So don’t over think this one.
On a lot of Wednesday’s during the year, I open up my office for a few hours to anyone who wants to come by and visit with the preacher. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week. Most people just come by and tell me some of their story. One of the best parts of Highland Church is the great diversity of people who are here. Yesterday, a Highland member named Beverly, came by with her two incredible daughters, and they showed me this video. I never would have found it otherwise, but it moved me pretty deeply yesterday in a way I didn’t expect.
Here’s the thing about what Louie Giglio is saying, I’m fully aware that the whales don’t actually keep up with the greatest hits of Chris Tomlin, and the stars don’t naturally keep perfect 4/4 time, but there was something profound about what Giglio is getting at here. He’s letting us experience what is already true all around us. Creation is bustling with the glory of God and too often we are so hurried or so blind to it that we don’t realize how fascinating the world around us actually is.
This will be my last blog to post for a couple of weeks, because this Monday I am flying with some Highland members and a co-worker to Nepal. We are going with a ministry that is dear to Highland named Eternal Threads (I highly recommend you look it up and consider hosting an event with them at your own church). It’s a ministry for vulnerable women in 3rd countries, that trains them with job skills like sewing and sculpting and gives them the ability to sell their wares fairly to consumers on the other side of the world. Continue reading Singing With Whales
When I was first starting full time ministry, Leslie and I were mentoring a handful of young adults just a few years younger than us. We met a couple of times a week to pray and just talk through life together, it was one of those things that you take for granted but realize later what a holy moment you are being prepared for. After about a year of this, we got a call from one of these young adults. They had just found out that their father had been cheating on their mother…a lot. He had thrown away a marriage of 25+ years for a few passing moments. Paul says the wages of sin are death, and it was in the next few hours that I got a glimpse into what that meant.
I remember vividly the next few hours, sitting in a room with this little betrayed family, hearing moans that can only come by the worst kinds of hurt. I remember the confusion and pain and groans that came over the next days and weeks. And I remember thinking about how much more sense Scripture was making in light of all this.
The way that Bible primarily talks about sin, is quite different than the way we talk about it. We use metaphors like gulfs and bridges, but the Bible doesn’t talk about sin in terms of location that much, instead it talks about sin in terms of relationship. That is, sin, for the people of God, is like adultery. In fact, some of the most provocative language in the entire Bible is from the prophets trying to make sure we know just how seriously God sees this, and how offensive our adultery really is.
So when we first started looking at the book of Revelation, we noticed that one of the things that Jesus was saying to the churches was that they had forgotten their first love. From the outside looking in, they were successful, faithful churches. They were doing and saying all the right things, maybe they had just forgotten who they were doing it for. Continue reading The Great Affair
So last time we were in Revelation we were talking about the War in Heaven, the war that operates different than the wars of earth. Because this is a war that wins not by taking lives, but by laying down lives. And it is the only war that works.
Now, what’s especially interesting about Revelation is that this book uses the Exodus story as much as any book in the New Testament. It talks a lot about the Exodus story and God’s delivering the Israelites from slavery. But it talks about it in both the future and the present tense. As if the story of the Exodus was not just something that has happened, but is happening. And it will happen, not just for Israel, but for the entire world.
I’ve talked before about how significant the plagues of the Exodus were. How they were God undoing creation on the Pharaoh.
But what is really interesting about Revelation is that it doesn’t refer to the 10 plagues, it only refers to 7. And that’s not a new thing. From the time of the Psalmist, the Israelites started referring to the plagues of the Exodus as 7 (remember to a Jewish person a number is a symbol as well) and this was the way they were saying that God’s judgment on the evil systems of Egypt was perfect.
So John, in his gospel, actually picks up on this theme. He tells the story of Jesus with an agenda. He even admits at the end of his book that Jesus had done many more things, and that if they were all written down the world couldn’t contain them. So John is just going to tell us what we need to know for life with Jesus. He’s only going to tell us certain things that Jesus did. Signs, things that point backward and forward.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus does 7 miracles. And John is very careful that we know in the first few chapters that He is counting them. But what’s interesting is the signs that John uses to tell us about. Just like the plagues there are 7, and according to some scholars they are eerily similar to the Plagues of the Exodus story.
So John starts off with Jesus turning water not into blood, but wine. Continue reading The Song of Moses