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Archive for July, 2011

Journeying to Jerusalem (30)

July 31st, 2011
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Scripture of the Day: Luke10:42(b)

Mary has chosen what is better,

Mary seems to know what matters. Only one thing – quietly, submissively being a disciple, hearing the word of God at the feet of Jesus. One is peaceful, the other is upset.

and it will not be taken away from her.” (NIV)

This last statement is very revealing.

At the beginning of this message I said:

I want to show how in this incident, Jesus plants a seed in a particular cultural soil with its restricted attitudes to the role women fulfil, that potentially can grow to transcend those limitations.

In fact, this actually expands to more than women’s role.

Firstly, Mary steps outside the conventional idea that a woman is living on the margins, supporting the men as they travel with Jesus as his disciples. She appropriates the position of a disciple directly at his feet.

It is interesting that Martha, as a woman, is the one offended by this inappropriate behaviour. She knew her place, determined by the conventions of her society.

Mary seems to understand the inclusiveness of Jesus’ message. And when Jesus says: “and it will not be taken away from her.”, he is saying there is nothing in this world that can separate Mary from me as a disciple.

This is really a small seed being planted in the cultural soil of Jewish first century society. I am sure Martha would have been quite confused at first by Jesus’ response to her request. It would have seemed like a slap in the face to her identity as a good hostess.

She had opened her home to him. She had been very diligent is preparing the house for his comfort, preparing the meal for him. She had fulfilled the conventional expectations of her role as a good Jewish woman.

Her lazy and presumptuous sister, from her perspective, has abandoned all protocol. She genuinely expected Jesus to support her against Mary.

What Martha had not understood is that Jesus throughout his ministry –in Galilee and now on his journey to Jerusalem – was not living according to the social conventions of his day but was ushering in the Kingdom of God. He effectively was turning upside down all expectations about the Messiah, and who was in and who was out in this Kingdom.

He was deliberately crossing all the boundaries and welcoming people outside the acceptable religious community. Think on how offensive is the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jesus was hard to follow and accept. He even offended his disciples, provoking some to leave him, others to argue with him, leaving some perplexed about what he meant.

Message for the Day

Journeying to Jerusalem (29)

July 30th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day: Luke10:42(a)

42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. (NIV)

It is instructive how Jesus focuses the many things down to one.

Jeff Mc Swain in an interview said:

Christ is always the centre. He’s never anything but the centre. Because of what he’s done , he’s the centre of everyone’s life. That sounds heretical to some in the evangelical world, but when you think about it, how heretical does it sound to say that Christ is not involved, that Christ is not the centre, but we make him the centre?

Jesus is saying I am the centre. There are many things that are needed, we can justifiably make reality to us. They are real, they need to be done.

The word Lord is used three times in this small story. Their guest is the one whose presence is commensurate with the Kingdom of God. This was the true reality of the situation.

Society’s expectations and conventions can veil who is the centre of our life. Our fleshly desires and ambitions can also do so. Satan can distort reality.

Jeff McSwain also said: Yes, they’re included, but it’s because they’re included that we want them to know how exclusive the claim of Jesus Christ is on their life. It’s the claim of truth. To live opposed to that, or in resistance to that, is to live in the economy of the lie and the father of lies, the deceiver, who wants to take the truth and twist it and distort it. He’s done that even in using the word “reality,” because usually we think of the word, thanks to Satan’s ploy, reality usually has bad connotations. It has connotations of the harsh realities of life, the brutal realities of our existence. “That was a great experience at camp this week, now it’s back to reality, back home in the rat race.” The word “reality” has been twisted completely around. That’s because the father of lies wants it that way.

Yes, what we think is reality can distract, worry and upset us, cause us to even tell Jesus how to fit in to our plans.

Message for the Day

Liberia

July 29th, 2011
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Kalengule Kaoma, the GCI mission developer in Africa, reports on his recent trip to Liberia:

I have been corresponding with three contacts in Liberia for about a year. Recently, I spent a few days in Monrovia, Liberia. The visit produced fruitful results with one of the contacts through Pastor Robert Browne (with red tie, together with his executive team in the picture at right).

Pastor Browne has two small congregations in Monrovia and five others in rural areas of Liberia. Together, there are about 180 people including children. I spoke to executive and ministry leaders about their intentions of being part of GCI. On Sunday, I met and spoke to the church in Gardnersville, Monrovia (pictured below). The enthusiasm and excitement made all of us rejoice together in the Lord with praise.

Like most affiliations in Africa, the Liberian one is being considered within the bounds of God’s love (John 3:16) to work together in reaching and ministering to people where they are. The Liberian brethren strongly feel that they will benefit from GCI spiritual guidance and knowledge.

Four months before leaving for Monrovia, I lost contact with two other Liberian contacts. While in Liberia, I tried to call their phones but both of them were not reachable. However, after I returned to Lusaka, I have reestablished contact with the two leaders. They are eager for my return visit to Liberia.

Your continued prayers are appreciated for this new door.

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