WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Jesus Doesn’t Look Like His Picture - 11/26/2017


How many things don't we do because we’re fearful of what might happen?

In Exodus 33, the Israelites were told to go possess a land flowing with milk and honey but they feared the people who inhabited it, so they missed out.  God had told them that He would be with them, but still, they listened to their fear.

Many do this today, Jesus says "come, follow me" but we fear doing this.  We're afraid of ridicule from friends and family, we fear having our lifestyle changed, we fear the unknown, and we fear every imagination the devil can put in our thoughts; but Jesus doesn't look like His picture.

Jesus doesn't look like the picture on the wall of the church you know.  None of us knows what he looks like but whatever he looked like, it isn't that.  It's the same with our fears about following Jesus and going into the land flowing with milk and honey, our fears are just a picture on the wall that really doesn't look like the reality.  When we listen to the leading of Jesus we will bend a knee and follow him and learn it really isn't like what we thought.

The True Picture...

When a child says that she won't sleep in her bed because of the monster under it, she’s not calmed by her mother's words that there is no monster there.  It generally takes mom going into the child's room, turning on the light, and physically showing her that there is no monster there.  Once the child understands the truth, she will be content to go to sleep.

Each of us is like that child, we fear following Jesus because we believe the devil's lie that there are monsters there, but Jesus has come to earth, walked among us, and showed us the monster; and then He went to the cross and destroyed it so now we can rest and follow Him into the land.

Take inventory of yourself this morning, whether Jesus has called you to follow him in initial faith or into a life situation within your faith, I want to assure you that your fears are unfounded and direct lies from the evil one.  I've been there and I can attest there is no monster under the bed. 

See?  This is me pulling the bed skirting up.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

5 Women - 10/19/2017

Warning Preachy (And again unedited)

In Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, five women are mentioned, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, & Mary.  The men listed in this genealogy show the proper lineage of Jesus but the inclusion of the women show just one thing; the shame of Jesus Christ.

Tamar was rejected and she so wanted a child that she dressed like a hooker in order to  entice her father-in-law to do the dirty with her and get her pregnant.  (She bore a child with Judah whom we spoke of last week -Genesis 34)

Rahab made a living as a hooker in Jericho and she manipulated the Israelite into sparing of her life (Joshua 6).  She went on to marry a Jewish man and had a son who is one of Jesus' great-great-grand-daddies.

Ruth was a Moabite woman who was Married to a Jewish man then remarried to a kinsman redeemer.  Although she is shown to be a woman of faith and devotion, she too was not a natural born Jew and she was one of Jesus' great-great-grand-moms (Ruth 1).

Bathsheba was such a hottie that King David saw her nakked one day and decided he had to have sex with her.  Oops, she got knocked up (didn't know that could happen) and tried to push it off as her husband's kid. The plan failed so King David simply had the man killed and took Bathsheba as his wife.  It was one of their son's that sired the line of Jesus (2 Samuel 11 & 12).

And then there was Mary, the engaged girl who got knocked up but claimed that no wrong doing had taken place because God just made her that way, so all was ok (Luke 1).

Matthew's Gospel was written to a Jewish audience to prove Jesus was the Messiah, and pointing out these five women was not a great way to state his case.

("Ahem, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, yes, the accused did stab her husband to death, and yes she did stab him 27 times in the eyeball, and yes she did dedicate on him when she was finished stabbing him, and yes she did yell "glad he's dead" seven times.  But I plan to prove that she really did love him.")

Yeah, Matthew's case was starting out shaky by pointing out the five women in Jesus' lineage.

But isn't this exactly the point?  This Jesus who was executed upon the Roman Cross as a common criminal took the sin and shame of humanity upon himself.  He took our shame and died the death that was rightly our own, in our place, and then rose back from the dead on the third day proving that He was truly innocent and victorious over sins and death; wiping out our shame.

Yes, Matthew's case for Christ starts a little shaky but by the end of his testimony we can clearly see Christ; the Messiah of God.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Skeletons in the Closet – 11/12/2017

WARNING PREACHY… (and unedited)
NOTE: This morning I am typing this with my thumbs on my iPod: please forgive and expect typos.

In the discovery of who Jesus is, I am mindful of his humanity.  When The Word Became flesh, when Emmanuel (which means God with us) came to earth and dwelt among us, when the child was born and laid in the manger, God entered into our world in a specific human lineage. 

If I were God coming to earth, I would have inserted myself into the world by becoming a part of a high-born wealthy family.  A family where I was guaranteed the comforts of life and one without any blemishes in the blood line.

When I married into my wife's family I knew I was marrying up.  Seriously, my wife was college educated and both of her parents had Masters Degrees.  At the time, I don't think anyone (even cousins) in my family was college educated, in fact, neither of my parents even had a high school diploma.  Her father had written and published a few books while my father simply read books.  Her family was white collar and mine was desperately blue.  All of this indicates to me that I was marrying into a different class of people.

When my wife's great grandmother died, my father in-law went through her personal effects and found journals, letters, and other family related historical documents.  He laughs as he relates what he's learned but he hasn't been too specific.  He indicated that the family line is not as pure as the driven snow as we have always thought.  That in the lineage of this family that I married up into is a history of some stuff that makes our families seems so very equal.  There's something very comforting in that I think.

Now back to the lineage of Jesus.

A man named Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, had a son who died and left a widow.  Years later Judah came upon a prostitute and lay with her.  A few months later he was told his son's widow was guilty of prostitution so he ordered that she should be burned to death.  However the daughter-in-law proved that it was her father-in-law Judah's baby so she got out of having to burn.  So she had the baby and named the child Perez.

Matthew 1:1-3

The lineage of Jesus Christ...

Abraham the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah,
Judah the father of Perez.

When God inserted himself into humanity, he didn't do so by putting himself into the best and cleanest family tree he could find, he placed himself into one with many spots and wrinkles and at least two prostitutes.

Somehow, this comforts me; it makes our families seem more equal.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Even Creation Knows Him – 11/5/2017

Matthew 16:15

15 “But what about you?” he [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”

This is the question of questions and it would appear that even creation knows the answer.

Man?  Not so much. 

We humans not only doubt the existence of God himself, but we question if the world we know was even created.  (Just ask Stephen Hawkings[1])  However, say authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, the creation is completely occupied with Christ[2] and they point out how in some detail.  The following is not an exact quote but it is largely their work that I write here[3].

When God spoke existence into being, He wove Jesus Christ into the very fabric of it.

Colossians 1:15-16

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

God created light and He said “Let there be light.”

John 8:12

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

God created water and He said “Let the water be gathered to one place.”

John 4:10

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

God created life and He said “Let the land produce living creatures”

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus refers to himself in many ways with created things…

He is the “true vine” – John 15:1
He is the “bread of life” – John 6:35
He is the “sun” – Malachi 4:2
He is the “morning star” – 2 Peter 1:19
He is the “true lamb” – John 1:29
He is the “model man” – Romans 5:14
And He is the “real Sabbath” – Colossians 2:16-17

When I first came to faith I remember that it seemed I saw the world with new eyes.  I realized that everything physical that I looked at had significant spiritual implications.  The clouds that floated past had purpose and were not just mere cosmic accident and the hustling-bustling people in our world were no longer just cosmic accidental pieces of advanced star-matter[4], everything had reason and no longer could I shrug off the atrocities to the countless suffering humans around me.

“The Lord Jesus is [truly] written in the bloodstream of the universe.”[5]

Take a few moments today and consider how you might answer our Lord’s question yourself.

Matthew 16:15

“What about you?” he [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”

[2] Sweet, Leaonard & Viola, Frank, Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sonvereignty of Jesus Christ (Nashville: Thomas Neslson, 2010) 5
[3] http://amzn.to/2ipCCeB - I highly suggest getting and reading the book, if you this URL I’ll get a couple pennies.
[4] http://bit.ly/1n81Qi2 - Carl Sagan’s explanation of how everything came to be.
[5] Sweet, Leaonard & Viola, Frank, Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sonvereignty of Jesus Christ (Nashville: Thomas Neslson, 2010) 6