15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17)
This is the challenge I have in my life: where can I be found? Since moving from a place I lived for 20 years, I’ve had to rebuild those places and I can honestly say it’s hard on me.
Lisa Sharon Harper has one of the best calls to “SHALOM” I’ve read in quite some time. She is in the vein of Walter Brueggemann, who writes the introduction for her book.
Harper tackles the issue of the depth of the Gospel. The Gospel isn’t about individual salvation alone but the work to see God restoring what he has longed for in humanity all along: SHALOM. This isn’t about us getting saved so we can get to heaven. This is about us joining God again in his GLORIOUS work in this world. Through the work of the Gospel we can see shalom truly restored, but we have to get in our own spirits the understanding of the worth of ALL humanity and how Christ’s love can direct us in this work.
From regaining worth of self to relationships to genders to races to the physical world to the nations, Harper lays out the heart of God in each situation. It is an incredibly challenging read. One that I found refreshing for my spirit.
Part of a hidden belief (or sometimes not so hidden) in American Christianity is that somehow coming to Christ will help some situation get easier. Or better. Or the bad situation will at some point go away. What if the circumstances don’t change? Read more
Psalm 42, 43, 85, 86
Gen. 46:1-7, 28-34
1 Cor. 9:1-15
Our need is to turn our minds to Christ. Our problem is that we are self-obsessed.
“Teach me your way, Lord;
so that I can walk in your truth.
Make my heart focused
only on honoring your name.” — Ps. 86:11
Some thoughts from Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard’s newest book:
We need our hearts and minds turned toward Christ. Our trouble is… ourselves. We too often operate out of hurt. Wounds we have received become our focus. (Hit your thumb with a hammer and notice how much you think about that thumb for the next few days.)
Hurt in our lives can become a prison. That, in turn, becomes our frame of reference as we turn to others. What flows out of us? Hurt. We end up wounding others and cause a literal “world of hurt.”
We are a world of individuals trying to become our own saviors.
The need in our lives is the fullness of the gospel. It’s not the transactional gospel of “say the right words and you get into heaven.” It’s not the social justice gospel of filling in the gaps we think Jesus left behind on this earth. It IS the gospel of the availability of the kingdom of the heavens through trust in Jesus Christ.
In is about Christ with us. It is about the abundance of the kingdom of heaven (John 10:10). Our minds need to dwell on the richness of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Our hearts and minds are incredible. We can absolutely think on Christ. We can choose where our minds dwell. That is the incredible beauty of the mind created by God in the first place. We are magnificent beings with immense possibility. That is what God has created!
I am tired of being my own savior. It’s worn me out. Trusting Christ? The focus is truly “mind blowing.” The Kingdom is vast. it is beautiful. And I have decided I simply won’t settle for anything less.
The way of the cross doesn’t make sense. Not to this world. Not to culturalized Christianity. But the way of the cross is exactly what we need.
Reading for today:
Psalm 45, 47, 48
I Cor. 1:20-31
This hymn was sung in the church we attended the past Sunday. The words have tumbled through my spirit ever since.
Bless now, O God, the journey that all your people make,
the path through noise and silence, the way of give and take.
The trail is found in desert and winds the mountain round,
then leads beside still waters, the road where faith is found.
Bless sojourners and pilgrims who share this winding way;
your hope burns through the terrors, you love sustains the day.
We yearn for holy freedom while often we are bound;
together we are seeking the road where faith is found.
Divine eternal lover, you meet us on the road.
We wait for lands of promise where milk and honey flow,
but waiting not for places, you meet us all around.
Our covenant is written on roads, as faith is found.
Words: Sylvia Dunstan (1955-1993)
The second verse is something I carry this week. We often walk in bondage and just don’t recognize it. We think we have freedom, yet we are bound. The way of the cross will lead us to true freedom. This is my longing prayer for the day.
The scandal is that the gospel means liberation, that this liberation comes to the poor, and that it gives them the strength and the courage to break the conditions of servitude. This is what the Incarnation means. God in Christ comes to the weak and the helpless, and becomes one with them, taking their condition of oppression as his own and thus transforming their slave-existence into a liberated existence. — James Cone, God of the OppressedRead more