The Spirit immediately threw him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
“Then the word of YHWH of armies came to me:
‘Ask all the people of the land and the priests,
“When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months
for the past seventy years,
was it really for me that you fasted?
Yesterday a known drug dealer in the neighborhood asked to talk to me. Known him for years & talked several times. This time was different.
— Luke Whitmire (@lukewhitmire1) February 28, 2014
One of the great things about being a teacher is getting it wrong.
Sometimes you get the chance to truly see the greatness of the lives around you.
Tonight I went to a local quick clip shop to get a haircut. After a brief wait, one of the stylists/barbers called me back. He was an older, quiet Asian gentleman with a nice smile and heavy accent. Once he started cutting my hair we began chatting. He asked me what I did. I tried to explain my job as a software developer/media/web person, and then I asked him if he had been a barber for a long time.
The tribe of Jesus people my family regularly share our lives with has been working through the Gospel of John on Thursday nights. The thing about this unique account of the life of Jesus is that no matter how many times I engage with it, it surprises me with things I’ve never noticed and with things I have. I mean, I taught this book three times a day for an entire semester three years in a row, and it is still fresh, challenging, and life-giving!
What stands out to me in this Gospel is the mystical theme of the Spirit-led and God-revealed life. Jesus is very clear in this Gospel that his actions are simply and humbly based on this: “I can’t do anything on my own. I do what I see the Father doing…and He shows it to me because He loves me” (John 5:19-20 paraphrased), and, even though it isn’t explicitly stated, this revelation seems directly connected to the idea of being led by the Spirit.
Yesterday I made a post about “What Jesus Said About Church” and listed the only two passages where Jesus explicitly mentions church (Matthew 16.17–19 and Matthew 18:15-18). What’s interesting is that each of those passages appear to have two different expressions, with the first representing what seems to be a larger, more universal concept of Church, while the latter is more practical and descriptive of a local gathering or collective. Yet both end with the understanding that the ekklesia, in whatever form, has been given authority to “bind and loose”. Continue reading
It might surprise people to know that Jesus didn’t talk about church very much. While Jesus does spend a lot of time talking about what I would call “Kingdom oriented relationships and practices,” in all four Gospels, Jesus only mentions church (Greek ekklesia) explicitly in two passages, and both are in Matthew. Continue reading
Last week Donald Miller posted some thoughts regarding his reasons for “not going to church very often.” His firstpost, “I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere” primarily discussed his lack of connection to lecture and music, scholastic and entertainment based models for worship services and other programs. His second post, “Why I Don’t Go to Church Very Often, A Follow Up Post“, went into more detail about those issues and others. Continue reading
The Gospel of Matthew:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately.