I wanted to share this last week’s sermon from John Ortberg at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. MPPC is going through a series called FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), and I know this question is one that I’ve had conversations about so I hope it’s helpful! (You can click here or on the image to watch the video.)
It’s also an excuse to repost one of my favorite — and, personally, most regularly challenging — quotes about Jesus’ relationship with women, from Dorothy Sayers:
Perhaps it is no wonder that women were first at the cradle and last at the cross. They had never known a man like this man. There never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made sick jokes about women; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took women’s questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out a certain sphere for women; who never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took women as he found them and was completely unselfconscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its point or pungency from female perversity. Nobody could get from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything funny or inferior about women.
Excited to share this with you all: my friend Chris and his brother Andrew and their team have been working on a new app called Parallel Bible–“the world’s first social, visual Bible”–and it just came out today for the iPhone. Watch the video below, check out their website at theparallelbible.com, and check out the app in the iTunes Store.
In just under two weeks, I turn 32. (That’s weird to see.)
Anyway, this year I wanted to do something a little different for my birthday, and I need your help to do it. Many of you already know my friend Eugene Cho, and the organization he started, One Day’s Wages, “a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.”
One of the options ODW makes available is donating one’s birthday for a cause. And so that’s what I’m doing.
The United Nations estimates that, since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011:
almost 200,000 people have lost their lives;
about 4,000,000 people have been forced to flee their homeland;
with millions more displaced within Syria.
As the threat of the so-called Islamic State has spread from Syria to Iraq, ODW has expanded their efforts to respond to the plight of Iraqi refugees as well. And every cent of your donation will go toward providing aid and respite for these refugees.
As we say at The District Church, every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is precious to God. The plight of displaced Syrians and Iraqis doesn’t often make the front pages any more, but their lives and livelihoods are no less important.
I fear that we might be more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world.
I fear that we might be more enamored with the idea of changing the world and are neglecting to allow ourselves to be changed.
I fear that we have an unrealistic and glamorous perception of what it means to follow Christ and what it means to pursue justice. In truth, we have not taken the time to count the costs of following Jesus.
I fear that we might be tempted to compartmentalize the action of changing the world rather than seeing it as a key part of our discipleship journey that will impact the whole of our lives.
I fear that we’re asking God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us. And in fact, it may be possible that we are the mountains that need to be moved.
It’s a confession that is his–and mine too, and he articulates the challenge that a lot of people in our generation face, that doing the work of justice is much more difficult and challenging than supporting the idea of justice.
That’s one of the reasons I’m excited that Eugene will be coming through DC next week. The District Church will be hosting an event for him, where he’ll be sharing from his book, having a Q&A session, and then signing books.
Aaron preached this Sunday on the vision of The District Church, and it was for me both a great reminder of what God’s already done (and what we are thankful for) and an inspiring look forward to what we feel like God is leading us into.
Some quotable quotes (my paraphrase, in some cases):
Vision not birthed in tears quickly turns to pride. Have you wept over our city?
Ask for God’s favor. But remember that God’s favor is not given for our benefit but for those in need.
We are called to lead by serving.
We don’t have as much of a membership process at The District Church as we have an ownership process.