Friday, August 7

I Got You!

 A universal truth in life is that we will have stress.  Acute’ stress is short-lived, situational, but can be earth-shattering—death of a friend, stuck in traffic, argument with a spouse, child, or boss. Acute stress passes. Following an experiment demonstrating  how acute stress can increase mental acuity one doctor wrote, “I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” she said (Sanders)

Chronic stress is just nasty, it increases risks like “chronic obesity, heart disease and depression (Sanders)." Chronic stress can come from the constant presence of acute stressors partnered with no way to escape. There is no control over those things that bring chronic stress into our lives.

The biggest contribution to date by atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins (IMHO), is gifting the world with the word ‘meme’. They are important because they allow us to deal with some of the stressors we face in our world on a daily basis. ‘Memes have become a very common part of social media culture (Cole-Black).” These photos, quips, and the like summarize what we have been thinking for too long. The purpose run the gamut from pure entertainment to “how we record our history through our lens (Cole-Black)” commented a 20-year-old. “Memes have become a common way of processing fear and tragedy through humor (Al-Heeti)." Our laughter does help with acute and chronic stress.

COVID-19, international political issues, and even killer wasps are just a few of the stressors in our life—acute and chronic. Couple these with the normal stresses we face—kids, work, homes, and the rest and it becomes very desirable to find a place free from stress. You might recall the old commercial “Calgon take me away”, but UC Berkeley did a study in which an amoeba, living in a stress-free situation didn’t thrive, but died (Ortberg 47).

If we are going to face stress and we need stress to continue to live how can we manage what happens so as to honor God? First, when God appears in the midst of our stressed lives, He will demand a response from us. Often, what God calls us to isn’t simple, clear-cut, or easy.

Jesus, walking on the water is in all the gospels except Luke. Only Matthew tells us of Peter walking on the lake. We’ve seen this story in our minds a million times. A storm on Galilee, seasoned fishermen trying to row. A mysterious person walking toward the boat. And in a moment of faith Peter calls to Jesus and the Lord invites Peter to join him. Peter becomes fearful, sinks and Jesus grabs him.

The fact is there is no storm. They are rowing into the wind which is difficult.  John alone says the “sea rose” which could be a rough chop to large swells. Four of those, at least, fished for a living. They knew what they were doing out on Galilee. They’d rowed and sailed that lake almost daily. This trip wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as fearful as when the woke Jesus up certain they were going to die.

It was about 3 a.m. and these men had been rowing and covered about three or four miles by 3 a.m. They weren’t afraid of the wind or the weather but when they saw someone “walking on the sea” and “they were terrified.”  It wasn’t the weather but an apparent ghost coming toward them.

Jesus knows they’re afraid and identifies Himself. Peter exhibits some faith when he “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Peter climbs over the side and starts to walk toward Jesus. We don’t know how far he got but we do know is that the wind was easier to notice than Jesus and so he sank shouting for Jesus who grabs Peter, saves him, and calms the winds. Question Peter’s faith all you want but how many of us would have even stepped over the side?

Peter recognizes Jesus

What gives Peter the guts to do the unthinkable is that Peter recognized Jesus. He’s afraid, like the rest, but he’s also sure that if this really is Jesus everything will be okay. It is John 21 in which Peter recognizes Jesus and plunges into the lake to swim to shore.

If we’re waiting for God and God shows up it’s a good thing to be able to recognize Him. I wonder how many people have missed God’s call and purpose by failing to recognize Him and His call. Lois Prater, in 1991 at 76 years-old she sold her Seattle-area home and most of her belonging and became a full time missionary into orphans in the Philippines. She started an orphanage there and in the 13 years she was there she

“suffered a broken leg, been hospitalized with pneumonia and tuberculosis, and has been ill with intestinal worms during her tenure in the Philippines. The hot weather, the spicy food and the distance from her family add to her hardships… My only regret is I didn’t start earlier when I was young (Wood).’’

Had she recognized Christ early on can you imagine what might have happened. You know those who have recognized Jesus’ claim on their lives. Some step out in faith and others reason themselves out of it.

Acting on what Jesus says

Peter doesn’t question Jesus’ intent when he says, “If it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Read ‘if’ as ‘since’ and you understand that Peter is confessing his belief in Jesus.

Those who recognize Jesus have to ask if we believe that He knows what’s best?  When Jesus tells us to not be afraid do, we believe Him and throw our leg over the side of the boat? I wish I could shout, “Of course, here I come Jesus” or do we talk ourselves out of it.

In obedience to Jesus and with a faith in Christ’s word Peter walked to Jesus and sank. This happened because Peter focused on his situation and not the savior. Peter was distracted by the wind so that he lost sight Jesus.

Today, in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic where is God? What does He call us to do? I haven’t received a vision of God’s wishes, but I can tell you that it is easy to get swamped by the details and the destructive power of the stress and lose sight or our Lord.

Let me offer us some guidance from God’s Word as we go through this time of stress. Approach any and all answers, truth, stories, and even your own feelings with a humble attitude. Being humble doesn’t mean we believe everything we hear and read but that we, like Mary that first Christmas, “pondered all these things” 

Secondly, remember that God is in charge. The “devil may be in the details” but the real, life changing power is in Christ. In the 1978 movie, Superman there is a scene in which Lois falls off the Daily Planet and, of course she is caught by Superman who says,

           Easy, miss. I've got you.

           You - you've got me? Who's got you (Donner)?”

We will sink from time to time. We can fall into thinking we know best. We can even believe we’re doing what God wants us to do when we know it goes against Jesus teaching. Even in the midst of such things we’ve been ‘got’ by Jesus. One last thought—as safe as staying on board may seem, it was not where Peter belonged. No matter how ‘safe’ your life is. No matter how safe and secure you want it to be. No matter how uneventful you desire to live your life. Jesus has other plans for us. I pray we will not be so afraid of abandoning ship that we abandon our first love instead. Let’s pray.



Works Cited

Al-Heeti, Abrar. "Coronavirus Memes Help an Isolated World Cope With 'Existential Dread'." CNET. 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Cole-Black, Ameena. "The Purpose of Memes." BEACON. 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Donner, Richard. Superman. Hollywood: Warner Bros., 1978. film.

Ortberg, John. If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of The Boat. [S.I.]: Zondervan, 2008. Print.

Sanders, Robert. "Researchers Find Out Why Some Stress is Good for You." Berkeley News. 2013. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Wood, Gail. "Lois Prater's Childhood Missionary Dream Is Fulfilled--At Age 76." Charisma Magazine. 2002. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Works Consulted

Al-Heeti, Abrar. "Coronavirus Memes Help an Isolated World Cope With 'Existential Dread'." CNET. 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Cole-Black, Ameena. "The Purpose of Memes." BEACON. 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Donner, Richard. Superman. Hollywood: Warner Bros., 1978. film.

Ortberg, John. If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of The Boat. [S.I.]: Zondervan, 2008. Print.

Sanders, Robert. "Researchers Find Out Why Some Stress is Good for You." Berkeley News. 2013. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Wells, Madeline. "Funny Quarantine Memes to Help You De-Stress." SFGate. 2020. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Wood, Gail. "Lois Prater's Childhood Missionary Dream Is Fulfilled--At Age 76." Charisma Magazine. 2002. Web. 7 Aug. 2020.

Saturday, August 1

What did you eat today?

Matthew 14:13-21 is one of the few experiences shared in each of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are very similar in many places, but it must have been a special reason for John to record it. 

John, like the others, is concerned with showing his readers and the world who Jesus is. John records the intent of the people, to take Jesus and make Him King. Soon afterward in John 6: 26ff, Jesus confronts the crowd,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” which leads to verse 35 where Jesus reveals “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Jesus and God

At the center of God’s creation is Jesus. The tipping point for all life is found in Jesus. Nothing is grander, more life-changing, fulfilling, earth-shattering, or joyous than Jesus. Jesus is the Gospel and if we miss this, we miss everything, everything!

I owe a lot in this discussion to the work of Dr. Thomas Torrance, systematic theologian and Presbyterian with an unwavering belief and trust in Jesus. His approach to every passage of scripture was to ask, “Who does this passage say Jesus is (Bester)?” Pastor Garrett Dawson wrote of Torrance, “What is at stake here is the belief that who we see God to be for us in Jesus Christ is who God is antecedently and eternally in himself (Dawson).” In other words, Jesus the perfect, human/divine reality of God who created heaven and earth. There is no other God than whom God reveals Himself to be in Jesus.

Torrance served as a stretcher-bearer in World War 2. He wrote of coming across a mortally wounded soldier who asked,

“‘Padre, is God really like Jesus?’ I assured him that he was the only God that there is, the God who had come to us in Jesus, has shown his face to us, and poured out his love to us as our Savior. As I prayed and commended him to the Lord Jesus, he passed away (Torrance 15).”

Torrance continues to write of the impression this had made on him and said,

“I kept wondering afterward what modern theology and the Churches had done to drive some kind of wedge between God and Jesus. There is no hidden God... no God behind the back of the Lord Jesus, but only the one Lord God who became incarnate in him. 2 Truly, when we try to look into the face of God, it is the face of Jesus Christ revealed in the gospels that comes before us (ibid.).”

Our sin divided us at Babel and God calls us together at Pentecost. We broke ourselves into Greeks and Jews; free and slave; male and female; yet the Kingdom of Christ finds us together as a great multitude of which the Apostle John writes:

I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10

Division is the outcome of sin; reconciling--uniting is God’s work through Jesus.

God Cares

In Matthew’s account of this miracle, something amazing takes place. Jesus comes ashore and finds a large group of people who had followed Him, and three things happen. Jesus saw the people, had compassion on the people, and healed their sick. Jesus didn’t just ‘feel for the people’. The word translated ‘compassion’ means to have a sense of concern that flows from the deepest place in which soul-wrenching pain, love, and hurt burn with a life of their own.

Verse 20 gives us Matthew’s view of what took place, “And they all ate and were satisfied.” This speaks directly to the physical hunger they had felt after a day of walking and listening to Christ, but I think there is a deeper satisfaction that comes from having Jesus feel compassion for us.

As I pointed out, Jesus knew that there were selfish people who wanted a King who could keep them fed, as in John 6. But there were also those who, perhaps for the first time, felt okay.

I read Isaiah 55:1-5 today and it is Jesus who invites and fulfills God’s call,

“Come, everyone who thirsts,

    come to the waters;

and he who has no money,

    come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

    without money and without price.

If we are honest with ourselves it is easy to be like those described in verse 2.

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”

The reason for such forgetfulness, rebellion, or silliness is that we believe we know best. We don’t seek the way of Christ. I read of a pastor who went to see a speech therapist who was also a psychologist. Two of his children started having issues with stuttering. He shared how the doctor cursed him out for being at the root of the problem. The doctor asked when we’d taken a vacation. The pastor tried to get around the question by saying

 “I was too busy to take time with my family. I remember I used to say that the Devil never takes a vacation, so why should I?—And I never stopped to think that the Devil wasn’t to be my example (Bayly and Bayly)."

Who is our example? Who is our role model?

God’s in Charge

The disciples were consumed with assumptions. As the day grew longer “neither Jesus nor the crowd was preparing to bring things to an end, so they took the initiative (Morris 377).” How like us. We know that “God helps those who help themselves” right. No! He doesn’t. Those who help themselves end up worshipping a golden calf, murmuring against God and betray Jesus, so he might become who Judas wanted Him to be.

Verses 16-18 each begin with the word ‘but’. “But Jesus said…” and then commands them to feed the people. The nature of this command is seen in that Jesus uses the pronoun “you” which, unneeded in Greek, when used makes it even more emphatic—think of it in terms of Jesus using your middle name when He calls you.

The disciples wanted the people to go away. This was how they handled people who they felt were too inconvenient to see Jesus. They tried to protect Jesus from parents who wanted their children blessed. They believed tried to manage Jesus. They saw themselves as the Messianic Chief of Staff who was to plan Jesus’ agenda and take care of those who, they thought, He didn’t have time to deal with. 

So, when Jesus issues His command to the disciples they are rocked on their heels. He doesn’t give them the means to do what He commanded. He doesn't even offer a hint.

 “But…we only have five loaves…” Jesus listens with the intent to do what He had already planned to do. What He teaches us is to turns ours and their attention away from the hopelessness of the situation and the easy solution and invites them and us to think how they and us could help (Morris 377-378).”

Once again Jesus speaks beginning with “but bring them here to me” the sack lunch they had found. Not only does Jesus ‘satisfy’ the hunger of the people but he demonstrates before 5,000 the fulfillment of manna given from God to the people. He shows His compassion is not reserved for those who bring perfect lambs to the temple but all who are far off.

Let me close, reminding us to remember who and whose we are. I was blessed to have Dr. Abd-al-Malik teach Hebrew at Fuller. I didn’t learn much Hebrew, but I became acquainted with a man who lived a life he described as “teaching is my spiritual child (Barber).” Among the things I learned was to “Trust Allah and believe” by the way Allah simply means God in Arabic and probably flows from the ancient term El for God in Job and elsewhere.

The other thing I remember is his humility. When someone would say, “Dr. Malik” he would often stop us and explain “it’s Abd-al-Malik, the servant of the King I am not the King, that is Jesus.” May we remember we are the servant of God and not speak and ask as if we are a god… Let’s pray.


 Works Cited

Bayly, Joseph, and Timothy Bayly. Out Of My Mind. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1993. Print.

Barber, Mary. "Everybody's 'Favorite Teacher' At Cal State L.A. Doesn't Intend to Become History Just Yet." Los Angeles Times. 1985. Web. 31 July 2020.

Bester, Joco. "More Than A Miracle." Sermon Central. 2013. Web. 29 July 2020.

Dawson, Gerrit Scott. "Recovering the Ascension For The Transformation of the Church." Theology Matters 2001: 1ff. Print.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Thomas F. Torrance, A Passion for Christ, Lenoir: PLC Publications, 1999, p. 15

 Works Consulted

Amenyah, Ivy Drafor. "Feeding the Five Thousand." Sermon Central. 2017. Web. 29 July 2020.

Bayly, Joseph, and Timothy Bayly. Out Of My Mind. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1993. Print.

Barber, Mary. "Everybody's 'Favorite Teacher' At Cal State L.A. Doesn't Intend to Become History Just Yet." Los Angeles Times. 1985. Web. 31 July 2020.

Bester, Joco. "More Than A Miracle." Sermon Central. 2013. Web. 29 July 2020.

Dawson, Gerrit Scott. "Recovering the Ascension For The Transformation of the Church." Theology Matters 2001: 1ff. Print.

Hagner, Donald A. Matthew 14–28. Vol. 33B. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1995. Print. Word Biblical Commentary.

Hendriksen, William, and Simon J. Kistemaker. Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew. Vol. 9. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001. Print. New Testament Commentary.

Jackson. "Facebook Post Inspires Michigan Mail Carrier to Give Kidney To Stranger." MLive. 2019. Web. 1 Aug. 2020.

Köster, Helmut. “Σπλάγχνον, Σπλαγχνίζομαι, Εὔσπλαγχνος, Πολύσπλαγχνος, Ἄσπλαγχνος.” Ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich. Theological dictionary of the New Testament 1964– : 548–559. Print.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Rushford, Greg. "What Is The Role Of The White House Chief Of Staff? - Dummies." dummies. 2012. Web. 1 Aug. 2020.

Thomas F. Torrance, A Passion for Christ, Lenoir: PLC Publications, 1999, p. 15


Saturday, May 30

All Together Now!


Have you ever had a ‘bad’ week? Someone once said, “You can tell you’re going to have a bad week when a camera crew from 60-minutes is in the office on Monday and would like to ask you some questions.” Here are some other possible ways you can tell things are going to get hairy. The orthodontist says your kid needs braces and then asks if you think the blue or silver BMW is nicer. Your spouse gives you a ticket to Fiji for your anniversary, but there is only one, and it is one-way.

Let me suggest that when God pours Himself into your life your week is going to more than terrific, it is going to be spectacular. That is precisely what happened on Pentecost in Jerusalem.  What Jesus had promised happened. They had waited, as Jesus told them, and the Paraclete, counselor, comforter, God’s advocate was present with them, upon them, and within them.

Former Chaplain of the Senate and Pastor at Hollywood Pres., Lloyd Ogilvie wrote, “The greatest need in the church today is for contemporary Pentecost (Ogilvie 56).” That was his conclusion after taking a year to discover the great need people had for a sense of power in their lives.

At 67 I find myself wishing I this or that ability I had when I was 40. In transitioning from a home to assisted living I hear the pain caused by losing control of their lives, their future. It is very obvious with this pandemic how many of us want things to go back to being normal and we chafe under the thought that things may never be ‘normal’ again. When the world is shifting all around us it becomes difficult to find an anchor on which we can depend.

As hard as it is to ‘trust God’ in such times, the answer to our lack of control is found in Christ and his presence and power—in Pentecost. In the matter of a few minutes, the lives of 120 people were uprooted by God. A weird sound and a strange sight moved 120 people from a room into the streets. It made fishermen apostles, it made shopkeepers into evangelists, it took women and caused their voices to shout God’s praise to the street in languages they may have never heard.

Together Before

A keyword used to describe those people is “together”. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” v2. They were together because that’s what Jesus had told them to do, back in 1:4-5 “he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, …but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Together, describes these people, before and after the Holy Spirit comes. Before, they were together waiting. After, they were together as a force. Before, they were together but powerless. After, thousands wanted to be together with them. This wasn’t mass hysteria but a God thing. They ran into the street among the gathering crowd together but not the same. In an instant, the Holy Spirit delivered them from “the limitations of their Galilean speech (Peterson 134) so that those who had gathered at the sound were hearing God being praised in their own languages. “It was not simply a miracle of hearing: it was a miracle of speech (Peterson 134)” because they were enabled “as the Spirit gave them utterance” v4. This is what the Holy Spirit does with gifts, 1 Co 12:11 “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he [Holy Spirit] wills”.

Together After

After some 3,000 people respond to Peter’s sermon, ‘together’ is used three times.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2:44-47 NIV
The ESV uses ‘together’ twice. It describes their meeting in the temple and breaking bread in v. 46. Either way, they were supporting and caring for one another in a way that was unique, even in a culture that honored hospitality. Read through Acts 2-6 and you’ll see successes and tensions to this togetherness. Yet, God continually brings his people together. So much so, the summary for chapter 2 that “the Lord continued to add to their number daily those who were being saved” (v. 47).

Together Today

How can we live a together style life today? Above everything else, it comes from, is powered by, and brings glory and honor to God and God alone. Look back at verse 47, “The LORD continued to add…” their cleverness didn’t work, nor does our nifty programs. “The LORD continued to add…” it wasn’t their keeping the rules of the law, and it doesn’t happen because we are polite and don’t wear a hat in worship. The rich guy in Mark 10 asks what it takes to be saved and Jesus said you know the commandments. His response was, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth”. Yet he walks away unsaved. Why? Because it isn’t our good deeds that brings about salvation, it is God and God alone.

To be together today demands a humble spirit, to see us as God sees us. There is a story about Teddy Roosevelt that comes from a traveling companion and friend, William Beebe. He wrote,

After an evening of talk...we would go out on the lawn, where we took turns at an amusing little astronomical rite. We searched until we found, with or without glasses, the faint heavenly spot of light-mist beyond the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus, when one or the other of us would recite:
·          That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda.
·          It is as large as our Milky Way.
·          It is one of a hundred million galaxies.
·          It is 750,000 light-years away.
·          It consists of one billion suns, each larger than our sun."
After an interval, Colonel Roosevelt would grin at me and say: "Now I think we are small enough! Let's go to bed (Beebe 234)."

Beebe concludes, “We must have repeated this salutary ceremony forty of fifty times in the course of years, and it never palled (ibid.).” Their simple recitation gave them a humble perspective on life.

Does it excite you that God, who created that spiral galaxy some 750,000 light-years away, sent Jesus to die for us? Do we grasp that this same God, who sent Jesus to die, insists we do the seemingly impossible? What is so impossible about telling others about Jesus, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and loving the unlovable?

Together today must be kindled by the Holy Spirit and cause a growth in our spiritual vitality and power. Only then can the seemingly impossible be accomplished. Forget about the source of this power; grow weak; distant from others, or be forgetful about the things of God and we find ourselves alone, with no means of support, or compassion.

I was in Hawthorne Nevada for six years, two election cycles. In each of those years, one of the county commissioners made a Sunday appearance at worship. He was a good person. I think his name was Lyberger but it doesn’t matter because he was never together with the followers of Jesus. He was a good county commissioner. He seemed to be a moral and good person. But the proof he was not together with us came during a graveside service one afternoon.  Harry Kumler, the funeral director in Hawthorne and a faithful member and deacon asked, what church he attended. He told Harry, “I’m a Presbyterian.” To which Harry simply said, “Funny, I’ve never seen you there.”

God’s love, God’s Holy Spirit will continue to challenge us to be together with-others even as he moves us out into the streets and smack-dab-in-the-middle of messy lives and messy situations. He will call on us to remain together even as we stand apart from the world taking unpopular stands. The awe and wonder of it all is that God actually likes using us to do this work. Let’s pray

Works Cited
Beebe, William. The Book of Naturalists. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. Print 234.

Lloyd J. Ogilvie Acts.  Volume 28 : The Preacher's Commentary series (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1983), 56.

Peterson, David G. The Acts of the Apostles. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Bibliography

Batterson, Mark. Whisper. Portland: Multnomah, 2017. Print.

Beebe, William. The Book of Naturalists. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. Print 234.

Brown, David, A. R. Fausset, and Robert Jamieson. A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Acts–Revelation. VI. London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited, Print.

Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains 1996 : V 1, p 637 Print.

Marshall, ‘Significance’, 355. Cf. G. Delling, TDNT 6:128–31, 283–98; Turner, Power, 165–69.
Lloyd J. Ogilvie Acts.  Volume 28 : The Preacher's Commentary series (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1983), 56.

Peterson, David G. The Acts of the Apostles. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Polhill, John B. Acts. Vol. 26. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

Salmond, Roy and Mulder, Mike "Bear the Burden". Stumbling Heavenward, 1979, LP

Wilson, Andrew. "Paul Says To ‘Be Filled with The Spirit.’ How Do We Obey A Passive Verb?." ChristianityToday.com. 2019. Web. 27 May 2020.

Sunday, May 24

Perception, Power, Purpose


A great deal on engineering goes into creating a roadway. Planning, drawings, surveys, planning, GANT charts, and the rest. There is equipment work, bedding to compact roadway to lay with expansion joints, decisions about the camber of the road etc. It still can’t be safely driven on until the asphalt is laid and the markings, signs, lights, and the rest are in place. Let me suggest that Christ Jesus—firstborn from the dead—has built a wonderful way to venture home to where we belong.

In His Ascension, Jesus gives us and His disciples some key information about our trip home. Until the Holy Spirit came there were no signs marking lanes, or where the shoulder runs off into the dirt. There was no signage for what was off the various exits, These safeguards and directional signs is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus (Ac 16:7; Phi 1:19), as we seek to be obedient to the call of Christ.

This is a great place to be this week because next Sunday is Pentecost so preaching about the Holy Spirit is timely. Yet, for some a week or two about the Holy Spirit is more than enough and the reason for that lack of trust, faith in, and reliance upon the Spirit of Jesus comes out of the problems we have with perspective, power, and purpose.

Problem of Perspective

I can’t draw worth beans and one reason is I don’t understand ‘perspective’. But the problem of perspective is more than an issue for artists. It is something that affects every man, woman, and child. Our ability to perceive properly is directly related to our human sin. In Romans 1 Paul talks about how humans devolved into lawlessness and in 1:22-3 he says, 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things" ESV.

Today there are hundreds, if not thousands, of gods worshiped by people some not even realizing they are doing it. Many of our gods, the ones which we unknowingly pay homage too are positive. Jobs, families, vacation, even health can be an unrealized idol we worship. Our failed perception labels it ‘the great American Dream’; being loving, or some other label.

KINGDOM PERSPECTIVE is the correcting influence of Christ on our lives. The disciples go into this time with their Lord asking, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" v4. They show their fallen perspective with their immediate, wish-fulfillment, sin based--even our noblest gestures are touched, and “bent”. A term used by C.S. Lewis to describe the complete and utter failure which occurred at the Fall.  

We are concerned with the “now”, but God’s perspective is eternal, long-range and not dependent on any “if/then scenarios”. Yet, His detailed attention is down to the smallest atom. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie wrote of Jesus, “He knew that the new kingdom people had to be those who could wait for the Lord’s best, and on His time schedule (Ogilvie 37).” He called this time the “period between the lightning and the thunder (ibid). Do we trust God’s perspective? Are we okay with not knowing?

That is God’s design for us and we do well to remember that God is always is on time, and in time—never late, never early (ibid).

Problem of Power

Our culture celebrates power, grabs power, seeks power, and abuses power. And that is our human experience since creation. Jesus’ closest friends were seemingly unable to keep their eyes off the new Davidic kingdom. Israel would be free and powerful. “Restore” is to bring back something into its original state of existence. To "reestablish, restore; cure, make well; send or bring back (Newman)” is another stab at explaining the varied meaning of this word.

KINGDOM POWER is God’s earth-shattering take on a redefinition of what power is and how it is used. This power is given not grabbed. It is poured out freely upon the undeserving. It is immensely expensive and yet freely given.  It can’t be paid back for it is an act of Grace. God’s love demonstrated to us and through us.

A month earlier, Jesus had demonstrated what Kingdom power looked like when he washed the disciple’s feet during dinner. John recalls the post-meal discussion

“Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 16 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
As the “rich young ruler” walks away, Jesus teaches us that, as impossible, as it seems, God is a God of the impossible. Peter asks, “we have left everything and followed You. What then will we have?” Mt. 19:26-27 to which Jesus concludes His teaching in v. 30, “but many who are first will be last and the last first”

The Kingdom of God turns the world upside down in every way. It changes hearts and governments. It shakes up families and politics. It confronts individual, cultural, governmental, and every other place where sin is found. It comforts all in need, builds up those torn down, and is the reality of God’s presence in our lives and the world.

One way in which Kingdom Power has touched and transformed lives and neighborhoods is by investment in families. Lake Pointe Church in Dallas invested $27K. A church in Wyoming, Michigan spent $18K and a Los Angeles church last Christmas surprised the congregation by spending $53K. Their total investment paid off just shy of 10 million dollars of medical expenses for those in their community where they are crushed under that load. One pastor commented that such debt made their lives impossible, “Most of these folks are in poverty levels or below poverty levels and there’s no way that it can be repaid, but they feel the creditor banging on their doors (Allen).”

Problem of Purpose

A 2016 survey of 18-24-year-olds found they reported “that having a clear purpose in life is a big part of being a "real" adult. The problem is, most young people don't feel like they've found that sense of purpose (Whelan).” I hate to burst their bubble, but many 50-70-year-olds don’t know what their purpose in life.
John Shedd commented that “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for.” They were meant for the ocean and seas, to go where it can be dangerous and where disaster might strike at any moment.

You’ll hear a lot of ideas spouted by those in our world about one’s purpose. Washington Irving said, “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes” and when someone shouts out just “Follow your dreams” I cannot help but think of some of the nightmare scenarios I faced in my dreams. One author, when asked ‘What is the meaning of life?’ wrote, “it has none. Your life may feel like a big deal to you, but it’s actually a random blip of matter and energy in an uncaring and impersonal universe (Lawton).” What a horrid reality and if true then we are the biggest fools in the universe because we claim there is a spiritual reality in which we fit perfectly for we have been designed by a loving creator.

KINGDOM PURPOSE puts us out to sea; takes us to a strange new land; moves us to embrace a new identity, to become adopted by God. Then, as all this is happening God tosses water onto a grease fire and spreads us out as promised here and in Matthew 28. Verse 8 says, “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." It also sets forth the way in which Acts is organized.

The way God moved His people off of dead center takes place in Acts 6 when Stephen, a deacon is grabbed by other Jews on charges of blaspheme. He is stoned and Acts 8:1 says, “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”. Remember in Acts 1:8 Jesus’ imparts to us His purpose for our lives… “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 

When Jesus calls us ‘witnesses’ what does He mean? He means where are to share ‘History’ with the world—not history but His story. This year we lost a wonderful evangelist, preacher, and thinker Ravi Zacharias. Beginning with him there was a new approach to sharing God’s word to an uncaring world. In 1983 he was tagged by Billy Graham to address the first International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam. He decried the tendency to seek to “humiliate someone of a different worldview that we think unless we destroy everything, he holds valuable, we cannot preach to him the gospel of Christ (Fearon).”

That was not Ravi’s style. He engaged a person in life and earned the right to speak into their life the news of Jesus. An attendee at that conference said.+
“He saw the objections and questions of others not as something to be rebuffed, but as a cry of the heart that had to be answered. People weren’t logical problems waiting to be solved; they were people who needed the person of Christ.” No one was reaching out to the thinker, to the questioner (Fearon).”
The way any and all of it takes place is through Jesus the Christ and our believing and trusting in Him.  Let’s pray.
 

Works Cited
Allen, Karma. "Michigan Church Says It Paid Off Medical Debt for Nearly 2,000 Families." ABC News. 2020. Web. 19 May 2020

Fearon, Matthew. "Obituary: Ravi Zacharias." Rzim.org. 2020. Web. 20 May 2020.

Johnson, Lauren M. "A Los Angeles Church Is Paying Off $5.3 Million Of Medical Debt in Its Community." CNN. 2019. Web. 19 May 2020.

Lawton, Graham. “What is the Meaning of Life?” New Scientist (9-3-16)

Newman, Barclay M., Jr. A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. 1993:  Print.

Ogilvie, Lloyd J. Acts. Vol. 28. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1983. Print. The Preacher’s Commentary Series.

Sarkar, Riddhi. "Texas Church Uses Donations to Pay Off $2.6M In Medical Debt for Families." ABC News. 2019. Web. 19 May 2020.

Whelan, Christine B. "Seek Your Purpose Before Your Paycheck," Acculturated blog (5-23-16)

Works Consulted

Brown, David, A. R. Fausset, and Robert Jamieson. A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Acts–Revelation. VI. London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited, n.d. Print.

Crossway Bibles. The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008. Print.

Fearon, Matthew. "Obituary: Ravi Zacharias." Rzim.org. 2020. Web. 20 May 2020.

Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe. “Reason, History, and Biblical Authenticity.” Christianity Today 1969 : 3–6. Print.

Johnson, Lauren M. "A Los Angeles Church Is Paying Off $5.3 Million Of Medical Debt In Its Community." CNN. 2019. Web. 19 May 2020.

Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993. Print.

Lawton, Graham. “What is the Meaning of Life?” New Scientist (9-3-16)

McDormand, Thomas B. “Church and Government.” Christianity Today 1965 : 14–15. Print.

Newman, Barclay M., Jr. A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. 1993: Print.

Patowary, Kaushik. "Before the Internet, What People Asked New York Public Library's Librarians?" Amusing Planet. 2018. Web. 19 May 2020.

Ogilvie, Lloyd J. Acts. Vol. 28. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1983. Print. The Preacher’s Commentary Series.

Sarkar, Riddhi. "Texas Church Uses Donations to Pay Off $2.6M In Medical Debt For Families." ABC News. 2019. Web. 19 May 2020.

Whelan, Christine B. "Seek Your Purpose Before Your Paycheck," Acculturated blog (5-23-16)

Witherington, Ben, III. The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998. Print.

W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London: Marshall Morgan Scott; repr. 1981), pp. 137–39.


Saturday, May 16

Spoiler Alert! He's Here!

Thursday morning, unable to sleep, I flipped between the overnight news on CBS and ABC. Coronavirus was the major story with some very sobering statistics offered.

Perhaps 40% unemployment for those making under $40K. Bright, the former top U.S. vaccine official, stated that the U.S. may face the “darkest winter in modern history” if there is not a coordinated response to this virus. President Trump’s dismissal of Dr. Fauci reluctance to reopen schools, “not an acceptable answer” seemed to bode ill for his tenure. Then there’s the specter of this recent “systemic inflammatory syndrome” that strikes children.

With all of this, and various sized asteroids buzzing by Earth my thoughts went to Revelation and the return of Christ. I do not think that this pandemic marks the breaking of the fourth seal in Revelation 6:7. But, what I do know is that His return is closer today than it was yesterday, and tomorrow it will be closer still. I also know that God’s Word offers hope and certainty even when our hearts, spirits, and lives are uncertain and doubtful because Christ is already with us.
This hope is found in today’s passage in John. The night Jesus is about to be arrested, he takes pains to make certain his disciples, and we, know we are not left alone.

More than a Helper

Jesus promises “another paraclete whom He identifies as the “Spirit of truth” who “dwells with you and will be in you” v 17. Many versions use the word ‘Helper’ for paraclete but that is a word that smacks of being subordinate or inferior on one’s ability. I see Tonto or Robin, a ‘side-kick’, who ‘lends a hand’ when you need it.

I know too many of you and others who are quick to say, “I don’t need any help” and I don’t want us thinking of the Holy Spirit in this way. Another word used is Counselor. This is okay if we think of it in terms of attorney and not a camp or marriage counselor (Carson 499) who gives advice we can take or ignore, and comforter sounds like a quilt or a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.
“We have no single word in our language that can express the rich, powerful meaning of “Paraclete,” the English translation of the unique title John uses for this Holy Companion. Para in the Greek means “alongside,” and the root of kletos is ‘to call’ (Fredrikson and Ogilvie 223).”
Just as Christ is sent into our world so the Holy Spirit, this paraclete, comes to those who believe in Christ. The world at large has no inkling of who the Holy Spirit is or what His role. “The Paraclete is not given to the world which neither sees nor knows Him. As it has been blind and deaf to Jesus, so the world does not know the Paraclete has come (Fredrikson and Ogilvie 224)."

Coming of Jesus

Of all the various discussions about verses 17-18, it seems apparent to me that Jesus is telling His disciples about the coming Easter Sunday. The world, those who cannot believe doesn’t see Jesus’ resurrection. Paul calls Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection “the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men” 1Co 1:24-25.

If the resurrection is false Paul says “your faith is in vain, futile, you are still in your sins”; we “misrepresent God”; “the dead are not raised” and “we are of all people most to be pitied” 2Co 15:14-19. But Paul all but shouts verse 20 when he writes “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

When Jesus reveals Himself to the disciples after Easter, they “see him with eyes of faith” (Beasley-Murray 258). Their lives are transformed, expanded, completely opened to God’s reality of eternity. They will, “on that day”, “the relation of Jesus to the Father… will become luminously clear” and “they will then understand that a new union with their risen Lord has become possible, (Beasley-Murray 258)."

Keeping Jesus’ Commandments

All of this teaching is contained within verbal bookends. The bookends are “keep my commands” in verse 15 and “commandments and keeps them” in verse 21. We use the Greek term inclusio to describe such passages. Once you start to look for them, you’ll find they stand out like a haiku or Shakespearean Sonnet
 
What does it mean to “keep” Jesus’ “commandments” and how does it demonstrate “love”? Keep and obey may seem synonymous but to keep involves observing and paying attention to what we keep. There is a sense in which one protects or guards the object they keep. As if they “keep it in custody, keep back, reserve, maintain, keep firm (Newman).”
If…then is called a conditional statement such as if you mow the lawn then I will let you play, a conditional statement drilled into my skull growing up. But don’t think that we initiate this promise. We don’t demonstrate obedience and watch God and Christ respond to our actions (Carson 503). 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us”, I’ll come back to that passage in a moment. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” John writes in 1 John 5:2.

Dr. Bruce Metzger describes the ‘keeping’ as future rather than imperative, meaning that “Jesus neither assumes that his followers love him, nor assumes that they do not… but projects a condition and stipulates its entailment: they will obey (Metzger 245).” Did your parents ever ask you a question like, “You were going to clean your room today? Right.” It isn’t a question but an action you just have not yet completed. It wasn’t debatable, it was a fact.
What commands are we to ‘safeguard’ and ‘attend to’? Dr. Carson wrote,
"What the one who loves Jesus will observe is not simply an array of discrete ethical injunctions, but the entire revelation from the Father, revelation holistically conceived (Carson 498)."
Yet the most direct context is the new ‘commandment’ which Jesus gives us in John 13:34-35, 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” Back in 1 John 4:19ff we read,
“19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
If you expect the Body of Christ, God’s People, the Church to have any impact on the spiritually blinded world around us it will come only as we love one another.

In Today’s Christian Woman a mom told of her daughter, Beverly, who needed to change a dirty shirt in which she was playing. After calling two times with no response, her mother gave her the full three-name call: “'Beverly Elizabeth Provost, did you hear me?' Beverly answered, 'Yes, Mama. My ears did, but my legs didn't' (Provost)."

How you love one another is different for everyone because each of us has a way in which we receive love best. In The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gay Chapman speaks of five ways in which we express and receive love they are:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Physical Touch
  • Acts of Service
The book is worth reading but I mention it so that we realize we need to be aware of the ways in which our sisters and brothers receive our love when offered. Kenton has a future involved with loving others because Christ has loved us. Let’s keep true to that calling as we pray.

Works Cited

Beasley-Murray, George R. John. Vol. 36. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1999. Print. Word Biblical Commentary.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel according to John. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Chapman, Gary D. The 5 Love Languages. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2015. Print.

Fredrikson, Roger L., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. John. Vol. 27. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1985. Print. The Preacher’s Commentary Series.

Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. UBS, 1971. Print. 245

Newman, Barclay M., Jr. A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. 1993: Print.

Sunday, May 10

Finding Your Way Through the Haze


File this under ‘you learn something new every day’. Discovered a strange genetic anomaly called DTD. Developmental topographical disorientation occurs in people with no brain injury, lesions, or tumors and it causes them to be unable to form any sort of mental map. Mary recounts when she was 13 years old she was a few blocks from where she was dog-sitting a friends’ pet. She said, “I had no idea where I was, and my surroundings looked completely unfamiliar. It was as though I’d been dropped into the middle of a foreign land (McLaurine).”

We’ve all heard stories about GPS messing up a trip. Sometimes they are funny but some end in tragedy and death. Do you recall back in 2007 the family “stuck in the snow for nine days with few supplies (Neelmann)” down in Southern Oregon. The father, James Kim tried to walk out and was found dead trying to get help. Finding one’s way is a serious endeavor.

Unlike the other three gospels, John doesn’t share a lot of parables or pithy sayings. “In John the style of Jesus’ teaching is that of long discourses (Ladd 251).” Chapter 14 is part of Jesus’ last night with his disciples. Matthew and the others don’t share Jesus’ teaching during this time. But John has taken the time to do it for us.

Who is in Charge?

At the deepest point of one’s life, the key to believing or not believing is the issue of who is in charge. Jesus claims he is the way, the truth, and the life, but the emphasis lands on the first of those three. He is the way because He and the Father are one. He is the way because eternal life resides in Him and Him alone. Throughout John, Jesus is “God’s gracious self-disclosure (Carson 491)” the expression of Life not just existence—zoh, the root for zoology vs. bio.s from which we get biology. Life that goes beyond existence to a life worth living.

We have the Lord of Heaven and Earth stepping down among us as one of us, to die for us, so we can live with Him. Jesus, who is the Way, harkens back to Jesus’ statement in v.4 “And you know the way to where I am going”. To which Thomas says, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

When Jesus says, “I am the way…” he isn’t cutting a pathway through the jungle of life and hollering at us to follow and keep up. He’s not some model of virtue by which we judge our competence in attaining perfection and love.

“He is himself the savior, the lamb of God, the one who so speaks that those who are in the graves hear his voice and come forth…the one who alone can say ‘no one comes to the Father except through me’ (Carson 491).”

At Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting CEO Jeff Bezos was taking questions from the shareholders when a lady asked for help returning a package. Bezos comment,

“’Yeah, sure we’ll help you with that right after the meeting. Bezos apologized to the woman for having to ask him for help at the meeting. ‘My apologies that you had to use this unusual venue to accomplish what should have been a much simpler task. ‘We’ll also look into the root cause of why that happened’ (Joyce).”

If it is newsworthy that the richest person in the world should stop to return a package, how much more newsworthy is it that

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (MSG).

Who has our best interest at heart?

Jesus’ primary purpose here isn’t to teach theology but to comfort his friends. Consider the night they have had. One of them has left to betray him while another has been told he would deny Jesus three times. There was an argument before the meal over who was the greatest. Jesus washed each of their feet causing confusion. There’s was talk of arrest and death.

We face a similar unsettling, fearful, and even overwhelming world, much like the disciple that night. And Jesus’ words to us are the same, “Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God and believe also in me.” He commands them to "stop allowing their hearts to be in turmoil". Instead, they are to believe and to continue to believe in God and in himself.

That seems to be a good word for us, today? Is your heart troubled by this 125 nm, a microscopic virus has changed our planet? Maybe not. Maybe you’re totally at peace because you are used to staying home, not working, and love spending time by yourself or with loved ones. But for some this has been a very troubling time. They or a loved one are in the ‘high risk’ categories. Financially they have fallen on hard times as hours have been cut or jobs just disappear.

My life has been upended by this. I was cut and then given too many hours at Staples. I’ve learned more about video broadcast, production, and the rest than I ever really needed to know. And I’ve had to put them to use.  Guess what? I haven’t a clue as to what the answer is except, I know Christ is Lord and God is on the throne.

The early church faced persecution for not believing in the various gods and idols. They were seen as week and stupid when they were merciful and caring. Yet Peter reminds us that we have become a people and have received mercy because we have built our lives on the ‘cornerstone’ of Jesus Christ. It has changed our identity. It has secured our future. It secures a future in which our trust in Christ is honored even as others continually take offense at Christ.

So, recklessly go back to the ‘normal’ of January 2020 and face a new round of infections or stay isolated and locked down for months really doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t to one who trusts that Christ is “the way, the truth and the life”.  

The centuries haven’t changed Jesus’ promises. Our life situations haven’t changed Jesus’ promises. Even our response to what is going on doesn’t change Jesus’ promise. Because he is the Alpha and the Omega who was and is and is to come. Uncertain of what life holds? Take heart and be certain that Jesus is the way. Uncertain in the midst of the changing situations all around us? Take heart and be certain that Jesus is the Way and the truth. Uncertain in the midst of the possibility of illness or death? Take heart and be certain that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” Can you be certain in uncertain times? You can if your certainty rests in Christ. Let’s pray.

Works Cited

Joyce, Kathleen. "Amazon Customer Asks Jeff Bezos During Shareholder Meeting for Help Returning Package: Report." Fox Business. 2019. Web. 7 May 2020.

Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993. Print.

McLaurine, Mary. "I Can't Follow A Map Or Directions, And At 61 I Still Get Lost And Frightened," Washington Post 2017. Web. 7 May 2020.

Neelmann, Sol. "The Kim Family's Tragic Journey." oregonlive. 2007. Web. 7 May 2020.

Bibliography

Beasley-Murray, George R. John. Vol. 36. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1999. Print. Word Biblical Commentary.

"Donaldina Cameron House." Flickr. 2014. Web. 6 May 2020.

Fitzpatrick, Elyse M. Because He Loves Me. Wheaton: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books, 2009. Print.

Hengel, Martin. “Raising the Bar: A Daring Proposal for the Future of Evangelical New Testament Scholarship.” Christianity Today 2001 : 77–79. Print.

Kauffman, Richard. "Reflections: Cross and Resurrection." Christianity Today 2003: Print.

Joyce, Kathleen. "Amazon Customer Asks Jeff Bezos During Shareholder Meeting For Help Returning Package: Report." Fox Business. 2019. Web. 7 May 2020.

King, John. "Plain Church Amid the Pagodas." SF Gate 2009. Web. 6 May 2020.

Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993. Print.

Liddell, H.G. A lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English lexicon 1996 Print.

Lust, Johan, Erik Eynikel, and Katrin Hauspie. A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint : Revised Edition 2003 Print.

Lowe, Janet. Oprah Winfrey Speaks. Wiley, 1998. Print. 122

McLaurine, Mary. "I Can't Follow A Map Or Directions, And At 61 I Still Get Lost And Frightened," Washington Post 2017. Web. 7 May 2020.

Neelmann, Sol. "The Kim Family's Tragic Journey." oregonlive. 2007. Web. 7 May 2020.

Newman, Barclay M., Jr. A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. 1993 : 7. Print.

Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Snibbe, Kurt. "Coronavirus: Here’s How Small the Enemy is and How it Attacks – Orange County Register." Ocregister.com. N.p., 2020. Web. 7 May 2020.

Thielicke, Helmut. Christ and the Meaning of Life. Lutterworth Press, 1988. Print.