“And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:25-26)

One of the beautiful things about Jesus is that He values those whom others overlook. Within Jewish culture, the older children in the family were more noticable and recognized. This was not the case with Jesus, however, for He said that the greatest should be as the younger children. It is the chief, manager or top ranking executive that the world notices. Through Jesus’ eyes, it is those who serve others, rather than being served, who are the greatest.

What is even more wonderful about our Savior is that He not only talked about this seemingly upside down concept, He lived it. “…but I am among you as he that serveth.” The King of Kings and Lord of Lords humbled Himself to serve. We have heard this many times before but somehow we need to picture it in terms that make sense to us. Think of the youngest child in a family seeking to serve his siblings. Think of the lowest position in your company and those whom everyone tends to overlook. This is Jesus coming to serve us.

Jesus coming to us should put us in the servant’s role but He did not come to us from the top but went to the very bottom of humanity as a newbord baby in a peasant home. He is the clasic example of service. If we are going to be like Him, we must live a life of service to God and others.

Spirituality

Having read Genesis 2 many times, it has been refreshing this morning to see it in a new light. Genesis 1 shows us the grand and cosmic side of creation. God speaks and all of the universe comes into existence. It is epic and majestic in its description. Chapter 2, however, shows a more personal and intimate side of God’s creative work. Here are a few examples:

God finished His creative work in chapter 1 but it is in 2 that He rests.

In chapter 1 God created man but in 2 He formed him from the dust and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. How much more personal could this creative act be? God performed the original CPR on Adam. It was His divine breath that brought Adam to life and made him a living soul.

In chapter 1 God creates all plant life but in 2 He “plants” a garden. His garden is not merely functional because God’s creative touch makes it both pleasant for food and to the eyes. A beautiful and scenic landscape was important enough to God that He prepared the garden this way just for Adam. Even food was not merely an essential but a pleasant delight in God’s design.

In chapter 1 God creates man but in chapter 2 He gives enough personal attention to Adam’s situation that he recognizes his lonely plight and declares that it is not good. God did not merely wind up His creation like a mechanical clock and let it go. He cared so much that He observed Adam and actively sought to order his life in a way that would be best for Him! Its humerous how arrogant I can be when I think that I’ve risen above the need for a woman, when it was God who originally designed men and women to be together. It is a beautiful picture of God’s intimate love for His creation that He recognized Adam’s need and created a woman for him!

In chapter 1 God creates the animals but in chapter 2 He forms them out of the ground and then brings them to Adam to personally name them. He loves even the creatures that He created, so much that He applies personal attention to making sure that they are named!

Many scholars have concluded that the differences between chapters 1-2 of Genesis indicate that varying sources were used to compile this information. Moses was not the sole author as the Bible declares but one who merely collected various traditions and writings, compiling them into the Pentateuch. I believe, however, that God merely wanted to show us two sides of His nature in these two chapters. God is majestic, mighty, grand and high above His creation as suggested in chapter one. He is also personal, intimately concerned and directly involved with His creation, as seen in chapter two. This is assuring and affirming for us because He sees our needs, cares for us intimately and knows us by name!

Spirituality

“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

This passage is such a wonderful reminder right at the beginning of my seminary tenure. It reminds me that no matter how busy we become, even with good things, we must never stop spending time with Jesus. Martha’s service was commendable for Jesus says that the greatest is the one that serves. In her service, however, she lost sight of the most important thing. Sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His words seemed secondary to her and this is why it upset her that Mary was not helping her serve. Jesus’ loving correction is what all of us busy people need to hear for the one thing that is truly necessary is that which can never be taken from us; our relationship with Christ and the words of life that He speaks to us. May I never forget to sit at His feet whether busy in seminary, work or merely life in general!

Life, Spirituality

Four years after graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I have finally found my way back into school. Yes, it is official: I’m a student again! For a long time it did not occur to me that I would ever need or want to go to seminary. Life was all about the destination for me. Getting to the “next step” was so important that I did not want to do anything that would consume too much extra time along the way. My undergraduate studies seemed more than adequate to launch me into the ministry.

After a few years of full time ministry, however, and a few lessons in the school of hard knocks, I began to reconsider the idea that maybe God had more training for me. Realizing that I was very much single and capable of moving anywhere I needed to, I began to consider the possibility of attending seminary.

Acquiring a bachelor’s degree from an unaccredited institution is not exactly the surest step towards getting into a good seminary, I soon learned. The initial closed doors caused me to pray that if God wanted me to study in seminary that He would make a way for me.

Right around the same time, Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, was courting the Chancellor of my school to be on their Board of Directors. Through this connection, God opened the doors of Bethel Seminary to Magdalen College graduates. The only problem, however, was that having lived in Minneapolis for 5 years, I was more than ready to move. It seemed time to try a different part of the country.

That same summer, a road trip through the American West exposed me to the beautiful city of San Diego. My one afternoon in San Diego caused me to exclaim that I wished that there was a good seminary there so that I would have a good excuse to move there. After returning to Minneapolis, my mother and I set aside a day to pray and fast about the seminary decision. While in prayer, it occured to me that I seemed to recall Bethel having extension campuses somewhere. Grabbing my computer, I navigated to their website and could hardly believe it when I found that their extension campus was in San Diego!

A year and a half later, with a lot of decision making, a few months at home, and a wonderful year long experience in Alaska all under the bridge, I am finally hear and studying again! I’m confident that this is what God is using to prepare me for ongoing ministry for His kingdom.

Life