The Morning Drive: You Keep Using that Verse, But . . .
Every where I go, I hear Christians and Bible-minded people quoting passages of scripture or I see certain passages on signs, bumper stickers, or on personalized car plates (tags). At first glance these passages seem to be encouraging or seem to be full of promise. Yet, often, after a deeper look at the context of the passage, they do not say what the sign, sticker, or tag implies. I have selected three of the more popular of these scriptures from the Old Covenant to share and explore.
There’s a New Testament follow-up as well:
You Keep Using That Verse, Too . . .
Tim Archer has shared some thoughtful posts about the composition and inspiration of the Bible. I highly recommend checking these posts out and participating in the discussion.
Water to Wine Gathering
Brian Zahnd and the Word of Life Church are putting together a conference that sounds quite interesting.
Water To Wine is a gathering for those who sense the falseness prevailing in Americanized Christianity and yearn for something better. It’s a gathering for those who want to see the church rescued from fundamentalism, consumerism, and nationalism. It’s a gathering for those asking Jesus to transform their spiritual life from water to wine!
Over three days we’ll talk about theology. We’ll talk about church life and ministry. We’ll talk about the menace of American civil religion. We’ll share stories about leading a church beyond “cotton-candy Christianity.” But most of all we’ll talk about Jesus and the church he is building as an authentic expression of the kingdom of God.
This gathering will be in forum where you can ask any question. Everything is up for discussion. We will learn from one another and perhaps you can make some new friends. Some of the content will have pastors and Christian leaders in mind, but everyone is invited!
Desiring God: Would You Let a Stranger Live with You?
Just the other night, my husband and I were talking to our kids about a difficult hospitality decision that would affect all of us. We reminded them that we have to start with the question, “Is this something that God is calling us as a family to do?” Because if the answer is yes, it doesn’t really matter if we initially feel like doing it or not.
Some would say we are asking our kids to give up more than they should — that we are supposed to put their needs above everyone else’s. I know how deep the desire can be to cater to our children and to cringe at the thought of their discomfort. I have had to fight against the temptation to protect them from suffering. True hospitality often requires sacrifice, inconvenience, and surrender. And God does not require less from them. I am witness that you can prayerfully make decisions with wisdom, while still moving forward in faith.
Jesus’s words in Luke 6:33–36 have always struck me:
“If you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
As with everything in our lives, we have the opportunity to use our homes in a way that doesn’t make sense to the world. If all the good you do in your home is for your friends and family, how is that different from every other person on your street? There’s no benefit — to you or to your children, but also to a world that desperately needs to see us doing things differently.
This whole piece is immensely humbling.
Radically Christian: Luke 22:36 Re-Examined: Sell Your Cloak to Buy a Sword
As soon as they finished the discussion about the swords, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed and where a group of armed soldiers came to arrest Him. When the apostles saw that Jesus was about to be arrested, they asked, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” (vs 49). Without waiting for an answer, an apostle drew a sword and blood was spilled.
The servant of the high priest had his ear cut off and he was standing there bleeding. Jesus intervened, saying, “‘No more of this!‘ And he touched his ear and healed him” (vs. 51). Read those words of Jesus again, “No more of this.” No more fighting. No more bloodshed. In Matthew’s account, Jesus makes a more general statement, “All who take the sword will perish by the sword”(Matthew 26:52).
Then Jesus asked the leaders of the Jews an important question, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?” (vs. 52). In other words, you’ve come out here with weapons as if I was some sort of violent criminal.
The swords had served their purpose. For those who chose to see Jesus as a criminal leader, a couple of swords amongst twelve men was enough for them to say, “See! He’s a criminal.” But those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, know Jesus was not a man of violence nor a criminal. He was the One healing the pain caused by violence, saying, “No more of this.”
This is a challenging passage, but it’s pretty clear in the context that Jesus is not condoning violence in any way. To use this passage to justify violence ignores the context entirely.
The Morning Drive: Stones
The leaders bring her to Jesus and remind Him of the Law of Moses and the command to stone those guilty of adultery. They want to know what Jesus thinks should be done. They are trying to place Him in a moral, ethical, spiritual, and legal juxtaposition. Would Jesus agree with the Law of Moses or would He speak against the Law? Would Jesus show compassion to the sinful woman or would He condemn her based on their accusations?
You remember Jesus’ reply in John 8:7, “Let him who without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Wow! He cuts to the heart of the issue. He cuts to the heart of the leaders. His statement cuts to the heart of those who read His words even today. They get the point. They drop their stones and walk away. Jesus turns to the woman and refuses to condemn her, even though as the Son of God He has that right, but instead tells her, “Go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11).
The challenge is for us all. How much are we willing to intercept stones rather than throw stones?