Thursday, February 21, 2019

Matthew, Chapter 21

They cried, "Hosanna!"
More teaching with parables
The rejected stone

Matt 21

John <><

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Matthew, Chapter 20

The last will be first.
Jesus must be crucified.
Jesus came to serve.

Matt 20

John <><

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Matthew, Chapter 19

Marriage and divorce
Let the children come to me
The last will be first

Matt 19

John <><

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Teaching How to Think vs Indoctrination

I get to teach a high school class at church this week. We are looking at the topic of apologetics.
Last week was an introduction to the topic. This week's lesson is How can I know there's a God?

The point of my lesson isn't to prove to them there is a God, nor is it to defend my beliefs. The point is to equip them to examine and defend their own beliefs -- even if they differ from mine!

Looking over the lesson this morning has me thinking about how my own thinking on Jesus has evolved over time. I am really beginning to value the freedom of slowly leaving religion behind and simply following Jesus. I'm not sure when or how I came to the realization that religion (not just Christianity) tends to seek control, but God wants to set us free.

In evangelicalism, we always talk about Jesus delivering us from sin and the punishment from sin. We tend to ignore that Jesus said he came to set the captives free, give hope to those in poverty and release the downtrodden from their oppressors. Jesus didn't come to burden us with religion. He came to set us free from religion!

I'm finding this following of Jesus to be both freeing and uncomfortable at the same time. The difficulty is in becoming less religious and being okay with that. The voices and religions of the past still speak to me. All of them are not traditional religions.
Voices like, "Be a man!" and "Proud to be an American" are also semi-religious voices that seek to control our thoughts and behaviors. In the Bible Paul writes that in Jesus there are no national boundaries, no economic divisions, no gender biases -- just simple followers of Jesus. Everyone is welcome and everyone is equal.

It is this present philosophy of religion and following Jesus that makes me want to be very careful as I teach and preach the way of Jesus -- especially to young people. As much as I want them to know what Jesus said two thousand years ago, I also want to equip them to figure out what that means for them in 2019.
I don't want them to follow John.
I want them to follow Jesus.

The Old Testament has 613 laws for the Jews to follow.
I have no idea how many laws today's religious Christians have to follow.
Jesus summarized the 613 laws into two -- Love God and love people.
Then he said, "Follow me."

I can live with these three.

John <><

Matthew, Chapter 17

Because of your little faith
Fishing for taxes

Matt 17

John <><

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Good-bye, Facebook!

I'm tired.
And I'm dirty.

We all know that posting links to our social and political perspectives on any social media platform is never going to change the mind of someone with a differing perspective. People don't look to social media for information to educate themselves; only to validate themselves and their opinions.
It seems that the same has become true of the news! We no longer look to the news for news, but rather subscribe only to news outlets that present the news that fits within our own political and social ideology.

If you are caught up in the social media game of political posts and other social shaming, maybe you are also getting tired ... and dirty. I think I'm opting out of the game.

Last December I took a few weeks off of sharing any politically charged posts. I'm going back to that.
As a matter of fact, my Facebook wall will be a "post only" kind of page for a little while. It will have posts when I write something on one of my blogs and pics that I share on Instagram. I doubt that it will have much else.
And ... since I'm not going to be checking my feed for several weeks, if there is something you want me to see or know, you will have to contact me via PM, text, email, or give me a call. I'd love to have a conversation with you -- either on the phone or in person if you are in motorcycle round trip distance (500-600 miles gets me home in time for dinner).

I'm not abandoning the World Wide Web and will most likely maintain my activity levels on Instagram and Twitter. I'm @magicianary on both of those if you want to connect with me on one or both of those platforms. I am trying to change my overall outlook on life and Facebook seems to be getting in the way.
The funny thing is -- it's not other people's posts that are the problem. It's my own posts (and re-posts) that are keeping me from being the person that I want to be.

Yesterday, a pastor on Twitter posted that she was preparing a message on prayer and asked how your prayers have changed over the past several years.
I responded --

"Less to change others to be the way I want them to be; more to change me to be like He wants me to be.
Change is hard.
At first, trying to love like Jesus is hard. Later, when you realize how much God loves you, hating becomes hard."

Yeah, I'm still working on it.
And even though hating is becoming more difficult, the sad truth is that indifference is still too easy.

So while the US continues its debate about building a wall, I'm going to work on dismantling the personal walls I have been building for quite some time. When I get the height of the wall down to where we can see each other again (picture Wilson from Tool Time), let's talk.
Until then, I'll be dealing with the never ending job of building up a better John and beginning the task of tearing down walls.

John <><

Matthew, Chapter 16

They demand a sign
The son of the living God
Jesus must suffer

Matt 16

John <><

Friday, February 15, 2019

Matthew, Chapter 15

What defiles a man?
Jesus heals a gentile girl.
Thousands more get fed.

Matt 15

John <><

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Matthew, Chapter 14

She dances, John dies.
Five loaves of bread, two small fish.
Walking on water.

Matt 14

John <><