“They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
I was listening to a counselor one time talk about how important it is to be engaged as a husband and father. He said that his wife and kids were having a heated argument one day. They were yelling and slamming things around. He walked into the kitchen where it was all happening and slammed a cabinet door good and hard. Everyone jumped and looked at him in shock. He said quietly, “I just wanted to feel like I was part of the fun.” He sent them the message that he was there with them even in their hard times. He made a scene, but for a purpose. When Jesus walked into the temple the morning after His grand arrival into the city, He made a scene for a purpose as well. Let’s talk about it.
“Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but your disciples do not fast?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Why do you do the things you do? While there very well may be an intentionality to some of them, can I suggest that the reason you do most of the things you do is that they are the things you do? That may sound like I’m talking in circles (I’ll chalk it up to my head still spinning from last night’s presidential debacle…I mean debate), but let me explain. You and I do most of the things we do because we are accustomed to doing them. Again, there are obvious exceptions to this, but most of our lives run on autopilot. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When we autopilot through the little things, it frees up our attention for the big ones. But if we’re not careful, we can put things in the wrong category. Let’s talk about how.
The history of Israel is one of the all-time epic stories of human history. Starting through the families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it wound its way through 400 hundred years of captivity in Egypt. Moses led the people to freedom and Joshua to inhabit the land God had sworn to Abraham to give his descendants. From there, things were generally rocky. They were on again, off again with God, but He never wavered in His faithfulness to them. Even when He finally had to call a national “time out” because they had drifted so far afield, He was still faithful to them there, and brought them home again to rebuild what had been lost. You perhaps already knew much of that. So why tell it again? Because of what Malachi says here.
In part three of our series, Finding Wisdom, we took a look at another common area we look to in order to find meaning for our lives. This week, we looked specifically at wisdom itself. Wisdom seems like it should be a good thing, but the harder we pursue it, the more we find that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Keep reading to see why and what we can do about it.
The Problem with Wisdom
College holds a special place inour cultural narrative. In books,movies, and TV, it is heralded as a time for young people to go off to pursuehigher learning and to grow in wisdom—a journey that cannot be completedwithout a great deal of experience and experimentation. And at one time, that was more true thannot. Universities were generally staffedby men and women who were genuine scholars in their respective fields and werecommitted to shaping young minds with the knowledge and tools they were goingto need in order to find success in whatever field they happened to bepursuing. Over the past generation orso, though, that classical mission has…morphed…somewhat.
In this final part of our series, Reasons to Believe, we take a turn. We are still talking about reasons to believe, but this one is different from all the rest. At the end of the day, a person can listen to solid answers to all of their objections to the life of Christ and still not be willing to make Him their Lord. The reason for this is that their primary objection is not logical, but relational. This is last and most important hurdle to overcome. When someone becomes a follower of Jesus, the most powerful reason they do so is a relationship. Keep reading for more.
Yielding to Relationship
There was once a man who hated Christians. He hated them. He hated everything they stood for. He hated the things they believed. He hated the impact they were having on his culture. There was nothing about them he liked. It was so bad that he dreamed about hurting them. He thought up ways he could harass them and interrupt their activities and keep them from accomplishing their goals…all within the means of the law of course. Now, you might be thinking, “Well that guy was dumb. It doesn’t really do any good to focus that much effort on hating a group of people. What was his deal with religion anyway?” But, religion wasn’t his problem. Christians were. He had no problems with religion. In fact, he was a very religious guy. He just didn’t like Christians. Furthermore, he was no dummy. Actually, he was brilliant. He had gone to the best schools and studied under the best teachers. He was routinely at the top of his class. The level of success he had attained for his age was simply astounding. When peers looked at him they routinely saw big things in his future. This guy was leadership material. There were few positions which were going to be off-limits to him. He merely had to apply himself in the relevant directions. With his big brain, then, and as committed as he was to the way he saw the world working, he knew all the reasons Christians and their Christianity could and should be rejected. He could have given you a list with sources. He had a reason for every argument. But then, something unexpected happened. And that something was this: he actually met Jesus. Not literally met, of course, but he encountered Jesus in a personal, powerful way. And all his reasons went out the window. Instead of reasons, he now had a relationship. Read the rest…