Today we studied the rest of Matthew 1 and all of Chapter 2.  It’s pretty late at night and I will try to give the short version.  I hope it makes sense.

We discussed how the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus can get so familiar that we skim right over it.  But when you think about the story, it’s anything but a “Hallmark” moment.  The Scandal of Mary’s pregnancy.  How do you think her family felt?  Do you think they believed her?  What did Joseph’s friends think of him?  “Is he crazy?”  Or “I can’t believe he would still marry that tramp.”  Other women in town saying things like “She sure had everyone fooled; we really thought she was a good girl.”  People with only a part of the story, or people who heard the whole story but refused to believe it.  God could have created a much easier set of circumstances.

But we see here, as we see throughout the scriptures, God main concern isn’t with our comfort, convenience or reputation.  We also see another characteristic of God.  He has a plan, he picks a person.  Plan “A” for God is to use people.  Flawed, sinful people.  Plan “B” is see plan “A”.  There is no Plan “B”. 

We talked about the birth of Jesus.  The manger.  The wise men.  The gifts.  The star.  Such a beautiful scene.  The perfect Christmas card.  What about the slaughter of all the Children under the age of two?  Where’s that on the card?  How do you think Jesus felt when he would go to Bethlehem and he’s the only one his age there that was born there?  Do you think the parents of some of the children slaughtered, when they heard more of the story, were bitter towards Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  They escaped.  They were told to flee.  Why not let everyone else know?  Or why didn’t God just let Herod drop dead the minute this horrible plan of action entered his mind.

Or what about after there escape to Egypt, the angel telling Joseph ”Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead” but Joseph gets scared because Herod’s son is now in charge, so then he has another dream sending him to Nazareth and thus “So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” A prophecy that’s not even found anywhere in the Old Testament.

All this, and I know it’s a lot so if you are still with me all I can say is wow, to say this.  Nothing about this story matches what most of us think about when we think about the birth of Christ.  It was messy, brutal, and scandalous.  There were rumors, confusion and fear.  Yet, somehow, we tend to package things up very nicely in our mind and in our theology.  We need to be very careful about that, because it’s not an accurate picture.  God doesn’t always work in clean, convenient ways.  We look for everything to fit nicely into our schedule and into our world.  If it all works out, if “God’s will” lines up perfectly with “our life”, we believe that’s our sign to move forward.  Instead we need to work towards becoming the type of followers that say “YES GOD, I’ll DO IT… NOW, WHAT’S THE QUESTION”.  No matter how hard, crazy or seemingly impossible God’s reply may be.

email me your thoughts or comments: Mike Williams

We’ve been studying the book of Matthew the last two weeks. Last week we looked at how one of Matthew’s primary points was to show that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. It’s very difficult for us to put ourselves in the shoes of a first century Jewish person. Chapter 1 opens up with “The Genealogy of Jesus.” Something so many of us skip right past. But it was very interested to find out that there’s some disagreement on what’s actually being presented here. Check out this video for more information.Understanding the Genealogy of Jesus.

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qavIXRNXCbY

Let me know what you think.

 

I’m sitting outside at the beach as the wind blows in from the lake. I’m watching as the water has come up onto the land and I can tell it had been much higher due to the tropical storm. The feeling of the wind feels so good. I’ve been to this spot so many times on nice, pretty days while running, but this is the first time I’ve come out here in the rain.  It’s a rare moment when I enjoy rainy weather but this is one of them.

I’m reminded of how the bible refers to God spirit with images such as blowing wind and flowing water. This wind that I am enjoying and the waves I am watching are the result of some very powerful forces that are not at their full potential. As we all know, both can become so strong and powerful that any attempt to fight against them would be futile.  Winds so forceful, they blow down buildings, currents so strong, they sweep everything away.

God is so much more powerful than I usually give him credit for. Because he restrains his power so often. He has patience with us. He gives us so much grace.

There’s a prophesy in Isaiah 61:1-2 tells of a day coming when the prisoners will be set free and proclaims a year of the lord’s favor and a day of vengeance. In Luke 4, Jesus quotes this passage and announces that he was the fulfillment of that prophesy on that day. But his quote stops with proclaiming the year of the lords favor. He leaves off the part about the day of vengeance. He’s holding off that day of vengeance until his return so that more people can come to know him.

And when that day comes, we will see the full power of God first hand. And it won’t be a little, gentile breeze.

 

We just got home from Church this morning and I wanted to write a little something about our 10 Minute Party we had today at CrossRoads.  It was amazing.  So many people stayed and visited and hopefully connected.  There was such a buzz of excitement in the air.  I love meeting new people and I look forward to getting to know them more.  Below are a few pictures I took towards the end of the party after the 2nd service.

Party Photos

Sunday at CrossRoads Church we will start having something called The Ten Minute Party.  After each service we will have a party, for about, I don’t know, maybe about 10 minutes… During this party we will attempt to meet people, introduce them to people and each other and help get them connected.  I’m so excited about this.  Throwing parties may be my #1 spiritual gift…

If you happen to visit CrossRoads, drop by for a visit. I’d love to meet you.

CrossRoads Website: here

email me your thoughts or comments: Mike Williams