Thursday, October 29, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
- Romans 8:5-6
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
We've been talking about neighbors with the students at the church for the past few weeks. Its, for me, been an interesting conversation to think about as I've been preparing for our time together.
We started this month by looking at the passage commonly known as the story about the Good Samaritan [Luke 10]. The point we made that night, is this is not a story condemning the priest and the Levite; in this story Jesus is answering the question asked by an expert in the Law: "Who is my neighbor?" So the story is looking to get this expert to see that the Samaritan is his neighbor. Now what we don't see in our American world, is who the Samaritans were to the 1st century Jews.
To a Jew at this time, the Samaritans were not well liked people. There is record in many ancient histories that, they committed acts of terrorism in the temple of Jerusalem [i.e. scattering pig bones in the temple]. We see in the book of Nehemiah that they did everything they possibly could to destroy the Jews [so they're arch-enemies]. We read in the Gospels, the way that they dispute the Jewish claims about religion [so this has an element of a holy war] We also read in the Gospels the ways that the Jews would go out of their way to avoid all contact with the Samaritans [so they ditest each other so much they won't even have contact with each other]. So if we were to create a 21st century counterpart to the 1st century Samaritan it would be the essense of the enemies of our country [a Taliban/Nazi/Communist].
The question he is asked is really somebody wanting to clarify who they should feel obligated to love. Jesus responds with the most ridiculous possible possibility: the Samaritan. If you read the story, you'll see at the end, that this expert in the Law cannot even say "Samaritan." His response is "the one who showed love." He hates the Samaritans so much that he refuses to even say the word, "Samaritan." When asked who we're responsible to love, Jesus says: "even the one who hates you and wants to see you dead, that's who you're supposed to love."
Let's look at this at two levels:
- personal: who do you need to see as your neighbor personally? Who is your enemy? Who do you hate? Who do you find it hard to love?
- global: who is does our country see as our neighbors? Who is our enemy? Who do we hate? Who do we find it hard to love?
So the question today is: Who is your neighbor?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So why Sunday? Christians talk about the Sabbath, but let's just clear something up: the Sabbath is Friday at sun-down to Saturday at sun-down. Christians gathering on Sunday has very little if nothing to do with the Jewish Sabbath. Its a completely different day. Sorry, but we don't meet on Sunday because of Sabbath.
If you read the book of John, you'll notice that John makes a small note about the specific day that Jesus is raised: he calls it, "the first day of the week." Its a very powerful metaphor [think the first week in Genesis 1; John's book is LOADED with imagery. Its so brilliant]. You see in the 1st century Jewish mind, Sunday was the first day of the week; its much like Monday is for us today. There was no concept of a weekend, Sunday was the beginning of a work week. When John says that Jesus rose on the first day of the week, he's making a statement about a new start. This event has begun a new reality, a new world, a new order is among us. He was the first to emobdy CHANGE you can believe in.
This is one of the earliest understandings of salvation, a whole new order to creation. In this reality, Christ is the center of the world. This new week is no longer ordered by the old way, but by the reality of Jesus' death and resurrection. Life not death has won. No longer must we live stuck in our evil ways. No longer is death in the lead, no! life has won. It is this reality that Christians would gather to celebrate [this is why the would begin their gatherings with the greeting, "He is Risen!"]
Now the earliest Christians would have had to work on Sunday - there was not a nice 2day weekend. If you were a Jew you took 1 day [the Friday night to Saturday night Sabbath] then you went back to work, and the Romans didn't have such a day. They still had to work on Sundays. So they would get up early, before they went to work, to worship the new reality: DEATH is dead, and Jesus Christ is alive! They met, as we do, to celebrate the beginning of a new week.
Why do we meet on Sunday mornings? Because its the first of the new week. Its a tangible [touchable/observable] image of who we are as Christians. Because of this, we wake up and celebrate, because a new week is upon us and death is dead.
HE IS RISEN!
Monday, October 12, 2009
"In all the world, there is no better people nor better country. They (native americans) love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and are always laughing ....They would make fine servants...With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." - Christopher Columbus
HT - Adam Strauser
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
A revolutionary/subversive/underground community of people looking to unmask the kingdoms that are all around them as counterfeit, insisting that another, invisible/intangible/untouchable Kingdom [aka the Kingdom of God/Heaven] is real, and living in the reality of this Kingdom in the midst of the counterfeit kingdoms.
The problem with merely defining salvation as a personal relationship with God is that it does not leave space to talk about how we live. Personal relationships are all about connecting; they're friendships. If I have a personal relationship with God, it does not mean that I need to live my life any differently than if I did not have a personal relationship. God is not looking JUST to connect with us, he wants to change the very way we see/relate to/understand the world.
If we read the New Testament, we see that God is interested in Lordship. God is interested in how we live; actions, thoughts, & desires.
It is easy for Christians who see salvation as "Personal Relationship" to talk against lust, murder, & hate as sin; the Bible specifically says so. But this view of salvation has a hard time dealing with passages that deal with money - of course friends don't really tell each other how to spend their money [that's just not polite]. Yet, we see that in the New Testament, this seems to be a major point of conversation for the earliest Christians. God, through Jesus, is not just looking to restore a personal relationship with us; he is looking to become our Lord/Master/King.
What does it mean to have Christ as our master? Well it means he controls the way we live our life. He governs the way we think, plan, pray, dream, spend, & see. He wants to shape and form the way that see our neighbor, the way we respond to stress, and how we believe the world is being made better.
[I'd like to talk in the next few posts about ways Jesus is looking to become our Master/Lord/King]