And who is my neighbor?

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In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus is faced with a question. He is asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers with a question about the law, “What is written in the law?” The expert in the law answers with the 2 greatest commandments: Love God and Love your Neighbor. Jesus applauds tells him to go and do just that.

The expert, however, isn’t done yet. There’s a but. Verse 29 says, “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” So Jesus tells him the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan, who has no legal requirement to, helps the dying man on the road while the legal experts walk along on the other side of the road so as not to become unclean. Jesus tells him that the Samaritan acted as a neighbor, and to go be a neighbor to people like the Samaritan was. Continue reading

The Greatest of These…

I’ve taken a few weeks to write about the two “theological virtues” of faith and hope, but now I want to take some time to focus on love.  If you were ask Jesus or the New Testament authors what the most important characteristic of a disciple is, I’m pretty confident that love would be the answer:

IMG_0599“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:43-44

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

“…whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” Romans 13:9-10

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

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I’m sorry.

Photo Credit: LexnGer via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: LexnGer via Compfight cc

My goal with this blog is to share about being a follower of Jesus in everyday life. I want to write about personal experiences, books, and things that I have learned that point to how to live for and like Jesus on a daily basis. That being said, there are also many people in this world who do things in the name of Jesus who set a poor example of what it means to follow Jesus. So this week I’m writing to say, I’m sorry for those who set bad examples and don’t show what it really means to follow Jesus. Continue reading

Neighboring without an Agenda

Recently I heard Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon, the authors of The Art of Neighboring, being interviewed on the radio. The Art of Neighboring is a great book about how to get to know and how to love your neighbors. One of the things that really struck me in this interview (which you can listen to here) was their discussion of loving without an agenda. They argue that Christians need to learn to love their neighbors without the agenda of evangelizing them. I know this sounds crazy considering this is a post about living life on mission and our mission is to share the gospel, but this is an important discussion to have if we are going to take the next step and serve our neighbors. Continue reading

How will they know we are disciples?

Photo Credit: Lawrence OP via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Lawrence OP via Compfight cc

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35 The Voice)(1)

On the church’s calendar, today is Maundy Thursday. This day derives its name from the Latin word that is the root of our word mandate. It’s called this because of Jesus’ words in John, “a new command I give to you” or a new “mandate.” This mandate comes after his washing of the disciples feet. With this “new mandate,” Jesus instructs his disciples to do the same to one another and then says that this is how the world will know that they are his disciples, by their love.

Much of what we classify as discipleship often falls under the realm of teaching and learning, but it’s important not to miss what Jesus has shown his disciples in this moment. Our discipleship isn’t displayed by our knowledge of God’s word or dedication to church attendance, but instead our discipleship is shown through our acts of love.
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Grace in our Debates

From "The art of boxing, swimming and gymnastics made easy .." (1883)
From “The art of boxing, swimming and gymnastics made easy ..” (1883)

I know I’m at least week late on this, but that’s alright. I don’t want to weigh on any of the debates. I want to talk about the debating. I’ve been thinking a lot about the way debating that has been going on in our nation and I want to comment on how debating happens, especially among fellow believers.

While reading What We Talk About When We Talk About God, I was struck by his chapter on the paradox of talking about God. The paradox of God is essentially the fact that we cannot fully know him or describe him and yet we must. It’s hard to live in this paradox. We want answers to our questions. Bell writes,  “Take faith, for example. For many people in our world, the opposite of faith is doubt. The goal, then, within this understanding, is to eliminate doubt.” Many of us want to eliminate doubt. We want it all spelled out for us so that we know what is right and what is wrong. This desire for right and wrong plays greatly into debates that involve theology and morality and it’s this desire that I’ve been thinking about. Continue reading

Brief Reflection on Maundy Thursday and Love

In light of my recent post on Christian leadership, I decided that today is an appropriate day to again reflect on the how the church behaves differently than the world. On the church’s calendar, today is Maundy Thursday. This day derives its name from the Latin word that is the root of our word mandate. It’s called this because of Jesus’ words in John, “a new command I give to you” or a new “mandate.” This mandate comes after his washing of the disciples feet. Jesus is displaying that his style of leadership is built on love and service, not on power. With this “new mandate,” Jesus instructs his disciples to do the same to one another and then says that this is how the world will know that they are his disciples, by their love (John 13:34-35). Continue reading

Does Love Win?: A Review of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins

6e43d-love-winsThere has been a lot of discussion around the internet about Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins. Before this, I have been a supporter of Rob Bell. I have read all of his books (except drops like stars), seen most of the nooma videos, and watched two of his longer videos. And while I have not always agreed with him, I think that he’s a great communicator and has brought some great insights to the table. That being said, while I try not involve myself in internet debates, but I felt that it was appropriate to share with the few people who read my blog about Love Wins and what Bell actually says in the book (You should check out my friend David’s blog post about this as well).

There were a lot of people crying heresy and accusing Rob Bell of universalism. Those claims were based mostly off of the title and a book trailer. After actually reading the book, I believe that claims of Bell’s flee from Orthodox Christianity have been greatly exaggerated. Continue reading