Posts tagged Jesus teachings
Monday Message: Kinship with Jesus

A friend loves at all times, and kinfolk are born to share adversity. - Proverbs 17:17

I just returned from a two plus week jaunt on the East Coast where I spent time with three distinct branches of my family.  In between, my wife, kids, and I spent hours on the road together.  On paper (or on social media posts), this makes for a wonderful family vacation.  In practice, it plunged us into the tension of family dynamics – both good and bad.

This proverb became something of a theme verse for me.  It was an important reminder to me to be nothing less than a friend to my wife, kids, and extended family.  A true friend loves at all times.  I want to be the type of friend whose love is deeper than the social dynamics, the circumstances (read: five hours into a seven hour road trip), differences of opinion and lifestyle (a family reunion with over 60 cousins gives a pretty broad slice of life), or the moods in the room.  I love the perspective that my kinfolk are given to me as partners in adversity.  We all spend too much time blaming each other for internal adversity and failing to recognize the partners we are given to support one another through external adversity.  I want adversity to bind me to my family as a gift from God!

All of this connected with the Bible Story we looked at on Sunday morning.  In our summer worship series, we are looking at what we typically think of as children’s Bible Stories from a “Big Church” perspective.  This Sunday, we looked at the story of Noah and the Flood.  On one level, this is a story of animals and a boat and a lot of rain.  It makes for a great mural on a Preschool wall.  On a deeper level, it wrestles with how the holiness of God and the unholiness of Creation play out.  That level makes a less appealing mural on a Preschool wall.  In the story, we see God deciding to live in the tension of relationship with human beings knowing that “the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth” (Genesis 6:5, 8:21).  Even in this difference in holiness-ability, God basically says, “I am going to choose to be in relationship with you… to love you… to not beat up on you for your failings… to be friends… and, eventually through Jesus, to be kin.”

So, despite the tension of God being God and me being me, God says, “A friend loves at all times, and kinfolk are born to share adversity.”  I’m all in.  Jesus, thank you for choosing to be both friend and kinfolk with us!

Monday Message: Kingdom of God

This week's message is a repeat from July 21, 2014.

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.  Matthew 13:44

There is a lingering promise in Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God.  It is the promise that there is more to come. As we wait, we live our lives.  In the living and waiting, there is a temptation to believe that all that is to know about the Kingdom of God is already revealed. There is a temptation to believe that our actions and our churches are all that is left of the Kingdom and the work is done.
But the parables of Jesus continually hint at a greater and more complete work.  In these hints are all of the promises of Scripture.  God truly will bring all of Creation to unity in Christ Jesus.  God truly will wipe every tear from every eye and turn our mourning into dancing.  God truly will make all things right and invite us into the wedding feast of the Almighty!
Even as we can experience hints of these greater promises in our own lives and in our relationships, at some point they will occur in all of creation.  In the parable of the ten bridesmaids, Jesus lets us know that our job is to be prepared.  We must live fully in the world in which we he has placed us.  But in that place, we must identify more and more each day with Jesus.  We must live as kingdom people.  Our every decision, every breath, every opportunity must be colored by our hope as people of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus, we confess our tendency to get caught up in life to the point that we forget our place in the hope of your kingdom.  Help us this day to no longer allow the world to color our faith.  Instead, help us to grow in you such that our kingdom hope will bear us faithfully in the world.  Amen.