God wants Help

In Genesis 1, God (a perfect community) productively created a community to creatively produce offspring that would fill the earth and be productive (subdue it). To protect them from pride, He gave them a day of rest. That is a day when they stopped working and took the time to fellowship with their Creator. Thus, they remembered that theirs was not a work done in isolation but in partnership with their Creator. Unfortunately, they were rather quick to forget the lesson of the Sabbath and chose to spurn their Creator.God, however, didn’t spurn them. He was creative in reaching out to redeem them. Humanity was infected with sin but was not beyond hope – the original software remained albeit bugged by sin. Our drive to be creatively productive was alive but malfunctioning so God instituted some emergency measures. Humanity had rejected the Ultimate Source and so would inevitably turn to “superficial” sources. The man had come from the soil and would draw his sense of being from the ground while the woman would try to fill her inner vacuum by turning to her husband. God intervened. Continue reading “God wants Help”

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The Importance/Impotence of History

History is undoubtedly very important but insofar as it helps us know where we are and chart where we will be. At times, history is quoted to show potential (I’ll be great because my fathers were great) but at other times, history is quoted to excuse failure (I’m so bad because I had terrible parents). Both approaches have a grain of truth within them but they fail to take into account that most liberating of human faculties: the power of choice.

Matthew’s opening chapter brings this into sharp focus. Jesus is the seed of Abraham and the Son of David according to the genealogy but Matthew, through the unusual interjection of women’s names, points out very unsavory elements of Jesus’ genealogy: incest, Gentile blood, prostitution and murderous adultery. Even Jesus’ immediate history is not without controversy as Matthew shows his mother pregnant out of wedlock (a capital offence) and pagan magi honouring him while a respected king seeks to kill him. Yet Jesus is still the fulfillment of prophecy, he is the Messiah. Continue reading “The Importance/Impotence of History”

How Much Consensus does Unity Need?

Is there anything as unstoppable as unity? Is there anything as divisive as language? These are issues tackled in Genesis 11. In response to the towering rebellion, God confounded the language of the builders. The reason? When people are united, they’re unstoppable (Genesis 11:6). Though unity makes humanity unstoppable, it is incredibly fragile as it stands on shaky ground: shared understanding; the holy grail of all communication. Thus, by pulling out that single strand, God demolished their daring enterprise and off they went… divided.

In Acts 2, God’s people need unity to be unstoppable in the spread of the gospel thus, God returns the indispensable shared understanding to his people. People from all over are stunned as they hear the message in their own languages, its clarity turning their hearts to Jesus. The message will spread just as Jesus predicted at the beginning of Acts – first in Jerusalem, then in Samaria just before it goes to the whole world. Finally, it seems God will have a growing community of people who love him for who he is and not what he can give. Continue reading “How Much Consensus does Unity Need?”

Heaven Inc’s Organogram

Throughout the gospels, Jesus went to great pains to tell the people about the “kingdom of/from Heaven. Sometimes it was a mustard seed, sometimes a woman mixing yeast and even a pearl merchant. This must have excited the crowds who were looking forward to a Messiah who would eject the Romans. The disciples themselves were not immune from this excitement and each secretly hoped that he would be second in command as they eagerly spread the message that Jesus sent them with… The Kingdom of Heaven is here! Continue reading “Heaven Inc’s Organogram”

The Kingdom is all about Attitude

What sort of person will enter the Kingdom of God? This is the question that Jesus answered in Matthew 5-7. Expecting a Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and set up an eternal kingdom on earth, the Jews were filled with anticipation as they listened to Jesus. Christ chose not to directly attack their misconceptions but to hint at His kingdom’s nature by describing the type of people who would qualify for it. Continue reading “The Kingdom is all about Attitude”