the Spirit

I love chapter 4 of Luke. It sets the stage for Jesus' ministry. He reads a passage from Isaiah, and then is kicked out of his home town. Notice the passage Jesus reads from Isaiah. What did Jesus come to do? If we are the body of Christ, how are we continuing in that same mission?

One more question for you overachievers... How many times does Luke write about the Spirit or Holy Spirit in the first 4 chapters? Why do you think this is?

Come on...join the discussion. May the Spirit be with us as we strive to preach the Message of good news to the poor, announce pardon to prisoners..........


Christmas in August

It is weird to read the first few chapters of Luke this time of year, but many things jump out at me. Luke is such a brilliant writer, and every verse is loaded with detail and meaning. I love the story in chapter one when the messenger Gabriel appears to Zechariah.

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth live a life that honors God. They grew up with a rich heritage, have given their lives to serve in the temple, and follow the commandments blamelessly. But (that’s a huge BUT) they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well along in years (vs. 7).

And then… an angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah (v. 11)
And the usual thing happens when people in the Bible see angels. (Zechariah was gripped with fear the angel said, “Do not be afraid.”) Then the angel goes on to tell him his prayer has been heard, he will have a son, and he is to name him John. He will be great in the sight of the Lord. Check out the list of things Gabriel says this son of Zechariah will do (vs. 14- 17).
And now it is Zechariah’s chance to talk, the culmination of his prayers have lead to this point in his life. God has answered him, more clearly than any of us will probably ever hear from God. God has given him a new direction and purpose. And Zech’s response:

“How can I be sure of this?

I am an old man and my wife is well along in years (a polite way of saying she is really old too).”
This was not really the response Gabe was looking for, and check out what happens in verses 19-20.

Have we heard this type of story before? (Genesis 18, Genesis 30, I Samuel 1) Do you think Zechariah being a priest has heard this kind of story before? So why do you think his initial response is to doubt?
And has God ever answered your wild prayers, the ones you are almost scared to pray because you do not think they will actually be answered?

Have you ever come face to face with a new calling or direction that God has given you and your initial response is to doubt?
I feel like Zechariah, in that sometimes God becomes too familiar to me, and when something happens out of the ordinary, it makes me extremely uncomfortable.
How is God surprising you right now, and how are you responding?

Because sometimes God gives us things when we least expect it. And that is why it would be like receiving a Christmas present in August.