Showing posts from July, 2011

Everyone is pregnant!

So this blog is a blog of personal bewilderment.  Everyone is pregnant! Yes, indeed they are.  Let's see:

Of my two best female friends - one is already a mother & the other found out this spring that she is carrying a little one in her womb.  I'm so glad that she was the first person to tell me that she was pregnant.Then there is our couple's small group leaders - they are expecting their first.Next up, is my closest guy friend from seminary - his wife is expecting.Then my best guy friend from middle school through high school - his wife is expecting.Then there is one of my closest clergy friends - she is expecting.  In fact she told me she was pregnant when I called her to confirm that she wasn't.  Everyone else was expecting - so why shouldn't she?Then there is one of the women from seminary who was my theology partner.  She recently announced that she is expecting.My roommate from college called to tell me she is pregnant.And today I received a phone call fr…

Potluck Culture - Midwest

Since moving to a new region of the country I have been very confused by potlucks.  I can't seem to bring the right item and I sense that in some unknown way I have offended the host/ess in what I have brought.  The potlucks here are different.  At church they have stuffed olives and fancy displays of unrecognizable finger foods.  At parties, everyone seems to bring wine or elegant desserts.

Today while doing research on cultural socio-economic class differences I came across a video clip of Dr. Ruby Payne telling about the time she took a casserole dish to a woman who was sick and inadvertently offended the woman.  I guess that the gift was offensive because for this woman and her social-class it wasn't so much about the food as it was about the display of the food, which included the serving dish.  I guess in this cultural setting the dish was also a part of the gift!

So, I decided to research the culture of potlucks and I came across this blog about potluck etiquette.  VE…
Read Matthew 11:28-30
Are you tired?Too exhausted to carry on?Does life’s burdens just seem too much for you to carry alone?Want to give up?Run to Jesus.He is waiting for you.Trade your yoke for his.For the one you carry is too heavy and the one he offers is light and easy.Jesus is gentle. Jesus is humble.He offers you rest for your soul.He calls out to you, “Come.Come to me.”Run, my friend.Run to Jesus.He is waiting for you.
[breathe in]          Come Jesus. [breathe out]I rest in you.  [breathe in]          I come running. [breathe out]        Here I am God.  [breathe in]          I trust in you.  [breathe out, open your hands so that your palms are facing up]                              Here is my yoke, it is heavy and tiresome. [breath in]            I trust in you. [breathe out]        Free me.  [breathe in]          Peace and calm You bring to me.  [breath out]         Thank you Jesus.

Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 11:

Jesus travels and teaches/proclaims his own message, a message that is revealed in miraculous works and testifies to His identity as Messiah.  By being witnesses to the miraculous works, the unrepentant cities are condemned.  Jesus' message is offensive to them.  Nonetheless, His message can be understood by infants. He comes to bring rest to those who are weary.

 In Matthew 11, Jesus offers a profound declaration of His own identity: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father [Lord of heaven and earth]; and no one knows the Son except the  Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Matthew 11:25, 27).

Big Idea: Jesus has authority over all things.  The use of this authority is a testimony to His profound identity.  As a result, we should turn towards Him and trust in His care.

Profound Identity:
Jesus was a teacher (Matthew 11:1).He had twelve disciples/students (Matthew 11:1).Jesus taught and proclaime…

Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 10:

Jesus is not about complacency!  Jesus has the authority to give supernatural authority to His disciples. With this authority, Jesus expects His disciples to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus blesses them with this power, commissions them, and says that His laborers are worthy of their having their needs met, yet they are to freely (without compensation) give God's gifts of healing and freedom.

Jesus does not promise freedom from persecution, trouble, or conflict in this life. In fact, Jesus says that those who follow him will be persecuted just as He was persecuted. In many ways Jesus is saying that He will be embodied in His disciples.  Those who honor them honor Jesus.  In a like manner as the Father is embodied in Jesus, those who honor Jesus, honor the Father.

Jesus also clearly states that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Big Idea: Jesus delegates authority and responsibility to His disciples and by doing so the disciples become embodied rep…

Good News is that God Offers Healing Today

"As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." - Matthew 10:7-8
Do you ever wonder why these miracles don't seem to happen anymore?  I've been reading through the gospels and I am struck by the loudness of the theme of healing.  The good news in the gospel accounts isn't just that God has came to us through Jesus Christ, but that the healing authority of God has come to us through Jesus Christ. Do you think this is still true today?

Sometimes I think we U.S. Christians have it all wrong.  I think we've missed the message and missed out on the supernatural aspect of faith.  God can still work miracles today!  And it seems in my reading of Scripture that God wants to work those miracles through us.  So, why aren't we letting Him?

Prayer:God, You Created, You gave Life, You Healed.  Help me to experience Your miraculous, supernatural power today.  Amen.

The Harvest is Plentiful

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."  - Matthew 9:37b-38.

"The harvest is plentiful,..."

I don't always believe this.   I look around and I see people of different faiths or no faith at all.  I'm told to be polite and courteous in my witnessing, respecting the beliefs of others.  I don't know many recent converts to Christianity.  Most of the people I know who are Christians grew up in the church or came to know Christ in college.  I know that I've been a part of people coming to know Christ as personal Lord, but I've only witnessed the entire process once or twice.  How can the harvest be plentiful?

Jesus continues, "but the laborers are few..."

Perhaps this is why I don't always believe that the harvest is plentiful, there just aren't that many laborers.  I can count the number of full time missionaries I know on one hand. Every once…