Nuggets – 1/29

Sin of Pride: My friend Jim has a good post over at his blog about the sin of pride. Also, Happy Birthday to Jim!

Driscoll on Nightline: Mark Driscoll was featured on Nightline a few nights ago. They treated him very favorably.

Great Analogy: My brother Chris had been struggling with a computer virus. That struggle turned out to be very insightful.

Just Solid Preaching: Mp3s for the sermons from the Christian Life Conference in Memphis this past weekend featuring Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson.

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Why should you love your enemies?

One of the most difficult of Jesus’ teaching for me is His command to love my enemies. It just seems so counter to me to show love to someone who is willfully set against me. I am perpetually asking why? I really love it when you read scripture and you you find yourself asking why and then just as quick as the why question the answer is given.

Jesus says in Luke 6:35:

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great,

why?, because:

and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.(ESV, my emphasis)

So we are suppose to be kind to our enemies because God is kind to His. Pretty cool.

Then again, who are these ungrateful and evil people God is showing kindness to? Hmmm. Isn’t grace wonderful?

Grace and Peace.

Tony

Did You See a Big Pile of My Stuff?

I came across a few verses in Luke the other day that have me puzzled.

Luke 5:8-11

8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (ESV, emphasis mine)

and….

Luke 5:27-28

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. (ESV, emphasis mine)

The puzzle for me is that I actually know where my stuff is. It’s still at my house. I guess the easy out is to say that the thing we leave behind is our happiness about sinning. That if we do it right we leave behind the trappings of this world and look to the Kingdom. I just don’t feel like that what Luke is writing about here. Something happened to these guys in the moment Jesus called them and they left it all because of His calling. I’m sure this still happens, but I am confident that it’s in the minority instead of the majority. So the question I am asking myself, and I hope all you would chime in also:

Does following Christ require us to leave anything behind these days or was that just something for the original disciples?

Grace and Peace.

Tony

Five Pounds of Coffee

Over the Christmas break I got to spend some time with my wife’s family down in Florida. My wife’s family are transplants from New York City and are a blend of Italian and Latin cultures. They are very family oriented so when they get together it is very active, vibrant, and warm.

blue like jazzWhile I was in Florida I finished Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. My understanding is this book was the hot book of 2007 much in the way that The Shack had been in 2008. Overall I enjoyed the book. It is basically a series of character sketchs strung together to illustrate Miller’s view of what community is or maybe should be in his current Christian faith journey. The book is pretty heavy on anti-establishment, anti-traditional church, and anti-republican rhetoric, however at it’s core Blue Like Jazz is really just a seeker story taking place in Portland, Oregon where all the rhetoric listed above is pretty much cultivated and ingrained in the culture anyways.

The big take away for me from Blue Like Jazz was Miller’s realization that community is the key to the faith journey. While the concept is not new or exclusive to Miller, his presentation was thought provoking and really made me evaluate who I try and build relationships with and why. At my core, I want to know others and be known by others. I think I am guilty of sometimes wrapping those desires in the context of the faith communities I plug into instead of investing in the communities I find myself in with work, school, and my apartment complex being just a few examples. I am challenged to be more like Jesus and allow myself to know and be known by whomever crosses my path.

So in Florida, my father-in-law Richie was talking to me about his days in New York. He was describing this porch he had built onto his house so he and my mother-in-law could host all of their friends over for coffee. He said “we used to have friends over so often, I would go through five pounds of coffee a week”. As I thought about what Rich had said I realized that he distilled in one statement the concept of community. He was a guy with friends, he built a porch, and brewed some coffee. No hoops, no credentials, just community.

What about you guys? How do you define community? What does community look like to you?

Grace and Peace.

Tony