Luke 20:27-40

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 20:27-40
27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man[f] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons[g] of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

First, a thought:

The Sadducees, we’re told, don’t believe in the resurrection. In other words, they think this life is all there is. Their argument here seems to be something like, “If there were a resurrection and people lived again after death there would be all kinds of problems that don’t make any sense to us. For example, there were seven brothers…”

I find it fascinating that on this one occasion Jesus simply gives them a straight answer.  No riddles. No stories. First he tells them something about the next life that they didn’t know. New information not included in their scriptures. Then he passes by their specific spoken question and addresses the heart of their issue by explaining to them a passage of scripture they did know, and knew well. But apparently, not well enough.

I know there are those who don’t believe scripture at all. (They are likely not reading this blog, but who knows? Anyway, you probably know someone like that.) I’ve spoken with folks who ask questions about stuff in the bible. Stuff they think simply can’t be true. Because if it were true it would raise all kinds of issues for them that don’t make any sense.

I also know people who believe scripture and follow Jesus, but can’t quite swallow everything the bible teaches about some things. Like morality, for example. They read what scripture says, but figure it must mean something else. Because if it were really all completely true it would raise all kinds of issues for them that just don’t make any sense.

With that in mind, this is what I hear God asking me:
Is it possible that Jesus’ would answer both of these people the same way he answered the Sadducees?
Is it possible that Jesus has some information we do not?
Is it possible that Jesus can see right past your spoken objection into your heart?
Is it possible that Jesus might point to a passage of scripture you thought you knew and lay it out for you in a way you never considered?

Yes.

Yes, it is.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Luke 20:19-26

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 20:19-26
19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality,[d] but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius.[e] Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Verse 21: Did anyone buy this bald-faced lie?
What was their real motivation for this question?
Why would it not be right for Jews to “give tribute to Caesar”?
Is it right for the Christian to pay income taxes?
Is this the same thing?
What’s the difference?
Now, about your questions:
Do you ever have questions for me?
Btw – It’s ok if you have sincere questions.
But, are your motives always pure?
Do you ever look for a loophole?
A way to justify your own desires?
You realize that I already know your motives, right?
One last thing:
The coin bore the image of Caesar, so give it to him.
But, what bears my image?
Give that to me.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Tuesday Picks ~ 5-30-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

4 Reasons Superstars Hurt Local Church Ministry
Eric Geiger
You have heard the statement “A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.”

In terms of building a sports team, the cliché challenges leaders to be concerned with the weakest player on the team, to be concerned with raising their skill. Some coaches and leaders live like this is true and focus their energy on developing the weakest links. Others place their energy on recruiting and keeping the strongest links on their teams…

Which approach is correct for staffing in ministry? Convictionally, it must be to develop all the people and not to focus on superstars. Practically, it must be to develop all the people and not focus on superstars. Here are four reasons superstars hurt ministry in a local church…


Yes, I’m sorry, this is another post about millennials. But it is a good one…

On “Listening” to Millennials (and What Does that Even Mean)Derek Rishmawy
listeningHonestly, I feel bad for churches and older leaders trying to get a handle on reaching Millennials. One of the biggest things the recent literature tells churches to do is “listen” to Millennials. But that can be fairly confusing…

Even more importantly, what does “listening” even mean?


Wise and InnocentMichael D. O’Neil
But what of those of us who are not so comfortable with aspects of the progressive social agenda, who perhaps even find them antithetical to Christian convictions? What are Christians to do when it is wrong to withdraw from public engagement, but threatening to so engage? What might appropriate response look like?

In this context, Jesus’ words from Matthew 10:16 provide guidance: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (NASB).

Because Jesus has sent us out, our place is indeed, “in the world,” and even among the “wolves.” Christians must not withdraw from public space and public dialogue, but their presence is to be wise and innocent. Sometimes Christian engagement in the public sphere is less than wise; at other times it is far from innocent. Wise engagement is required lest we be ravaged; innocence is necessary lest we give ground for accusation or inflame existing tensions.


Live Above the Culture of RevengeMichael Kelley
It begins with recognizing that I, myself, am not able to dispense true justice and therefore any attempt at revenge is always flawed. I don’t know who really deserves what because I don’t know the depths of my own heart and sin much less anyone else’s…

… our job is to recognize first and foremost that we, too, ought to have justice dispensed against us. And when we grasp the immensity of how grievous our own offenses are perhaps it takes some of the fire out of our own desire for revenge.


Watch Repair…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDUvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNTI1XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Luke 20:9-18

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 20:9-18
And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant[b] to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone’?[c]

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Who is this parable about?
Who are the “servants” sent and beaten by the tenants?
Who is the “beloved son”?
Who are the “tenants”?
Where are you in this parable?
Who is the “stone” in verses 17 & 18?
Who, exactly, will be “broken to pieces” and/or “crushed”?
Will any of your family or friends be “broken” or “crushed”?
Are you doing anything about that?
Does this passage alter your image of Jesus?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Why Go to Church?

https://thedailyrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/why-go-to-church.jpg

“Certainly one can be self-centered inside a church gathering, but the church gathering is nevertheless where all the sinners ought to be at the appointed time, smack-dab in the middle of a congregational experience specifically organized against the idolatry of personal preference. Not just because God says to do it—although that’s reason enough—but because it is good for us to have our singular voice lost in the sea of corporate praise and it is good for us to shut our social-media-motor-mouths for a bit and hear ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ We should go to church—not mainly, but nevertheless—because it confronts and stunts our spiritual autonomy and individualism. We should go lest we become Cainites, saying ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper.’ Or reverse Cainites, ‘My brothers aren’t my keepers.’”

Jared Wilson

Weekend Picks ~ 5-26-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

Why Homesickness Is HealthJen Pollock Michel
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/homesick-2.jpgNostalgia may have disappeared from our medical dictionaries, but we haven’t cured the ache for home. To be human is to know the grief of some paradise lost. Each of us—however happily settled—suffers a foreboding sense of rupture, as if we’ve been cut off from some hidden source of happiness…

Home represents humanity’s most visceral ache—and our oldest desire…

The biblical narrative begins and ends at home. From the garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem, we’re hardwired for place and for permanence, for rest and refuge, for presence and protection. We long for home because welcome was our first gift of grace, and it will be our last.


In the 80s I was in youth ministry and almost 30 years old, but pretty much addicted to Ms. Pac-Man…

Children of the ‘80s Never Fear: Video Games Did Not Ruin Your LifeMichael Z. Newman
https://www.arcade-museum.com/images/109/1092874315.jpgThere is a particularly American tradition of becoming enthralled with new technologies of communication, identifying their promise of future prosperity and renewed community. It is matched by a related American tradition of freaking out about the same objects, which are also figured as threats to life as we know it…

Somehow, a generation of teenagers from the 1980s managed to grow up despite the dangers, real or imagined, from video games. The new technology could not have been as powerful as its detractors or its champions imagined. It’s easy to be captivated by novelty, but it can force us to miss the cyclical nature of youth media obsessions. Every generation fastens onto something that its parents find strange, whether Elvis or Atari. In every moment in media history, intergenerational tension accompanies the emergence of new forms of culture and communication.


This is a wonderful guide for a powerful personal worship time…

70 Prompts for Praising GodLianna Davis
70 prompts for praising God. a theology blog for women.

“My mouth is filled with Your praise,
and with Your glory all the day.”

Ps. 71:8

Praise Him with me through this list of 70 prompts…


This reflection on a father, being a father, and our heavenly Father really touched me…

Broken ShadowsBrad Larson
https://cbmw.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AdobeStock_53546475-554x360.jpegFathers are shadows. As the light of God shines upon them, their children who come after them should be able to rest in the shadows of God’s grace. A benevolent, loving God should not be something hard to believe in. But the problem is that we fathers are broken shadows. We are fallible and sinful and underqualified to shepherd other eternal human beings.

That’s where grace comes in.


Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly column on tech stuff since 1991. This is his final piece and he predicts a fascinating future…

The Disappearing ComputerWalt Mossberg
I expect that one end result of all this work will be that the technology, the computer inside all these things, will fade into the background. In some cases, it may entirely disappear, waiting to be activated by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought.

Your whole home, office and car will be packed with these waiting computers and sensors. But they won’t be in your way, or perhaps even distinguishable as tech devices.

This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all.


Smarter phones…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/future-phones.jpg
Wrong Hands

Luke 20:1-8

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 20:1-8
One day, as Jesus[a] was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What do you think motivated the chief priests, scribes, and elders to ask the question they asked?
Don’t you think they already thought they knew what his answer would be?
Why didn’t Jesus give them a straight answer?
Do you understand the tough spot they were in?
Why, exactly, was this a tough spot for them?
Why couldn’t they just be honest?
What motivates the questions you have for Jesus?
Do you ever wonder why you don’t get a straight answer?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Thursday Picks ~ 5-25-2015

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

Judgment is a Lazy Substitute for IntimacyMichael Kelley
Judgment is lazy. …when judgment rears up; that’s when I’m tempted to make a snap evaluation of a person based on a given snapshot I see before me.

What I don’t know is the truth of the situation… I don’t know, and I’m content not to know. That’s because judgment is, frankly, easy.

It takes no time. It takes no real effort. And it certainly takes no sacrifice. It is based purely on assumption. This is why you could say that judgment, among other things, is a lazy substitute for intimacy. And this is not the way of Jesus.


Most of these are way too common…

5 Ways Ministry Leaders Start the Journey to Failure
Ron Edmondson
One of the hardest things I do in ministry is interact with those who are no longer in ministry, but wish they were. They’ve been derailed. They messed up and either they got caught or the guilt got the best of them and they confessed.

In recent years, I’ve had numerous ministry friends who lost their ministry due to moral failure, poor leadership, or simply burnout…

Watching this process over the years there appear to be some common reasons failure occurs. It doesn’t start at the failure. It starts months – and, perhaps years – prior. My hope is if we expose some of them we can catch a few people before it is too late.

So, let me ask, do any of these apply to you? …


Is Performance A Dirty Word? (And What it Means for Worship Musicians)David Santistevan
IS PERFORMANCE A DIRTY WORD-In more conversations than I can count, I’ve heard performance thrown around as a dirty word.

“This is not a performance. This is worship.”

I get where these comments come from. Matter of fact, I’ve said them myself. What I want to guard against is demonizing performance. If you play music in your local church, there’s no need to avoid the word performance or think of it as something less than true worship.

Performance and worship don’t need to be mutually exclusive…


Not quite as intimidating as the original…

(But I gotta admit, these guys are pretty good.)


Just like at the movies…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDUvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNTIyXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Luke 19:45-48

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 19:45-48
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Who were the ones “seeking to destroy him”?
Who were the ones “hanging on his words”?
What do you think made the difference?
Which would you have been?
Which do you want to be?
I realize that you are not “seeking to destroy him” but do you really “hang on his words”?
Or, are you more likely to just find them interesting?
Or maybe even ignore them altogether?
Isn’t that just another way of “seeking to destroy him”?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.