Embrace Obscurity: Exodus 2v11-3v15

Moses remained in a solitary, nonpublic existence for a long time. It was as if — in some deep and fundamental way— he just let go. He let go of his dreams of fixing anything, helping anyone or even living among his people. Instead, he received what was given. He was offered a home in Midian, and so he settled there. He was given a wife, and so he took her as her own. He fathered a son, and it became a touchstone in his life, an opportunity to name something about himself with more courage and realism than ever before. 

Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

When Gloomy Doubts Prevail: Matthew 11v1-15

In Matthew 11, John the Baptizer, the forerunner of Jesus and the one who declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God begins to doubt Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Why does John doubt? Is doubt a good thing or something that we should stay away from? How should followers of Jesus think about and process doubt?

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“We must learn the language of lament so we can give voice to our faith when praise just won’t do. We must speak to God even when we don’t have anything nice to say. We must keep the conversation going.” - Austin Fisher, Faith in the Shadows: Finding Christ in the Midst of Doubt.

“We are permitted to struggle and wander in our faith so long as it happened decades ago. But if it happened just three short years ago, or last year, or last week, well, that’s just inappropriate. We’ve created a church culture where we are permitted to struggle and wander in the far distant past but not in the dangerous present. It’s our statute of limitations on wandering: it’s acceptable as long as it happened a long time ago. Why? Because we are addicted to certainty not faith.” - AJ Swoboda, The Dusty Ones


Compassion: Matthew 9v35-10v42

Jesus’ compassionate love is the motivation for participation in Jesus’ kingdom mission.

“Because Jesus suffers with people he forms a mission to them. Mission is not motivated by Jesus’ disgust for people because they are such sinners, nor even by an imperial sense that he has a right to people (which, properly understood, he has). Mission is motivated by the more appealing fact of Jesus’ compassion for people. Mission in Matthew’s Gospel, therefore, is not first of all an enterprise by which missionaries go out and censoriously shape up the world. Mission is first a task in which disciples go out and compassionately help people out—by bringing and representing the Good News. When sin is stressed inordinately as a source of mission, compassion is smothered rather than stoked. When Jesus looks out over the world, it is first of all people’s helplessness that he sees; it is their depression, oppression, and suppression that affects him most.” - Dale Bruner, The Christbook Part 1

Healing in His Wings: Matthew 9v18-26, Mark 5v22-43

Jesus often doesn't work according to what we think is logical or what we might think is the best timing. A girl is dying, Jesus is on the way to heal her, but Jesus stops to heal and talk with a woman who yes is sick, but doesn't have a life-threatening situation. She touches Jesus' clothes and is healed. What's up with that?

Despite us not knowing all the details, Jesus call us to a continued trust in him. In the words of Jesus, "do not fear, keep on believing."

 

A Meal with Jesus - Part 1: Matthew 9v9-17

Jesus is pursuing the least likely through radically ordinary hospitality because He is on a mission to save sinners in a new category breaking way.

Recommended Reading:

"A Meal With Jesus" by Tim Chester

"The Gospel Comes with a House Key" by Rosaria Butterfield

*Note: We only made it through about half of the intended notes/slides for this passage. We will have part two next Sunday, August 26.

 

Get Up, Your Sins Are Forgiven: Matthew 9v1-8

Over the past few months, we've been looking at a story or two about Jesus from the book if Matthew each week. In this teaching, we're looking at Matthew 9v1-8 where a group of friends brings their paralyzed friend to Jesus in hopes of healing. Jesus "sees" their faith, but then instead of immediately healing him, he forgives his sins? What's that all about? 
 

Following Jesus to the Other Side: Matthew 8v18-34

Following Jesus is costly but worth it, as he alone as the authority and power to defeat evil in all its forms. Jesus is the one who is with us in the chaos, rebuking the chaos and removing it from His good world. Jesus is also the one who gets to the other side - the dark places of hidden death. It's in those dark shores that the love of Jesus shines brightly.

Wait, That's the Ending?: Matthew 7v24-29

Jesus ends his famous Sermon on the Mount by giving his followers a vision for two kinds of lives. In a cultural moment where information abounds that often results in little to no action, this teaching from Jesus is a much-needed call.

A wise man or woman builds their life on Jesus and puts his teachings into practice.

A foolish man or woman does not build their life on Jesus and does not put his teachings into practice.

Seems pretty simple - but that's where the genius of Jesus is at. Listen as we conclude Jesus' most important set of teachings.

Two Ways: Matthew 7v13-14

Jesus finishes his most famous and important teaching, not with an inspiring or funny story, not with a pep talk and not with a practical acronym to get you juiced for the week ahead.

No Jesus ends his teaching with a series of three warnings. Not because Jesus is angry, but because Jesus loves his followers.

A warning about two ways.

A warning about two teachers.

A warning about two lives. 

 

 

The Golden Rule: Matthew 7v12

The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus' vision for the kind of life that is possible as we apprentice under him in the Kingdom of God.

As we look at the Golden Rule, we are looking at one of the most familiar and well known teachings of Jesus. Which is dangerous. Dangerous not because familiarity breeds contempt, but rather apathy. It can be easy to forget the devastating power that this teaching has.