We all have an interest in where we came from. We are also interested in other people’s stories. We ask each other, “Where did you grow up?” and “Who are your parents?” Yet, sometimes we may withhold some details in our family tree or the events surrounding a loved one’s conception and birth. Not Matthew. In the opening of his gospel, he stuns the world with an unlikely list of names found in Jesus’ family tree. There is no pattern of righteous, just a list of everyday people. Matthew wants us to see what kind of people God chooses to work with. I am surprised and yet I’m not.
When Jesus was visiting the home of a Pharisee named Simon a woman washed His feet with her tears, kissed them, and poured perfume on them. Simon was repulsed and referred to her as “[that] kind of woman” and a “sinner.” Who do we most identify with in this story? I think most church people identify with the Pharisee and for this I have a theory.
Recently, I had trouble going to sleep. I finally feel asleep only to wake up early. Why? I was replaying a scene in my head where someone had been offended and I was the offender. Maybe you can relate. You replay the scene like a choose your own adventure book. You relive the moment but this time, in your thoughts you say the right thing and do the right thing. If only we could change the past, right? Better yet, if only we could forgive ourselves. What if I told you that forgiveness is giving up the fantasy that the past could be any different.
“It is so good to still have you with us Jesus. We thought we’d lost you but here you are in the flesh. Those three days without you felt like an eternity but now that you’ve been with us for about, how long has it been? A little over a month? We couldn’t imagine life without you and we are ready for what comes next. So, me and the guys were wondering when are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel? What was that, Jesus? You’re leaving?”
“But you’re so young.” This was the concern of many minister search teams when I was interviewing for my next ministry. Once I responded with, “I’m thirty-five years old, it’s not like I’m living in my mom’s basement playing Halo.” I listened to my wife’s counsel not to respond to that concern in that way again. What we might be prone to think is that we want our leaders to have arrived. What if instead we desired that our leaders and ourselves be ever-growing. Continue reading
I arrived at the Denver International Airport with enough time to casually go through security and make it to my gate with a few minutes to spare before boarding. This is one of the things I love about living in Denver. I can make to the airport with little traffic, it’s convenient. Only problem is this time I met a man who needed my attention, more than that he needed medical attention.
“I’ll give you more than a song. For a song in itself is not what you have required.” When we think of worship we may only think of it terms of singing but what made these lyrics from Michael W. Smith’s song “The Heart of Worship” so powerful is that worship is so much more.