Wrong Thing For the Right Reason

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  Matthew 1: 19

Resolved.  His mind was made up.  Scripture does not tell us how hard a decision it was for Joseph to make about Mary.  Was he reacting emotionally to shocking news or had he thought about this decision and weighed all the options?

Either way, he was resolved.  He would tell his pregnant fiancé he would not marry her.   That was what would be expected.  Why would he bring that shame into his family?  By the bias of his culture, it was the right thing to do.  What was merciful about this decision was that he would not publicly embarrass her.  He would, “put her away quietly’.   

He was about to do the wrong thing for the right reason.

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Lunch on the Porch – One More Look

Luke 5: 27-32
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

 

Recently, in a conversation with some other faith friends, it was commented we must be careful when we say we want Jesus in our life.  Because there are times the Jesus we want in our life that answers our questions, meets our needs and generally acts like a God of our own creation.

One friend said, “The truth is we need to talk about the Jesus we do not want”.  That led to a much deeper conversation and will likely emerge as a sermon series in your future.   But scripture for this past Sunday points to a Jesus who certainly does things in an unconventional way.

Jesus calls unlikely people, (tax collectors, sinners, you and me) to become those who will carry out his mission in the world.  He called a despised person named Levi to be a disciple and in the open enjoyed being at a party with people who religious leaders of his day could only refer to as sinners. Continue reading “Lunch on the Porch – One More Look”

Two Special Nights

I want to invite you to two great nights of class starting this Monday. The following two Mondays I am teaching a second tier class on John Wesley. John Wesley’s story and message are critical for us as United Methodists to know and adopt to our life. I believe the we live in times very similar to those of John Wesley. His searching for faith and witness have a lot to offer to us now.

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Holy Tuesday

Last night Jesus was back in Bethany.  The turmoil of the overturned tables of yesterday brought intense attention upon him as he reentered the Temple this morning.  The Pharisees and religious protectors of temple tradition hated him for his actions.  To them he was a trouble maker and perhaps worst.  To others, he was a breath of fresh hope and a new found hero.  He carried for them the possibility change was coming and their hope for a better place in the social order was placed on his shoulders.

This morning, the minute he entered the Temple, all eyes were on him.  Some with stares of hate and others with adoration.  Today what he would do or say would confirm his future.

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Holy Monday

This is a week filled with more drama and revelation than any other in the history of the world.  Each of the four Gospels make that clear as they tell the story of the final days of Jesus’ life before the Resurrection.

It is not surprising the four Gospels all represent these final days differently.  They share many of the same events.  Each has included moments others did not record. (for example Matthew and Mark tell the story of Jesus cursing a fig tree Matthew 22: 18-22 and Mark 11: 12-14,20-26. and Luke or John do not include it).   In a few places, teachings of Jesus some of the Gospels recorded earlier in his ministry are woven into the Passion week narrative of others.  The Gospel of John includes long sections unique to itself. (much of John 13,14 and 15).

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Palm Sunday Crowd

What do you think of when you consider the crowd that waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna” as Jesus entered Jerusalem?

Maybe you think of children waving palm branches.  They were unaware of the significance of that parade.  But they knew fun when they saw it.  Perhaps they noticed Jesus as one who actually cared about them.  Maybe they hardly noticed him as they played with their friends.   It is interesting to me that in the middle of such a critical moment of the Gospel, children are in the center of the action.  They are not put off to the side or told to be quiet.  It is a day for them. It still is.

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