Posts Tagged With: Gospels

THE House

JEWISH_TEMPLE00000018Welcome to Monday of Jesus’ last week, His Passion week, the final few days leading up to His coming crucifixion.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, way back in John 2 (Podcast #21), Jesus cleansed the Temple for the first time. Now here in Mark 11, at the very end of His ministry, Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

A display of uncharacteristic anger, rare to be sure. But a shocking display of anger nonetheless. Quite out of character for a Jesus who described Himself, and who consistently showed Himself to be a Very.Gentle.Jesus.

As Jesus walked through the Temple courts that day, something set Him off.

Yes, He was understandably upset about the fleecing of the flock that was going on here. To be perfectly pointed about it, these religious leaders were making bank by selling God. Religion had become big business. By the time of Jesus, the Temple Industrial Complex was alive and well and oh-so-lucrative.

Sadly, they had discovered in that day what so many Christian leaders have discovered today: God sells. Jesus sells. Then and now, there is money to be made in Jesus’ name. A boatload of money.

That being said, there was something of even greater offense to Jesus going on there in the Temple courts. You might not see it at first blush. But trust me, it is there, front and center. As you will soon see.

I’ll give you a hint: God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. That is a thread that is woven throughout the pages of the Bible.

God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. All of His people, Jew and Gentile alike, “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5).

From the very first pages of the Bible (Genesis), through to the very last pages of the Bible (Revelation), God desperately longs to dwell among His people.

That theological thread that ties the entire Bible together runs right through this story here in Mark 11, as Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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“I Want to See.”

99222_origMeet Blind Bartimaeus, a man who seems at first blush to be nothing more than a bit player in this most dramatic and poignant moment.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this wasn’t the first time that Jesus healed a blind man. Nor is this the first time we have talked about Jesus healing a blind man. Last November, Podcast 141, comes to mind. So I would totally understand if you were tempted to bring to this story a sense of “been there, done that,” Déjà vu all over again. Like, if you’ve seen one blind-man-healing, you’ve seen them all, right? WRONG!

As I said just a moment ago, this story is both dramatic and poignant.

The implications of this story, both for the Jews of Jesus’ day, and for the entire world in our day, cannot be overstated. This story is indeed dramatic, dramatic in the extreme.

Nor can we overstate the emotional state Jesus must have been in at this most significant moment of His ministry, as the final chapter of His life is about to unfold. Emotions that infuse this story with feeling from start to finish. A story poignant to a palpable degree.

To be perfectly honest, there is so much going on here that I’m really in a quandary as to where to start. So let me start with this: In the Middle East, both in Jesus’ day, and in our own day, Symbolism = Substance.

Symbolism = Substance. IOW, as I’ve said so often, the Bible is God’s picture book. The biblical writers were painters. The visual means something. Symbolism = Substance.

In this story about yes, yet another blind man being healed by Jesus, it really is all about the optics. The symbolism. The connections that the original readers would have made in their minds as they read Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s account of this miracle

The symbolism of What happened (the healing of Blind Bartimaeus), When it happened (c. AD 30, just days before Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem), and Where happened (Jericho).

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Are You Ready for This?

12670675_951510388303967_267994124484357321_nIt’s called in our culture a “sea-change,” an idiom first introduced by Shakespeare in his play, The Tempest.

A cultural cliché that refers to “a substantial or significant transformation.” A sea-change.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, here in Luke 12, we are about to witness a sea-change. A substantial or significant transformation in the focus of Jesus’ ministry and message. 

Jesus’ words were for the disciples sadly stunning. For them, these words represented the death of a dream.

Yet, for us today, they embody the birth of a dream, our most glorious dream, our greatest hope.

Something to which the New Testament refers as “our blessed hope.”

The hope that we treasure. The promise of God that represents the only semblance of common sense that remains in this otherwise outrageously, absurdly nonsensical world of ours.

Spoiler Alert: You are in for copious amounts of encouragement.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

(Photo courtesy of Dan Sayda Photography, “The Colors of the Golan Heights”)

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The First Noel

12390995_10153185910760841_423099692962636577_nIt is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and meaningful of our Christmas carols.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, its seven stanzas tell the complete story of Christmas, brilliantly combining both Matthew’s and Luke’s Nativity narratives.

The carol to which I refer? The First Noel.

The First Noel, the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay. In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep, on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Chorus: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east beyond them far. And to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star three wise men came from country afar. To seek for a king was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the northwest, o’er Bethlehem it took it rest. And there it did both stop and stay right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then did they know assuredly within that house the King did lay. They entered in then for to see, and found the Babe in poverty.

Then entered in those wise men three, fell reverently upon their knee, and offered there in His presence their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense.

Then let us all with one accord sing praises to our heavenly Lord, that hath made heaven and earth of naught, and with his blood mankind hath bought.

Chorus: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

Let’s talk about those Wise Men, mysterious Magi.

And the star, what it was and why they followed it.

And their gifts, and their amazing significance.

From all of us at the Safe Haven, to all of you, A Very Merry Christmas!ThreeWiseMenblueskyandstars

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Forgive and (Don’t) Forget

Please-forgive-me-to-cute-kittyAs you will hear in this PODCAST, in Matthew 18:21, Peter asked a profoundly important question. A question that haunted him. And if we are honest, a question that at times haunts us.

Matthew 18:21 reads,

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Can you think of any question that hits us more profoundly right where we live than this one? There is not a one of us who hasn’t been hurt significantly by someone or someones in the past.

Perhaps in the very recent past.

Perhaps this person or these persons continue to hurt us even now, in the present.

Consequently, this whole issue of forgiveness — what it means and what it does not mean — could not come too soon, could not be more practical.

Especially given the timing and location of Peter’s question. Something that you will hear in this podcast.

Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Let’s talk about this.

Please remember that depending upon your connection speed and web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen. And if it is a blessing to you, please SHARE a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

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The Epic (and I Do Mean EPIC) Handoff

2009-11-26T221005Z_01_DET12_RTRIDSP_0_NFL“Epic,” as in Your-Salvation-and-Mine-Rides-or-Falls-on-This. I kid you not.

This PODCAST is going to be fun, and so instructive. Instructive on two levels.

1. Instructive as we discover together exactly what Jesus meant here in Matthew 18:18-20.

2. Instructive as we are handed, courtesy of Jesus, an opportunity to learn what to do, and perhaps more importantly, what not to do with the Bible.

As you are about to hear, we must bring to this passage every interpretive tool in the tool box in order to arrive at an accurate interpretation and application of this passage.

Let me put it this way: The Apostle Paul encouraged his protégé, young Pastor Timothy, to…

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth, (2 Timothy 2:15).

Do you know why Paul encouraged Timothy to handle the word of truth correctly? Because there were then, as there are now, scores of people — pastors, teachers, conference speakers, authors, commentators — who routinely handle the word of truth incorrectly.

In 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul similarly wrote Timothy,

I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.

Why write this? Because there were Sunday school teachers or small group leaders in Timothy’s church who were teaching error.

It is so easy to make the Bible say whatever we want it to say. It is so easy, too easy, to carelessly teach what the Bible does not say.

Case in point: Matthew 18:18-20. A commonly-quoted passage made to mean all sorts of things that, to be perfectly honest with you, Jesus never intended. A passage so often applied in ways that Jesus did not have in mind. He would cringe today to see what so many have done with this passage.

And, as you are about to see, this passage will indeed require us to bring to its interpretation and application a whole set of interpretive tools — a knowledge of language, history, geography, culture, chronology, context, literary & Jewish background — all in an effort to understand what Jesus did indeed intend to convey to His disciples and to us at a singularly watershed moment in Jesus’ ministry.

So in this podcast, dear friend, we have a lot to talk about.

Please remember that depending upon your connection speed and web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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Beginning at the Beginning (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

cropped-untitled-2-sign-2.jpegWelcome to this introductory lesson that launched the series: Jesus in High Definition.

Two and a half years ago, my faith was in a free-fall. I needed to get back to the basics. Wipe the slate completely clean. Forget about everything I thought I knew and believed about who Jesus was. Forget everything I had ever been taught about who Jesus was. Forget everything I myself had ever taught about who Jesus was.

Back to the beginning I went. With no preconceived ideas about this man, Jesus, I started with His birth and began moving slowly and deliberately throughout His life and ministry. 

At Safe Haven, 116 podcasts later, we are at about the halfway mark. It would be the height of understatement for me to suggest that this study has been for me absolutely REVOLUTIONARY. A picture of Jesus is emerging each and every week that is paradigm-shifting in the extreme.

This little blog post is my way of inviting you to come along for the ride. Depending upon your responses, each Thursday I’ll post the next podcast in the series. That way, you won’t have to jump in at #116. You can hear it as we gave it — every week — over the last many months.

I sure hope that you enjoy it!

By harmonizing the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — we will study the life of Christ in chronological order, from the first utterances of the angels heralding His birth, to His crucifixion and resurrection. It is our sincere hope and expectation that as we immerse ourselves in Jesus’ life and ministry, we will fall more deeply in love with Him (I certainly have!), and become more and more like Him (I certainly hope that I am).

In this first lesson, we will provide you with an overview of the entire Bible — think of it as looking at the boxtop of a puzzle — so that we will understand exactly where the individual “pieces” of the Gospels fall within the grand sweep of the biblical drama.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy our study of Jesus in HD.

PLEASE NOTE: With some browsers, it may take up to 60 seconds before the podcast will begin to play.

God bless you as you listen. And please, invite others to join us on this journey.

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No Wonder They Hated Him, and We LOVE Him

the_promiseOK. So I’ve got to tell you that I find this entire series of events that we will be discussing in this PODCAST

 

All of which I will remind you took place in less than 36 hours…

This entire series of events that took place in just one day in the life of Jesus… I find to be remarkably REFRESHING, while at the same time to followers of Jesus’ faith utterly unsettling…

Absolutely REVOLUTIONARY to me, while at the same time to the leading rabbis of Jesus’ day disgustingly revolting…

Undeniably IRRESISTIBLE to me, while at the same time to the Torah-teachers of Jesus’ day scorchingly scandalous.

So unsettling, revolting, and scandalous that they hated Him for it. Yet so refreshing, revolutionary, and irresistible that we love Him for it!

It’s been quite a ride, really, this journey that we’re on together. Two years ago, we began our ongoing study of Jesus in High Definition. The stated purpose of which is to rediscover afresh who Jesus really is, and what Jesus is really like.

Much to my surprise and our delight, the biblical picture of Jesus that is continuously emerging EVERY SINGLE WEEK is that of a GENTLE Jesus.

A gentle Jesus who did some of the most delightfully surprising things.

A gentle Jesus who said some of the most surprisingly delightful things.

A gentle Jesus who is every sense of the word irresistible.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

Please, please, please share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

God bless you as you listen.

And THANK YOU, from my heart to yours, for making this journey with me.

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When Hopelessness Met Gentleness

Online GreetingShe was a footnote in this chapter of the Jesus Story. But she was NEVER a footnote to Jesus.

And neither are you, as you will be reminded in this poignant PODCAST.

If I had to choose one word to describe this woman — and let me assure you, there are many to choose from, such as desperate, fearful, impoverished, unclean, shunned, rejected, lonely, isolated, alone, damaged — If I had to choose one word to describe this woman, the one word I would choose is invisible.

She was indeed invisible. Totally and completely invisible.

She was invisible to her family, her former friends, her neighbors, her faith community… No one gave a thought to, or cared one whit about, this poor precious woman.

Except for Jesus.

If you have ever been tempted to think that Jesus is mean, harsh, angry, impossible to please, time to meet this woman — who will never look at Jesus the same way again.

And neither will you.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play. And PLEASE, if it is a blessing, consider sharing a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

God bless you as you listen.

 

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The Demoniac of the Decapolis

GeraseneDemoniacWhenever I talk about Satan, demons, spiritual warfare, or anything remotely related, the numbers of distractions in the room increase exponentially.

This is a pattern I have documented over 40 years of ministry. Regardless of time of day, day of week, season of year, or venue in which I teach, it’s as if the devil himself does not want anyone (including you) to hear what the Bible teaches about our (and God’s) archenemy.

That was certainly true at Safe Haven when I recorded this PODCAST.

Coincidence? Don’t know for sure.

What I do know for sure… What I can say without fear of contradiction is that the principles you will learn in this message from the life and ministry of Jesus to a demon-possessed man, Satan does NOT want you to hear.

Don’t be surprised at the numbers of distractions that you will face when you try to hear this.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen. And PLEASE share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

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