Reflection on Matthew 17:1-9

transfiguration

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+17.1-9

Scripture

After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

Observation

Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain by themselves. There His appearance is changed so that His clothes and face shine like the sun. Then Moses and Elijah also appear with Him.

Peter babbles on about building shelters, but he is interrupted by a voice from the cloud which says, “This is my Son whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

The disciples are terrified, but Jesus tells them not to be afraid.

Application

Jesus led a small group up a mountain for a revelation of His true nature.

Our culture, including our church culture, is obsessed with big events. Bigger, it seems, is always better.

But here we have a small group of believers, Peter, James and John, on a small group retreat (a leadership retreat, perhaps) whose sole purpose is to receive a revelation of Jesus.

He leads. They follow. He reveals.

This is a model for discipleship everywhere:

  • Jesus leads us step by step

  • We follow the best way we know

  • He gives a new revelation of His nature and His purpose for us.

  • The cycle is repeated.

This cycle of discipleship applies also to cell groups. This passage shows that revelation comes most clearly in the presence of a small group of people who are determined to follow Jesus together.

We don’t know much about the journey up or back down the mountain. There would have been talking, banter, fellowship and teaching. They were on a journey together, and in the middle of the journey there is given a new insight into Jesus.

We need one another. The church is meant to be a community of people who encourage and build one another up along the way. That community building happens most effectively in small groups.

Big meetings are great for their own purpose, but we also need small groups of believers seeking God together.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you that in our walk with you there is always more to discover. Thank you for the people you have put in my life who help me to learn more of you and to see more of who you are. Amen.

 

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

temple

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+3.16-23

Scripture

Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Observation

Together we are God’s temple. The Holy Spirit dwells n us. If anyone tries to destroy His Temple, God will destroy them.

Those who think they are wise in the world’s ways should become fools because God’s standard of wisdom is different to the world’s. We must not boast about our human leaders because we belong to Christ.

Application

We are God’s temple. Together the church “contains” or become a place of habitation for the Holy Spirit.

We read this verse and think it means “I am a temple of God.” But Paul says “You (plural) are the temple of God.” He does not say “You are temples of God.”

It is when we worship and work together in the unity of the Spirit that God is manifest amongst us.

This is not to deny that each individual christian has the Holy Spirit. Three is a special anointing that comes when the people of God come together and worship with one heart and one mind.

Prayer

Holy Spirit come and fill me. Empower me to worship you in unity with my brothers and sisters so that we truly become the temple of God. Amen.

Book Review: “The Day The Revolution Began” by N.T. Wright

day-revolution-began

One of the big problems with contemporary evangelical theology, according to N.T. Wright, is that we often have part of the answer but it leads to the wrong conclusions. For example, the theology of the cross comes down to “Jesus died so you could be forgiven and go to heaven.”. As Wright points out that is not what the New Testament teaches, or at least it is not all that the New Testament teaches.

So Wright goes back to Adam and Eve, right through the Old Testament and comes to the conclusion that the main sin that people have to face is idolatry. The people of God were constantly faced with the challenge of staying faithful to the one true God, Yahweh or worshipping the false gods of the nations around.

The problem with idolatry is that it undermines our calling or vocation as human beings. We were created in God’s image so how can we worship another image without damaging ourselves? For Israel, God’s covenant people, to worship other gods meant separation from God and the Land He had given them to live out their calling.

When Jesus comes on the scene, Israel has spent much of its existence either in exile or in subjection to other nations. The prophets knew that the solution they needed was national as well as individual salvation.

The cross then is not about a human sacrifice to appease an angry deity, which is what many christians think of. It is more like the one true representative of humanity (“the Son of Man” as Jesus frequently called Himself) dying for the world. He speaks of the sins of the nation, especially its idolatries, being heaped up and falling on Jesus.

A revolution of love, self-denying and sacrificial love, brings a new rule in the world- the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, launched by Jesus’ death on the cross, sets us free to see and experience the true God and to follow in His ways.

The death of Jesus on the Cross at 6 pm on Good Friday is the start of the revolution. His resurrection before dawn on Sunday is the first sign that God’s kingdom of life, love and forgiveness is here.

Wright says that the gospel is bigger than “we get to go to heaven” (which is a pagan Platonist ideal). The true gospel message is that the Kingdom is here and God is overturning everything that is based on human idolatry, including relationships, politics, oppression and self-worship. Yes we get to live for ever in the new heavens and the new earth, but the Kingdom is more than that.

It’s hard to justice to a book of this size and scope in a few hundred words, but it is well worth reading. Wright covers deep topics in a way that many people find is easy to read. I think most people would want to read a few pages and mull it over for a few days.

I’ve always felt that the typical atonement theory whereby Jesus takes the punishment for our sins and as a result we go to heaven has a few gaps in it. This book goes a long way to filling the gaps.

 

 

 

From The Babylon Bee

Presbyterian Man Asks Apple Genius To Remove ‘Praise Hands’ Emoji From His iPhone

GERMANTOWN, TN—Walking calmly into his scheduled Genius Bar appointment at exactly 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, local Presbyterian believer John Garner stoically greeted the Apple employee assigned to assist him before asking how he could remove the “Praise Hands Emojis” from his new iPhone, sources confirmed.

“There’s a problem with my phone,” Garner began. “See, there are these hands raised up in the air when I pull up the emojis on my keyboard, and I’d like to get them taken off—or if we could at least replace them with hands being placed in pockets where they belong, that’d work too.”

The confused Apple employee, unsure exactly what Garner was asking, launched into a demonstration of how to use the emojis, according to witnesses, but was interrupted by Garner.

“Whoa! Did I just see clapping hands on there? Those are going to need to be removed right away,” Garner said. “Please and thank you.”

“I’m not sure what it is you want, sir. These are installed by default on every iPhone we sell. It’s not a glitch, it’s a feature,” the bewildered Genius Bar worker reportedly replied.

“It’s pretty simple—I want you to remove all these emoji fellows showing various emotions. You can keep the expressionless guy, but the rest have to go,” Garner noted as the worker continued flipping through the pages of emojis on his iPhone.

At publishing time, Garner had run from the store in terror after seeing the wide array of diverse emojis from various cultures.

Bikes As Teleportation Devices

New Life Narrabri

From peopleforbikes.org

BICYCLES ARE INSTANTANEOUS TELEPORTATION DEVICES, SAYS SCIENCE

April 26, 2016

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer


On the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

Sorry, I don’t have time to use the car to get there. That’d take too long — I’d better bike instead.

No, I don’t mean “biking saves you money and time is money.” I mean biking actually saves you time.

No, I don’t just mean during rush hour. Sure, everybody knows that in a city during rush hour, bicyclesusually travel faster than cars. No, I mean biking is always more time-efficient than driving.

In fact, a study released last year found that riding a bicycle transports you from place to placeinstantaneously. As in, it takes no time at all.

Stay with me.

Naturally, this study came out of the University of Utrecht. Utrecht is a Dutch city…

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