought honor and recognition from men and not from God. They suffered from the oldest sin, pride! We face this danger too. Who are seeking approval from? Do we seek the approval of other people? Do we want to be seen with important people? Or Do we seek to be humble and be satisfied with the status we have? Do we seek approval from God by living the life he calls us to live?
The third woe deals with the consequence of the first two rebukes (Luke 11.45). Pride plus Hypocrisy in a religious leader leads to them being unmarked graves! Instead of showing people how to be holy and live a life that pleases God, the Pharisees, unknown to their followers, were actually making people unclean! Are we leading people astray as we try to live a holy life? If we only get our actions right and not our heart and attitudes we are hypocrites. If we seek the approval of other people rather than living a life that pleases God our pride has gotten in the way. The result is that we make people unclean instead of helping them to be holy.
Part Two Tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Of all the famous siblings one finds in the Bible as far as I can tell there are only two sisters who make that list Martha and Mary. These two sisters seem to be very important to Jesus. They first show up in Luke 10 where Martha opens her home to him. Then in John 11 where Jesus raises their brother Lazarus from the dead. Mary may show up again but since there are so many Marys in the Gospels and Romans it is hard to tell if it is her or another Mary.
When we first meet these sisters when Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem (Luke 10.38 – 42). He has only recently revealed to his disciples that he is going there to be put to death. They arrive in Bethany where Martha has opened her home to Jesus and his disciples. She is so busy with all that has to be done Luke tells us she is “distracted” with all the preparations (Luke 10.40). On the other hand Mary is quietly sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to everything he has to say (Luke 10.39).
Martha knows this and goes to Jesus and says “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10.40) She is expecting a positive answer instead Jesus has a gentle rebuke. “Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be take away from her.” (Luke 10.41 - .42) The story ends there.
There are many lessons that have been taken from this story. Some say that it is better to be like Mary and just listen to Jesus’ teachings and not get distracted by doing a lot of things. Some have said that this is and example of how worldly concerns can crowd out spiritual concerns. They try to make a big point or teaching from a small thing.
Here is one thing I think Jesus is saying. Martha is making an offering to the Lord Jesus Christ. She is offering her home and hospitality. Her sister is also making an offering to the Lord. She is offering her mind and heart as open vessels to be taught. Both of these are worthy offerings and the Lord wants both services and devotion. Where Martha goes wrong is that she is worrying not about her offering but about her sister. She feels that the Lord doesn’t care that she is working hard to make things right while her sister is just sitting there doing nothing. At that time one thing needed be done and that was for Mary and Martha to sit at his feet and learn. At another time Mary should have been helping but not at that time.
It is a timing issue. We need to have a better since of timing. We need to know when it is time to “doing” or to be serving and when it is time to be “being” or spending time in devotion. Martha was doing, she was serving, when it was a time of devotion a time to just be! This is a challenge. We live in a world that doesn’t value taking time to stop. We live in a society that values “doers” more than “be-ers.” The challenge is to know when to be and when to do. The only way to know is to listen to the LORD just like he told Martha He will also let us know as well.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
this is a prayer answered for our friends. thank you God for blessing them.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Caleb's London Summer '05 Blog: Explosions in London
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Monday, July 04, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
my friend randy has to be my favorite karaoke performer to watch. he doesn’t take himself to seriously but lets it all go and has a great time no matter how he sounds or acts.
it’s my turn here I am performing “kiss me” by sixpence none the richer.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
you think your gas is expensive take a look at the gas prices at an exxon (designated with the "A" makrer) not far from my house. i took this picture last week and used it in my sermon last sunday night (this will be posted soon). keep your eye on the decimal point.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Compassion of Christ and Works in Progress
Matthew 15.29 – 39 and Mark 8.1 - .13
Matthew follows the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 men (Matthew 14.13 - .21) with the story of Jesus feeding 4,000 men (Matthew 15.29 - 39.) Mark records the story (Mark 8.1 - .13) shortly after the feeding of the 5,000 (mark 6.30 – 44). If you read these two stories together they are essentially the same. In both stories a large crowd is with Jesus. There is nowhere for them to get food. The disciples have a little bit of food and Jesus uses that to feed the crowd. The specifics in each story differ but the overall stories are the same. Which leaves us with a big question, “Why tell this story?”
We already know from reading the 5000 that Jesus can do a lot with a little. We also already know that when God gives us a flock to care for we must do that. Both of these lessons are learned again in the feeding of the 4,000. So why tell this story?
I am going to focus on two reasons that I see.
First, this story demonstrates Jesus’ love and compassion for us. He has been healing and teaching the crowd with him for the last 3 days and they have nothing to eat. He looks out at the crowd and tells his disciples that He has compassion for them. The disciples ask him where will they get enough food to feed them. Jesus asks them how much food they have. He takes their 7 loaves of bread and the few fish they have and feeds the hungry crowd. Once again Jesus’ love and compassion for us is demonstrated. He doesn’t just tell us he loves and cares for us but shows it with his actions.
The second reason I think this story is told is to show us that the disciples, like us, are works in progress. They are still learning to rely on Jesus and his power. He takes the small amount of food they have and feeds all the people. Again he shows them his power so that they will learn to rely on it. Again they are shown that no matter how powerless they feel He will take what little we have and do great things.
Matthew and Mark tell us this story to show us that Jesus has compassion and love for us. When we are in need and can not provide for ourselves, Jesus is there for you and me. They also tell us this story to show that the disciples are still learning. If you don’t know all there is about being one of God’s people. If you don’t know how to rely on Jesus Christ’s power instead of your own. Don’t worry you are in good company the disciples didn’t either but they learned over time to rely on Christ’s power. They learned more and more about living as one of God’s people by following the SON.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
John 6.1 - .15
Luke 9.10 - .17
Mark 6.30 - .45
Matthew 14.13 – .21
After about a two-month break I am returning to my series on the meals of Jesus. Looking at the largest recorded meal that Jesus was a part of. This meal is traditionally called “The Feeding of the 5,000” and can be found Matthew 14.13 - .21, Mark 6.30 - .45, Luke 9.10 - .17 and John 6.1 - .15. Interesting fact about this meal it is the only miracle (other than the resurrection) that is recorded in all four gospels! It is obvious to me that this event, this miracle had a huge impact on the Matthew and John as participants in the event and on the sources for Mark’s and Luke’s gospel accounts. I think I know why.
Several days earlier Jesus had sent the 12 Apostles out in pairs to teach and heal (Mark 6.1 – 13 & Luke 9.1 - .6). They were given he authority to drive out demons and heal the sick. They were told to teach in the towns and villages they went to. They were also told to “take nothing” with them. They were to rely on the LORD for their provisions. The LORD would give them a place to stay and food to eat but they weren’t to take anything with them. Shortly before they return Jesus gets the news that Herod the Tetrarch has beheaded his cousin, John the Baptist (Matthew 14.1 – 13, Mark 6.14 – 29 & Luke 9.7 - .9). When the 12 return they want to tell Jesus all about what they did and He wants to take them to a solitary place to process their trip and mourn the loss of his cousin.
So they get in a boat to go to a solitary place and are thwarted by the crowd. Jesus gets out of the boat and finds a crowd waiting for him (Matthew 14.13 - .21, Mark 6.30 - .45, Luke 9.10 - .17 & John 6.1 - .15). He sees them as sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6.34) and begins to shepherd them by teaching them about the Kingdom of God. The day is getting late and the 12 come to Jesus and ask him to send the crowd away to the surrounding towns and villages to find food cause there was no where to buy food where they were. Jesus answer is essentially “NO, you feed them.” John tells us He does this to test them and he already knew what he was going to do.
They are stunned by his answer and proceed to tell him why they can’t take care of all these people. First, they don’t have enough money it would take 8 months wages to feed them. 8 month’s wage is tremendous amount of money then and now. Secondly we only have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish for ourselves. My guess is that by this point they have failed the test. Jesus tells them to give him the food and have the crowd sit down. He then gives thanks for the food, blesses it and distributes it to everyone there. Then the most amazing thing happens not only does everyone get to eat but they are filled and there are left overs!
So why is this in every gospel? What lesson did these guys learn that made them all tell it? The first lesson I see is feed your sheep; take care of the flock God blesses you with. Jesus gets off the boat and there before him is a lost crowd he sees as sheep and he begins to shepherd them by caring for their souls through teaching them and then taking care of their bodies by feeding them until they were full. The LORD blesses each of us with people we are to care for and he expects us to do that. Just like Jesus expected the 12 to care for the crowd. You may not feel like you have the resources, time, money or energy to do that! Don’t worry that brings us to the second lesson I see, the LORD can do and does do great things with the little we have. If you stop and thing about it we really have nothing compared to all that the LORD has but He takes our nothing and through his power does great things. Jesus took 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and feed over 5,000 people! Imagine what he can do with the wealth we in this country have been blessed with. These are only two lessons that I see and have the space to explore. Read these texts for yourself and feel the power of this story!
Thursday, June 09, 2005
here is your predictors song of the week "ballad of phil".
history lesson when your all alone you can always date yourself
here is the song bob wrote about memaw for her birthday it is titles "july song" (the link isn't up yet when it is i will update this entry.)
you should also surf on over to the trinity vineyard website to see if they put kris sermon from sunday night the 29th of may it was really good! i just checked the site and the lesson is up it is titled "foundations"
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
the history lesson for this week is before practice we used to eat at lettuce souprise you down in sandy springs just off roswell rd.
also look for some vlogging to come soon as well!
Sunday, May 15, 2005
so what went on in my life over the last month. (not in any chronological order but just random)
lilly is back up and running. she broke down at tyson's corner mall in february dead as a door nail. so she say in front of the byrd house north for about 2 months until my tax rebate came back (you got to love the child tax credit) so now i have my car back. what was the problem you may ask. in the back of the car there is a fuel shut off valve in case the car gets rear ended so it won't explode well that shut off valve had closed while she say in the parking lot. so all the mechanic had to do was turn the valve off and open it up. so a simple problem that no one thought of was what was up!
in my back yard i saw a wild turkey! i had no idea what i was looking at one morning but that is what was. i post some video of it soon.
i have my two interns and housing for them so that is taken care of.
i am rearranging my office after 5 years of the same old office it is time for a new look.
the upper room teen ministry moved from our old room to a new one down the hall. we cleaned all our stuff out of the old upper room today and will move into the new room this wednesday if all goes according to plan. that is a bummer. that group had been in that room for almost 15 years and it had a lot of memories. now we have a new room and we will have new memories.
i will keep this up to date better and i am planning on doing some vlogging as well so we shall see how that works.
good night and see you later
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Luke 7.36 – 50
Millions of Americans owe millions of dollars. Some of us owe this money because of student loans, medical bills, mortgages, back taxes, credit card debt, car loans etc. Some of us owe more than others but most of us owe someone some money. The only way to pay this debt is to budget wisely and make your payments on time. If you are not indebted because of money you may be indebted because of actions someone has taken on your behalf. Someone gives you a ride to work when your car is dead. Someone lends you his lawn mower when yours stops working. Your neighbor lends you some tools so you can finish repairing your toilet. If you can pay this debt back by returning the favor, you don’t owe anyone money or a favor in return. Then there is our sin debt. All of us have sin in our lives and there is no way we can pay that debt. Nothing you or I can do will take away our sins.
If you were called to stand before whom ever you were indebted to and it was discovered there was no way you could pay, it is highly unlikely that the creditor would simply say you are forgiven of your debt. Our appreciation for such an act of grace and mercy would be huge. It would be kind of like the appreciation of a woman Jesus met at a Pharisee named Simon’s house.
Simon invited Jesus to eat at his house. While Jesus was eating, a woman who had heard He was in town went to Him. She stood behind Jesus, crying as he ate. Her tears wet His feet and she then dried them with her hair. After that she poured perfume on His feet too.
Simon, reclining nearby, watched this and said to himself, “If this man were a prophet he would know what kind of woman she is.” Everyone in that town knew she was a sinful woman.
Jesus knowing what Simon said to himself answers him. (Now if you read carefully Simon hasn’t asked a question or spoken to anyone but himself but Jesus knows what is in Simon’s heart.) Jesus is not going to let her act of worship be put down and defends her actions. So he answers Simon’s judgment with a story about two men.
Both of these men owe the same moneylender money. The first man owes 500 days wages while the second only owes 50 days wages. Neither of them can pay so the moneylender forgives them of their debts. Jesus then asks Simon “Which of them will love the moneylender more?” Simon answers that the one who was forgiven more will. Jesus tells him he answered correctly.
Then he applies the story to what is going on. Basically, He tells Simon that this woman has a lot of sin and because she has been forgiven of these many sins she is showing her appreciation to the forgiver. He also points out that Simon didn’t even show the kind of appreciation or hospitality a guest should expect. She loved much because she has been forgiven of much but Simon only loved a little because he had been forgiven a little.
Simon and the woman owed a debt of sin. Her life was sinful so she had more sin to be forgiven. Simon on the other hand lived a good life and didn’t have as much sin to forgive.
I am a Simon. I grew up in the church. I live a good life. I don’t sin much. One of my temptations is take my forgiveness for granted because I am a pretty good person. Just like the woman humiliated herself to show her appreciation and worship to the LORD because of the forgiveness she received from him, I am also to give all my life, my worship and appreciation to the LORD because he forgave me of a debt that could never pay.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Lord of the Sabbath
One day Jesus and his disciples were traveling the grain fields. Now this wasn’t any ordinary day this was a Sabbath Day. The Sabbath is special day of rest that the LORD commanded His people to observe. In fact it is so important to the LORD that he made it part of the Ten Commandments. This was a day of rest and a day for sacred assemblies. This is the LORD’s Sabbath that He even took when He finished creating the universe. He even took a rest from providing manna to the people on the Sabbath Day. The importance and history of this day was not lost on the His people. The disciples grew hungry as they walked thru the grain fields. They reached out and grabbed some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands and eat. To us this may not seem like an act that would violate the Sabbath day but to those of that time it was.
Now some Pharisees where also walking with Jesus. Whether they were genuinely interested in Jesus or just out to make trouble at this point is up to you. “Look!” they said “why are you and your disciples doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” (Matthew 12.2, Mark 2.24 & Luke 6.2)
In Matthew Jesus’ answer is long.
He answered, “Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread–which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘ I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ (Hosea 6.6) you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12.3 - .8)
What is he saying? I think he is saying that mercy is more important that sacrifice. Your inner religious life is more important than your outer religious life. How you are one the inside needs to reflect on your actions. The Pharisees thought they had figured out the Sabbath and were using it as a weapon to condemn people. They knew what God wanted and if people couldn’t see that, they were condemned. Jesus on the other hand says no to that concept. Instead he wants them to sacrifice their preconceived notions of what God wants and have mercy on those who don’t live exactly as them. He also wants them to know that he is God. When Jesus declares himself as Lord of the Sabbath he is basically saying I am GOD. God created the Sabbath as His final act of creation. God commanded that His people observe the Sabbath. God blessed the people with the gift of the Sabbath. No one is lord of the Sabbath but God alone.
Mark includes another quote for Jesus “The Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2.27) I love this verse because it applies to so much in our lives. The Sabbath is a gift but the Pharisees used it as a weapon to draw a line between those who were “holy” and those who weren’t. In our society there are many religious people who draw up lists of how Christians are supposed to live or are supposed to be like. Not to extend mercy but to condemn. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time they miss the point. Our righteous life, our holy life, our salvation is a gift of great mercy and sacrifice; it was made for us not us for it. Jesus tells us by quoting Hosea 6.6 that God wants us to have the same kind of grace and mercy He had rather than we get all the external trappings of religion right.
When we read about the Pharisees we need to remember two things. First, not all of these guys were bad. Many became believers and followers of Jesus. They were earnestly trying to live a life that pleased God. Second, we are the Pharisees of our day. They were the good church going people of their day. Now we are those people, so we need to be careful how we live. Do we show mercy like the Father wants? Do we just get the external trappings of religion right? Do we use our righteousness to condemn others or to help them in their walk with the LORD?
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Exposure to Living Water
In the forth chapter of John Jesus moves his ministry from Judea back to Galilee (John 4.1-.3). In order to do this he has to go thru Samaria (John 4.4). Now Jews of this time usually took the long way and bypassed Samaria because of the racial tensions between the Samaritans and the Israelites. Jesus on the other hand takes the short cut thru Samaria because he had to. Why did he have to couldn’t he have taken the long way? No and the rest of the chapter answers the question.
On this journey he stops at a well near the city of Sychar while his disciples went into town to buy some food (John 4.4-.6 & .8). While he sits there, a woman walks up to the well to get some water. Jesus asks her for a drink (John 4.7). She answers with bitterness “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” John explains her responses by stating for his readers that Jews and Samaritan don’t associate with each other (John 4.9).
Jesus doesn’t really answer her question instead he does what he came to do in Samaria. “If you new the gift of God and who it that asks you for a drink, you would have ask him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4.10) This doesn’t answer her surface question but it answers questions and desires she has deep inside of her but she doesn’t realize that yet. Instead she wants to know if Jesus is greater than Jacob the patriarch who dug this well (John 4.11 & .12). His answer is yes but it is more complicated than that. “”Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4.13 - .14) Yes I am greater than Jacob because the water I give quenches the thirst of the soul forever giving you eternal live!
She wants this water but doesn’t realize that exposure to Living Water can be dangerous.
First, living water exposes out sins. (John 4.16-.18) She asks for the living water so she won’t have to come back to the well and Jesus tells her to get her husband. BAM! Sin is exposed she isn’t married to the man whom she is living with. Jesus knows this in fact he knows that the she has had 5 husbands.
Next the living water creates tension in her. (John 4.19 - .20) She knows that her sin has just been exposed and she just admitted to it. Now she is uncomfortable and isn’t sure if she really wants this living water. So she tries to change the subject and talk about who knows the truth Samaritans of Jews.
Jesus knowing that she is trying to dodge the living water tells her the truth. (John 4.21-24) The truth is salvation is coming from the Jews. The truth is a time is coming and has come when people will worship not on mountains or in temples but in spirit and truth.
The exposure of her sin, her tension and the truth has created in her a desire to know the messiah. (John 4.25) Jesus satisfies that desire by telling her the ultimate truth; that He is the Messiah, the Christ who will explain everything! (John 4.26)
Now she has the living water and wants to share it. So she runs into town and testifies to the living water. You can imagine the town’s people. Here is a woman admitting to sin and telling them she has found the Messiah. The power of her unchanged and testimony draws them out to meet Jesus. (John 4.28 - .30)
While she is in town the disciples show back up and offer Jesus food. But Jesus has also found satisfaction by revealing His Good News to a woman who desperately needed it. He did his father’s work, which fills our deepest hunger and need. (John 4.31 – .38)
The town’s people come out and meet Jesus and listened to his many words. Because of his teaching they come to believe for themselves. (John 4.39 -. 42) The living water has done its job to them; exposing sin, creating tension, revealing truth, creating desire, providing satisfaction and finally they now testify to the power and truth of the living water.
Have you let Jesus’ living water do it work on you? Has it exposed your sins? Has it created tension in your life? Have you see the truth is reveal? Have you felt the desire for the Messiah? Have you felt the satisfaction that comes from Jesus Christ? Have you testified to the truth and shared the living water with your neighbors?
Friday, March 25, 2005
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest sea,
who formed the mountains by your great power,
having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of nations.
Those living far away fear your wonders;
where the morning dawns and the vening fades
you call forth songs of joy.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
In the previous meal we saw that one of our responses to God's power at work in our lives is worship. Peter's mother in law is sick in bed. Jesus comes and rebukes the fever making her well again. Out of her gratitude she gets up and serves Jesus and the disciple. (Mark 1.29-.34, Luke 4.38-.41 and Matthew 8.14-.17)
The next meal moves from Peter and Andrew's house to Levi's (also known as Matthew) house. (Matthew 9.9-13, Mark 2.13-.17 & Luke 5.27-.32) Levi is a tax collector. One day he is sitting in his tax collector's both and Jesus sees him. Jesus walks up and tells Levi to “Follow me.” As crazy as it may seem Levi leaves everything and follows Jesus! Something about this short encounter with Jesus cause Levi to follow. None of the Gospels record any contact between Jesus or Levi before this conversation. I feel that Levi must have heard Jesus before. I feel this way because in context of this “calling” you find Jesus teaching and healing by the sea with a large crowd. It is possible that Levi/Matthew was in that crowd or as it got closer heard about what Jesus had been teaching and doing.
The act of following is the first response that we see in this meal story. Jesus doesn't call Levi to do anything but walk where He walks. We are called the same way. Jesus is calling us to follow. That is all. That is all that He expects from us as we start our lives as a follower. He doesn't leave us where He finds us. Instead we are being lead out of our sin and condemnation. We are being lead into an eternal life with the Father!
Following his call, Levi doesn't keep Jesus to himself. He invites all his friends to come and eat with Jesus. Here is our meal. Our second response to Jesus is to share him with others. We are to invite them to follow along with us and bring them into His presence so they can hear His call too. Today we might call this evangelism. What Levi does is so much simpler than what many people think of as evangelism. He doesn't sit down and have a personal Bible study. He doesn't discuss with them about the truth of Jesus. Instead he simply invites them to see Jesus for themselves. He shares what Jesus has done to him with them. Levi brings them into Jesus presense so they too can hear His call. This is what evangelism is all about. It is about sharing what Jesus has done in your life. It is about inviting other broken sinful people to walk with you as you follow Jesus. It is about bringing people into the presence of Jesus so they too can hear His call.
Bible studies are important. How else are you going to know who Jesus is in order to hear the call? Discussing the truth of Jesus is important. How else are people going to know that the historical Jesus is really the Son of God? In my opinion, your personal testimony is just as important. If all your Bible study and all the truth about who Jesus is doesn't change how you live, then it is meaningless. You have to be changed. You have to follow.
As some Pharisees and teachers of the law looked around they discovered that Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners. How could a rabbi do such a thing? How could the Son of God eat with these dirty sinners. He should be with the righteous like them. He should be pointing a condemning finger at “those people.”
Why is Jesus eating with “those people”? The answer is simple “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He came to call the sinners. That is you and me.
This meal story is so very powerful. We see Jesus calling Levi to simply follow Him where ever he leads and Levi does. We see Levi responding to his call by inviting, sharing and bringing his fellow sinners into the presence of Jesus. Finally, we see that Jesus came to call us in the middle of our sinfulness to follow Him. As we follow Jesus, He leads us out of our sinfulness into eternal life with the Father. What an awesome message to share.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
In the next meal we see in a small picture, the big picture of Jesus' ministry and our response to that ministry.
It was Sabbath day and Jesus had just finished teaching in the Synagogue. Suddenly a man possessed with a demon challenges Jesus. Jesus frees the man from his possession. The people were amazed at Jesus. They were amazed by the authority of Jesus over the demon and the fact that his teaching had authority! (Mark 1.21-.28 & Luke 4.31-.37)
Simon Peter and his brother Andrew invited Jesus, James, and John to their home. When they came to the house, Jesus is asked to heal Simon Peter's mother in law who has a high fever. Jesus goes to her and takes her by the hand, helps her up and the fever leaves her. Immediately in response to her healing she begins to serve them the meal. (Matthew 8.14&.15, Mark 1.29-.31 & Luke 4.38&.39)
Later when the sun goes down and the Sabbath day is done the people in the town bring all the sick and demon possessed to be healed. Jesus goes threw the crowd healing and casting out demons. He does this not in and impersonal way, but he touches them. Just like he reached out and touched Simon Peter's mother in law, he takes the time to provide a personal touch. (Matthew 8.16&.17, Mark 1.32-.34 & Luke 4.40&.41)
In these little pictures we see two big pictures. First, what our response to God's power working in our lives should be. Worship! Simon Peter's mother in law is sick in bed with a fever. Jesus comes to her takes her by the hand and the fever is taken away! God's power enters into her life and changes her. No longer is she sick but she is whole again. So what is her response to what happened? She serves him. She devotes time to wait on him. She worships Jesus with her actions. This is what our response to God's power working in our lives should be. When we are made whole, when our sins are forgiven, when our emptiness is filled by God's power, we are led to worship! We are led to devote our time and lives to the LORD!
The second big picture is Jesus' authority. In Mark's gospel authority is a major theme. In this story we see Jesus authority over disease and over demons. By healing and casting out demons he shows us his authority over them. We also see he has authority in his teaching. After Jesus finishes teaching and casting out the demon, the people are amazed because the teaching had authority on its own not like the teachers of the law!
Finally we see his personal touch. When Simon's mother in law is healed and when he heals the many in the crowd he touches them. In the middle of his mission to save everyone from sin, He takes the time to touch individuals in a crowd. He has the time for each of us.
In this little picture of the meal at Simon's house and the events surrounding it we see three big pictures. First we see that our response to Jesus' power in our lives is worship. Second we see the Jesus has authority over demons, disease and his teaching has authority. Finally we see that our LORD has time to touch each of us and not just deal with the crowd.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
this is the hardest part just waiting, not knowing and praying. i offered the internship to 2 really good candidates and i really really want them to accept and come out this summer. that is what i am praying for.
if they say no i keep searching. i am not looking forward to that if it happens
Friday, February 25, 2005
i can't wait to sleep in my own bed is has been a long week. winterfest, intern hunt and prepare/enrich certification all in one week. lisa is the best wife ever.
oh i got gmail! so if you want to email my gmail account and add to my kewlness send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
had diner with my friend paul and caught up with him.
i love my cabin at the koa. it is nice and queit. no cable tv. i am about 10 feet from the bath house and i have wifi! what more could you want.
very different from the hotel at winterfest last weekend. which was noisy with crappy wifi and all the junk on cable. although the company was awesome with all my teens.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
it is hard to look at these college students who are seeking a ministry position and figure out who would work best at falls church and me. i have to find one youngman and one young woman to fill our positions. prayer is my big tool, seeking the Lord's wisdom and listening to who He is calling to work with us.
had lunch with my old friend glen macdonald and keith the youth minister where he is preaching. it was a lot of fun and i don't think our poor waitress will forget us soon. tonight i eat with some former students and it will be great to catch up with the,
Monday, February 21, 2005
i will be writing from acu for the next few days as i hunt for interns and get certified in a premarital councling instrument.
to see the movie click here
Thursday, February 17, 2005
The wedding in Cana
As best as I can tell the first actual recorded meal of Jesus would be the wedding in Cana found in John 2.1-.11. Jesus, his disciples and his mother are invited to a wedding of an unknown couple. Everything seems to be going great when it is discovered that the wine has run out. This is a big deal because there is nothing for the guests to drink. It as if you went to Dairy Queen and they ran out of ice cream or to Kentucky Fried Chicken and they were out of chicken. (Both of these examples have happened to me.) This new couple is about to face a very embarrassing situation. In which they will lose face and status with their friends, family and their community.
Jesus’ mom hears about this and tells Jesus about the situation. His answer is interesting. Instead of saying “No” or “Okay Mom.” He says “My time has not yet come” (John 2.4). What kind of answer is this? It is the answer of the Messiah who is not ready to go public with his identity. It is the answer of the Messiah whose hour of glorification has not come
In John’s gospel there is a lot of talk about “time.” On two occasions mobs either want to kill Jesus or try to but they can’t because “his time had not come” (John 7.30 & 8.20) Jesus’ family wants him to go up to Jerusalem during the feast of Tabernacles to make a name for himself but he refuse because “The right time for me has not yet come” (John 7.6). Timing seems to be everything. For the first half of John’s gospel Jesus’ time has not come. He is not ready, the time has not come, and the hour is not here for the Son of Man to be glorified.
It is not until chapter 12 that the hour comes. Then in at the beginning of chapter 13 John tells us “It was the time of the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.” Then he washes the disciple’s feet. As Jesus prays for himself just before he is arrested he tells the Father that the time has come for the Father to glorify the son and the son to glorify the Father (John 17.1). All of the talk about “time” is pointing to the Crucifixion.
In Cana Jesus’ time has not come for him to reveal his identity. Followed by attempts on His life that are thwarted because His time to die had not come. Finally the glorifying event comes, the time is ready and Jesus is Crucified. It is all about timing. It is all about the Father and the Son being in control.
I find it interesting that at the Wedding in Cana it is only the servants and the disciples who know where the new wine came from. It is to the servants and His disciples that the Messiah reveals himself. The Master of the Wedding, the bride, the groom and the rest of the wedding party have no knowledge of where this best wine saved for the end came from.
It is as if John is letting us in on the secret. It is as if John is telling us that we are the servants or disciples to whom the best new wine saved for the end has been revealed. It is as if Jesus is that best new wine and we his servants are to take it to those around us. The LORD has saved the best for the last. He saved his Son to rescue us from sin. We are the servants who take this wine to those around us. They don’t know where it came from but we do.
The wedding story ends with “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. Jesus doesn’t “go public” but he shows his disciples his glory and they believe.
Friday, February 04, 2005
nursed Him for his first meal. If you stop and think about the fact that the creator of the
universe needed a young freshly married woman to sustain him it is amazing. Every
fiber of Mary’s being was created by the child who she nursed.
The first recorded meal of Jesus is one that never happens. After being baptized by John
the Baptist, Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit. Then the Spirit leads him into the dessert to
fast for forty day and be tempted by the Devil. We find a full account of this event in
Matthew 4.1-.11 and Luke 4.1-.13, while Mark (4.12 & .13) deals with this event briefly.
At the end of the forty days of fasting Jesus must have been so hungry. So the Devil
exploits what could have been a weakness and asks “If you are the Son of God, tell these
stones to become bread.” (Mathew 4.3 & Luke 4.3). The tempter knows who Jesus is and
he wants Jesus to use His power take care of His own physical needs by altering creation
in order to show that He is the Son of God. Jesus answers the Devil “Man does not live
on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4.4,
Luke 4.4) this is a quote from Deuteronomy 8.3.
If you go back and read Deuteronomy 8.3 you will find that the full quote is a reminder
to the Israelites of how the LORD takes care of them. At first the LORD caused them to
be hungry and then fed them manna so that they would learn that man does not live by
bread alone but on every word that comes from the LORD.
What sustains us? Is it the bread of this world or the Word of the LORD? After not
eating for 40 days and nights Jesus skips his first meal. He overcomes the next two
temptations to teach us that it is the Word of the LORD that truly sustains us and not
Saturday, January 22, 2005
we will get about 6 inches and the kids will love it
these days always make me introspective and sleepy i like them. with 4 kids it makes it hard to curl up with a cup of tea or coffee and read a book like i want but i catch little quiet moments for myself when i can
i have also been thinking about the fact that it was 14 years ago when my brother died. from this point on i will have more days with out him than i had with him. he was 14 when he died and now that 14 years have passed there are more days with out him that with him. something to think about.
i have so much going on in my life that i don't think about erinn as much as i used to but every time i take ashley to the doctor i am reminded of him. she is named after him and so when it has his first name on her insurance card i am reminded of him. it is not a sad reminder just a little nudge.
kind of the way the wind reminds me of the LORD's prescence. when i stand out in a strong wind i am reminded of God's prescence in my life. it is as if He is pushing on me reminding me He is there. i even talk back and tell Him "i feel you." we all feel the LORD's prescence in different ways and that is mine.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
they were coming home from winterfest in arlington and one of their suburbans flipped killing on student and injurying the other on bord.
here is a link to mike cope's blog whose son chris was injured in the wreck.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
To do this I had to lay out what is an actual meal with Jesus. I came up with these two criteria for a “meal” of Jesus. First, food is offered to Jesus or he asks for food for himself or someone else. Second, Jesus is either eating or a meal is taking place with him present. Using these two rules as my guide I discovered at least 22 meals of Jesus in the Gospels and Acts. This list includes meals found in several Gospels like Peter’s mother in law being healed and feeding Jesus, diner at Levi/Matthew’s house, the feeding of the 5,000 and his final Passover Meal with the Apostles and disciples. It also includes material unique to individual Gospels such as the wedding in Cana found only in John or multiple meals Jesus has at Pharisee’s houses found only in Luke and his meal with the disciples in Acts when they are told to wait in Jerusalem for the Spirit.
I have learned a lot by experiencing and studying these meals. I want to share my reflections and to hear your reflections as we explore the meals of Jesus.
Here is my list of meals of Jesus
Wedding in Cana
Peter’s Mother in Law
Dinner at Levi/Matthew’s House
Grain Heads on the Sabbath
Dead Girl Eats
Dinner at a Pharisees (anointing)
Feeding of the 5,000
Feeding of the 4,000
Dinner at Zacchaeus’ House
Mary and Martha’s Home
Dinner at Another Pharisee’s House
Anointed at Bethany
Sabbath at a Pharisee’s House
Fig Tree Cursed
Mark 11.12-.14 & .20-.26
Home of Simon the Leper
Passover Supper with the Disciples
Road to Emmaus
Post Resurrection Appearance
Come and Eat Breakfast
Wait for the Spirit