For anyone who is interested, I was given the opportunity to teach at REALITY on Sunday on John 10:1-21.  Great time preparing and sharing.  It was really neat to me to see how the Spirit put the message together in the end.  Hope you enjoy it if you take a listen.

Can you hear me now? John 10:1-21

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Jesus the Prophet

April 3, 2011

In Deuteronomy 18:18-19 the Lord said something amazing to Moses: “I will raise up a prophet like you from them, from their fellow Israelites.  I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command.  I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.”  What grounds for expectation, right?  What if you missed his coming?  What if you fail to pay attention to what he speaks?  I mean who wouldn’t be looking for this person?

It is no surprise then that one of the first questions the Jews put to John the Baptist is “Are you the Prophet?” (John 1:21).  Thousands of years after Moses and this prophecy is still in the front of their minds.

Not long after this Philip tells Nathanael, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and the prophets also wrote about” (John 1:45).  Though Nathanael is incredulous over Jesus’ origin, he goes to see him nonetheless.  Upon meeting Jesus, “the one Moses wrote about”, we find Jesus speaking prophetically about Nathanael and what the disciples will experience and see in the future (John 1:47, 50-51).  And it is not the last of his prophecies in John either (John 4:44; 13:21).

In John Jesus is clearly displayed as the one who makes the Father know, who speaks by the Father’s authority what the Father has told him (John 12:49-50) and who is himself the Truth (John 14:6)

Jesus is the Prophet who not only speaks but also fully embodies God’s truth and makes the Father fully known.  This is Good News, because it tells me that we can stop looking for truth apart from him.  He is our teacher.  He is the one who tells us what is true and what is not.  He shows us the Father, sanctifies us by his truth (John 17:17) and has sent us the Spirit to lead us in to all Truth (John 16:13).  No longer must we search asking “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Now is the time to know him and to believe the truth he shows us and to worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

Gospel Parenting Round II

December 29, 2010

And so we come to ask again, “How would it look for my parenting to be shaped by the Gospel?”  The question is simple enough, but rarely do we seem to have really pertinent answers.  A while back I posted on how the Gospel is coming to impact how my wife and I discipline our children.  This week I’ve been thinking about how it is shaping how we pray with our kids.  Here are the two major areas where the Gospel is (presently) shaping prayer with my kids:

"Prayer hands"--does anyone actually pray this way?

 

Content

What are the usual times we pray with kids?  Meals and bedtime right?  The standard Wulf house prayer at meal time used to be “Thank you Jesus for providing everything!  Amen!”  So standard was this prayer that it got to the point where Jude developed his own version (“Tank ooo d-Jesus for vidin evertin”).  The bedtime prayer was more fluid.  Sometimes we’d ask Jude who he wanted to pray for and we’d end up with “Tank ooo d-Jesus for viding [insert name here].”   Perhaps not the vibrant prayer life we’d like to pass on…(granted he is two)

In the last two weeks or so we’ve started praying differently.  Rather than thanking God just for providing food we allow food to remind us of how God meets all our needs: physical and spiritual.  He has met our hungry tummies and he has met our thirsty souls.

Last night at bedtime we didn’t just pray that Jude would have good sleep.  We prayed and thanked God that sleep reminds us of our need for him and that we can rest because he is in control, he is good and we can trust him.  Now we’re not just praying and passing on good habits, now we’re being reminded of the Gospel myself and how to live in it!

Frequency

How the Gospel shape prayer?  By requiring more of it.  Typically this means a lot fewer “prayer hands” sort of prayers and far more “in between” prayers that come off more as exclamation points or a running conversation that’s being picked up again out of the blue.

Friday and Saturday we will be holding our first two-day missional community leader training at REALITY called REALITY Foundations.  Please be praying for this time and the fifteen (-ish) people who will be participating.

Paul and I will be splitting time covering the basics of Gospel, Identity (who we are), Rhythms (how we live) and Missional Community over the course of four one and a half hour sessions.  Yes folks, the proverbial fire hose will be blasting, and we’re hoping to see some gospel transformation as Jesus’ people awaken to what he has done and how he has fitted them to engage on mission with him in the everyday.

Here are some of the remaining prayer needs:

  • Health: I’ve been fighting a cold/sore throat for about two weeks now
  • Childcare: We’re still needing one session covered on Saturday in the morning
  • Ownership: Pray that God works deeply to plant his word and work in his people to free them up for mission and engaging the world with his presence.  If missional community is really happening at REALITY it will be because our identity and life is grounded in who God is and what he has done, transforming everything about how we live.

Thank you for your prayers!  I hope to be updating you soon with more stories of the Gospel at work among us soon–this time from Halloween!

Let me encourage as many of you as are interested to head over to gcmcollective.com to connect with some great people serving on mission all over the world!

You’ve already heard me talk about and quote lots of the people you’ll find over at the GCM Collective: Jeff Vanderstelt, Tim Chester, Jonathan Dodson and Steve Timmis.  There’s also a thriving community section to the site that has been up for some time.

The Last Word: Definitely check out the Resources section of the site.  There you’ll find downloadable articles and trainings like “Engaging in Story”, “Gospel Fluency”,  a “Contextualization Assessment Starter”, as well as Soma’s great Soma School training audio.

Check it out!

Knowing me in you

November 22, 2009

For a long time now I’ve marveled at how relationships seem to find their foundation in the most mundane of times.  Sitting around playing games or something.  Do it for long enough and your circle of friends will be seriously renovated.  A couple things recently–things I’ve read, heard and experienced–might finally be bringing some clarity in to this.

Tim Chester said something that caught my attention when he said this:

“In the triune God the one and the many are perfectly held together…God’s plurality does not compromise his unity nor does his unity compromise his plurality.  He is not one in a way that he cannot be three.  He is not three in a way that he cannot be one.  And the key is that divine personal is defined in relational terms…God is persons in community and human personhood too is in the image in the triune God and therefore defined in relational terms.  You can no more be a relation-less person than you can be a childless mother or a fatherless son…Who I am is defined in relation to other people.” (beginning around the 33rd minute of this message)

In stories, characters who tell us things about the main characters have come to be called “foil characters”, and in some sense all of us are foils to other characters in the stories we all inhabit.  In the words of C.S. Lewis,

“By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald” (The Four Loves)

Personally I have been reflecting on this and it has been slowly working its way in to reality.  My being is both that which is called from me in relation to other people and that which is created in my interactions with other people.

 

"Because you've given so much of yourself to the company that you don't have anything left we can use."

Slowly I think I am really coming to believe that I too am known in my relationships.  I am not who I am because I am a success or because I know the things I know, etc.  What this means is that my value no longer rests in what I produce or what I know.  My value rests in my relations, which is of course essentially the Law-Gospel juxtaposition as well, here my value is in Christ rather than my obtaining righteousness by the law.

 

Drawing the focus back a bit, I wonder how this impacts my understanding of Church.  We are who we are together not because of what we do but because of whose we are and our relationship with him.  I wonder that this is why Leonard Sweet should say this about church and “going”:

The church doesn’t ‘go’ into the world and take the church there.  The church ‘goes into the world to discover itself there.  The church isn’t ‘sent’ into the world merely to bless or even to ‘be a blessing to the nations.’  The church is ‘sent’ to be Jesus.  Jesus is the blessing.  As we incarnate Jesus in the world, we will find ourselves doing things he did, even ‘greater things.’ ” (So Beautiful, 61)

When God closes a door…

October 27, 2009

“God just didn’t open any windows.”  How many times have I heard this?  How many times have I said it myself?  Nonetheless, the last time I heard it (a couple of weeks ago), it sparked a great conversation with the guys in my triad, because God doesn’t open windows or doors for us to join his mission.

As I see it, “open window” theology grows from an evangelism oriented salvation.  “I’m not going to hell” might be the main statement of faith here.  Good news to be sure, but it also denies the Gospel’s power to reshape and redefine the whole existence of those it has and is saving.  The problem with open windows is that we have to wait for them to be opened!

To be sure, God is the opener and closer of doors and windows, but not when it comes to mission.  When the Pharisees charge Jesus with breaking the Sabbath window he replied, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” (John 5:17)–and it almost gets him killed.  Jesus’ rationale for healing a man is not that God opened the window, but that God is always working!

As Leonard Sweet puts it, “The church can never be ‘on a mission’ because that presupposes an ‘off’ switch, and you can’t be ‘off mission’ and still be a church. The church is mission” (So Beautiful, 64).  So if we stop waiting for God to open the next window, how do we start joining God where he is working?

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