Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jesus embodies Israel

Israel’s history makes no sense apart from Jesus, and Jesus makes no sense apart from Israel’s history, and God cannot be understood clearly apart from Jesus.

This is why He is called “the light”.

Without light, you cannot see, and it is this One who makes sense of everything.

Matthew[‘s Gospel] is full of all these text proofs, where he says, “and this was fulfilled, and this was fulfilled, and this was fulfilled,” but . . . most of those texts were not written as messianic prophecies. Matthew takes them, and he puts them in there, and he applies them to Jesus.

What’s the point?

Here’s the beautiful point. Jesus didn’t come and tick all the boxes off on the messiah checklist. “Alright, I’ve got 78 old testament prophecies here. I got to ride in on a donkey. Gonna cover that one. I got to go down to Egypt. I got to come back up. Alright.”

Those weren’t even written about messiah, not all of them. Here’s the point. He wasn’t checking off this checklist of messiah. Instead, He wasn’t just fulfilling; He was filling full the entire story of Israel.

He was recapitulating it.

In a concise, 33-year old life, He Himself was Israel, living all the righteousness and fulfilling all of their story.

· He is the new Adam—the prototype of new humanity.
· He is Noah—the ark of salvation
· He is Abraham—the inheritor of all the nations
· He is Moses—the bread of life come down, the one who goes into Egypt and comes back up. He is the one who gives the new Deuteronomy.
· He is Joshua—that is His name, Yeshua, to give the Promised Land.
· He is David—the king who will sit on the throne forever.
· He is the temple himself—He walks around and does what the temple does, “I’m the meeting place of Heaven and Earth, and you now be forgiven.” He’s upstaging the temple! He’s saying, “I’m the temple. I am all of your story wrapped in one embodiment.”

He’s not checking off fulfillment; He’s embodying, He’s incarnating, and fleshing out the entire story of the Bible and walking it out and fulfilling it, living the life we could not live and Israel could not live, dying the death all of them should have died, and raising from the dead to overcome all of the story that had plagued them with the imposter, sin, and death.

This is Jesus! This is what Matthew is saying. He is living the entire story of Israel. He is the Son, Israel.

(Transcribed from a sermon by Adam Cox)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Poor Will Always Be

One of the United Nations' Millennium Developmental Goals is to end global poverty by the year 2015. We're in 2011, and I don't think we're much closer to that than we were in 2000, in fact with the global recession, we've seen a surge in poverty around the globe, especially in industrialized nations. According to 2010's census, the number of those in poverty in the U.S. has risen two percentage points, and we had it good compared to most of the world.

And I've heard a lot of Christians and Christian charities embrace this same idea. "If we just do x, y, or z, we'll end poverty forever." It's a great idea, and I wish it could be so, but is it a biblical goal?

In Matthew 14:7, the Bible says, "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time, but me you will not always have." In context, He is referring to the woman who washes His feet and Judas' suggestion that they could have sold the perfume and gave the money to the poor.

It's the phrase "will always" that bothers me. That kind of statement seems to suggest that poverty will never end. And if it will never end, then God must have a purpose for the poor. And I think biblically that idea holds up, since most of the Bible is built around the idea of helping the poor.

I want to be sure at this point to emphasize that I'm not advocating class differences or keeping others poor so that we can be rich because the poor are destined to exist. You'll find plenty of scriptures that will tell you where that kind of thought process will lead; here's one for example: Luke 16:20-31 .

What I am saying is that if your goal is to end poverty on Earth, you're chasing a pipe dream that will never, ever happen. Jesus said so. And if you're a Christian, you've missed the whole point of why we give up everything to help the poor. It's not so they can buy things they probably don't need, or so they can have a full belly. The point is to show them the path to Christ, so they can live richly in eternity. We help them because we love them, not because of a social agenda.

If you want to see an end to poverty, live for Christ and tell others about Him. Give yourself away, sharing the whole Gospel, which includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, and caring for widows and orphans. And in God's eternal kingdom, you and all those God's used you to bring with will see a world without poverty.

Friday, January 7, 2011


For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

"Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don't do it.

If you don't do it . . . [y]ou shame the angels who watch over you, and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God

Don't cheat us of your contribution.

Give us what you've got!" (Steven Pressfield)

"We've all been there.

Everyone who has a pulse has experienced resistance, and it usually comes in the form of procrastination.

[But] resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of the Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.

If you feel any degree of fear or anxiety about acting on the desire God has put in your soul--then you must do it.

Live the desires of your heart.

God has put you here to do certain good for Him--you, and only you. Not your parents, not your friends, not your pastors--you.

Fight resistance.

Find resolve." (Palmer Chinchen)

May we all do what we were created to do and bring glory and honor to our Creator.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolution

My New Year’s Resolution

I thought long and hard about the new year’s resolutions I should make, and there were a lot of good one’s there:

Lose weight

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Drink less soda

Be more intentional in commitments

Go on a Missions trip somewhere

Live missionally in general

The list goes on, and on, and ON . . .

However, while I was thinking about all these things that I could do, I kept hearing these words: “Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." (James 4:13-15)

What good does making all these new year’s resolutions do other than create more areas in our life that lead to disappointment and discontent as life’s unpredictable nature makes them impossible to achieve.

And so, rather than continue on what seemed like pointless self-glorification in the things that I may or may not succeed in doing this year, I committed myself to a New Year’s resolution that I think is worth keeping.

This year I will follow the Lord in joyful obedience, wherever He leads. I will find contentment in whatever path He sets my feet on, and I will rejoice in every circumstance that He should choose to intersect my life with. I will not worry about tomorrow, but instead, I will entrust my family and myself to His care.

Lead on Lord!


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