Friday, June 29, 2007


My friend Trevin Wax said, "If we were truly subversive of authority and power, our church parking lots would fill up from the back to the front."

This is convicting. While this sounds immediately negative, Piper might say it positively, something like, "When the entire Christian community is living selflessly, joy overflows."

Ought it not be to our joy to delight in the joy of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? But this cannot happen apart from a majority taking interest. In other words, if twelve cars out of 100 decide to park in the back of the lot, those 12 are doing a good thing. And they are hoping that others, perhaps not all 88 - for therein lies the difference between the visible and invisible church - but maybe 3 here, 4 there, 8 next week, 5 the week after....

In time, you have a majority parking in the back, and there is true joy in that. But joy is stifled when the 12 cars are there every week, and no others join them. The sense of community unity is missing. How can people be encouraged to "hop on board" apart from the Holy Spirit? Lord, send down Your Spirit, renew the face of the earth.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Seven Statements of Jesus (x2)

We're familiar with the seven "I am" statements of Jesus in John's Gospel:

  • "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
  • "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12, 9:5)
  • "I am the door (or the gate)" (John 10:7, 9)
  • "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14)
  • "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25)
  • "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6)
  • "I am the true vine" (John 15:1, 5)

We're also familiar with the seven statements of Jesus while upon the cross:

  • "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34)
  • "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43)
  • To His mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to [John], "Here is your mother" (John 19:26-27)
  • "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
  • "I am thirsty" (John 19:28)
  • "It is finished" (John 19:30)
  • "Father, into your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46)

Are they related?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Mark 6:42 (along with four other places in Scripture) says, "They all ate and were satisifed." The timing of this and the other verses is just after Jesus' feeding of the multitudes. Just as Jesus fed them, He feeds us with His word, with His Spirit, and with His presence. Are we satisfied with the daily bread Jesus provides? Should we be? Or should we, by hungering for more all the time, remain ever-seeking additional nourishment from our Lord?

What about our ministry efforts? Should we eat and be satisfied with the "good works which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10)? If you are blessed with a family, should you be satisfied to raise children for the Lord and manage that family well? Or should you be constantly seeking additional service projects? If you're a pastor, are you satisfied with your church? Is the size of your flock big enough?

Perhaps I'm setting up a false dichotomy here. Maybe it is possible to eat and be satisfied and yet continue to hunger for more. I don't see it now, but perhaps I will later. I think of Oskar Schindler, who sacrificed to save thousands of Jews from the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. He wasn't satisfied. Here's the text from the final scenes of Spielberg's Schindler's List:

Oscar Schindler: I could've got more...I could've got more, if I'd just ... I could've got more ...
Stern: Oscar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Schindler: If I'd made more money ... I threw away so much money, you have no idea. If I'd just ...
Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Schindler: I didn't do enough.
Stern: You did so much.
Schindler: This car. Goeth would've bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people, right there. Ten people, ten more people ... (He rips the swastika pin from his lapel) This pin, two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would've given me two for it. At least one. He would've given me one. One more. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. I could've gotten one more person and I didn't. I didn't ..."

"They all ate and were satisfied."
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

John 7 Preview

We'll be looking at John 7 on Monday night, so take a look at it throughout the rest of the week, and come prepared.

Read John 7 and see how many different groups of Jews you can identify. Throughout John's Gospel, Jesus has interacted with these groups at different times, but now they're all together in Jerusalem, and Jesus will surprise them in more ways than one.

In v33, Jesus says, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the One who sent Me." Why then do the Jews think He is going to teach the Greeks in v35?

Who do we see at the end of the chapter? Why do you think John included v50-52? Does The Prophet come out of Galilee?

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Star of Life

Mr. Leo R. Schwartz, EMS Branch Chief at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), designed the Star of Life (SOL). The star of life was created in 1973 as a common symbol to be used by US emergency medical services (EMS) and medical goods pertaining to EMS, after complaints from the American National Red Cross objecting to the use of the Red Cross symbol by ambulance services throughout America. However the use of the Red Cross symbol can still be seen on military vehicles, hospital tents and buildings to protect wounded civilian and military personnel as per the Geneva Convention in times of war.

The six barred blue symbol was adapted from the medical identification symbol and was registered on February 1,1977 with the commission of patents and trade marks in the name of the NHTSA.

Each bar on the Star of Life represents one of six functions. They are as follows:

* Detection
* Reporting
* Response
* On Scene Care
* Care in Transit
* Transfer to Definitive Care

The snake and staff in the symbol portray the staff of Asclepius, who in Greek Mythology is the son of Apollo. Asclepius is attributed with the knowledge of healing, and is often pictured standing holding a staff with a snake coiled around it. Over the years the staff has come to represent medicine and healing.

Another reference to a snake on a staff associated with healing comes from the Bible in Numbers 21:9 (NIV) that says, “So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”


The page linked to the title contains the above text and seems to suggest that the Biblical reference came after or is somehow inferior to the Greek account. The reality, of course, is that the Greek myth was a modification of the Biblical original - the sign of Moses that pointed to Jesus Christ. Jesus revealed this information to Nicodemus in John 3:14-15:

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life [or that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him]."

The people had been snake-bitten. We have been sin-bitten. The people looked up to the pure bronze, yet scary-looking snake raised high on the pole. We look up to the pure and spotless Lamb of God, disfigured from the beatings and nearly beyond recognition, raised high on the cross. Some of the people believed that this snake-on-a-pole would save them from their snake bites. Some of us believe that this Jesus nailed to a cross would save us from our sin bites. Those who believed were healed; those who did not perished in the wilderness. Those of us who believe are healed and will receive eternal life; those who do not will die in their sins.

Our Star of Life has overcome the world and its evils and has brought many sons to glory.