Monthly Archives: January 2009

Where are you?

Recently I came across a web site that I really like that introduces the concept of being second.  Here is a short video clip of Greg Ellis (it is Super Bowl weekend) to check out and then I will continue with my thoughts about the idea of being second.




I love the power of these videos to share the story of what God is doing to glorify Himself through these individuals.  And I also realize they are meant for those who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ.  But I found myself asking the question “Should I be second?”


Continue reading



Filed under Discipleship, Questions, Transformation

He Emptied Himself

“. . . although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:6-7

Have you ever wondered what it means that Christ emptied Himself? This is something I have been pondering for some time, but have not come to a conclusion I am satisfied with.

Is this something that was necessary for him to take on human flesh?

I know that He is fully God and fully man. I understand God to be omnipresent. Yet, Jesus clearly was not. So did He empty Himself of that attribute?

Are there other divine attributes that Jesus gave up, or emptied Himself of, in order be made in the likeness of men? How human was He?

Scripture says he grew in wisdom, but I understand God to be omniscient. Jesus says He does not know the time of His second coming, only the Father does. How does that work? Is this an attribute He gave up too?

What if Jesus did most of the things we read about without using His divine nature? Does that change how we read the gospels? What if He resisted temptation purely in the flesh? What if He didn’t use His “God power”, but did most of his teaching, healing, etc. in His human nature. He says that His followers will do greater things than He, but how can we if He did it all out of His divine nature?

What does it mean that He emptied Himself?

As I said, I haven’t come to a satisfactory answer, but it is something I have been wrestling with, and I hate wrestling alone. Join me and share your thoughts.


Filed under Jesus, Questions

Who is this Jesus?

picture-2One of the things that’s been on my mind lately is that within Christianity generally, and also within evangelical circles, there are many different opinions of who Jesus is. These differing ideas about who he was shape how we interpret his mission and thus what the church is called to be.  In talking to believers you will find the healing Jesus; the preaching Jesus; the kind Jesus; the flipping over the tables Jesus and many other variations.

I guess that during certain times of our lives we tend to focus on certain attributes of Jesus.  This is based on where we are in life and what we are going through. At least for me it is difficult if not impossible to comprehend the fullness of who he is.  How do you wrap your mind around how someone can be fully God and fully man?

I think part of the role of the church is to help brothers and sisters come to a better understanding of this man we claim to be following.  And since none of us have a perfect understanding, what would it be like to share our understanding with each other?  

In this post I’m asking each of you to share a few characteristics and descriptions of who you understand Jesus to be.  What does Scripture tell us either directly or indirectly?  For some of us, we may discover aspects of Jesus we have never thought about and for some there may be things that make us uncomfortable.  Wrestle through those things and engage in the discussion.  We don’t have to agree on everything to gain insight from one another.

Together, let’s try to come to a better understanding of just who this Jesus is.  


Filed under Jesus, Questions

Extreme Makeover Me Edition

picture-1The other day I was listening to a podcast and the guest and host were talking about how we often want God to work in our lives like Ty Pennington in the show Extreme Home Makeover.  We would like for Him to show up, send us off to Disney World, and bring us back once everything was fixed up and give us the keys to a new, happy, perfect life.  The perfect Extreme Me Makeover.  

I know that despite my desire for the quick fix, God is in fact doing an Extreme Me Makeover. He is transforming me, taking the run-down dump that is my life and making it into something new.  But it doesn’t look anything like the TV show.  He doesn’t do it while I am out having fun, but involves me in the process.  He calls me to work through the junk in my life rather than just cleaning it up for me. And it isn’t always a pretty process –sometimes there is some very messy demolition required. 

The good news is that He is working with me.  He is showing which walls need to be taken down.  He is strengthening the foundation, and putting in windows that let light shine where once there was only darkness.  And this makeover isn’t for me.  It is for Him, the one who is now dwelling within.  He is taking this mess and turning it into a place fit for the King of Kings to inhabit.  


Filed under Transformation

Walking like Jesus in 2009


“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

These are some pretty strong words from the book of 1 John for those of who claim to be in Christ.  So what does walking as Jesus did look like for us today?  

Ed Dobson talks about his year long journey to live like Jesus in this short 3 minute interview. Check it out and share your thoughts about Ed’s decision, agree or disagree, and how you plan to walk like Jesus in 2009.



Filed under Discipleship

The Pharisees: If you’ve seen one, that doesn’t mean you’ve seen them all.


(This if part four of a series of posts about the Pharisees. Here are posts 1, 2 & 3)

Today I want to look at some of the differences among the Pharisees and what they had to say about themselves. My hope is that though examining the division among the sect, we can come to a better understanding of the context of Jesus’ criticism of their hypocrisy and better examine our walk with him.

In the last post I wrote that to assume all Pharisees held the same exact beliefs would be akin to thinking all Protestants agree on all points of doctrine.  A brief review of literature about the Pharisees will quickly reveal some of the differences within the Pharisaic movement of the first century.  In fact, a cultural study of the rabbinic model will reveal that there were several schools of thought within Pharisaic Judaism.

These schools, founded by the great rabbis, disagreed on the interpretation and application of scripture and frequently debated their beliefs.  It was in the generation prior to Jesus that two of the greatest rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, lived and taught.  They and their disciples had two distinct approaches to the interpretation of the Scriptures.  The school of Shammai held to a more strict, literal interpretations while Hillel’s interpretation was more liberal and progressive.  There was much debate between the schools as to the intricacies of how to follow the Law, from small details about how and when to say Shema to larger questions such as when is it okay to divorce. Continue reading


Filed under Discipleship, History, Israel

The Pharisees: Where did they come from and why does it matter?

(This post is the third in a series about the Pharisees.  Read the first post here)

“What were you thinking?” That is the question I have been asking myself over the last few days.  What was I thinking when I decided to follow up with a post about who the Pharisees were?  This is an impossible task in a blog post. I realize that.  Entire books have been written on the subject.  So why am I doing this?  Because I think it is important to our understanding of who Jesus is.  Because I think there is a lot we can learn about how to follow Jesus obediently and live out our faith.  And because I said I would.   Continue reading


Filed under Discipleship, History, Israel