The time has come to be weary of polite prayers. It is time to seek the Lord.
What you read on these pages will not always reflect perfectly my life's actions. Thus the struggle of living out the way we wish we could. Thus the fight to do what we want to do instead of doing what we do not want to do, and what we do not want to do...this we do.
I am a writer. This means I love to write. This means I express well through written (typed) word. But I am also a daily-broken human being with imperfect feelings, hurts, pains, angers and frustrations. I resound the words of Phillip Yancey, "I soon discover that I write about spiritual disciplines far better than I practice them." The concepts I write about, valid as they may be, are nevertheless hard to live. Does this mean I do not WANT to live them? Of course not, but I suck at it. The reason righteousness is so hard is simply because I suck at it.
This challenges my comment toward pastors, teachers and Christians, "Practice what you preach." Who am I to say they are not trying to practice what they preach, but like me, remain children of an Abba who understands they are humans who cannot wish themselves into perfect and righteous action. They who struggle to do what they wish they would, but it does not and should not take away from their exhausting desire to fight for righteousness and holiness and unconditional love received and given.
In recent months, I have been saturating myself with reading focused on Jesus. When I was offered The Gospel According to Jesus in exchange for a review for Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze, I jumped at the possibility of extending my recent repertoire of the lost centrality of Jesus Christ in our gospel.
This book is not a 'Jesus book' in that it is not a break down of the person of Jesus. In an overly blunt description, this book is about righteousness.
It is not a historical breakdown of Jesus or his teaching, but this book is still necessarily soaked with Jesus Christ as it reminds us of the true understanding of righteousness and justification as only Jesus has defined for his followers.
This is the first reading of Chris Seay for me, and I was able to really follow his writing. At the end of each chapter, he documents a conversation with various Christian leaders including Don Miller, Alan Hirsch, and Mark Batterson. It was a refreshing icing at the end of each chapter to blow each conversation wide open.
A short section of artwork in the middle is a pleasant touch, but not necessary.
If you do not have a strong understanding of righteousness, as it is not a topic we spend an ordinate amount of time to study, this is a great book to pick up. It will walk you through the misunderstanding of righteousness most of us have or have had, and it reveals the true wholeness (shalom) which comes with an accurate understanding of the righteousness which is only gift from Jesus Christ.
Reading through the Gospels in 30 days. If you still want in on it, we are only 2 days in. Thats only 6 chapters to read today to catch up. 3 chapters a day, 4 Gospels, 30 days
* I got this idea from a friend of mine, Justin Wallace, who has done this challenge before and is currently doing it again with us.
I am including my quick reflections here on my blog. Please feel free to include your reflections here as comments for others to read.
CHAPTER 1 1:1-17 - It is always striking how many women are included in Jesus' lineage, but whats more, it is interesting to note that there are whores and other "questionable" characters in that line
1:23 - This is why the Christmas story is so vital and crazy and wonderful. "...and they shall call him Emmanuel, which means God with us." Just take a second and reflect on how HUGE that is! GOD....WITH US!! Here...in flesh...WITH US.
2:3 - The NRSV says that "Herod was frightened and all Jerusalem with him". I knew that Herod gets uber-pissed later, but I never caught that, at first, he was frightened...and so was all Jerusalem
3:2; 4:17 - The Kingdom HAS COME near. We misunderstand this verse gravely when we state that the Kingdom is near or that it is coming near...this is very clearly a past tense statement of a present reality...the Kingdom HAS COME...it is here...going on right now
3:8 - "bear fruit worthy of repentance" (NRSV) - what does that mean do you think?
5:6 - "If you HUNGER and THIRST for righteousness...you will be FILLED" - Could I really define my heart with a HUNGER and a THIRST?
5:11 - "Blessed are you who are persecuted...ON MY ACCOUNT" - NOT because you're an ass
- How would 5:19 compare and come alongside "the least of these"?
5:42 - "Give to EVERYONE...do not refuse ANYONE." - Another instance when Jesus is clearly stark where we like to be muddy and faint...I'm sorry; I mean where...I...like to be muddy and faint.
5:47 - "What more are you doing than others?" - A haunting question I am slow to answer today.
6:2-6, 16,18 - "They will receive their reward...you will receive your reward." They will receive the reward they wanted which was attention, but if we do as Jesus has called us, we will receive our reward as well. The question here is, "What reward do you seek?"
6:11 - "give us this day our DAILY BREAD" - this is to say, give us what we need and not beyond that. We do not seek to hoard and consume more than we actually need.
6:21 - "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be" - At Christmas time, I wonder how much we have connected LOVE to what sort of gift I get/give.
6:33 - If you choose NOT to worry, Jesus gives you an action plan.
WHAT ARE YOUR REFLECTIONS ON Matthew 1-6
LISTENING TO: "Light" by Matisyahu